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 Fuller Up The Dead Musician Directory 
 
Michael "Cub" Koda
Cub Koda
July 1, 2000
Age 51 
Kidney Disease 
 
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Editor's Pick:  Smoking In The Boy's Room: The Best Of Brownsville Station
 
 
 
 

OBITUARY 
 
Michael "Cub" Koda, 51, musician, songwriter
 

                      By Sarah A. Webster / The Detroit News 

                          CHELSEA -- Michael "Cub" Koda, a beloved local 
                      musician, songwriter and music critic who led the Ann Arbor 
                      band Brownsville Station to the top of the pop charts in 1974 
                      with the song Smokin' in the Boys Room, died on Saturday, July 
                      1, 2000.  
  
                         The 51-year-old died at Chelsea Community Hospital from 
                      complications from kidney disease, said his 16-year manager, 
                      Thomas "Doc" Cavalier.  
  
                         In recent years, Mr. Koda, who lived with his wife, Jeannie, 
                      at a residential recording complex in Chelsea, made an 
                      appearance in a VH-1 Where are They Now? segment.  
  
                         At least six other Koda songs made the Billboard charts, 
                      though none was as successful as Smokin'. In 1985, the rock 
                      band Motley Crue remade Koda's 1974 hit.  
  
                         Fellow musicians were saddened at the news of Koda's 
                      death.  
  
                         George Bedard played with Mr. Koda at the Ark on Main Street in 
                         Ann Arbor every year  with other friends who returned home for the holidays.  
                         "We'll really miss him," Bedard said. "He was one of the best entertainers  
                         I ever worked with. He was funny, and he just put everything he had into it 
                         when he was on stage."  
  
                         Bedard remembered Mr. Koda, a guitarist, as a fan of all American-root music: blues, 
                      rockabilly and rhythm and blues.  
  
                         Mr. Koda, a 1966 graduate of Manchester High School, also was a writer.  
                         His father, Max, owned a small-town newspaper in Manchester.  

                         Mr. Koda wrote a column for Discoveries music magazine for 22 years, and regularly 
                      contributed to other publications. His output included liner notes for over 60 CD collections 
                      for Rhino Records, Time-Life, MCA and Motown.  

                         He also edited two reference books, The All-Music Guide and The All-Music Guide to the 
                      Blues. In 1998, he wrote Blues for Dummies, part of a popular paperback series.  
  
                         In 1995, after releasing a new album, Abba Dabba Dabba, Mr. Koda hit the stage in Ann 
                      Arbor for the first time in nearly a decade to the delight of his fans. That album also 
                      produced another hit, Random Drug Testing.  
  
                         "This last year has been the most hectic and maybe the most creative in  
                      my whole life," Mr. Koda told The News in an interview at that time. He called  his 
                      latest album a landscape of American music. 
                          
                         "Beneath that topcoat of fluff fun, what I was really trying to show was the 
                    interconnectedness of all these forms of American music," he said. "You've got '60s garage 
                    noise to Tex-Mex instrumentals to Detroit doo-wop to Chicago blues to Southern rockabilly.  
                    I could've stuck country or jazz tunes on there, and it wouldn't have made any difference. It's 
                    all rock 'n' roll, as well as being tied together by my personality."  
  
                         In an interview with The Detroit News, Mr. Koda was once asked whether he minded 
                      always being identified with his big hit, and whether he viewed it as a "gold-plated curse."  
  
                         "Are you nuts?" Mr. Koda replied. "For a short white kid with big glasses from the 
                      Midwestern sticks to be in a band that makes a record that gets played on the radio that a 
                      million people go out and buy -- how could that possibly be a curse?  
  
                        "I can think of a whole lot of people, with maybe even more talent, to whom that has never 
                      happened. To me it's happened twice. That's no curse, mister. That's a blessing."  
  
                         Three months ago, Mr. Koda released another album, Noise Monkey.  
  
                        "He was actually telling me four days ago that he never felt better," Cavalier said. "He was 
                      working until two days ago ... I feel like it's a great loss of talent and a dear friend."  
  
                         Mr. Koda's albums include Welcome to My Job, an anthology of the most popular tracks 
                      from his independent solo albums of the 1980s.  
  
                      Mr. Koda is survived by his wife of 24 years; his son, Jesse Easudes of Pittsburgh, PA; his 
                      parents of Manchester; and a sister, Andrea Bollanger.  
  
                         No visitation will be held. Graveside service will be held at 2 p.m. today at Mount Hope 
                      Cemetery, Waterloo.  
  
                         Memorials can be made to the Make-a-Wish Foundation, 913 W. Holmes, Suite 111, 
                      Lansing, MI 48910.  
 

    
  Detroit musician Michael Koda dies 
 
                                 By JIM SUHR 
                                 ASSOCIATED PRESS 

                                 DETROIT -- Michael (Cub) Koda, the singer and 
                                 songwriter behind the 1970s hit "Smokin' in the Boys' 
                                 Room" and the guitarist once described by author 
                                 Stephen King as "America's greatest houserocker," 
                                 died Saturday. 

                                 Koda, 51, died about 2:45 a.m. of complications from 
                                 kidney dialysis at Chelsea Community Hospital, said 
                                 John Mitchell Sr. of Chelsea's Staffan-Mitchell 
                                 Funeral Home, which is handling arrangements. 

                                 Born in 1948 in Detroit and reared listening to jazz, 
                                 Koda began playing drums at age 5 and took up 
                                 guitar nine years later before playing in a high school 
                                 band called the Del Tinos. 

                                 Borrowing his nickname from the character "Cubby" 
                                 on television's Mickey Mouse Club, Koda in 1969 
                                 formed Brownsville Station and wrote "Smokin' in 
                                 the Boys Room," which in 1973 rose to No. 3 on 
                                 Billboard magazine's charts and sold more than 2 
                                 million copies. 

                                 Brownsville Station disbanded in 1979, six years 
                                 before "Smokin' in the Boys' Room" was revived by 
                                 heavy metal band Motley Crue. 

                                 In later years, Koda said he never grew weary of 
                                 playing the song, joking that "people would kill me if I 
                                 didn't." 

                                 "Let's just say if you could write a song that made 
                                 people happy when you played it, you'd be playing it, 
                                 too," Koda told the Detroit Free Press in 1995. 

                                 Koda later played in groups called the Points and the 
                                 Bone Gods, as well as releasing solo works 
                                 spotlighting rockabilly and blues. In his dedications to 
                                 his Bachman Book collection, the horror-writing 
                                 King labeled Koda "America's greatest 
                                 houserocker." 

                                 Koda's releases included "Smokin' in the Boys' 
                                 Room: The Best of Brownsville Station" and "Abba 
                                 Dabba Dabba: A Bananza of Hits," featuring Koda 
                                 on the cover dressed as a gorilla and a doo-wop take 
                                 of "Meet the Flintstones." 

                                 He co-authored "Blues for Dummies" in 1998 and 
                                 has written a monthly column called "The Vinyl 
                                 Junkie" for trade magazines. 

                                 Survivors include his wife of 23 years, the former 
                                 Jeannie Parker; a son, Jesse Easudes of Pittsburgh; 
                                 and his parents of Manchester, Mich. 

                                 Graveside services will be at 2 p.m. Monday at Mt. 
                                 Hope Cemetery, Waterloo. 

                                 No visitation is planned.

 
NY TIMES
        
 
 
       
 

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All-Music Guide
 
                           Best known as the leader of Brownsville Station and composer of 
                           their hit, "Smokin' in the Boys Room," Cub Koda has proven that his 
                           roots went far deeper, both before the band's formation, during its 
                           days in the sun, and long after its demise. His high school band, the 
                           Del-Tinos, was dipping into blues and rockabilly as far back as 1963 
                           -- not only pre-Butterfield, but pre-Beatles. Similarly, he recorded 
                           legendary home tapes during his off hours from Brownsville, before 
                           the rockabilly revival had uttered its first hiccup, and later teamed 
                           with Hound Dog Taylor's former rhythm section, the Houserockers, 
                           to play the blues in the '80s. Along the way he cranked out a 
                           monthly column ("The Vinyl Junkie") and recorded a series of 
                           albums that kept roots music of all kinds alive without ever treating 
                           it like a museum piece. 

                           Originally a drummer at age five, Koda switched over to guitar 
 when he formed his first band, the Del-Tinos, a teenage garage combo equally influenced by rock & 
 roll, blues, and rockabilly. The group cut their first single -- Roy Orbison's "Go Go Go" -- in the fall of 
 1963, and released two more 45s independently before they disbanded in 1966. By this time, Koda had 
 become so immersed in the blues, that the last Del-Tinos' single had the trio doing Muddy Waters' "I 
 Got My Mojo Workin'" on one side and Robert Johnson's "Ramblin' on My Mind" on the other. 

 After a couple of bands in the late '60s that largely went unrecorded, Koda formed Brownsville Station 
 in early 1969. After playing local Midwest gigs and releasing a handful of singles, the band released 
 their first album in 1970. But it wasn't until "Smokin' in the Boys Room" that Brownsville had a genuine 
 hit. Released as a single in the fall of 1973, "Smokin'" climbed all the way to number three, eventually 
 selling over two million copies. 

 But Koda began to back away from the group's loud, overdriven rock sound -- at least in private. He 
 purchased a multi-track tape recorder and started producing one-man-band tapes, where he 
 overdubbed all the instruments and vocals. For the next several years, Koda made home recordings of 
 rockabilly, blues, R&B, country, jazz and early rock & roll -- the exact opposite of Brownsville's heavy 
 rock stance; the rockabilly tapes were eventually released as That's What I Like about the South in 
 the early '80s, with other tracks showing up on compilations as late as 1993. 

 When Brownsville disbanded in 1979, Cub began writing a column called "The Vinyl Junkie" for 
 Goldmine magazine, now being published in DISCoveries. Through the column's success, Koda 
 established himself as an expert record collector and critic -- eventually, Cub would compile and write 
 liner notes for a number of projects, including three volumes in Rhino's acclaimed Blues Masters 
 series. 

 In 1980, Koda worked with Hound Dog Taylor's backing band, the Houserockers. Over the next 15 
 years, Koda, guitarist Brewer Phillips, and drummer Ted Harvey performed and recorded together, 
 with their first album, It's the Blues, appearing in 1981 and their latest, The Joint Was Rockin', being 
 released in 1996. 

 Throughout the '80s and '90s, Koda has continued to divide his time equally between touring, recording, 
 and writing. 1993 saw the twin release of Smokin' in the Boy's Room: The Best of Brownsville 
 Station on Rhino and Welcome to My Job, a retrospective of his non-Brownsville material on Blue 
 Wave, followed a year later by Abba Dabba Dabba: A Bananza of Hits on Schoolkids' Records. -- 
 Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guide

 
 
  
 
 

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