Not to be confused with a band out of Detroit a few years earlier, Crosstown Bus was formed in Nelson, BC in the late ’60s around singer/guitarist Jeff Boyne, Rob Sommerville and Frank Ludwig on keyboards, bassist Roger Henthorne, and drummer Mike Killeen.
Starting out as just another garage band that got some high school dance gigs, they honed their chops and moved to Vancouver, where they worked the circuit and hooked up with manager Bruce Allen. They packed up their station wagon and tried their luck in California for a few months. They returned to Vancouver with a contract with MCA in hand, but it wasn’t long before Henthorne was replaceed by Brian Anderson.
They were sent to Studio 3 in Vancouver with producer Greg Hambleton (A Passing Fancy, Madrigal, Rain) to work on their debut album. Highly experimental, HIGH GRASS was on the shelves in early ’71. Everyone tried their hand at songwriting and it kicked off with the title track, the slowest of several ballads complete with horns and strings arrangements. Other numbers “Pass This Way Again” with its boogie start, of ook The first single was “Rochester River” b/w a cover of Van Morrison’s “Caravan” (both tracks produced by Tom Northcott). It did little on the chart, nor did its successor, “I’m Lost Without You” b/w “In Ten Years Time.” They finally cracked the Canadian top 100 later that year on their third try – the title track b/w “Renie.”
Most of their shows over the next couple of years were local area, as the revolving door saw Blair Thornton replace Boyne on guitars, who in turn was replaced by Jim Grant. Ludwig left and Bobby Blow came. Killeen was replaced by Nick Doktor, then Dave Jonsson (ex of 5 Man Conga).
They played a few more area dates here and there, but by ’74 the band called it a day. After leaving, Ludwig went on to play with Brutus, Trooper, Body Electric, Ironhorse, and Union. He also has done many outside projects, including writing the ‘Urban Peasant’ theme for the CBC TV show of the same name. Boyne meanwhile joined Hammersmith after leaving. Thornton went on to join BTO in time for their second lp in ’74. Everyone else pretty much ended up getting out of the business all together. Jonsson spent some time working with Canadian children’s singer Charlotte Diamond’s band. Everyone else eventually got out of the business all together. Killeen got into broadcast journalism and works for CTV Vancouver, and Henthorne became an airline pilot.