Category Archives: Canada

A walk through my Montreal bands, 1964 -1967

A walk through my Montreal garage bands: the It Group, the Virgins, and Steve & the New Beats, 1964 -1967 by Gus Appignanesi

My name is Gus but went by the name George in garage band era. I started as a drummer playing in a number of garage bands in the east end of Montreal. Unfortunately, the people I met and played with was all with first names. We never thought that we would need last names or photos to find each other years later. We truly lived in the moment.

As a drummer I played in at least two bands; The Ancient and The Morticians. Please don’t laugh; bands had a variety of names. I played with a bass player called Perry and a guitarist singer by the name of Yehor. Downtown the street from us was a great garage band called Little Michael and the Archangels. Their drummer was Called Leddy and his younger brother was Michael. The last band, with the same line up, was called The It Group (managed my girlfriend at the time – Donna). At the same time bands that became more popular were sprouting all around us. There was; The Monks (later called the Exit 4), Bartholomew +3, The Haunted, The Rabble, J.B. and the Playboys and a number of great French bands (The Sinners, Les Classels, Les 409 to mention just a few).

In 1966, I bought and electric Fender Rhodes piano and started to play in bands that were actually getting real paying jobs. The Virgins was a really great rock and R&B band in which we had two drummers (Steve and Peter), guitarist (Dario), two lead singers (???) and me (aka George) playing piano with bass boost (similar to The Doors with no bass player). I then played with another dance R&B band that had changed their image from a rock band called Les Horribles to Steve and the New Beats. Steve was lead singer, Mario on bass, me (aka George) on piano, Serge on lead guitar and a drummer (???). We played every city and town throughout Quebec from 1966-1967.

Expo 1967 actually killed a lot of the local bands, since everyone was coming to Expo to hear a variety of international bands. I believe so called garage bands were coming to an end. Musicians and the equipment changed drastically over the years. People actually rented studios to practice in and recordings became more popular. Bands moved out of their local garages and moved into the larger arena of music. I miss those guys. Hopefully one of them may read this and contact me. Regardless, I hope this short history will be beneficial to anyone out there from that great era. Rock on!

Gus (aka George) Appignanesi

The Bondsmen and Nirvana from Sudbury

Robby & the Bondsmen Photo
The Bondsmen, from left: Doug Simmons (organ), Vas Haritakis (drums), Roger Friskey (bass), and Robby Adams (guitar)

Roger and Lauraine Friskey wrote to me about Roger’s bands the Bondsmen and Nirvana. They sent the photo and card seen  here, but if anyone has additional pics, posters, or newspaper articles of these groups please contact me.

The Bondsmen were formed in the early 1960’s and consisted of Roger Friskey (bass/vocals, Robby Adams (guitar/vocals), Richard Lalonde (guitar/vocals) and Vas Haritakis (drums/vocals). They played at various teen dances in the Sudbury area including North Bay, Elliot Lake, and Field.

Richard Lalonde left the group and Doug Simmons, organ/vocals, joined the band.  They continued to play at various teen dances and made their debut at The Inferno, which was the place to play. It was a well-known dance club in Sudbury.

Nirvana band (Sudbury) Business Card
Danny Gaudet, an extraordinary guitar player, joined the band shortly after and they became The Nirvana.

They were originally managed by M & R Entertainment from Capreol ON. The band was later approached Bill Burke and he became their manager. Soon after this, Bill purchased a building on Durham St in Sudbury, and converted into a dance club. It was named The Hub and was opened to compete with other clubs, i.e. The Inferno and The Joint. The Nirvana became The Hub’s house band.  They played at The Hub for a couple of years. When the Hub closed down, the Nirvana continued to play at teen dances in the Sudbury area.

Other popular bands of that era were: The Act IV, The Inferno 5 + 1, The Kids, The Private Collection, The Beasties, The Village Steps.

The Nirvana broke up when Vas started working for the railroad and was out of town most of the time.  They never got to make it to the recording stage. Everyone went their own way. Unfortunately Danny died in Dec 2012 and Robby Adams died several years ago.

Roger and Lauraine Friskey

The Private Collection

Private Collection Photo
Richard Kuzniak sent me the photo above of the Private Collection, a band he used to see weekly at the El Patio nightclub in Yorkville. Ivan Amirault wrote to me with info on the band and the clippings seen below:

The Private Collection, RPM, May 13, 1967
The Private Collection, RPM, May 13, 1967
from left: Aldo Tarini, Dan Salhani, Jacques Chartrand, and Dave Mouslaison

Dave Mouslaison – lead guitar, organ, vocals
Aldo Tarini – rhythm and lead guitar, vocals
Jacques Chartrand – bass, vocals
Dan Salhani – drums, vocals

The Private Collection were from Sudbury but relocated to Toronto. They performed regularly at The Flick and El Patio, managed by Mike Burak, a part-owner of the clubs. RPM magazine reported on October 2, 1967 that the band had just done a session at Sound Canada with Rick Shorter producing.

Ivan wrote to me “They were a very good harmony band. Dave Moulaison was later in Aaron Space who recorded a great LP on Warner Brothers only in Canada.

“Jocko Chartrand was also in Buckstone Hardware who had a 45 on Apex here in Canada. It also came with a picture sleeve. The core of that band was from North Bay, about 1 1/2 hours east of Sudbury. Joko also made a couple of fairly good solo singer/songwriter type LPs in the 80s.”

Ivan has over two hours of home recordings of the band, plus a few songs from their never-released studio sessions.

The Private Collection. RPM, October 2, 1967
The Private Collection. RPM, October 2, 1967
The Private Collection RPM October 28, 1967
The Private Collection, RPM October 28, 1967

A Group Called Bubs


A Group Called Bubs profiled in the Ottawa Citizen
David Leroux of the Raphaelssent in the scans and story of his next band:

“A Group Called BUBS” became an offspring of former members of The Raphaels and The Skaliwags.

A number of us got together starting with my brother Ralph Leroux (drummer), John Bacho (guitar) and Chris Saunders (guitar) who had been with the Skaliwags. Former Raphaels Daryl Wadsworth (organ) and Claude Gravel (guitar) and now Don Burnet (bass) had been a replacement for Peter from The Raphaels. The new band proceeded under the name “A Group Called BUBS”! Essentially, BUBS was a British slang term for “Brothers”.

The BUBS had an original mission of doing the show band concept with the audience reaction that goes with that sort of organized show. Our inherited slogan: The organization that manufactures happiness! Recording was not a priority. I think we were having too much fun.

I have heard some tapes made by various folks but not sure where they wound up. My only tapes now are the “Farewell to the BUBS” poems and radio interviews from CFRA that they gave us on the final farewell night at Pineland. In the week preceding the Farewell Concert, CFRA had me on the nightly show to judge the farewell poems submitted and each hour choose one to be awarded albums from CFRA. Al Pascal was very supportive of us and our show.

As a result of times and events, The BUBS realigned somewhat with new member Terry McKeown (bass) and for a short period of time, Yvon Farmer (organ) from the Beau-Geste.

The BUBS had a good four year run in the latter part of the ’60s. We then sat down one day and looked at future considerations we could make at that time for ourselves. We laughed and moved on with great memories and no regrets. From time to time when travels bring us together, we can always count on a great evening of “unplugged” concerts for friends and family.

David Leroux

The Skaliwags


The reformed version of the Skaliwags, from left: Pete Christensen, Gerry Foster, Eddy Mitchell, Ralph Leroux and Chris Saunders
The Skaliwags (sometimes misspelled Skalliwags) came from Ottawa, Canada like a band I profiled last month, the Raphaels. The Skaliwags had been around since 1961, based in Gatineau. Lead singer Eddy Mitchell remembered Big 12 shows at the old Coliseum from noon to midnight, where each of the 12 bands would play two short sets and as many as 8,000 kids would attend during the day. Those shows gave the band many contacts, including John Brower (who would later produce the Rock and Roll Revival festival where the Plastic Ono Band would record Live Peace in Toronto) and local DJs including Al Pascal of CFRA.Alex Sherman of Sherman’s Music was owner of Excellent label and put up the money for the singles. The Skaliwags went to RCA studios in Montreal to record their first single in February of 1966. “Turn Him Down” reached #1 on CFRE. The flip, “365 Days a Year” is equally excellent.After this single, the band splintered. Lead guitarist John Bacho left to join the Townsmen, and bassist Andy Cody left the band to get married. Ed Mitchell recalled the Skaliwags recruiting Chris Saunders and Ralph Leroux from The Slaves of Time. Ralph Leroux is the brother of David Leroux of the Raphaels. Pete Christensen of the Raphaels joined on bass.

I’ll reproduce Eddy Mitchell’s comment below:

I was the singer for the Skaliwags. The version of the group that recorded “Turn Him Down” consisted of Ed Mitchell singer, John Bacho lead guitar, Gerry Foster (real name Gerry Fortier) rhythm guitar, Andy Cody (real name Andre Cote) bass guitar and Gil Brooks (real name Jules Leclair) drums. The names were changed so as not to appear to come from Gatineau, since we thought that it make a difference to Ottawa kids.

The second record, “Me Minus More” was recorded by Ed Mitchell, Gerry Fortier, Ralph Leroux, Peter Christianson, and Chris Saunders. I left the Skaliwags in October of 1967 and joined another Gatineau called Musical Fantasy who went nowhere, and I quit music altogether on December 15, 1967 when my lung collapsed on stage at what was then called Immaculata High School on Bronson Ave.

Paul Warman (spelled Paull Warman on the green label releases) wrote all four songs the Skaliwags released, including their second release, “Me Minus More” / “Broken Man Am I” from 1967. Eddy Mitchell said in an interview on Brian Murphy’s Capitol Roots radio show on CHEZ 106.1 FM in Ottawa in the early ’80s that the band was trying to find a song as catchy as “Raindrops keep Falling on My Head”. The band broke up after the second single.

Eddy wrote to me about Paul Warman:

Paul Warman who passed away in January of 2011, was our manager. He never played in the group and as you know he wrote all four songs. He also wrote another song titled “You Ain’t Pulling the Wool Over My Eyes Babe”. We actually recorded the song and one of the guys in the group kept the acetate. It was destroyed in a house fire several years later. As to photos, you have everything that I have, except some that go further back to the really early days.

Paul Warman passed away on Jan 23rd, 2011 at the age of 67.


1st issue

1st issue

2nd issue

2nd issue
Skaliwags releases:

Excellent E-5001 (1st issue, gold label) – 365 Days a Year / Turn Him Down
Excellent E-5001 (2nd issue, green label) – 365 Days a Year / Turn Him Down
Excellent E-5001 (green label) – Me Minus More / Broken Man Am I

Thank you to Alex for the promotional photo seen at top, and to Ivan Amirault for the scans of the Skaliwags 45s, the additional photos, and the clip of the Capitol Roots show.

Does anyone have better quality scans of these photos and promo pics?

 

The Raphaels

 The Raphaels from top left: David Leroux, Claude Gravel, Greig Lund, Daryl Wadsworth and Pete Christensen
The Raphaels from top left: David Leroux, Claude Gravel, Greig Lund, Daryl Wadsworth and Pete Christensen

Raphaels Ottawa 45 SomedayUntil now, this 45 by the Raphaels has been unknown outside of Ottawa collectors circles. Both songs are well-written mid-tempo numbers with harmonies.There’s not much info on the label other than Ottawa, Canada 1965 and the matrix number QC 272. The QC prefix indicates a Quality label custom pressing.The songs are “Someday” by Peter Christensen and “I Change My Mind” by Dave Leroux.

The Raphaels – Someday
The Raphaels – I Change My Mind

I didn’t know anything about the group until Alex Taylor commented, below. I’ll repeat his comment here in its entirety:

The Raphaels, like The Beaux Geste, were among the most promising garage bands from the Ottawa-Gatineau scene, and that too this day, remain the least known. Their single was cut at HH Bloom studios on Bank Street in Ottawa (the QC prefix was Bloom’s own). This was the same place that Don Norman & The Other Four had cut “Mustang Sally” and where Those Naughty Boys made their first demos too. Only a couple hundred copies of The Raphaels single exists (the single was custom pressed in Toronto by Quality Records).

As for The Raphaels, they fell apart at the close of 1966, right around the same time The Skaliwags were breaking apart. In early 1967, Raphaels member Pete Christensen joined up with the remaining Skaliwags for a second stab at fame!

Check my page on the Skaliwags for a little more information on that band.

Raphaels Ottawa 45 I Change My MindSince first writing this post, David Leroux wrote to me with more info about the group:

David (Dave) Leroux: Lead vocals and lead guitar
Claude Gravel: Rhythm guitar and vocals
Peter Christensen: Bass guitar and vocals
Daryl Wadsworth: Organ and vocals
Greig Lund: Drums and vocals

My name is David Leroux and I was a member of the Raphaels. The Raphaels name came from the artist/painter Raphael. My school principal suggested it in my Rideau High School days. Since I was one of the early folks with long hair not yet allowed in schools at that time, I quickly agreed with him! He said we were all good artists!

We were always a definite part of the “BIG 12” shows. The “action” pictures from from those shows.

My Mom made all our frill shirts…and that my sister ironed them for each gig! My poor Mom was our biggest fan but passed away in 1973 at the age of 42 from cancer. The shorts and suspenders were my idea. In those days the friendly rivalry between bands was pretty cool. Everyone was looking for that little edge over the other for recognition … quite fun at times.

I still cherish and hold safely the original metal press of the record!

The website finding was an incredibly timed event. We have not seen each other in about 40 years. Two of the members last month accidently found themselves standing at an ATM machine and then recognized each other. They knew where I was located through some previous email contacts. We are having a band reunion this coming Saturday as a result!

After the finish of the The Raphaels, I eventually formed a new band called “A Group Called BUBS” with my brother, Ralph, from the Skaliwags and guitar player, John Bacho along with other local musicians of the times. The “BUBS” had a very successful time and then we all decided it was time to say it was fun and time to move forward. CFRA radio gave us an incredible farewell concert at Pineland of those days. We all moved on in life but have maintained contact and reunion times over the years.

I am now moved on as a Labour Law Advisor with the Federal Department of Labour working and living in Kingston, Ontario.

David Leroux, August 2012

Thank you to Dan Lee Laymann for sending the scans and transfers of the 45 and alerting me to its existence. Special thanks to David Leroux for the photos and news clips seen here, except where noted.

Raphaels, Ottawa
Raphaels, Ottawa
 Peter Christensen of the Raphaels
Peter Christensen of the Raphaels
Daryl Wadsworth of the Raphaels
Daryl Wadsworth of the Raphaels
David Leroux of the Raphaels
David Leroux of the Raphaels
 Claude Gravel of the Raphaels
Claude Gravel of the Raphaels
 The Raphaels
The Raphaels
Raphaels Agency Photo
Raphaels Agency Photo, thanks to Ivan Amirault for this scan
The Raphaels in POT, December 1966 Thanks to Alex Taylor for this scan
The Raphaels in POT, December 1966
Thanks to Alex Taylor for this scan

 Raphaels profiled in POT, December 15, 1966
Raphaels profiled in POT, December 15, 1966
 Raphaels featured in CFRA Swing Set
Raphaels featured in CFRA Swing Set
 Rapahels in the Ottawa Citizen
Rapahels in the Ottawa Citizen
 Raphaels reviewed by Ian Connerty
Raphaels reviewed by Ian Connerty

Patrician-Anne


RPM, October 11, 1965
Ivan Amirault sent in these two great ads for Patrician-Anne, who had a single featuring a P.F. Sloan original “Blue Lipstick” b/w “What About Me” on Arc 1113 from late ’65.She also has the great “Changin’ Time” on the CTV After Four LP that is best known for the song “Four in the Morning” by the Quiet Jungle (as the Scarlet Ribbon).

Patrician-Anne was the stage name of Patrician Anne McKinnon, sister of singer and actress Catherine McKinnon, and wife of Brian Ahern, a long-time producer and musician.

Brian had his own groups, the Offbeats and the Badd Cedes, whose song “Dolly Magic” was released on two singles as the Chapter V: Verve Forecast KF5046 with “The Sun Is Green” and again on Verve Forecast KF5057 with “Headshrinker”, all three songs Ahern originals. Brian also played with 3’s a Crowd. More on the Badd Cedes at Nova Scotia Classic Rock.

Patricia often appeared on Frank Cameron’s TV show, Frank’s Bandstand. An Arc LP Do You “Wanna” Dance (The Best of Frank’s Bandstand) has covers of “I Only Want to Be With You” and “As Tears Go By”, credited to Patricia McKinnon, along with a couple songs by the Offbeats, “Wild Weekend” and “Swingin’ Shepherd Blues”.

Patrician-Anne is also featured on various volumes of CBC-TV’s Singalong Jubilee, which I haven’t heard.


Billboard, November 13, 1965

RPM, November 15, 1965

The Ugly Ducklings – Somewhere Inside & Thump and Twang CDs

The Ugly Ducklings – Somewhere Inside (Pacemaker PACE-086, 2011)
The Ugly Ducklings – Thump & Twang (Pacemaker PACE-087, 2011)

Review by Rebecca Jansen

Considered by many to be Canada’s premier ’60s garage rock outfit, for decades fans of The Ugly Ducklings had to content themselves with the group’s handful of Yorktown singles and one LP, Somewhere Outside. So it was with some shock I discovered these two (two!) CDs just released by Pacemaker, and as far as I can tell all but one cut on them are previously unavailable!

The Somewhere Inside set comes first chronologically and has as its basis a January 1967 appearance on CHUM radio in the Ducklings’ hometown of Toronto. Framed by on-air interview segments are six live in studio recordings, three demos, and one alternate mix. The live in studio tracks are all of good fidelity, and of the familiar numbers also recorded for Yorkville, “Nothin'” features a more elastic and looser Roger Mayne lead guitar, while this “My Little Red Book” is a bit faster and more like the Love version.

Another of the tracks listed as “live” is “My Watch” which is an original Dave Bingham and Glynn Bell composition and has a solid funky blues quality to it. The cover of “I’m A Man” did turn up previously in Sundazed’s Garage Beat ’66 compilation series, but it goes well with the short take on “Home In Your Heart”.

Of the three songs listed as demos (only here does the fidelity vary, though never too badly), all are covers. “Somebody Help Me” was a hit for the Hollies, “You’ve Got It Made” is the blues song, and “Out Of Sight” the soul number. There is also a great alternate mix of “Postman’s Fancy” which has a more psychedelic effect than the original side. With all the historic interview and radio segments this disc makes a good addition to the Ugly Ducklings collection.

The recordings on Thump & Twang begin with a November 1967 studio session wherein new member Mike McKenna’s original “The Blues Fell This Morning” is cut. Following Glynn Bell’s departure the Ducklings continued recording as a four piece, still fronted by singer Dave Bingham and backed by original drummer Robin Boers who is said to have added a second bass drum ala Ginger Baker at this time. Aside from two takes of Bo Diddley’s “You Can’t Judge A Book” (one being from a TV appearance), all tracks are written by Bingham and/or McKenna. They’re all solid early 1968 vintage blues rock pointing toward the future Mainline group and sometimes with a bit of a Byrds country vibe. Apparently this was not the kind of hit single music Yorkville had been hoping for however, and after the falling out with their label the Ugly Ducklings broke up.

See the Pacemaker site for more information on this release.

Rebecca Jansen’s writing and artwork can be seen at Hippies stole my blog! *.

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