Thank you to Mike Dugo of 60sgaragebands.com for allowing us to reproduce this interview with Timothy Critchley about his musical beginnings and his time with his first band, The Breakers.
Like many bands of the era, The Breakers started as out a surf band but soon evolved into a British Invasion-influenced group. Although they were all very young, The Breakers quickly became extremely popular in Tucson, Arizona, and opened for many national acts. Their lone recording, the excellent ‘Say You’re Mine’ and ‘Once More’ (Moxie Records), was written by guitarist Timothy Critchely and vocalist Jim Staples. Critchley is still an active songwriter, and due to his teen band’s enduring popularity, may one day soon return to his old Tucson stomping grounds.
An Interview Wtih Timothy Critchley
60sgaragebands.com (60s): How did you first get interested in music?
Timothy Critchley (TC): When I was 11 years old in Douglas, Arizona, I went to visit my older brother Bill. When I stepped up on his front porch, I could hear him playing his new electric guitar. He saw me through the screen door, invited me in and said, “You wanna play it?” Remember… it’s Arizona in the summer and I’m wearing cut off Levi’s; no shirt and no shoes. When he handed it to me I became the ground, got a buzz, and knew right then that’s what I was gonna do when I grew up. I’m still learning, still playing, to this day.What a trip it’s been.
60s: Was The Breakers your first band?
TC: Yes. It started with three members. We were only 13 and 14 years old.
60s: Where and when was The Breakers formed?
TC: In good ol’ Tucson, Arizona in the summer of 1964. The original three members rehearsed on my back porch for the first time, and until the neighbors complained. It was Mike Stearns, Mike Parrott, and me, Tim Critchley. After that first rehearsal, Jim Staples joined in as singer and bassist for a while. Jim Staples remained the singer, and we added Jim Jewell on the bass. Mike Stearns played guitar. Mike Parrott played drums. I played guitar.
60s: How would you describe the band’s sound?
TC: At first out West it was the surfer days, but soon came the British Invasion. Our first recording was probably a mixture of both influences.
60s: What was the Tucson rock and roll scene like in the ’60s?
TC: There was absolutely no better time or place on the mainland for musicians. High schools had a dance every week. Tucson, being a college town, had fraternity and sorority parties all the time. Speedway Boulevard was lined with clubs on and on and on…The Breakers were also the opening act for Paul Revere & The Raiders, Van Morrison & Them, Lovin’ Spoonful, Buffalo Springfield and so on.
60s: Did The Breakers participate in any battle of the bands?
TC: I don’t recall all the bands, but we mostly shared stages and competitions with The Dearly Beloved.
60s: How popular locally did The Breakers become?
TC: Well, actually, it was a fan that led me to your page. We still have them.
60s: How far was the band’s “touring” territory?
TC: Dan Gates and Dan Peters were our management team and operated teen clubs in Phoenix and Tucson. The Breakers played and toured Southern Arizona, California and New Mexico.
60s: How did you hook up with Gates and Peters?
TC: Dan Peters saw us playing somewhere and approached us. He started booking us and took us to the recording studio. Dan Peters and Dan Gates also managed The Dearly Beloved. We were younger and pretty much followed in their footsteps. We were headed for Columbia Records when The Dearly Beloved had an unfortunate accident on the road from California to Tucson and lost their lead singer, Larry Cox. Needless to say, things changed for us all following that loss.
60s: Where did The Breakers record?
TC: Copper State Recording Studio in Tucson. It was two-track live and go-bo’s; great engineers with a cool reverb chamber.
60s: Did The Breakers write many original songs?
TC: Yeah, we had a pocket full and, so far as I know, three of us are still writing: Jim Staples, Mike Stearns and me.
60s: Do any other ’60’s Breakers recordings exist? Are there any vintage live recordings, or unreleased tracks?
60s: Did the band make any local TV appearances?
TC: I’m not aware of TV apprearances…at least intentional. I’m looking for footage.
60s: What year and why did the band break up?
TC: Probably in 1967. Most bands in the area started making changes around that time. The entire scene started changing and most of the players knew each other and got along well and we just started growing and experimenting. It was the ‘60s.
60s: Did you join or form any bands after The Breakers?
TC: Yes. I joined 5 More and Oak, and then moved on to California and the beginning of a great career as a single act songwriter.
60s: What keeps you busy today?
TC: I’m in Branson, Missouri working my way back to Arizona. Opportunities in Branson are gone. The last show I was in here was called Craklin’ Rose, a tribute to Neil Diamond at the Grand Palace, which is soon to be torn down. My online recording business is doing well. My CD sales are up and I want to go home.
60s: How do you best summarize your experiences with The Breakers?
TC: You know what they say about your first? Well…it’s true. That’s one more reason to head back to Arizona. Three of The Breakers have recording facilities and we’re gearing up for the next thing. Again, a fan kind of got that headed in a fun direction.