The Outlaws are a successful local band featuring Dave Dix, Frank Guidry, Herbie Pino & Hughie Thomasson. Guidry and Dix leave the band, and Monte Yoho Joins. The Group eventually breaks up and Hughie goes to New York to play with noted folk-singer Milton Carroll. Tampa folk-singer Henry Paul moves to New York to pursue a recording career. Henry and Milton are friends, but Henry and Hughie's paths don't cross until sometime later.
Henry moves back to Tampa and with Jim Fish, Sean Emmitt, Ray Gerber and Monte Yoho forms Country Rock band Sienna.
Hughie moves back to Tampa. Henry, Hughie, Monte and Frank O'Keefe form a band and play as a four-piece for 8 months. Billy Jones moves back to Tampa from Boulder, Colorado.
Billy Jones joins the group and the five man line-up is complete. The band "Outlaws" begins playing clubs in Tampa and develops a strong local following in such clubs as The Depot, Losers, My Back Yard and The Collage.
The group meets Charlie Brusco who becomes their first manager. Henry's wife Jeanne designs the group's logo. The band buys a sound system and truck and hits the road. They play clubs from Cocoa Beach to Macon, Nashville to Cleveland and many, many places in between. The band opens shows for numerous big-name groups, including a memorable Nashville concert with Lynyrd Skynyrd. Ronnie VanZant raves to his then-manager Alan Walden (brother of Capricorn Records president Phil Walden), who joins forces with Brusco.
Arista records president Clive davis signs the band in Spring of 1975 - one of the new label's first signings and their very first Rock group. Eric Kronfeld represents The outlaws, and Paul Rothchild (who'd produced The Doors and Janis Joplin) is selected as producer of the band's self-titled debut album. Recording in Los Angeles that May, the group lives at the infamous Tropicana Motel. The album is released in late August and just four months later, peaks at #13 on the Billboard Album chart. Soon after, the album is certified Gold. The band embarks on a coast-to-coast tour with The Doobie Bros., and The Outlaws' national reputation as a great live band is quickly established.
Lady In Waiting is recorded with Paul Rothchild at Criteria Recording in Miami. The band and their families stay at 461 Ocean Blvd. The rest of the year is spent toring with Lynyrd Skynyrd, who are managed in Europe, by The Who's manager Bill Curbishley. Curbishley becomes The Outlaws manager in Europe and teams The Outlaws with The Who on their By Numbers tour of the U.K. and Holland, along with Little Feat. The Outlaws also perform throughout the U.S. with, among others, The Marshall Tucker Band, The Charlie Daniels Band and The Rolling Stones Black And Blue tour. The Outlaws also play a number of benefit concerts for Jimmy Carter's Presidential Campaign.
Frank O'Keefe leaves the group after intense schedule demands and lifestyle choices take their roll. O'Keefe is replaced by Harvey Arnold, a left-handed player and singer from North Carolina whom the band meets in Tampa through a mutual friend. The band goes into the studio to record Hurry Sundown.
Bill Scymczyk produces the new album at Bayshore Studios in Coconut Grove, Florida. Bill's success as producer of The Eagles make him a great choice, as well as an incredible guy to hang out and work with.
While touring the U.S. with Bad Company, a trip to The White House becomes one of the highlights of the year. Dave Dix rejoins the group to play drums with Monte and the band's 1977 shedule includes many dates with The Allman Brothers Band.
Henry Paul leaves the band in August of 1977 to embark on a solo career. The Henry Paul Band signs a four album deal with Atlantic Records. Paul is replaced by former Chambers Brothers member Freddie Salem.
The live album Bring It Back Alive is recorded and released, and is soon certified Gold. In November, the band releases their new studio album Playin' To Win, produced by Robert John "Mutt" Lange (who would later go on to produce, among others, Def Leppard and AC/DC). The band continues to headline shows across America.
Harvey Arnold leaves the band and is replaced by Rick Cua. Monte Yoho leaves the group to join The Henry Paul band.
The album Ghost Riders, produced by Gary Lyons, Hughie Thomasson & Billy Jones is released. The single "(Ghost) Riders In The Sky" reaches #31 on the Billboard Pop Chart. While it's the band's last commercially successful record, it is also one of their biggest reaching #25 on the Billboard Album chart and becoming The Outlaws' third Gold album.
There are many people aside from those mentioned who had a great deal to do with the band's success. From the early days there were people like Rick Alter who brought the band to Charlie Brusco's attention and booked the band outside Florida for the first time. People like Bob Feiden who introduced the group to Clive Davis and Arista's Michael Klenfner who promoted the group so well at FM Rock Radio. And long after the phenomena of Southern Rock has taken its place in Rock history, there are still fans in cowboy hats and boots from Long Island to California, throughout the South and the Midwest. For a while, they were one.
The Outlaws were a local rock group in Tampa, Florida, in 1972. There were a number of groups and solo artists we admired, from Moby Grape and Buffalo Springfield to Eric Clapton and The Allman Brothers. One thing that separated us from the majority of other bands was that we wrote many of our own songs and played them right alongside songs made popular by big groups of the time. Little did we know our efforts to be original and energetic performing style would allow us to participate in a musical phenomenon that came to be known as "Southern Rock".
By 1974, our reputation as a formidable live act was enhanced by the testimony of emerging stars like Ronnie VanZant of Lynyrd Skynyrd. When Clive Davis, president of the newly-formed Arista Records, flew to Columbus, Georgia, to see us play, he saw our potential and signed us to our first recording contract. The celebration that followed lasted years. There was a unique sense of musical and cultural pride that ran through the ranks of bands like Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Marshall Tucker Band, The Charlie Daniels Band and, of course, The Allman Brothers. The Outlaws shared that bond and the music that came from all these groups were legendary.
Surviving the whirlwind lifestyle was another challenge, which at times was unforgiving. In the spirit of honoring those who gave their lives to the music, we dedicate this album to Billy Jones, Frank O'Keefe, James Peter Britton, Tommy Caldwell, Toy Caldwell, Ronnie VanZant, Steve Gaines, Allen Collins, Cassie Gaines, Duane Allman and Berry Oakley.
Green Grass and High Tides Forever - Henry Paul
Many years have passed, many tours also. The one thing that hasn't passed by is the love of music. I would like to thank all the people who have been and continue to be a part of The Outlaws family. I will never forget our fans because without someone to listen, the music can't be heard. Always remember that there's a little Outlaw in all of us. May your grass be green and your tides high. God bless you all.
- Hughie Thomasson