ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The White Summer Band

Updated on May 21, 2020
James A Watkins profile image

James A. Watkins is an entrepreneur, musician, and a writer with four non-fiction books and hundreds of magazine articles read by millions.

The White Summer Band

I had the good fortune to make a modest living playing music for twenty years. I got to travel extensively; and bring joy to multitudinous numbers of people. I am a drummer, singer and songwriter.

The White Summer band was a Michigan rock group that I formed in 1973. It remained quite active on the music scene until we disbanded in 1991.

The White Summer band rarely took a break from performing live during those years. We also worked on writing songs and recording them. Eventually, five recordings (albums) were made of our original music. For these last twenty years, we play together once every year at a White Summer Reunion Concert.

The White Summer band saw quite a few lineup changes over the years. Two of its members were in the group from 1976 to 1991—Jimmy Schrader and James Watkins (your author).

Jimmy Schrader was born blind. As a consequence, three things happened: He developed preternatural hearing; He was gifted by God with an incredible natural talent to play a guitar; And since he was unable to join in on many activities most of us did as youngsters, he practiced his guitar eight hours a day for many years.

THE LOGO OF THE WHITE SUMMER BAND FROM MICHIGAN (AND FLORIDA)
THE LOGO OF THE WHITE SUMMER BAND FROM MICHIGAN (AND FLORIDA)

Jimmy Schrader

I met Jimmy Schrader in 1976. The White Summer band had already produced one album of all original material. The group needed a new guitarist. I happened to run into another musician I know, and he said, "I know a guitar player and he is fantastic! But he is having a hard time finding a band."

I asked my friend why that might be, and he replied, "Well, he is blind, you see, and most people don't want to lead him around. He doesn't use guide dogs or canes. So, if you go on the road you would have to lead him everywhere you go, and everywhere he needs to go."

I pondered this for a minute and decided all I cared about was his musicianship. So I asked, "Where is this guy?"

JIMMY SCHRADER, THE WHITE SUMMER BAND
JIMMY SCHRADER, THE WHITE SUMMER BAND

The Audition

I got the telephone number for Jimmy Schrader and gave him a call. He was interested so I went to his house to meet him (in Benton Harbor, Michigan—my hometown as well).

Jimmy Schrader had a very protective family (including a decidedly unfriendly Airedale). I went down into his basement and he picked up a 1957 Fender Stratocaster; plugged it into a 100 watt double-stacked Marshall amp—wide open! And he began to play—all by himself—as loud as a freight train. He explained that this was the only way he could get "the sound" he wanted.

It took me about 30 seconds to decide. I had, by then, seen many of the greatest rock bands in the world in concert but Jimmy Schrader was the most spectacular guitar player I had ever heard. I hired him on the spot and it was the best decision I have ever made.

JAMES WATKINS, THE WHITE SUMMER BAND
JAMES WATKINS, THE WHITE SUMMER BAND

The King: Jimmy Schrader

For quite some time, after Jimmy Schrader joined the White Summer band, our fans called him "The Blind Man." I also noticed that, as we traveled on the road, strangers in towns hearing us for the first time called us "The Band with the Blind Guitar Player."

Over time, this faded out and Jimmy Schrader acquired a new moniker: "The King." As in, the king of guitar. And the band was simply "White Summer."

We had tough times and we had great times. We toured a lot and we recorded a lot. And The King and I became best of friends—as we remained until Jimmy sadly passed away February 2019.

THE WHITE SUMMER BAND IN 1985: (L-R) JEFF ALDRICH, OLIVER HARMAN, JIMMY SCHRADER, JAMES WATKINS
THE WHITE SUMMER BAND IN 1985: (L-R) JEFF ALDRICH, OLIVER HARMAN, JIMMY SCHRADER, JAMES WATKINS
THE WHITE SUMMER BAND IN 1991: (L-R) JIMMY SCHRADER, STEVE DOUGLAS, JAMES WATKINS, DONNIE BROWN, DANNY FRYE
THE WHITE SUMMER BAND IN 1991: (L-R) JIMMY SCHRADER, STEVE DOUGLAS, JAMES WATKINS, DONNIE BROWN, DANNY FRYE

The White Summer Band

A friend of mine sent an email to me that said: "I saw your band, White Summer, on YouTube. Man, you guys sucked when you were young!."

I went to investigate, since I was not aware of the White Summer band having any videos on YouTube. To my horror, I found two kiddie bands with videos on YouTube—one from Canada and one from Australia—that were using our name! I wrote to them, asking to stop using our name, but received no response.

The real White Summer band had made a few videos in the past, but they were either lost or of poor sound quality. We did have lots of recordings, both of our five albums and of live performaces.

A friend of mine, Scott Raymond, who is a very talented architect (and formerly a champion ballroom dancer), heard me lament this problem and he created four videos of our music and uploaded them onto YouTube.

Three of these videos utilize original tracks from our last album: "Dreams Come True;" "To Be With You;" and "Last Chance." The first two were written by Jimmy Schrader and James Watkins; the third song was composed by Jimmy Schrader with one of our former bass players, John Sidoti.

The final video used a live recording of the White Summer band playing an extended version of the great Jimi Hendrix blues song "Red House" that was recorded on a simple cassette player in a nightclub. "Red House" features Donnie Brown from Greenville, Mississippi—the blues capital of the world—on bass guitar; Danny Frye from Sandwich, Massachusetts on keyboards; James Watkins on drums and vocals; and Jimmy Schrader on blistering guitar.

The original songs feature Jimmy Schrader on guitar and bass guitar; Danny Frye on keyboards; James Watkins on drums and vocals on "To Be With You;" and Steve Douglas from Cincinnati, Ohio singing lead vocals on "Dreams Come True" as well as "Last Chance."

Please enjoy the music!

"Dreams Come True" by the White Summer Band

"To Be With You" by the White Summer Band

"Last Chance" by the White Summer Band

Jimi Hendrix "Red House" (Live) by the White Summer Band

working

This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://corp.maven.io/privacy-policy

Show Details
Necessary
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Features
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Marketing
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Statistics
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)