Bulbous Creation

“He was kind of a loner,” Jan Parkinson said of his younger brother Paul, singer and guitarist of Kansas City’s Bulbous Creation. Born and raised on the west side of the Missouri River in Prairie Village, Kansas, Paul used his visual sensitivity as fuel for his fantastical lyrics. He played with informal bands in high school with his childhood friend Jim “Bugs” Wine and a revolving cast of drummers. The band was put on ice in 1966 for Wine’s enlistment, and he spent the next three years stationed in Korea, Germany, and Fort Riley, Kansas, where he spent his downtime honing his bass chops to a razor point. Discharged honorably into the heady climate of the ‘60s final year, Wine waded into the potent stream of freedom and higher consciousness that was flowing in every city. He got an apartment in KC with another childhood friend whose hair was gathering around the collar and a job in avionics. It was while he enjoyed the neighborhood nightlife that he reconnected with Paul "Parky" Parkinson.

Bugs had already been looking into putting a band together. A personal ad in the K.C. Star put him in contact with guitarist Alan Lewis, who had a monstrous talent and had a familiarity with Black Sabbath and Uriah Heep. Lewis and Wine gelled immediately, but lacked the introspective nature of true songwriters. Reminded of how gifted Parkinson was as a wordsmith, Wine invited him to apply his lyrics and melodic ideas to their heavy foundation. The drum stool was filled out by Chuck Horstmann. Friend and musician Lynne Wenner played keyboards with the band occasionally. For no identifiable reason, Lewis thought the term “Bulbous” applied to their sound, and wanted to name the band thus. However, none of the members thought it made much sense, but applying the slightly cosmic “Creation” to it at least made it roll off the tongue. Their set list of all originals made them a difficult booking, and profits were non-existent.

In 1971, the quartet poured what little personal surplus they had into a full day of recording at Cavern Studios, tracking enough material for a full length album. Bulbous Creation wouldn’t stay together long enough to save up for a custom pressing on Rock. Parkinson was deeply individualistic, and left to perform his songs as he thought they should be, as a solo act. He preferred coffee shops to concert halls, and would stick to his craft another 20 years before hanging it up. Horstmann followed suit. Wine and Lewis soldiered on, shortening their name to the more sensible Creation and adding vocalist Wayne Austin, dynamic drummer Tommy Ward, and guitarist Roger Sewell. The Bulbous Creation LP was nearly doomed to oblivion, but for the efforts of Rich Haupt, who issued an unauthorized eight song LP in 1995 on his Rockadelic imprint. Alan Lewis died in 1998 of esophageal cancer. When Paul Parkinson died of leukemia in 2001, a lone copy turned up amongst his possessions, with piece of mind that someone, somewhere, was listening."

Bulbous Creation Appears on: