Frank and the Funksters: A Look at the Genius Behind “Groovy Eddy”
"Groovy Eddy", as recorded by Frank and the Funksters in 1976, managed to soar to #5 in May of that year. 'It was a lighthearted tribute to the medieval English King Edward IV. The following year, they attempted to replicate the same success with "The Era of Good Feelings", but nobody wanted a disco song about James Madison, and they disbanded soon after.
Today, former lead singer Frank Dubowski lives in Maine with his wife Lynette and their two dogs Harry and Biscuit. When asked why "Groovy Eddy" became so popular, Dubowski only laughs and takes off his trademark star-shaped sunglasses, which he still wears more than thirty years later.
"Edward was a pimp. man," Dubowski explains. "He had, what, nineteen kids? And then that whole deal with him never actually being married? He was all about what we were trying to do in the seventies. Eddy was so popular that men actually were flattered when he seduced their wives. I think that's the ultimate male fantasy."
One might assume that Lynette Dubowski feels threatened by her husband's free-loving ideals, but this 54-year-old mother of two knows that when it comes down to it, she wears the pants in their relationship. "Frank talks big, but he's a pussycat," she demurs. "All I have to do is look at him and he cuts the 'Groovy Eddy' nonsense."
Today the Dubowskis live in the small town of Salem's Parking Lot, Maine, which has absolutely no vampires. “Nope, nuh-uh, no vampires here, George.”
The song was parodied in the eighties on the TV special "Count Dracula's Halloween Monster Mash" as "Gruesome Eddy", introducing it to a younger generation and becoming the "White and Nerdy" of its day. Frank Dubowski comments "I still got the royalties, babe. It's all good."
While Frank Dubowski appears to have escaped stardom fairly unscathed, save a TV pilot in 1980 called "Bea and Me" (he played Bea Arthur's houseboy), his bandmates were not so lucky.
MOOG player Todd Feelgood (born Theodore Zinn in 1954) succumbed to a long and harrowing addiction to Children's Tylenol in the 1980s, buying gallons at a time to feed his pathological need for artificial cherry flavoring.
Lynette Dubowski recalls a visit she and her husband paid to Feelgood's house in 1987: "It was shocking, really. It made you really sad. Todd would just lay there while girls in Barbarella costumes poured the cough syrup on him. He'd just keep saying 'Hee, I'm a vampire, hee.' in this bizarre voice. The whole house was just covered in sticky, red, congealed cough syrup. You couldn't sit down. That, I think, is part of why we moved to Salem's Parking Lot, where there are absolutely no vampires. No vampires at all."
Todd Feelgood entered rehab at the behest of his friends in 1990. He was able to switch to actual cherry syrup afterward, but his bizarre habits continued. He began surfacing in public again, wearing cherries for earrings and using cherry syrup as hair gel. The last time Feelgood was seen was at a pool party at the home of former torch singer and noted philanthropist Lavonda Wiggins. It is said that he wandered into the sun and burst into flames. No explanation was ever given. "Took me forever to clean his ashes out of my pool," Wiggins grumbles when asked about the incident. Elton John performed his song "Bright Cherry Fire" on his next tour in Feelgood's honor.
More mundanely ill-fated was The Zoosh (born Lester Bligh in 1949), who soon burnt out the "Groovy Eddy" money on a wild spending spree after the song went gold. The Zoosh was once the Funksters' chief attraction, a non-conformist pretty boy with a Tarzan-inspired stage persona and a Tiny Tim-esque vocal style. Accordingly, after the 'Groovy Eddy" earnings began coming in, the Zoosh went out and purchased three white elephants (Lucy, Ethel and Mary Anne) and a leopard he named Chester Hardwick III. When what the papers termed "The Funkbubble" burst, the Zoosh retreated further and further into his animal persona and eventually went to live in a nature preserve. He was tragically killed in a freak hunting accident three years later, mistaken for a bear and shot for his pelt.
And finally, there was the saddest member of The Funksters, Marissa Henderson, loved by fans as the group's "Little Sister", who was renowned for her big voice and bigger hair. She suffocated backstage in 1976, from her own hairspray fumes.
When asked about his former bandmates, Dubowski grows thoughtful. Silent, for a moment. He strokes his still-resplendent moustache and sighs. "I'd be lying if I said I didn't miss 'em," he says finally. "Except Lester. He had a thing for humping Lynette's leg." Today, Dubowski works as a producer for such artists as Candy Applewhite, The Snot Contingent, We Have Great Hair and Blue Blanket. He received an honorary Grammy in 1997 for his contributions to the genre. "He's an awesome guy," says Applewhite. "I'd screw him if he didn't cringe every time he looks at my harelip." "Look, it's gross, okay?" says Dubowski.