| Rob Quist, Big Sky Mudflaps, Montana, Shane Clouse, The Lil Smokies|
Mission Mountain Wood Band, abbreviated M2WB, is an American bluegrass and country rock band formed in Missoula, Montana in 1971. They were noted for headlining Woodstock style concerts in Montana, notably the University of Montana's Aber Day kegger. They also toured nationally, mostly playing college campuses, performing up to 320 gigs a year. The original five members were Rob Quist, Steve Riddle, Christian Johnson, Greg Reichenberg, and the late Terry Robinson, all of whom were UM students and born in Montana. The band recorded two studio albums.
Later personnel changes resulted from three original band members quitting, and ultimately those remaining reformed the group as the Montana Band in 1982, with some national success. After a number of further personnel changes, including the departure of Quist, Terry Robinson was the only remaining original member when a plane crash killed all then-members of the Montana band in 1987.
Their fan base and concert experience was compared favorably to that of the Grateful Dead, and the periodic reunion concerts held since 1992 attract new and old fans.
Mission Mountain Wood Band Wikipedia
The Band was formed when guitarist and banjo player Rob Quist and bassist Steve Riddle met as members of the University of Montana’s audition-only Jubileers singing group. They soon recruited Terry Robinson and performed as an acoustic three-piece group before adding guitarist Christian Johnson and drummer Greg Reichenberg. They were mentored by Joseph Musselman, a music professor at the University. One of their earliest performances helped promote a then-young politician, Max Baucus, to victory in his first race for the United States House of Representatives. Baucus later returned the favor when as a U.S. Senator, he introduced the band (sitting in the balcony) from the floor of the Senate chambers.
The band's heyday ran from 1973 to 1981 and they played up to 320 shows a year in every state in the union except Hawaii, which was inaccessible to their distinctive Greyhound Scenic Cruiser Bus. They also developed a reputation for their complex use of four-part vocal harmonies, the multi-instrumentality of the members, and extended concert jams. They became an annual mainstay of the Aber Day Kegger in Missoula Montana, a 1000-keg fundraiser for the University library, which was added to the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest Keg party of all time.
From 1973-1976, the band relocated to New York City, and played in locations such as the legendary club CBGB’s while building a national following. Their performance at the Hells Angels National Boat Party in New York with The Grateful Dead and Bo Diddley was filmed and released as "Angels Forever".
In 1977 the band released their first album In Without Knocking, and their cover of "Take a Whiff on Me", became an underground party anthem across the country for years, though their own composition, "Mountain Standard Time" is now better known, and "Sweet Maria" has proved to be the nostalgic favorite of the band members themselves. All three remain staples of their set list. They opened for major acts including The Allman Brothers Band, Charlie Daniels Band, Ozark Mountain Daredevils, Bonnie Raitt, and others. They appeared on National Television on the show Hee Haw.
The band broke up in 1982 and remaining members Quist and Robinson, along with replacement member Kurt Bergeron, formed Montana, also known as the Montana Band. In this formation, they appeared on the ABC Cheryl Ladd Special and in other venues, recorded one album, Change in the Weather, and were best known for the song, "Shoe's on the Other Foot Tonight," written by Rob Quist. Quist left the band after a few years for a successful solo career backed by a new band, Great Northern. Terry Robinson and Kurt Bergeron, along with manager Tom Sawan and other remaining members of the Montana Band died in a plane crash near Flathead Lake, Montana in 1987, when the pilot attempted to "buzz" the crowd following a concert.
In 1992 the four surviving members of the original M2WB lineup reunited for a concert in Polson, Montana, with Terry Robinson's brother Bruce Robinson filling in the fifth spot. Additional successful "reunion" concerts followed over the years, becoming more frequent as time passed, with Tim Ryan also filling the spot left by Terry Robinson. The band now plays semi-regular performances, including some out-of-state in locations such as Lake Tahoe. In 2008 they released their entire recorded output in a box set entitled "Private Stash", which included music, DVD recordings of performances and cover art by Monte Dolack. In 2010 Montana PBS made an award-winning documentary about the group called Never Long Gone. The band released a new studio album called Reboot in 2011 with a tour in support.