The roots of Studebaker Hawk stem back to 1970 when frontman Beau David (real name William Small), bassist Breen LeBoeuf (ex of Chimo, Motherlode), guitarist Charlie White, Joe Ress on keyboards, and drummer Lance Wright formed Southcote.
After signing with Smile Records in ’73, they released “She,” which climbed to the top 30 that spring. But after seeing a second single called “Who Knows His Name” fail to catch on with radio station program directors, and after touring non-stop throughout Ontario and eastern Canada for nearly three years, they disbanded.
But before long LeBoeuf, Ress, and Wright re-formed with new guitarist Steve Cooley. They changed their name to Studebaker Hawk, after a character in Frank Zappa’s “Billy The Mountain” song, and teamed up with producer Ralph Murphy, whose credits over his career included the likes of April Wine, Mashmakhan, Shooter, Brutus, and Sea Dog, among others.
Together they cut four tracks, including their 1975 single for Smile, “Rainbows, Pots of Gold, and Moonbeams” b/w “Hot Love,” both penned by Cooley. The song was a mild cross-over hit, making it to # 80 on the pop chart, and cracking the top 20 on the adult contemporary chart. Shortly after its release, one of the other songs they’d recorded, “Lazy Love,” was getting airplay, but it was being promoted as being from a new band called New City Jam Band. The label’s explanation was that since it wasn’t the same style as the group was being pushed as being, it was released under a pseudonym.
Label brass convinced LeBoeuf to re-unite with David as the short-lived actual New City Jam Band. Studebaker Hawk meanwhile carried on, but before long LeBoeuf was back in the fold, and guitarist/keyboardist Doug Varty was added when Cooley and Ress left. They continued touring until 1976, when they finally packed it in for good.
LeBoeuf’s resume would become the longest of the members, spending time in Offenbach and Brutus/, before joining April Wine in the late ’90s. Wright and Ress joined Shooter, then Ress released a string of solo albums before specializing in musical tributes and producing other artists. Small became a session player. Cooley passed away in 1989 from kidney and liver problems at the age of 55.