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Címlap Band Band members Mihály Tunkli - Hammond organ

Squirrel Mick / Mike, the Hammond fun

I have been interested in electronics since my childhood but because I also loved music - though I learnt playing the piano only for some years - I quickly switched over from the construction of radios to electronic organs.I was only 14 when I built a polyphonic organ - using the keyboard of an old accordion -  based on a drawing published in the Radiotechnics magazine.

This musical instrument made its début at the concert of the ad hoc beat band of the technical college during the "Revolutionary Youth Days", a highly important event in the life of students at that time.

I was proud that we received silver medal at the county final, the first appearance of my life, in 1970.

My next organ was made in 1971 based on my own design, and it had significantly better acoustics than that of the organs sold in the DDR at that time.

Still, even at that time I was fascinated by the sound of the Hammond organ. I was eager to bulid one but at that time no literature about this marvellous instrument was available in Hungary. Thus I requested my uncle to send me a book written by Alain Douglas titled „The Electronic Musical Instruments Manual”.  This book included among others the construction of the Hammond organs and the Leslies necessary to their sound.

Though at that time I did not speak English at all, based on the circuit diagrams and structural schemes I understood the operation theory of the Hammond organ, and I started to design one.

In 1973 my first Hammond organ-like instrument was already in operation.  According to the current lingo I may have called it a Hammond-clone. It included two five-octave waterfall keyboards and circle-button potentiometers instead of drawbars. Except for the scanner vibrato it knew everything expected from a B3 at that time. In the bottom chest of the organ case a peculiar Leslie was built in - it was surely the best organ in the neighbourhood.

Nándor Gyöngyösy, the leader of Artons at that time - who played on saxophone and rhythm guitar - became aware of my instrument through a mutual acquaintance of ours, and invited me to be the member of the band. Attila Fenyvesi the then organist of the band was not only an excellent singer and organist but also a first class saxophonist and flute-player. So my participation does not cause a huge conflict, we just re-organised the roles.

Beside the several Santana, Deep Purple, Uriah Heep, Booker T. and Osibisa songs we played many Chicago and Jethro Tull songs because of the two saxophones and the flute.  Beside the fact that at that time Artons had the highest standard concerts in county Veszprém, the Hammond organ - dominant in most of the songs - sounded very much like the originals, so our sound was fairly unique.

It was a pity that Artons broke up in 1976, and though I was part of the later trials running for longer - shorter periods, none of these formations were even close to the quality of Artons.

In 1978 I started my 5-year delegation in Yugoslavia, and decided to quit music.

During the time of my mission, however, I took an interest in the different organ-building kits, and finally bought a Wersi organ in components (this also had Hammond-clone sound), which I assembled during my stay there.  I did not even dare to thought of a Hammond organ because even the smallest one was much more expensive. 

In 1990 I constructed another, then super modern Hammond-clone which became the last instrument I built.

In 1997 an ex class-mate of my who played on bass guitar, Zoli Szánthó contacted me to play together.  Three other guys joined us: Gyuszi Rácz, solo guitarist of a patinated band in Fehérvár;  Robi Rajnai, drummer of the ex Tip-Top band and Pali Schieder, from the ex Omikron band.  The name of our band was FRB (Fehervar Rock Band), and our repertoire was similar to that of the earlier Artrans.  We enjoyed it very much but two years later something went wrong, and the band split.

In the beginning of year 2000 I was contacted by Ferenc Szűcs and Peter Horváth, musician friends of mine to revive Artrons. Peter played in the Artons for a while but no other member of the orginial band wanted to play any more. So two members of the originally competitor band, Victoria joined us: Peter Nyakas, singer and Lacika Szabó, drummer, and we started again. 

Our come back took place on 15 March 2001 at the Round beer-house in Pét which later on became our haunt for a while. Some of the founding members of the original Artons visited the event and were happy with us.

In year 2002 I acquired an original Hammond A-102 organ and a Leslie 122.  This instrument is the light of my eyes in our living room. In the concerts I use a Native Instruments B4 softver organ to produce the well-known Hammond sounds of the rock music history.

Our current repertoire is of even higher standard, if it is possible, than that of the original Artons, extended by such Nice and ELP songs which we could not even learn at that time.

I would like to play several real rock desserts with the special Hammond sound in Artons also in the future.