Pecos / Gold Dust

A four-piece band rides the wave of popularity in country rock music, with vocal harmonies.


1976 – 1977  

February, 1976:  John Thompson calls Denny Johnson to find out if he is interested in starting a new band, as his current band (Big John J & B) is coming to an end.  Denny Johnson was not in a band at the time and accepts the offer.  Denny contacts a longtime friend, Rick LiaBraaten, who played drums with Thundertree and Rick signs on with the group and locates Gary Cutter, who joins on lead guitar.  The four-piece band begins rehearsals.

The band Pecos comes together in Denny Johnson’s home studio (later known as Sunrise Sound) with following line up: Gary Cutter on lead guitar and vocals; John Thompson on rhythm guitar and vocals; Denny Johnson on bass guitar and vocals; and Rick LiaBraaten on drums and vocals.

Due to the popularity of country music at this time and the large number of local clubs that featured country bands, the name Pecos is chosen, in order to have a better chance of being hired by the clubs that featured country bands.  In addition to country songs, the band plays a wide variety of popular hits at the time.

March, 1976:  Following brief a period of rehearsals, the new band plays its first job, a four night stint  at Will’s Place in Elk River (now Broadway Bar and Pizza on Highway 10) on March 17, 18, 19 and 20.

The band plays at the following venues: Will’s Place (Elk River); Zeik’s Lounge (Elk River); The Windjammer (Clearwater); City Zoo (Zimmerman); Dezeil’s Supper Club (Anoka); Greenhaven Country Club (Anoka); The Hofbrau (Blaine); Norm and Mike’s (Minneapolis), the Tempo Bar (Minneapolis); the Launching Pad (Moundsview);  Mr. Bob’s (Crystal); The Bethel Inn (East Bethel) and the Holiday Inn (Anoka).  The band booked most of their gigs and Chuck Arthur from Chuck Arthur talent obtained a long term booking for the group at the Hofrau.

September 1976: Rick LiaBraaten leave’s the band and is replaced by John Adolphson on drums and the band decides to change their name to Gold Dust, due to the new band member.

January 1977:  John Adolphson leaves the band and is replaced by an old friend of Denny’s, Lance Dunkirk on drums who had played with Denny in Winterwood (version two).  The band returns to their original name, Pecos, as the band had developed good relationships with club owners using the original band name and the name Pecos made the band easy to book.

October 1977:  Lance Dunkirk decides to return to Loveland, Colorado and Pecos comes to an end.

November 1977:  John Thompson, Denny Johnson and Rick Liabraaten decide to start a new band called Sunrise with Mike Comer joining the group on lead guitar and vocals.

Photos  (Click a photo to see it full-screen, then click the arrows to see the next one.)


Will’s Place

Muscrat Love – from Will’s Place CD

3rd Rate Romance – from Will’s Place CD

Rhinestone Cowboy – from Will’s Place CD

Slow Dancin’ – from Will’s Place CD

If You Wanna Get To Heaven – from Will’s Place CD

We Had It All – from Will’s Place CD

Let Your Love Flow – from Will’s Place CD

Good Hearted Woman – from Will’s Place CD

The Windjammer

Shake Your Money Maker – from The Windjammer CD

All I Have To Offer You Is Me – from The Windjammer CD

Down By The River – from The Windjammer CD

Heard It In A Love Song – from The Windjammer CD

I Ain’t Got No Home – from The Windjammer CD

New Ray of Sunshine – from The Windjammer CD

The Right Time of The Night – from The Windjammer CD

Rockin’ Me Baby – from The Windjammer CD




Pecos  1976  to  1977


John  Thompson         Rhythm  Guitar  /  Vocals            1976  to  1977



Big  John  J & B


Gold  Dust


JT  Silverstar

Thompson  &  Tolson

Honky  Tonk  Angels


Gary  Cutter        Lead  Guitar  /  Vocals         1976  to  1977




Denny  Johnson        Bass  Guitar  /  Vocals          1976  to  1977


Jokers  Wild

Flash  Tuesday

Mojo  Buford  Band

Lexy  Johnson  Band






Denny  Johnson  Group



Gold  Dust


Grand  Avenue

Crow  featuring  Dave  Wagner

JT  Silverstar


The  Bowery  Boys

The  Dick  Tracy  Band


Rick  LiaBraaten           Drums  /  Vocals        1976  to  1976


The  Transgressor’s

Good  Idea

Thunder  Tree

The  Hombres




Denny  and  the  Tornado’s

The  Artisan

Main  Street


Lance  Dunkirk      Drums  /  Vocals         1977  to  1977

Bobby and The Shy Guys

The  Starliners





Where are they now?

Pecos  1976  to  1977


John  Thompson       Rhythm  Guitar  /  Vocals

Active  in  Music              Yes

Doing  What  ?…..    Playing in Honky Tonk  Angels in  Las  Vegas


Gary  Cutter                 Lead  Guitar  /  Vocals

Active  in  Music              No

Doing  What  ?.. …   passed  away  March  3rd,  2004


Denny  Johnson          Bass  Guitar  /  Vocals

Active  in  Music               Yes

Doing  What  ?……. Studio  Session  Work  –  Re-Mastering  and   Band  History


Rick  LiaBraaten           Drums  /  Vocals

Active  in  Music                 No

Doing  What  ?.. …..   Living  in  Minnesota


Lance  Dunkirk             Drums  /  Vocals

Active  in  Music                Unknown

Doing  What  ?…….   Living  in  Colorado 




  • Interview


Interview PART ONE