‘He was so good’: Fox Valley rockers from Deluxury, The Boyzz and more to reunite in concert to support Mooseheart, honor fallen bandmate

Dan Buyck first met John Abel at a park in St. Charles around 1960 when Dan was about 10 and John a few years younger. That first meeting ended in a fight.

It was well before either could know what was ahead for them, mainly in the rock music world, as Buyck eventually became “Dirty” Dan Buck (dropping the “y” for his stage name), the energetic frontman of The Boyzz from Illinoizz, and Abel went on to become a highly regarded guitarist at Chicago clubs who eventually joined Buck’s post-Boyzz bands.

The recent passing of John Abel reminds us how several musicians left their marks locally, going on to record successful albums and becoming wildly popular in the Fox Valley. The intense rock of The Boyzz even resulted in “a small place” in the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio.

Some of those musicians will get together from 2 to 6 p.m. Saturday, June 22, at the Batavia Moose Lodge for “Rock Da Fox, Legends of the Valley,” an afternoon of music to raise money for the kids of Mooseheart and Abel’s widow, Dodie.

John Abel, left, and “Dirty” Dan Buck perform during a 2014 show. Abel recently passed away and Buck and other legendary Fox Valley rockers from The Boyzz and Deluxury will be part of a benefit concert for Mooseheart and Abel’s widow Saturday at the Batavia Moose Lodge. Courtesy of Dan Buck

“I later met John when he was in junior high and found out this guy liked to play guitar,” Buck said. “I was several years older, and he was still kind of a kid, but our conversation was all about music. We didn’t recall we had a fight years earlier, and, of course, John ended up being a great friend.”

Abel’s skill on the guitar so impressed Buck that, years later, he considered adding him to The Boyzz, who were about to hit their stride in the mid to late 1970s. “John wasn’t emotionally ready for it then. We were 25, and he was maybe 21,” Buck noted.

“By that time, I had two years in college, two years in the Army, and several years on the road with a band, so we had a different lifestyle beyond where John was at,” Buck explained.

In other words, things were crazier on the road with The Boyzz than maybe a young John Abel was ready to dive into.

Buck said he kept Abel in “the Rolodex in my mind” and turned to him as a bandmate in future versions of The Boyzz.

The signature album of The Boyzz is on display at the Kiss the Sky record shop in Batavia. The 1978 album resulted in the band’s title song, “Too Wild to Tame,” being part of a rock album compilation at the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. Courtesy of Dave Heun

“He was so good,” Buck added. “And I’ve played with a lot of great guitar players, but this kid was just like, oh my God, he was going to be something big someday.”

Abel was a self-taught guitarist, and Abel adored Mountain lead guitarist Leslie West. When Buck’s band played with West at a show, West complimented Abel on his skills.

“John was just floating above the ground after that,” Buck said.

When other Dirty Dan bands came into being, Buck said, “John was my pick for those bands, and we played a lot in the 1980s through the 2000s, and we were together, basically, for the rest of his time.”

Rock Da Fox will feature members of Buck’s current band, One of The Boyzz, performing as Cock ‘n Bull, another Buck band that had some of the area’s finest rockers.

Many local followers had the Deluxury CDs in the 1990s, featuring “EZ” Dave Haines of Batavia. Courtesy of Dave Heun

In that mix is “EZ” Dave Haines of Batavia, a longtime singer, harmonica and saxophone player for some of the area’s finest bands. He was a sideman for The Boyzz on some of that band’s biggest tours of Canada and the East Coast after the 1978 album release of “Too Wild to Tame,” but he eventually broke off to form his band, Deluxury.

Members of Deluxury will be on hand for the Mooseheart event. Cock ‘n Bull will perform, and Deluxury will follow. In short, many great rock musicians will take the stage and maybe even play in each other’s bands to create what Haines says will be like “a class reunion.”

Haines, who plays with Buck in the band One of The Boyzz, is excited that original Deluxury bandmates, Mike Hoge on drums and Mike Kane on bass, will perform. In addition, guitarist Robin Anderson of Elburn, who has been a key planner of the event, will play with Deluxury.

Anderson’s current band, Flavor, will also participate, as will Tyrant and Cox’s Army.

“It will be the first time since 2007 that the guys in Deluxury have played together, so it’s been quite a while,” Haines said.

Tickets for Rock Da Fox are available through the Moose Lodge 682 website at

It will be a time for many to reflect on The Boyzz’s glory days, bringing memories of Dirty Dan Buck, Mike Tafoya, Kent Cooper, Dave Angel, Gil Pini and Anatole Halinkovitch in the mid-1970s, the gritty singing of Haines and the tight rhythms of Deluxury, with Cooper, Kane and others like Jimi Kidd, Denny Daniels and Dana French in the ’80s and ’90s.

As for The Boyzz and their “piece” of the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame, the band’s song “Too Wild to Tame” is part of a compilation album at the Hall in tribute to the deceased founder of Cleveland International Records, the label that initially signed The Boyzz.

“Our song is on that album, and it is in the Hall of Fame,” Buck said with pride. “It is kind of a backdoor way to get in there, but we are in there, and that’s all I care about.”

Buck now makes his home near Algonquin, while Abel lived in Taylorville, Illinois, in his final years.

Abel’s daughter, Traci Bruccoleri, is also organizing a memorial service for her father from 4 to 8 p.m. Monday, July 8, at Studio 64 inside the Arcada Theatre in St. Charles.

“My dad requested that we do not hold a service at a funeral home, so we thought that this location would be perfect, considering he grew up in St. Charles and performed on that (Arcada) stage many times,” Bruccoleri said in a social media post.

She thanked Arcada operator Ron Onesti for the availability of Studio 64 and noted anyone who knew John is welcome to attend to pay respects.

Bruccoleri has also become a popular performer with her Taylor Swift tribute show.

Work crews recently created new sidewalks near the flagpole in Fabyan Forest Preserve in Geneva, replacing sandstone walkways that had deteriorated. Courtesy of Dave Heun

Adding to a nice walk

Work crews were laying cement for a new sidewalk last week in the area near the flagpole on the west side of the Fox River in Fabyan Forest Preserve in Geneva.

The new sidewalk is a nice addition to that particular part of the forest preserve, in an area just north of the popular Japanese Garden and near the footbridge at a Fox River inlet that provides access to the larger footbridge crossing over to the east side of Fabyan Forest Preserve.

The district put out bids earlier this year for the work, calling for grading the existing stone base and installing approximately 4,800 square feet of concrete pavement.

With the sidewalk in place, an actual flag on the flagpole would be welcome, as well as any new planting or work on the nearby vine-covered trellis walkway, of which part had recently fallen.

This has always been one of our favorite areas to walk, and a makeover of that region would make it all the more pleasant.

The spring season display in front of Windmill Countertops in Batavia features “Babs” on her bike, collecting plant bulbs. Courtesy of Dave Heun

For the fun of it

Have you seen “Babs” on her bike in front of Windmill Countertops at the northwest corner of Wilson and VanNortwick streets in Batavia?

She’s the latest in a series of holiday- or season-related displays created by Sharon WeMett, wife of Windmill Countertops owner Mark WeMett.

“I just do it for fun,” Sharon said of her latest creation, featuring what she named “Babs of Batavia” on her bike “with bountiful baskets of blooms.”

“I like to name them,” Sharon said of the displays she has been creating since staff at Windmill helped her pull out some “ugly bushes” at that corner in the mid-1990s.

“After we got the bushes out, I looked at it, and it was like, this is great; we have an empty palette (for art).”

She first built a Christmas display and kept her idea of “doing something different and fun” at the corner regularly.

“The community encouragement is fun, and the people are so kind,” Sharon noted. “We love Batavia. It is a great town, and we have been here a long time.”

It’s been quite nice that a relatively busy intersection has included something interesting and appealing to the eye simply because Sharon wanted to have fun with it.

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