MUSCATINE — Bandmates and friends are remembering Scott “Lefty” Hendriks, 70, one of the original members of Muscatine’s Lefty & the Spinners, for his sense of humor and musical chops.
Hendriks died on Monday, Jan. 10.
Hendriks started the band in 1970 while attending Muscatine Community College. The band’s original members were Hendriks; Bob Eichelberger, who died in 2011; Paul Elshoff, who died in April 2021; Mike Seright; and Wayne Stuart. Bob Guy, Parke McConnaha and Beth Hecht-Van Zandt joined later on.
“I’m still in shock,” Seright said. “I don’t want to say that (Hendriks’) death is any harder than all the rest, they’ve all just been such horrible, sad situations — to lose people that you’ve become so close with and shared something like this with.”
“I woke up this morning and thought ‘this is just a dream’,” Stuart added. “When I first heard, it was like someone had pulled the rug out from underneath me.”
Seright, Stuart and Van Zandt said he had brought great talent to the band, such as his ability to pick up harmony parts, as well as the patience needed to get their songs just right.
“He had a really good ear and almost perfect pitch, and he could hear (the song) in his head,” Van Zandt said.
Hendriks also had a great sense of humor, they said.
“That was absolutely what kept us all going and made this as enjoyable as it was,” Seright said.
“He was a good guy, a sweet guy, and everybody knew who he was,” Van Zandt said. “He was just a blast. Whether we were at practice or on stage somewhere, he just had fun — which made us have fun, which made the audience have fun.”
“He wasn’t real comfortable around a lot of people, but he was good-natured and a real pleasant person to be around,” Stuart said.
In 2019, Hendriks played with the remaining original 1970s members of the band for the first time in 26 years. Following this reunion, the group performed together at various local events. In 2020, the group’s 50th anniversary year, Lefty and the Spinners was inducted into the Iowa Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame.
“It was a thrill getting to play with him,” Seright said. “We were very fortunate and thankful that we were able to. It’s been a very important part of my life that I’ll always cherish.”
“I came back into the band after (Elshoff) passed away about 10 months ago,” Van Zandt said. “I enjoyed reconnecting with (Hendriks), it was a lot of fun.”
The future of the group is up in the air.
“Vocally and character-wise, (Hendriks) is irreplaceable,” Seright said. “But that doesn’t mean that we’ll stop playing in his honor. As we did with (Eichelberger and Elshoff), our thoughts are that continuing to play is what will honor them, because we feel they would have said to continue the music.”
“I guess it’s kind of scary too, because the thing is that we all kind of leaned on each other to support each other, and it was so easy to come in and play,” Stuart added. “Now we’ve hit this bump in the road, and I don’t know where it’s going to take us.”