Bass guitarist returning for performance at Do Drop Inn

~by Lora Koch, special to The Scranton Journal

Special Delivery, (from left) Dave Cannon, Cal Godfrey, Rick Holmes
Special Delivery, (from left) Dave Cannon, Cal Godfrey, Rick Holmes

Former Bagley resident Rick Holmes will fulfill a dream this Saturday night, Nov. 29, when he steps on the stage at the Do Drop Inn in Jamaica. He will be performing with the Hold On band from Winterset.

Holmes, who currently lives in Alabama, explained how it all started in 1978.

“Back in the day I played bass guitar with a band called Special Delivery. We played all over Iowa and surrounding states. It was always a dream of mine and Calvin Godfrey, the drummer, to come back to Jamaica and play a show where it all started. Now that we are older, it’s called crossing something off the bucket list.

“It’s actually a three-way thrill for me. One, I get to come back and play just a few blocks from where the music all started for me as far as bass guitar goes,” said Holmes. “Second, I will be honoring my best friend Calvin, whose 55th birthday would have been the following Friday. He passed away on his 50th birthday. And third, I am hoping to see a lot of old friends that hopefully will be back for the Thanksgiving holiday.”

Holmes attended elementary school in Bagley as part of the YJB school district, junior high in Bayard, and high school in Lenox. His father is Larry Holmes of West Des Moines. His grandparents, the late Vernon and Frances Holmes, were lifelong residents of Guthrie and Greene counties.

Holmes’ music career began after high school when he joined Special Delivery with Godfrey and Dave Cannon from Perry.

“Calvin was a distant cousin, and his band needed a bass player, and they had all the equipment. I learned all the songs, and we played all around the area, and then started playing in other states,” he said.

Their break came when they were selected as the opening act for a popular band out of Marshalltown called Hot Jam. “They gave us access to bigger venues, and I credit them with really getting us noticed,” related Holmes.

They also experimented with stage tricks, like fog and flash powder bombs. He recalled a funny story. “We were at Calvin’s house in his basement, and set off a flash powder bomb. His mom got so mad she sprayed us down with a hose.

“She called Calvin’s dad, who was working in town, and asked if he heard the bomb. No, he had not heard it, so he said next time we better add four more grams of gun powder if we wanted people to hear it!”

Special Delivery cut a 45 record with “Do You Know” on the A side, and “Lonely Song” on the B side.

“You know how some records go gold or platinum? We always said ours went aluminum. We sold 50 and gave the rest away!” laughed Holmes.

Their ambitions took them to California, at the encouragement of a friend from Coon Rapids, Mike Hilgenberg. “We had visions of the beach, so we took our earnings from our going away concert and moved to Santa Barbara.”

The West Coast dreams did not go quite as planned. Cannon needed to leave for personal reasons. Godfrey bought a business in California, and then left after a couple years to move back to Jamaica.

Holmes stayed in California until 1985, and then moved to Nashville where he continued playing bass guitar. One band signed a production deal with Warner Brothers. He moved to Alabama in 1993, and still plays in various bands.

One famous band member he played with was Leesa Biddy, a runner-up on Star Search, who achieved success in Nashville through a connection with Sawyer Brown.

His current fulltime job is as general manager of the Mobile, AL, branch of LKQ/Keystone Automotive. It’s a world-wide company that sells after-market automotive parts.

“Playing in bands has never been a fulltime job for me,” noted Holmes. “It’s always been part-time and never something I did for a living.”

Holmes is really looking forward to bringing his band career full circle back to Jamaica. “I am hoping the Saturday night performance will have a good crowd and will be a great reunion of all different ages who graduated,” concluded Holmes. “I am hoping to see everyone there.”

The show begins at 8 pm.

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