Category Archives: Sudbury

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

East African Fair

East African Fair photo
Either a late version of the Inferno 5 Plus 1 or an early one of East African Fair
from left: Dave Powers (front), Rick Panas, John Bell, Domenic Fragomeni and Randy Larocque.

East African Fair Caravan 45 I Won't Stare

East African Fair included some of the Inferno 5 Plus 1. Members were Randy Larocque (guitar and vocals), Dave Powers (keyboards and vocals), Dominic Fragomini (bass) and Rick Panas (drums and vocals). It seems John Bell was also a member for a time, as I think he appears in the photo above.

Their manager John Loweth sent me the 45 and scans of the neat poster and card of the band. He considers East African Fair to be a continuation of the Inferno 5 Plus 1, though their sound is quite different:
Sudbury's East African Fair

We changed the name to East African Fair and did pretty well with our second record, “Lovin’ Every Little Thing You Do Girl” which was a totally different style (more Hermans Hermits) than the Stones style of the first [Inferno 5 Plus 1] release.

Then we moved to the big city of Toronto. We did lots of auditions and things and played in trendy Yorkville where you just had to be if you wanted to be anywhere in Canada at that time of 1967.

The national CTV show ‘After Four’ was interested in replacing the current group Robbie Lane and Deciples and said they woud use us as the featured band next season, they suggested a name change and the remainder of the group now lead by Randy LaRocque became ‘York Lane’.

East African Fair RPM Weekly, February 17, 1968
RPM Weekly, February 17, 1968
A major booking agent booked the group in southern Ontario and upper New York state, but unfortunately several band members became homesick and discouraged due to lack of money, and went home, leaving just Randy and myself. I think we were just inches away from stardom.

As John states, “Lovin’ Every Little Thing You Do” is a pop single like the Herman’s Hermits, though the eerie organ gives it a darker, carnival-like quality. “I Won’t Stare” is a truly original side, slow, with a nice blend of organ and guitars and obsessive lyrics. Randy LaRocque wrote both songs on this record.

After the single was released in 1968, Bill Battersby replaced Dominic Fragomini and an unknown drummer replaced Rick Panas, and the band’s name changed to York Lane. Some recordings by this lineup done at Sound Canada in late 1968 are now lost.

Update: I’m sorry to report that John Loweth passed away on April 4, 2009. John produced the Inferno 5 + 1 and continued managing the group when they changed to East African Fair. He generously shared his recollections and memorabilia to help document the story of this band.

In February 2011 I added the photo at top, the news clips from the Sudbury Star and RPM Weekly and better scans of the promotional card, all courtesy of Ivan Amirault. Thank you to Lauraine Friskey for providing IDs for the top photo.

East African Fair the Sudbury Star, Feb. 16, 1968
East African Fair reaches #21 on CHNO’s Top 45 The Sudbury Star, Feb. 16, 1968

East African Fair

East African Fair card

The Village Steps

Updated May, 2010 with new photos at bottom of page

After leaving the Inferno 5 Plus 1, Lance Whitman joined the Village Steps. They never recorded, but here are a few photos of the group that Lance sent to me. The original members were:

Mike Duhaime (singer)
Lloyd Duhaime (bass)
Dwight Snell (rhythm guitar)
Wayne Carriere (Drums)
Lance Whitman (lead guitar)

Below are two later photos of the group and a photo of Slowpoke sent to me by Jenny DuHaime:


The Village Steps, circa 1967, left to right: Dwight Snell, Lloyd Duhaime, Billy Irwin, Ray Servant, Danny Dube, Mike Duhaime


Later promo for the Village Steps, left to right: Dany Dubé, Billy Irwin, Ray Servant, Mike Duhaime, Lloyd Duhaime

The promo photo below is for an early ’70s Sudbury group, Slowpoke, with members from the Squares, Stepping Stones, Associated Press, the Riots and the Village Steps. Besides Dave Mathe and Rick Pitts, other members could have included Rick Tannis (spelling?), Ryan O`Neal (spelling?), and Jim Dunn.


From left: Dave Mathe (drums), Jim Dunn (gutarist/vocalist), Bryan O’Neil (bass) and Rick Pitts (guitarist/vocalist)
Thanks to Lance Whitman and Dan Dubé for help with identifying the members in these photos.

The Inferno 5 Plus 1

 The Inferno 5 + 1 from left: Wayne Wallace, Lance Whitman, Les Maki, Dave Powers, John Bell and Randy LaRocque
The Inferno 5 + 1 from left: Wayne Wallace, Lance Whitman, Les Maki, Dave Powers, John Bell and Randy LaRocque

About a hundred miles east of Sault Ste. Marie is Sudbury, Ontario, home of the great Inferno 5 Plus 1. Members of the band were Lance Whitman and Randy LaRocque on guitars, John Bell vocals, Wayne Wallace (or Wayne Wallice) bass, Leslie Maki on drums and Dave Powers on keyboards and vocals.

 The Inferno 5 + 1 Villa 45 I Can Take It“I Can Take It” has insistent drumming, repetitive guitar riffs, and good harmonies. The lack of cymbals, distortion or echo makes for a very dry production but the band’s raw energy is apparent. Either this song or the flip “Fay’s Gig” (which I haven’t even heard yet – anyone have a transfer?) became part of the soundtrack to the movie “Attack of the Brain Demon”. That movie seems lost to time as a print has never surfaced, though I’ve read silent 8mm footage of the band practicing exists.

John Loweth produced for his own Villa label, and the songwriting credits are R. Larocque and D. Powers. The prefix below the Villa label number, ST-, indicates that this, like the two 45s on Algoma, is an custom press from the Arc company in Toronto.

After my initial post about the Inferno 5 Plus 1, I heard from guitarist Lance Whitman, who gave me background about the band and sent in over a hundred photos of the band (see below). Soon after, producer/manager John Loweth contacted me and filled in some of the details.

 Lance Whitman of the Inferno 5 + 1
Lance Whitman

Lance Whitman:

The Inferno was a local club in a laneway behind Durham Street in Sudbury where we were the house band. That’s where the name Inferno 5 came from, when Randy joined we didn’t want to change it so we just added + 1.

The 45 “I Can Take It” was recorded at a local Radio Station, CHNO here in Sudbury one evening back in the 60’s where John Loweth was a DJ at the time.

I never got to see the movie, it aired at a local Drive-In here which had a large homemade screen on the side of a hill…… The 45 was released around the time that I left the the band. [Prior to this] Wayne Wallace left the group and Les Maki went from drummer to bass player and Rick Panas took over as the drummer.

The Inferno 5 Plus 1“I Can Take It” was not used in the movie that I’m aware of … it may have been as it says on the 45. The flipside “Fay’s Gig” was used in the movie … Where the movie is, is anyone’s guess I would think that there maybe a copy of it somewhere though everyone involved has been out of touch for so long it’s hard to say….

The scene back that was like a lot a towns I guess a lot of local bands…and a lot of fun times The Kids, King Street, Marketville Riot, The Village Steps, The Beasties. Can’t recall all of them.

The Inferno Five + 1 like a lot of groups had differnces of opinions and parted ways. The remaining members went to form ‘The East African Fair’ and they released a 45 “Lovin’ Every Little Thing You Do” written again by Randy and Dave I believe.

The Inferno 5 Plus 1 at the Inferno Club in Sudbury
The Inferno 5 Plus 1 at the Inferno Club in Sudbury
Rick Panas
Rick Panas

John Loweth:

I was a pretty popular DJ on CHNO in Sudbury at that time and also worked for the record company Arc Sound as sales and A&R promotional rep in N. Ontario. I used to do a lot of school dances on Friday nights taking portable DJ equipment to the dances, but around 1964 as groups like Beatles, Dave Clark 5, Stones became so popular, all the students were asking me if I could get a group to come and play at the dances as well.

So as the Inferno 5 +1 who had started to play at the Inferno Club in Sudbury were becoming popular, I had them come out and play basically during my break. Naturally it was a very short time before I was playing 45s during their break, as our roles quickly changed. I suggested we record some material, and as I had access to professional recording equipment, all it took was a little time how to figure out how to do it.

The recording “I Can Take It” received quite a bit of air play throught Northern Ontario. I know – I was the producer, and promotional guy, and band manager, and mother. We recorded it and a number of other tracks in the dead of night at the CHNO radio studios when the station was off the air on single track Ampex reel to reel recorders and did multiple dubs to get everything on tape.

Through my contacts in radio I was able to get all my buddies in other radio stations to play it and chart it, ie: Sault Ste Marie, North Bay, Kirkland Lake, Timmins etc. and then I started booking the band in some of those towns as well.

We sold over 4,000 45’s which was pretty good, but I had access to and knew all the other DJ’s from CJIC and CKCY in the Soo [Sault Ste. Marie], to all the other towns, plus in my day job as a record guy I had their 45’s front racked in all the Kresges, and Woolworths and even drug stores across the north. And also had special signs advertising the records.

Attack of the Brain Demon poster
Attack of the Brain Demon poster, “starring Harvey Ransom, Paul Quesnel, Doreen Wright, Meeka Littlejohn, Frank Carbone and Yolanda Zwygart”

Attack of the Brain Demon was produced by 19 year old local Sudbury High School student Larry Zazelenchuck at a cost of $3,500 in B&W 16 mm, in 1967. Starred local school kids Names included Harvey Ransom, Paul Quesnel, Doreen Wright and some others including me as the DJ announcing some sort of demon sightings.

Larry was a fan of mine and came to see me about this film he was doing, and could I arrange to record the sound track, I think we recorded the Inferno 5 with some instrumental pieces plus other stock music and used naturally “I Can Take It” as the title tune. Its premier was at the Sudbury High School Theatre about 400 seats and sold out several shows, It also played successfully at other high schools around Sudbury area, after that I don’t remember what happened to it, or to Larry.

Later we changed the name to East African Fair and did pretty well with our second record, “Lovin Every Little Thing You Do Girl” (after Lance left) which was a totally different style (more Hermans Hermits) than the Stones style of the first release. Then we moved to the big city of Toronto. We did lots of auditions and things and played in trendy Yorkville where you just had to be if you wanted to be anywhere in Canada at that time of 1967.

The national CTV show ‘After Four’ was interested in replacing the current group Robbie Lane and the Disciples and said they woud use us as the featured band next season, they suggested a name change and the remainder of the group now lead by Randy LaRocque became ‘York Lane’.

The Inferno 5 Plus 1 "I Can Take It" painted posterA major booking agent booked the group in southern Ontario and upper New York state, but unfortunately several band members became homesick and discouraged due to lack of money, and went home, leaving just Randy and myself. I think we were just inches away from stardom.

Randy went on to bigger things, as lead guitarist and arranger for many well known bands and singers and was based in Atlanta, GA for 25 plus years, and I have been lucky enough to make a lifelong living with my company Mayfair Music, due in part to everything learned in those early exciting years.

Update: I’m sorry to report that John Loweth passed away on April 4, 2009. John generously shared his recollections and memorabilia to help document the story of this band.

Srouces: Photos of the band from Lance Whitman, scan of the ad for Attack of the Brain Demon and some info on the band from an article by Alex Taylor and Ivan Amirault in Loose Leaf Review #2.

A history of the Inferno 5 Plus 1 in photos

From the collection of Lance Whitman (click on any photo below to see many more images):

 At the Sudbury Arena - the Queen looks on from above!
At the Sudbury Arena – the Queen looks on from above!
Rehearsal at Les Maki's house in Lively
Rehearsal at Les Maki’s house in Lively

 At the Sault Ste. Marie Boathouse
At the Sault Ste. Marie Boathouse
 At the Inferno Club

At the Inferno Club

Photos pt. 5
Photos pt. 5
Photos pt. 6
Photos pt. 6

Two documents of a later version of the band, from the collection of Ivan Amirault:

After Lance Whitman had left the band, RPM Weekly, March 18, 1967
After Lance Whitman had left the band, RPM Weekly, March 18, 1967

New Directions in Sound with the Inferno Five, Villa Recording Artists

Inferno 5 Plus 1 Photos pt. Six


At the Mine Mill Hall in Lively

Wayne Wallace

John Bell and Dave Powers
Click on any photo above to see a larger-size version of it.

Main page for Inferno 5 Plus 1

Photos:
Part 1: At the Sudbury Arena
Part 2: Rehearsal at Les Maki’s parents house in Lively
Part 3: At the Sault Ste. Marie Boathouse
Part 4: At the Inferno Club
Part 5: Outside John Bell’s parents house; Club 23 in Cornwall

 

Inferno 5 Plus 1 Photos pt. Five


at John Bell’s parents house in Sudbury

Location unknown

Lance and John Bell in front of Club 23, Cornwall, Ontario

Click on any photo above to see a larger-size version of it.

Main page for Inferno 5 Plus 1

Photos:
Part 1: At the Sudbury Arena
Part 2: Rehearsal at Les Maki’s parents house in Lively
Part 3: At the Sault Ste. Marie Boathouse
Part 4: At the Inferno Club
Part 6: At the Mine Mill Hall in Lively plus others