Glenn R. Townsend – Californian Guitarist

June 17, 1948 —

Glenn R. Townsend, born in Sulphur, Oklahoma, moved to Tulsa at the age of four. His music career began in 1961 with just two week’s practice; Townsend played his first gig with the regional rhythm & blues touring band Ram Rods as a rhythm guitarist.

Over the next few years he picked up side jobs with other local favorite bands. One of the jobs took Townsend. to perform with the Dick Clark Caravan of Stars Tour.  He was drafted into the U. S. Army, but after being discharged he began performing with Tommy Harris’ band, Standing Room Only. Standing Room Only toured the Midwest States; shortly thereafter, Glenn left the band to be lead guitarist for No Large Trucks.

Townsend’s music soon took him to California, where the band signed with Columbia Records. He landed a job as a studio-recording artist doing sessions for Warner Bros. Records and was fortunate to do some guitar work on a few movie soundtracks, notably The Crooked Mile.

Columbia Records decided to change the name of the group to just “TRUK” and their album Truk Tracks was released in 1970. The band toured with acts such as Lee Michaels, Chicago, The Grass Roots, The Leon Russell Redbone Tour, and Grand Funk Railroad.

Tiring of the pace in California, Townsend lived briefly in Wichita before moving back to Tulsa, where he chose to place the guitar in the closet and raise his family for almost ten years.

In the early ‘80s, the Glenn R. Townsend Band was created. Townsend started playing blues rock; during this time, his band had played at a variety of venues in the five-state area. The Glenn R. Townsend Band released over 7 albums and 3 CDs: Rock’s the BluesCan’t Live Without Your Love, and Driving the Bus.

Driving the Bus is a tribute to Townsend’s friend Flash Terry. The title song was written about Flash’s life as a working musician who also had to drive a bus to pay the bills.