Category Archives: Minnesota

The Kandells “I Want You To Know”

Kandells Bear 45 I Want You To KnowThe Kandells, or Kan Dells came from the small town of Sandstone, Minnesota, just off I-35 a little more over halfway between Minneapolis and Duluth. Members included:

Gene Best – lead guitar
Bob VanDerSchaegen – rhythm guitar
Pete VanDerSchaegen – bass
Sam Burch – keyboards
Jay Best – drums

Lost and Found #3 has photos and a long story on the Kan Dells. Many photos of the group are available on their website.

About 1959, Bob VanDerSchaegen started playing guitar with his school friend Jim Hagford in the Problems. That group changed into the Turbans, adding Sam Zabori on drums and Milf Johnson on bass. When Milf quit the band, Bob had his younger brother Pete VanDerSchaegen take over the bass. After the Turbans broke in 1962, Bob and Pete met up with Gene Best and his cousin Jay Best, and together they formed the Kan Dells, soon adding Sam Burch on keyboards.

The group started performing at local youth dances, gaining a manager in local English teacher Noble MacVey, who fronted money for new equipment for the group. Notable gigs included a Battle of the Bands in Duluth and a show at the federal prison in Sandstone.

In late 1964 they went to the basement studio of Ron Gjerde, owner of Agar Records in Minneapolis, who subsidized studio time for the band as they worked up their original songs, first “Cloudburst”, then “Cry Girl”. Their first record was released on the Boss label in January 1965, reaching #10 on KDWB.

Both sides of the Boss 45 are excellent, but I’m most interested in their second single, “I Want You to Know”, which has a perfect garage sound but has remained a lesser-known song, at least compared to “Cry Girl”. Like the first the Kan Dells recorded this at Ron Gjerde’s studio.

The flip “Do You Know” is a moody sound. Both songs were originals by Van Der Schaegen – Best, publishing by Ringneck BMI and released on Bear 1971, in October 1965.

Kandells Bear 45 Do You KnowUnlike their first, this single was not a hit, possibly because the band refused to let Lou Reigert of KDWB take over management of the group. It’s become a rare 45, with white label promotional copies outnumbering the yellow label stock copies.

In the fall of ’66, Jay Best and Sam Burch left for college. The band found Wayne Cooper and occasionally Bill Sandwick to fill in on drums, but soon broke up, partly because Pete VanDerSchaegen had started commuting to school in Duluth. Gene Best joined a group called Hereafter.

Eight of their recordings went unreleased until a couple of 7″s in the 1990s and a full CD release done by the band in the early 2000s. These include the Gene Best original “Shake It Baby”, Pete VanderSchaegen’s “I’ve Met Death”, Sam Burch’s original “Lucky Day” and Bob VanDerSchaegen’s song “It Is to Laugh”. All of these and others are available for listen on their website and I recommend checking them out.

Other singles on Bear include the (Bear 1968), and the Castaways “I Feel Fine” / “Hit the Road” (Bear 2000).

Bear Records discography (any help with this would be appreciated):

Bear 1965 – Michael’s Mystics – “You Ran Away” / “Hi Bird” (April ’65 – Kaybank 5-5123, DR-6503-121A/B)
Bear 1966 – Trashmen – Keep Your Hands Off My Baby” / “Lost Angel” (April ’65, Kaybank 5-5128)
Bear 1967 – ?
Bear 1968 – Countdowns “You Know I Do” (L. Barrett) / “Strange Are the Shadows” (C. Sleichter) (Aug. ’65,  Kaybank 5-5552)
Bear 1969 – Five Tymes – “Hold Me Now” / “Around And Around” (Aug. ’65, Kaybank 5-5609)
Bear 1970 – The Four of Us – “Liza (Hear Me Call Your Name)” / “Hot Buttered Watermelon” (Sept. ’65, Kaybank 5-5673)
Bear 1971 – Kandells – “I Want You to Know” / “Do You Know” (Oct. ’65, Kaybank 5-5847)
Bear 1972 – Red Tuck – “Heart Of The U.S.A.” (Richard Cairo) /”Power Line Man”
Bear 1973 – Joey Strobel And The Runaways – “What Good Is Love” / “Sax Shuffle” (Jan. ’66, RCA T4KM-4488)
Bear 1974 – Coachmen – “Mr. Moon” / “Nothing At All” (Jan. ’66, Kaybank 5-5869 or RCA T4KM-1723,SK5M-2955)
Bear 1975 – Marv Dennis IV – “The Hurt Will Go Away” / “Honeycomb” (RCA T4KM-4763/4)
Bear 1976 – Coachmen – “I’m a King Bee” / “Linda Lou” (Aug. ’66, Kaybank 6-6757)
Bear 1977 – Accents – “No One Heard You Cry” / “Your Time Has Come” (Oct. ’66, Kaybank 6-7015)
Bear 1978 – Precious Few – “You Don’t Need Me” /”London Town” (Sept. ’66, Kaybank 6-7016)

Bear 2000 – Castaways “I Feel Fine” / “Hit the Road” (July ’67, Kaybank 7-7745)

Bear 2005 – Gene And Brandon Davis – “Poppy’s Boy”

Thank you to Max Waller for help with this discography.

Keith Zeller and the Starliners

The Starliners, 1961 from left: Keith Zeller, Rick Forga (drums), Russ Wurst (on bass) and Bill Strandlof (bottom right on guitar)
The Starliners in 1962: Russ Wurst (with bass), Bobby Lee (top), Rick Forga (with drumsticks), Keith Zeller (front, seated on bass drum) and Bill Strandlof (guitar on right)

An early version of Keith Zeller & the Starliners had a successful 45 “Yellow Bird” / “Carry Mae” on Agar, a label owned by Ron Gjerde and distributed by Soma in 1961.One member of this first group was Bill Strandlof, the first lead guitarist for the Litter. Bill played on “Action Woman”, “Soul Searchin'” and “A Legal Matter” before leaving that band to be replaced by Zippy Caplan.

With a change of lineup, the Starliners recorded their 1966 LP on LeJac, Live! at Papa Joe’s Northern a Go Go, one of the rarest of all garage LPs. Their last release was a single as the Transplant in 1968.

1961
Keith Zeller – guitar and vocals
Billy Strandlof – guitar and vocals
Russ Wurst – bass
Rick Forga – drums

1962 – 1965
add Bobby Lee – vocals

1965 – mid 70’s
Keith Zeller – guitar, piano, vocals
Jack Kollodge – bass, harmonica, vocals
John Rasnur – drums

Scott Schell, who previously wrote about the More-Tishans for this site, presents the story of Keith Zeller and the Starliners:

Keith graduated from Stillwater High in 1962. He started playing guitar in 1959 after an inspiring lesson from Sonny James of “Young Love” fame.

Keith’s dad Laurn (Bud) Zeller worked as a road manager for some of the top groups and singers in the ‘60’s. To mention a few- Bobby Vee, Gene Vincent, The Fireballs, Bill Black’s Combo, Roy Orbison, The Ventures, and many others.

Keith started the Starliners in 1961 as a four-piece band and then added vocalist Bobby Lee in about 1962. Keith played his own “after senior prom dance” in Stillwater.

The Starliners played most all of the local teen clubs in the ’62-’65 years. To name a few, Mr. Lucky’s, The Prom Ballroom, The Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake Ballroom, YES Club in White Bear Lake (a teen club) and various armories.

The Starliners were one of the first bands to play the State Fair in 1963. Keith also played that year with Johnny and the Galaxies filling in for Johnny Caola who had cut his fingers. One Thanksgiving Hop in St. Paul, they backed up Little Eva, Fabian, and Roy Druskie.

The Starliners, 1966, from left: Jack Kollodge, Keith Zeller and John Rasnur

After a few personnel changes, the Starliners became a trio in about 1965, after Keith returned from basic training from the Minnesota Air National Guard. The trio was Keith- guitar and piano, John Rasnur- drums, and Jack Kollodge on bass and harmonica. The trio recorded a live album at Papa Joe’s A-Go-Go in Minneapolis in 1966. This is a rare record as only 280 copies were made. It contains an original song by Keith called “Broken Engagement”.

The Starliners were put to rest in the mid-70’s and Keith started a band called Group Therapy and played the Twin Cities Club scene until 1978.

Keith moved to Hawaii where he had country bands and backed up country Hall of Famers Tennessee Ernie Ford and country legend Hank Thompson and many others.

Keith played in a 50’s group called Paul Flynn and Company till he moved back to Minnesota in 1991. He’s sill active and playing live music weekly- blues, jazz, country, and good old rock and roll. Music has been good to him and he has been good to the music!

Scott Schell is author of Garage Sounds: Bringing Down the House, a pictorial survey of the St. Croix Valley garage bands of the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s published by the Washington County Historical Society.

Back of the Lejac LP

A few days after posting Scott’s article I spoke with Keith Zeller about his career. I asked him about the Transplant single and for some more detail on his early days with the Starliners.Bobby Lee sang “Carry Mae”, though it was the flip “Yellow Bird” that got the airplay. Keith has an unreleased acetate with an instrumental “Joyride” on one side and Bill Strandlof singing “Ubangi Stomp” on the other. Keith didn’t like that LeJac overdubbed laughter and noise on “Joyride”, and felt it ruined the track. Bobby Lee got married and Russ Wurst graduated college about the same time Keith had to serve in the National Guard, so the quintet broke up.

New bass player Jack Kollodge had been half of the Denny & Jack duo who cut “One More For The Road” / “Love You Everyday” on LeJac in 1965.

Using his two-track and one microphone Jack recorded a week’s worth of shows and selected ten for the Live at Papa Joe’s album. The Starliners ordered 500 copies but only about half were shipped. They sold what they had to friends and didn’t bother to inquire about the other copies. On the 40th anniversary of the album Jack sent Keith a 3 CD set that included all the songs they left off the record!

The Starliners trio of Zeller, Kollodge and John Rasnur also made a 1968 single as The Transplant on LeJac, one side being a slower, rerecorded (or at least remixed) version of “Broken Engagement” and the other Jack Kollodge singing a wild take of the bizarre horror-spoof classic “With Her Head Tucked Underneath Her Arm”, probably learned from the Kingston Trio.

In the late ’60s the group expanded to a quartet, with keyboardist John Fritz from St. Cloud joining for a couple years.

John Rasnur left the group and moved to Hawaii where he bacame a top session drummer. Jack didn’t want to work without him, so Keith formed Group Therapy. Keith mentioned jamming with Bill Doggett a couple years before he died in 1996 as being a highlight of his career.

For more info on the LeJac and Agar labels, see the discographies I’ve posted on this site.

Special thanks to JP Coumans for the transfers and scans of the Transplant 45.

The Agar label scans taken from the Rockin’ Country Style site.

More info on Bill Strandlof is available on The Litter’s website.

Men at Work


Men at Work, from left: Karl Lundeen, Marvin Glenna (drums), Dale Madison and Dean Johnson
I am proud to present Men at Work – a group based out of St. Paul, Minnesota originally called the Exiles. The members came from the Chisago Lakes area: Chisago City, Center City and Taylors Falls. They chose the moniker Men at Work years before the dippy Australian novelty act and cut one rare 45 with two fine versions of r&b from the day.

Gene Markus – lead vocals
Karl Lundeen – lead guitar / bass
Dean Johnson – organ / guitar / bass
Dale Madison – bass / guitar
John Lindbloom – drums, replaced by Marvin Glenna

Pauline Kabe introduces her father Dean Johnson’s band:

This little known 1960’s garage band played with the likes of The Castaways, The Trashmen and other local rock bands. Inspired by The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, they were one of the many garage bands that hoped to ride the wave of pop music in the wake of the British Invasion. They took the name “Men At Work” decades before the Australian 1980’s pop group.

This 45 was recorded at Dove Studios in Bloomington, Minnesota in 1966 and produced by Peter Steinberg. “It’s All Right” is a cover of the Rolling Stones “I’m Alright”. “Shame, Shame, Shame” is a cover of a Jimmy Reed tune. One of the hot teen places they played was The Country Dam (now razed), which was located in Turtle Lake, WI. The Country Dam funded 1000 singles to be cut in hopes to reach local DJ’s and gain popularity.

The band only saw 100 copies and the remaining copies were to be sent to local DJ’s for air play. The remaining 900 copies mysteriously disappeared (or were never cut). Only a few remaining copies are owned by family members of the band.

They have also played under the name Walt’s Rhythm Kings and in the 1980’s The Georgia Express.


The Exiles, from left: Dean Johnson and Gene Markus

Dean Johnson at the drums with the Exiles
Dean Johnson wrote:

I believe it was the summer of 1966 when the Exiles went into the recording studio and cut “It’s All Right” and “Shame, Shame, Shame”. By this time Dale Madison had joined the group as the primary bass guitar player as I had bought a keyboard (organ), and there were five of us. Not terribly long after we cut the record, John Lindbloom was drafted and went off to serve in the Viet Nam war.

We, of course, had some advance notice this was going to happen, and we had been looking for a drummer. Marvin Glenna was one of the first that we tried out. While he had the ability, he was very young and inexperienced, and we were concerned about getting him in to the bars we were playing in. We tried out two or three more who were just crap, and eventually decided to give Marvin a whirl. It turned out to be a great decision.

For sometime before as well as after we cut the record, we were bring booked by Jim Donna of the Castaways and also by a prominent DJ from KDWB radio. We were playing the teen club circuit from Buffalo to Renville and also some college gigs at the University of Minnesota, St Cloud, and Storm Lake, Iowa….including many weekends at Woodley’s Country Dam. The owner – Jim Woodley – actually financed the studio time and the cost of pressing the records; and we in turn played for him for nothing for many, many weekends until we had paid him back.

It was a cold, wintery night and we had a gig up at a Catholic High School in St Cloud. Marcus didn’t show up for the job, and we were ill prepared to do a complete four set night with out him. We stumbled and struggled the best we could, but none of us knew the words to all the songs he had sung, and we ended up butchering his songs and playing the handful that were our numbers over and over again for maybe the fourth or fifth times. The kids were pretty upset with this shitty band, and rightly so. We got peppered with snowballs, I ended up cussing out a priest which made Dale Madison – a devout catholic – extremely angry.

Marcus showed up at my house later in the week. Karl and I were there at the time and we told him to take a flying leap and that we didn’t want to see him again. He had helped us purchase some equipment, so he demanded a guitar, amp and microphone and went on his way. We have never seen him since.

So the four of us learned all of the words to the songs that Marcus had sung, and we continued as the Men at Work for the remainder of 1966, all of 1967, and up until about a month before [my daughter Pauline was] born in March of 1968. I had promised that I would quit playing in order to be around to help when and after she was born. We were sort of a unique group for the times as the three front men, Dale, Karl & I would all switch around on each other’s instruments because we could all play a little bass, a little lead and a little rhythm guitar. We would do three or four numbers and then switch instruments and do two or three more, etc., all night long.

We were all supposed to get together again later that summer to regroup and practice up as we had playing dates booked at the Country Dam and other sites beginning in September. However, when the time came, Karl and Marvin had been playing with Marv’s brother, Walt, down in the cities, and they announced that they had decided to stay there instead. After a while, I was asked to come down and join in… which I did.

So then we became Walt’s Rhythm Kings for the next couple of years, playing at country bars and clubs on the NE side of Minneapolis, eventually settling in as the house band at the Forest Lake bowling alley which had a significant club and dance wing. Eventually we went uptown to play at the Forest Laker in downtown Forest Lake as the house band there.

We at some point had the revelation that we should be the Georgia Express, and we played again at the Country Dam, the Tea House (country club at Chisago Lakes Golf Course), Forest Lake, weddings, Fireman’s Balls, local town street dances, the Conestoga, Lindstrom Golf Course, and many private parties.

 

Walts Rhythm Kings and Georgia Express:

Walter Glenna – lead vocals / guitar
Marvin Glenna – drummer / vocals
Dean Johnson – bass / vocals
Karl Lundeen – lead guitar / vocals

Thank you to Pauline Kabe for alerting me to Men at Work, and to Dean Johnson for his help with this article.


Dean Johnson

Marvin Glenna

Dale Madison

Karl Lundeen

from left: Dale Madison, Marvin Glenna and Karl Lundeen

Dale Madison

Dale Madison and Dean Johnson

Dale Madison

Karl Lundeen

Karl Lundeen

The Midnight Riders

Brian Tolzmann and John Petersen

Brian Tolzmann wrote this history of his adolescent group, the Midnight Riders, featuring what I can guarantee is the most bizarre version of Hanky Panky you’ve ever heard.

The Midnight Riders, which was active in 1966 and 1967, consisted of:

Brian Tolzmann – guitar, vocals, organ
Terry Selleck – vocals
Tracy Tolzmann – vocals
John Petersen – drums
Mike Petersen – bass

I bought a guitar on August 21, 1965 at ‘B’ Sharp Music in Minneapolis, the very same day that ‘B’ Sharp Music presented Beatles guitarist George Harrison with a Rickenbacker 12-string guitar, when the Beatles were in town to present a concert.

The members of the Midnight Riders were ages 13, 12, 11, 9 and 7 in 1966, when the group started playing birthday parties and Muscular Dystrophy carnivals around town. The musical repertoire included the normal garage band fare, with Kinks, Dave Clark 5, Paul Revere & The Raiders tunes coupled with some Brian Tolzmann originals.

The photo shows me on the left and John Petersen on the right. The fact that John’s zipper is partially open is rather amusing. Back in those days we really didn’t take many photos, which is really different than things are today. I have another of John and myself playing guitars.

One day in July of 1966, the Midnight Riders played a neighborhood concert, complete with a dozen screaming girls. Unfortunately, that concert took place at the same time as a funeral was being held at a church a half-block away. The screaming girls could be heard at the church, leading the band members to later dub this event “The No Respect For The Dead Concert”.

We used electric guitars at the end of 1966, but the recording actually has non-electric guitars. The song on the tape is “Hanky Panky”, which we actually did as kind of a joke. At one point in the song our youngest member, Mike Petersen, can be heard singing,”She was a standin’ there, pickin’ her nose.”

I brought a recording of that concert to Sweden in December of 1966 when my family vacationed there. One of my relatives worked for Swedish Radio in Stockholm. We had stayed at his home for a few days. He thought his fellow workers would get a kick out of the tape as a novelty. The tape wound up being played by Sveriges Radio in Stockholm late in 1966 and early in 1967. The tape was marked only with my name and hometown of Forest Lake on it. Some Radio Sveriges staffers looked Forest Lake up on a map, and saw that Highway 61 ran right through the town. Bob Dylan’s famous “Highway 61 Revisited” album had just come out a few months earlier, so the Swedish disc jockeys dubbed the Midnight Riders as “The Highway 61 Boys”. The “Highway 61 Boys” were said to have been the youngest band to have its music played on Sveriges Radio up until that time.

The young ages of the group kept the Midnight Riders from performing at additional venues, and it would be a few years until Brian Tolzmann, Tracy Tolzmann and Terry Selleck went on to form the rock band Phreen in 1969. Phreen had the thrill of having their 1971 recording of Cream’s “I’m So Glad” played for Eric Clapton himself in March of 1981, when Clapton was hospitalized with bleeding ulcers in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Brian Tolzmann and Tracy Tolzmann went on to form the rock band Liberty in 1972. Liberty won that year’s “Summer of Sound” battle of the bands, beating more than 200 other bands from around the U.S., including early amalgamations of such famed groups as Kansas and REO Speedwagon.

Thanks for your help in preserving the “legacy” of the Midnight Riders!

Brian Tolzmann, 2009

Honey Buzzard


Honey Buzzard, 1972, l-r: Jim Christiansen, Terry “T” Sveine, Rick Christiansen and Duane Suess.

Terry Sveine sent me this great photo and history of his band, Honey Buzzard. Though they never cut any records, there may be a reel-to-reel recording of one of their shows out there somewhere.

Imbued with a combination of influences, several of us started a garage band in New Ulm, Minnesota in 1970 called, “Honey Buzzard.” The memories below are my own and I won’t doubt if others in the group saw it a bit differently, but as I remember it, it came about like this….

We were young teenagers and were really getting into music, listening to WDGY from Minneapolis, WWLS from Chicago and, if the weather was right, KOMA from Oklahoma City. This, combined with buying (and I’m sad to say, shoplifting) 45s and LPs, got us to the point where we wanted to start our own band instead of just listening to others play music.

Around 1967, just blocks from my house were the Kitzberger brothers practicing in their parents’ garage. They went on to be the “Fabulous Depressions” and played in some bigger regional areas and even recorded a song or two. Hearing songs like “Good Lovin’” by the Young Rascals still puts me immediately back to that formative time period.

Across the street, the Ginkel cousins, (Tom and John) were also playing as “The Shags” and they, too, recorded and went on to regional fame. (As proof of their skill, Tom Ginkel was inducted into the Minnesota Music Hall of Fame in 2008!) Us young kids would sit on the sidewalks and driveways by their parents’ garages where they practiced and marvel at how cool it would be to play in a band someday.

In 1969, my classmate and old buddy, Jim Christiansen, bought a guitar (an Epiphone, I think), his younger brother, Rick got an old hollow-body Gretsch bass and we dinked around in Christiansen’s basement for awhile on just these two instruments, knowing that this was a step in the right direction, but we needed more instrumentation if we were to move on. Soon after, I bought a set of Tempro drums accompanied by decent Zildjian cymbals to make up for the moderate drum set’s quality. Brian Wilfahrt was a schoolmate of ours and he had a guitar from his older brother and so we started playing in Christiansen’s basement and Wilfahrt’s garage. Still, we were lacking musically and -a big negative- no one wanted to sing.

The whole band took a big leap forward when we brought in our classmate, Duane Suess. His parents were professional musicians (Minnesota Music Hall of Famers, “Ervin Suess and the Hoolerie Dutchmen”) who, while they didn’t play our style of music, had lots of cool equipment that we could use. With an Ampeg bass amp, decent speakers, Shure microphones and P.A., mic stands, plenty of cords and even a Fender Rhodes and Wurlitzer electric pianos, made us one of the best outfitted young bands around. This equipment complimented Duane’s sunburst Les Paul guitar which he could play decently along with the pianos and -praise the Lord- he could sing! Brian, who was never fully into the band, dropped out at this point.

Practices still happened at Christiansen’s basement, but now moved to my parents’ garage and out to Suess’ farm, too. By now neighboring drummer, Randy Domeier, put together a band that was pretty good. Another neighbor, Dave Schaefer, also had a band going in his parents’ garage, so there was an informal competition to get better that we responded to.

With Duane’s lead, we started with some simple country and basic rock songs, all with Duane on vocal. We may not have wanted to play Charlie Pride or Charlie Rich songs, but Duane knew the chords and lyrics from playing with his folks. Besides, it was cool to actually learn a song from start to finish no matter what we were playing. All of us were excited and practiced diligently on our own. I recall that practices were often led by Duane or Rick and we took the practice time serious, knowing that the parents and neighbors didn’t want to hear us play any longer than necessary. (I only say this because I have heard bands practice for hours, wasting time with their own little solo parts with no direction to the practice.)

I clearly recall the band’s name origin. I was reading the book “Planet of the Apes” and as I was always taught by our nuns at Holy Trinity Grade School, that when you don’t know a word, look it up, don’t gloss over it. With that in mind, I came across the word “pern” in the book. When I got my Webster’s Dictionary out and looked it up, the word was described as “a honey buzzard – a South American vulture.” I sat up in bed and said to myself, “That’s it, this is the band’s name – Honey Buzzard!” When I presented it to the guys at the next practice, they were a little dubious, but Rick grabbed on to it with me and the other guys soon agreed that that’s what we would be called.

The young neighborhood kids and our friends watching us practice gave us confidence to play publicly. With a growing repertoire of Chuck Berry, Rolling Stones and Creedence Clearwater songs, we felt it was time to play in public. Our first gig consisted of a “Battle of the Bands” at our high school, Cathedral High in New Ulm, where we were “killed” by the unlikely-named band, “Bad.” It was Randy Domeier on drums – who was way better than me; Scott Sparlin on guitar who was better than Jim and Duane and more spirited in both his singing and showmanship; and Pat “Schnubby” Schnobrich on bass, who was better than Rick, but not by much – because by now, Rick was getting good! Rick remembers spilling punch on the Ampeg amp and frying it during the show. He had to humble himself and use “Bad’s” amp – which we were sure contributed to our losing the “battle” –haha. Since it was out first public show, we were nervous at this gig, as could be expected. However it was a great way to get good – jump in the fire and play against someone better than you.

We were motivated by our growing skills and gained confidence to play in public again. We played at a few more school dances and some teen dances in the area, and even a bar in nearby Essig called “The Wagon Wheel West,” where we were asked to leave due to a wilder and louder-than-expected song set.

We kept learning new songs including some Alice Cooper, Grand Funk Railroad, Neil Young and Badfinger. One of our biggest gigs was for the Girls State Gymnastic Tournament in New Ulm at historic Turner Hall. That’s where the only known photo of us was taken. Sadly, here too we were asked to leave for being too loud, but we did hook-up with a few of the girls afterward! Legend has it that there is a reel-to-reel recording of this somewhere that I’d love to hear, but no one seems to know where it is.

By now (1972) all of the band members were progressing in their skill at a quicker rate than I was and to my surprise, embarrassment and (at the time) anger, the guys invited Brad Anderson to bring in his drums to one of our practices. They politely said they wanted to try two drummers, a la’ The Allman Brothers Band. I had heard Brad play before and knew he was outstanding and so, seeing the handwriting on the wall, I packed up my things and left that afternoon in a huff. (Brad went on to be a professional drummer for many, many years!) After a short period of cooling off, I let the guys know that I was not mad about the change and wished them well with their new formation. Besides, I knew that it was my own fault for failing to keep up talent-wise.

With that new line-up, the guys changed their name to “Thunderhead” and hung on for a half year until after high school when they disbanded in mid-1973. So ended the short, but exciting time of a group of friends having fun with music, known as, “Honey Buzzard.”

Aftermath:

Playing in the band left a life-long memory with me. It was a cool thing to do, it taught me to appreciate the whole process of practicing, playing in public and the dynamics of a band’s make-up. I am super proud to have been in a garage band!

Shortly after being out of the band, I soon sold my drums as I had no use for them and needed money for a new stereo. However, after a 20-year hiatus, I bought an old set from Jim again around 1992 which I still have and occasionally play. The biggest legacy from that experience for me is that my son, Steve, started playing around the age of 4. He has progressed to being an excellent drummer doing things that I don’t even know how he does. With his brother, Sam on bass, my sons have played in rock bands for five years now and are quite good. Sam is teaching himself guitar and sings in choir and is considering music as a career in some fashion. I think parents are naturally glad to see their children exceed their skill levels. I know I am.

Jim dinked around with bands in college (“Tommy Nuke and the Flash”), but let it go for several years. However, about 1995 he began taking guitar seriously, including taking lessons from a pro, and has reunited with his brother, Rick, in “Van Gogh’s Ear” – a classic rock bar band for the last four years. Music has been a big part of his life and he has taken to bringing his oldest son to classic rock concerts with him to share the music and the experience.

Rick continued his musicianship and can play guitar and sing, along with still playing bass. He is active in his church’s music program, but can play anywhere, with anyone, including a folk band called, “The Salty Dogs.” Rick is a very good musician with a wide array of talents.

As far as we know, Duane has drifted away from music, ending up in the Des Moines area, although he played on several of his parents’ recordings and live shows. I hope he does something with music, since he definitely has the talent for it.

Terry Sveine
New Ulm, MN

The Sandmen

Sandmen Studio City 45 I Can TellCalling themselves the Sandmen was the right move, ’cause you’re likely to be hit with a wave of sleepiness while listening to these dragging versions of “I Can Tell” and “You Can’t Judge a Book by Looking at the Cover.” They managed to make Bo Diddley tunes sound boring twice in one session. Should have laid off the cough syrup before hitting the studio!

I’m sure I’m being too harsh – I know some people like this 45, so judge for yourself. Cut on the Minneapolis, Minnesota Studio City label in 1965.

Almost certainly not the same Sandmen from West Bend, Wisconsin, who cut the excellent World Full of Dreams on Night Owl.

The “Yes It Is”


The Yes It Is
From Duluth, Minnesota on Lake Superior, the Yes It Is do a good cover of Rufus Thomas’ “Walkin’ the Dog”, backed with a melancholy folk number, “Little Boy”, written by Mike Settle.

They have a second 45 on Studio City “Lovely Love” / “That Summer” which I haven’t heard yet.

That’s as much as I know about them. Studio City was the in-house label of Minneapolis’ Kaybank Studios.

The photo at top was on DuluthRocked.com, which now seems to be off the web. Thanks to Parkeo for finding that.

The Del Counts

This is the same Del Counts of Minneapolis who had a couple 45s on Soma, “Bird Dog” / “Let the Good Times Roll” and “What is the Reason” / “With Another Guy”. They also recorded a full album at Dove Studios that was never released.

Charlie Schoen, bass player and vocalist, wrote both songs on this 45, produced by their manager, Marsh Edelstein. I really dig “Ain’t Got the Time” with its whining guitar bends, fast beat and drum break. The flip is the less convincing “Don’t Ever Leave”.

The Del Counts had a long career playing at the Marigold Ballroom and around the Minneapolis area. They continued into the early 70’s, releasing a final 45, “Who Cares” / “Don’t Let the Green Grass”, in 1972, and were still playing live in recent years.

Charles Schoen contacted me about the band recently:

Members were Steve Miller on guitar, Bob Phalen on bass, Kelly Vincent on drums, myself on keys and vocals. What Is the Reason sold over 20,000 in the first two weeks it was out because the District Manager of Musicland Records told me that we had a four star pick in Record World magazine with a bullet. That was just Minneapolis and St. Paul MN.

Sources include: Birdland Revisited article in City Pages.