Category Archives: US

The Pentagons


The Pentagons, from left: John Coggeshall, Dave Lemieux, Steve Morse and Gary Lamperelli.

The Pentagons cut one 45 at Audio Dynamics Studio, with the great rocker “About the Girl I Love” on the b-side. There’s a fine sense of urgency throughout the song starting from the opening bass line that immediately grabs the listener. I was surprised to learn it was played not on a bass but a Doric organ. Mistakenly listed as a Massachusetts band in the www.ugly-things.com database, the band was actually from Connecticut, as organist and song writer John Coggeshall informed me:

I was the founder and lead singer of The Pentagons; a four-man group (yes, I know, a pentagon has five sides) based in Montville, Connecticut between 1964 and 1969 (our high school years at Montville High School). We featured Steve Morse on Kent guitar, Gary Lamperelli on C-melody sax (until I, uh, accidently kicked it down the stairs so he had to go buy a tenor sax like the Dave Clark Five had), Dave Lemieux on drums and me on Doric portable organ (it had the most bass notes of all the portables and there were no bass guitar players at Montville High).

We originally recorded on acetate at Thomas Clancy Recording Studio in New Haven studio before Audio Dynamics; “Summer’s Over” and “The Walk”, a pretty good vocal rock tune with a good hook. It predates our Audio Dynamics effort by about a year.

The Pentagons – The Walk

(© 1974 by John Coggeshall, used with permission)

We cajoled my grandfather into springing for some studio time in Stafford Springs, CT. Audio Dynamics was the only close and easily accessible studio we could find (Stafford Springs up a country road or two from Uncasville, if I remember correctly. There were no recording studios in the Norwich/New London area at the time, ya know, there was next to nothing in the way of any professional music business in that area at the time).

We recorded two songs I wrote on the Audio Dynamics label: “About The Girl I Love” and “Summer’s Over.” “Summer’s Over” the “A” side of our record is pretty depressing and forgotten. “About the Girl I Love” is the tune that has legs. Who would have thought that song, a “B” side, done in a few hours one afternoon, would be remembered and currently on two limited release compilation CDs [Gravel vol. 3 and Quagmire vol. 5].

The Pentagons – About the Girl I Love
The Pentagons – Summer’s Over

Audio Dynamics seemed somewhat fly-by-night to me (set up in an old theatre with obviously moved-in equipment, difficult to reach by telephone, vague publishing promises, very rough-cut 45 rpm records, etc.). I think the huge theatre is what gave us that reverb sound. Also, can’t complain about the heavy density bottom, since we never had a bass player except my left hand and, that early on, I didn’t have the best concept of how to imitate a real bass guitar player, (on “Summer’s Over”, which was supposed to be the “A” side, I was playing three-note chords for the bass part on some of the song—real dumb), but the studio made my left hand sound pretty bass guitar-ish on “About The Girl I Love”.

We got the local Norwich record store, Gaffney’s, to carry it for awhile by sending our girlfriends to the store every day to breathlessly request copies. We sold it at gigs, too. I recall we weren’t happy with the very rough pressing of the record, which gave turntable needles difficulty at times. Maybe we sold most copies.

I also had ties to The Breakers out of New London, CT, who took a song I wrote, “She Left Me” through various Battle of the Band competitions, eventually landing an MGM Records contract, releasing a bubblegum tune, “Jack B. Nimble” that went nowhere and is barely mentioned on the Internet and un-findable. I have “She Left Me” and “An Always Time” written by me and performed by The Breakers on acetate, before they became The New York Thruway.

The Breakers – She Left Me

(© 1968 by John Coggeshall, used with permission)

Then there’s New London based Davy Jones and the Dolphins, who actually did a soundtrack to a “B” Hollywood movie, “Hellcats”, that barely survives mention, and who actually had Columbia Records release their song, “Shannon” a pretty good number, and that’s NOWHERE on the Internet. And yet, beyond all those major league labels, better recordings and “A” sides, “About the Girl I Love” is the one that survives for posterity.

We play New London’s meaner nights,
The “backdoor” clubs, the dance floor fights,
Rowdy Norwich Rooftop fans,
Who punch Steve out whilst in the can.
That high school gym was so fantastic,
Tossing chairs and making baskets,
Trashcans on the roof by Dave,
Who claimed we were “The Purple Sage”,
And after we had done all that,
How come they never asked us back?

(from My Garage Rock Band ‘65 – ‘73, © by John Coggeshall)

It was a backstreet New London club on the first floor of an old house, and people would walk by and throw lit firecrackers through open windows onto the dance floor while we played and people danced. Talk about a showstopper. My dad came to pick us up at the end of a gig one night, and a fight broke out on the hood of our family station wagon.

The Pentagons – Mercy Mercy (live)
The Pentagons – She’s Not There (live)

In regard to “Burnt Toast,” that’s The Pentagons minus our original drummer, Dave Lemieux, and with our original sax player, Gary Lamperelli, taking over on drums and us playing as a threesome. After we all graduated from high school in 1969, the group split up and three of us went to colleges in different states, and one went to air conditioning school (I think). After the end of our freshman years, we, for the first time in our teenage lives, had to get REAL summer jobs (during high school, our weekend Pentagon gigs made us enough money to keep our parents quiet regarding that “Get A Job!” syndrome). But now, it was GENUINE WORK time: me at the Thermos Factory on swing shift, Steve at McDonald’s, I think, and Gary sweeping up at his dad’s famous nightclub, “Lamperelli’s 7 Bros.” on Bank St. in New London.

About halfway through those backbreaking months, I met up with Gary and his dad and we hatched a brilliant scheme: for the following three years, his dad (and the other 6 brothers) would hire us for the summer, every night, at less than what the club was paying other bands, and for advertising purposes we would re-name the band every week and say we were from a different big city (“Burnt Toast from Miami”, “Direct from Las Vegas, ‘Fistful of Worms’, etc. etc.). We cut our personnel to three to make more money apiece, and the club always let us pick the band name and didn’t much care what it was, thus, “Running Sores” from Boston, “Prep H” from Detroit—I remember making posters: cardboard stock with a real slice of burnt toast nailed to it, to place outside the club. Actually, the scheme worked great for three summers, and none of us had to get anymore real jobs through college. I loved that New London club (pretty well-known, it turns out), and Gary’s dad and uncles.

At the end of our run (around 1973), I wrote a three-page epic poem about the beginning, middle and end of The Pentagons. It covers every highlight and lowlight we experienced. I have had a lengthy time in the entertainment field, the legal profession and even politics (the meeting place of law and entertainment) since then.

John “Cog” Coggeshall.

 

A special thank you to John for his help with this article, including all photos and the transfer of the acetate of “The Walk”.


This photo is so old: it’s before Gary joined as sax player (notice one of our neighbors/friends playing maracas) and before me (left, playing the wheezing, air-run organ), Steve and Dave became The Pentagons.


Receipt for John’s Doric organ


Early Pentagons from left: Steve Morse, a neighbor/friend guitarist, Gary Lamperelli, Dave Lemieux, John Coggeshall




Steve Morse (yellow shirt and pitchfork), Gary Lamperelli (yellow shirt), Dave Lemieux (gray shirt, kneeling) and John Coggeshall (blue shirt and jug)

Update, September 2010

John has a new CD, John Cog: Bay Blues available on CD Baby with previews of the songs. Proceeds go towards restoring Chesapeake Bay.

Update, January 2014

John announces the upcoming release of the second and third volumes of his Bay Blues trilogy, Bay Blues Fools and Bay Blues 3 Times The Legal Limit.


The Pentagons from left: Steve Morse, Gary Lamperelli, Dave Lemieux, some neighbor/friend, and John Coggeshall.

Fan letter to the Pentagons




from left: Gary Lamperelli, Dave Lemieux, Steve Morse and John Coggeshall



Where The Pentagons rehearsed until the boyfriend of a female fan burned it down.









Steve Morse – Guitarist for “Burnt Toast” aka “Fistful of Worms” aka “The Running Sores”

Gary Lamperelli – Drummer for “Burnt Toast” aka “Fistful of Worms” aka “The Running Sores”

John Coggeshall – Lead singer/keyboardist for “Burnt Toast” aka “Fistful of Worms” aka “The Running Sores”

Mike and the Dimensions

Mike and the Dimensions photo
Mike and the Dimensions, from left: Jim Phifer, Mike Malonee, Ken Taylor, John David Kitts, and Foster Braswell. Ken Taylor writes: “This was our first picture. We had those suits made and mine wasn’t finished in time for the photo shoot so I was the only one dressed differently. I painted the name on the bass drum with nail polish.”

Mike and the Dimensions 45 Little Latin Lupe LuKen Taylor gave me the history and photos of his first group, Mike and the Dimensions, also known as the simply the Dimensions, or the Fabulous Dimensions:

I was blown away to listen to “Little Latin Lupe Lu”. I haven’t heard it in 45 years! That is me singing and playing drums. We recorded it in one take with everyone playing live. No overdubs in those days! The guitars are horribly out of tune!

We recorded it at Frederick’s music store in Goldsboro before Doug [Farwig] joined the group. We only had 500 copies pressed and gave away most of those. We did manage to sell a few and they played it a few times on the local radio station WGBR.

We were called Mike and the Dimensions then and had a guy named Mike Malloney [Malonee] on guitar. The song “Why” was actually written by Mike with input from the rest of the band. Mike was moody and hard to work with. We replaced him with Doug after Mike broke a friend’s guitar at rehearsal one day.

Doug had been playing with another group called the Cobras at the time. They were more of a “surf” band and we were more “beach music” and R&B. We opened the first rock club in the area in an old abandoned county jail and called it “the Bastille”. I was still in high school at the time and we had studied Bastille Day which is where we got the name. We were the house band and also booked all the top Beach music groups to play there. The Embers performed there many times. We were just kids and had our own club! Pretty amazing at the time!

Doug Farwig’s Dad was our manager. He was so cool, he loaned us the money ($200.00) to buy our ’51 Cadillac hearse which was a party on wheels!

We used to go see the Counts IV at the teen club on Seymour Johnson Air Force base and wanted to be just like them. They wore black turtle neck shirts, tight jeans and Beatle boots and we thought they were the coolest thing we had ever seen! We started to play more rock and would go to their rehearsals to learn from them. I was the drummer and Chico taught me a lot!

We got Doug in the band and had a guy named Bill Stroud from a band called “The Spectaculars” on piano for a while. He was one of the most talented musicians I’ve ever known but … he would show up late or sometimes not at all so we had to let him go too.

We hired a local singer named Scotty Todd and started getting real popular, playing fraternity parties and other venues across the state. Meanwhile, Joe Booher quit the Counts IV and they broke up. Al and Chico went back to N.Y. We hooked up with Don Roof who had a bunch of gigs already booked to form the new Counts IV which later became the Inexpensive Handmade Look.

Ken Taylor

Click here for more on the Count IV and their later incarnation as the Inexpensive Handmade Look.

Thanks to Debbie Daniels for correcting the ID of the top photo above with David Kitts’ name.

The Dimensions: Jim Phifer, Foster Braswell, Ken Taylor, Doug Farwig and Scottie Todd.
The Dimensions, standing left to right: Jim Phifer, Foster Braswell and Ken Taylor, seated: Doug Farwig and Scottie Todd.

Mike and the Dimensions, Goldsboro Hi News October 1965

The Torquays

The Torquays, from left: Wendell Colbert, Barry Bicknell, Eugene Hayes, Steve Salord and Dale Aston
The Torquays, from left: Wendell Colbert, Barry Bicknell, Eugene Hayes, Steve Salord and Dale Aston

Torquays ARA 45 You're the One Who Loves MeThe Birmingham, Alabama based Torquays were formed in 1963 by two friends, Dale Aston and Wendell Colbert. Influenced by early rock and roll, Dale taught himself to play the guitar. Wendell also played guitar. They took the band’s name Torquays after a town in England and a song by The Ventures of that name. The initial band had several members, but eventually dwindled down to five, Dale on guitar and lead vocals, Wendell on bass, Barry Bicknell on trumpet, Eugene Hayes on drums and Steve Salord on sax.

The Torquays made two records. The first, “While I’m Away” was written by Aston backed by a great doo wop sounding “Pineapple Moon”. These were recorded in Muscle Shoals at Fame Studios and released on the Holly label. Both sides got significant air play in the Birmingham area. The second record, “You’re The One Who Loves Me” (also written by Aston) was recorded in Memphis. They played steadily all throughout the southeast, but disbanded in 1968. Dale and Steve went on to play with the Distortions, another popular Birmingham band.

The introduction above is from the Alabama Record Collectors Association, who suggested I cover the Torquays and put me in touch with guitarist, lead vocalist and songwriter Dale Aston. It’s notable that the Ara 45 was produced by Roland Janes, probably recorded at his Sonic Sound studio where he also produced sides by Travis Wammack. Dale kindly answered my questions about the band:

Dale Aston and Wendell Colbert were 14 years old and their fathers worked at US Steel together in Birmingham. Both were starting to take guitar lessons and began practicing together. After a while they added a drummer (Eddie Rice) and bass player (Gary Quattlebaum). From there the band grew to a six piece dance group playing Motown and other R&B Top Forty hits of the day.

We played the Sock Hop circuit around Alabama which included National Guard Armories and Rec Centers in Birmingham, Sylacauga, Childersburg, Guntersville, Lanett, Huntsville, Montgomery and Columbus, GA. We played the Boutwell Auditorium in Birmingham, many fraternity and soroities at University of Alabama, Auburn, University of Georgia as well as private parties for large companies and organizations. Around Alabama we were a back up band for acts like Billie Joe Royal; Chuck Berry; Bobby Goldsboro; Freddie Cannon and Travis Wammack.

We were best friends with the Distortions and competed with all of Birminghams’ many local area bands like the Rockin Rebellions, The Counts, The Premiers and others.

Dale Aston wrote and produced the original material (“While I’m Away”; “The One Who Loves Me”) and the songs were recorded at Fame Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama and at studios in Memphis, TN. We also used Boutwell Studios in Birmingham.

We were introduced to Roland Janes by Travis Wammack. We had been backing Travis a number of times and we became friends. He had a tune or two he had written and wanted us to record so he invited us to Memphis and provided the studio time because we were recording his songs. This was just after the Boxtops hit #1 with “The Letter” and I think Roland and Travis were searching for new talent. They produced the record “You’re the One Who Loves Me” on ARA but I never knew how much distribution it received.

“While I’m Away” received good airplay in the Birmingham area and reach the #1 requested song on a radio station in Jacksonville, Florida. Our other records received some airplay in Birmingham due to our local fan following. In those days bands did not sell records at their live performances but through local record stores like Rumore Records in Birmingham. I guess we were too busy setting up, playing and loading the equipment for the next gig.

Once The Chartbusters came to Birmingham for a concert at WSGN radio for Dave Roddy. Their lead guitar player had to quit the tour unexpedtedly leaving the band without a guitarist for the remainder of the tour. Dave Roddy set up auditions for a few local guitarists for the job. I was offered the position but had to make a career decision since I had been accepted at the University of Alabama for the Fall semester whether to go on the road with The Chartbusters or go to college. I finally decided to go to college and have never regreted it. However, I often wonder what my life would have been like had I chosen to go on tour!

We became burned out after practicing and working together virtually every weekend for four years. Eugene Hayes (drummer) quit music. Barry Bicknell graduated with a degree in music from University of Alabama and became a high school band director. Steve Salord went to the University of North Texas and earned a Masters degree in music theory. Wendell Colbert continued palying with other bands and still palys today. I graduated from the University of Alabama with a BA in Commerce and Business Administration and went into the National Guard. After active duty I formed a small three piece group (The Brood) to play occasionally. I got married and started a career in Consumer Electronics sales and management.

I am still involved in music as a hobby at home and love to record on my PC. I use Sonar software. Here’s a link to some of my recordings.

Dale Aston

Special thanks to the Alabama Record Collectors Association

Unidentified Flying Objects

The Unidentified Flying Objects in KRLA Beat
The Unidentified Flying Objects – what’s the story?!
Clockwise from left: Lisa Kindred, Helena Tribuno, Ann Sternberg and Laurie Stanton.

Lisa Kindred was a New York folk artist with an LP on Vanguard in 1965. Cult guru Mel Lyman had his henchman David Gude, who was the engineer on the session, steal the master tapes for her second Vanguard LP. Warner Bros./Reprise unwittingly issued it in 1970 as The Lyman Family with Lisa Kindred: American Avatar.

Kindred became part of the blues scene in San Francisco in the late ’60s. What I didn’t know until I came across this clipping in KRLA’s Beat paper was that she was briefly part of a L.A. pop group, the Unidentified Flying Objects. They certainly didn’t make it big, as expected, but I wonder if they recorded any material – if so I’d like to hear it.

Happy New Year 2010!

I’ll be celebrating at the Roky Erickson show in Brooklyn on January 1!

The Medallions and the Faded Blue

The Medallions cut this one 45 on the excellently-named Warped Records, then split up, as far as I know.

“Leave Me Alone” is a tough number, heavy on the tambourine and group vocals. It was written by Ralph Mullin. The flip is “She’ll Break Your Heart”, a Buddy Holly-type ballad written by Byron Penn. Virian J. Wadford produced the 45.

It turns out this group was from Oak Park, Illinois, not Wisconsin as I originally thought, though there was another Medallions from Wisconsin. Members were:

Bill Pappas – lead guitar
Lennie Pigoni – rhythm guitar
Byron Penn – keyboards
Ralph Mullin – bass
Tom Lloyd – drums

I did receive an email from someone who did not give her/his name:

My brother Tom Lloyd was the drummer in the group. The other members were Byron Penn, Ralph Mullens, Len Pagoni, and Bill Pappas. They did only make that one record that you mentioned. It was unfortunately, the draft that broke up the band. Tommy and Len were drafted into the army on the same day. When they returned from the service the guys had gone their separate ways. Byron had moved to Florida for a while, Len got married and Ralph and Bill just lost touch. Sadly, Tommy, Byron and Lenny are all deceased. They sure made some great music in their day, and kept a lot of Oak Park kids dancing!

Ralph Mullin is apparently the same person who appeared in two of Herschell Gordon Lewis’ late ’60s films. In Blast-Off Girls, from ’67, he’s part of a band called the Big Blast. The band was a real group whose name was actually the Faded Blue, a much cooler moniker if you ask me. The Faded Blue’s members were Tom Tyrell, Ron Liace, Dennis Hickey, Ralph Mullin and Chris Wolski.

Blast-Off Girls actually features two interesting bands, first ‘Charlie’ who are shown in the opening credits and scenes doing a song that might be titled “A Bad Day”. ‘Charlie’ consisted of Steve White, Tom Eppolito, Bob Compton, Ray Barry and Tony Sorci.

In the film’s plot, sleazy promoter Boojie Baker rips them off, so the band quits. Boojie finds the Big Blast to replace them at a club called the Mother Blues, and they’re featured through the rest of the film. Stylistically the Big Blast / Faded Blue are a little more sophisticated than Charlie, showing some folk and psychedelic influences while Charlie are a straight rock n’ roll garage band. The Big Blast release a record in the movie, but so far no one’s found a 45 by the Faded Blue.

In another Lewis movie, 1968’s Just for the Hell of It Ralph Mullin has the role of Lummox, one of the gang who tears up the club in one scene.


The band in the foreground of the credits is not the Big Blast (the Faded Blue), but ‘Charlie’, the more primitive garage group that quits the gig and is replaced by the Big Blast.

This turns out to be one of the more awkward cameos in movie history

Charlie mocking Boojie Baker

The Mother Blues Club, where Boojie discovers the Big Blast – was this a real club?

Ralph Mullin of the Big Blast / Faded Blue

Guitarist for the Big Blast / Faded Blue

Bassist for the Big Blast / Faded Blue

Keyboard player for the Big Blast / Faded Blue

The Big Blast in the studio

The Big Blast’s 45, Marvelous Noise!

The Big Blast blowing off their big career opportunity!

Beep Beep and the Road Runners

Beep Beep and the Road Runners Vincent 45 True Love KnowsBeep Beep and the Road Runners formed in Worcester, Massachusetts in 1962 when the members were only adolescents 10 to 12 years old. Originally they were a quartet: Tom Falconer on bass and vocals, Ron Manley lead guitarist, Louie Dansereau played rhythm guitar and Donny Ouellette drums and vocals.

Don Ouellette lived across Grand Street from Tommy Falconer, and Don’s friend since childhood, Ronnie Manley suggested to Tommy that they start a band. Ronnie knew Louis Dansereau, and the band started practicing in Tom’s living room until they refurbished a room in the basement.

They added their manager’s son Jay Bonen as a second drummer. I asked Don Ouellette if they worked well together musically and Don said no, it was more of a gimmick, which was also what Tom Falconer said in an interview with Fuzbrains magazine. More importantly, the band also added a lead vocalist, Tim Ralston who would be crucial to the sound of their first 45.

Beep Beep and the Road Runners Vincent 45 Shifting GearsAs for the ‘Beep Beep’ in their band name, Tom said that it did not refer to any particular member – “There was never a Beep Beep”. Don Ouellette says he was ‘Beep Beep’ but the band kept that secret from the public for a long time.

Early on the band covered surf and r&b instrumentals by the Ventures and Duane Eddy, then added Beatles songs to their repertoire, often playing Friday evenings at St. Peters (Worcester Central). The band backed Gene Pitney twice and competed with local acts the Joneses, the New Breed, the Nite Riders and the Personals at clubs like the Comic Strip, the Speed Club (Speedway Club?) on Mill St., the Red Pony Lounge on Franklin, the Peacock Club in Auburn, and Tatassitt Beach on Lake Quinsigamond in Shrewsbury.

Their first 45 in May 1966 for Vincent Records had an original instrumental by Ron Manley on the A-side: the Link Wray-like Shifting Gears”. On the flip was Tom and Ron’s original song “True Love Knows”. It was an instant garage classic with Tim Ralston’s vocals sounding desperate and at times incoherent, while his cries of ‘true love knows’ on the chorus are echoed by another band member. I hear some evidence of the band’s two drummers in the intro to “True Love Knows”, where the tom rolls sound distinct from the beat kept by the bass drum, hi-hat and snare. I’d like to know details on how the song was recorded. George Gell informs me that it was cut at Al Soyka’s studio in Somers, Connecticut, home of the Glo label (New Fugitives – “That’s Queer”/”She’s My Baby”).

“True Love Knows” was a hit locally, staying at #1 spot on the charts of WORC, 1310 AM. The band’s manager Ray Bonen knew WORC station owner Bob Beyer well. In return for airplay the band appeared at many WORC events, including an opening of a Bradlees store in White City.

Tim Ralston soon left the group: he was older than the rest of the band and became undependable about showing up at their gigs. Jay Bonen also left the band after the first record due supposedly to fainting spells during live shows and from friction caused by Don’s increasing success as lead vocalist.

By late 1966 or early ’67 they added an organ player, Wayne Anderson Warren Anderson, who can be heard on their second 45 from August ’67, the cool “Don’t Run”, an original by Manley and Anderson. To me the song really takes off as the guitarist kicks in with his distortion pedal for the solo. The flip is a bizarre version of “Watermelon Man” that strips out the light touch of the original and turns it into an r&b burner. Don Ouellette sang lead on both sides of this 45. Audio Dynamics 45s were recorded at an old theater in Stafford Springs, Connecticut. Don remembers adding his vocals to the instrumental tracks.

A third 45, “Do You Remember the Way We Started” was recorded but not released. The band added horns and became the Lundon Fog with Barry Wilson on vocals then broke up in 1973.

Ron Manley and Don Ouellette continued playing, first in Easy Street with Elaine Christie and then in Breez’n. Tim Ralston died in the late 70’s.

If anyone has photos of the group, please get in touch with me at chas_kit@hotmail.com

Thanks to George and Mop Top Mike for their comments to my original post, which I’ve incorporated into this revised text. Very special thanks to LB Worm for helping me locate the 1983 interview that the Rev. Joe Longone and Brian Goslow did with Tom Falconer in the first issue of Worcester fanzine Fuzbrains, a major source for this article. Lastly, thank you to Don Ouellette for taking the time to speak to me and correct some errors in the article.

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

The Noblemen (Kansas)

 The Noblemen, 1965 from left: Jim Anderson (partially visible) on bass, Frank Wright, Landis Dibble, Randy Rahberg
The Noblemen, 1965 from left: Jim Anderson (partially visible) on bass, Frank Wright, Landis Dibble, Randy Rahberg

Noblemen (KS) business card

I was in a band called The Noblemen in the 1965-67 time period. We had no recordings or anything, just played dances etc. Basically we weren’t very good, but we had a good time. We just did cover songs, nothing original.

Noblemen (KS) business card
Noblemen (KS) business card
Regular members were myself on guitar, Landis Dibble on drums, Frank Wright on guitar, and Clint Laing on electric piano. We started out with Jim Anderson on bass. Other bass players were Blair Honeyman and Michael Brunton.

We played in the Topeka area, and traveled as far as Alma.

The pictures I have are ones that Landis’ mother took when we played for the parents on their back patio.

Randy Rahberg

The Noblemen, from left: Randy Rahberg and Clint Laing
from left: Randy Rahberg and Clint Laing

Five of a Kind


Five of a Kind, from left: Jay Vestal, Mike Magruder, Jimmy Reese, Phil Patterson and Wayne Taylor
The Five of a Kind released one great double-sided 45: “Never Again” / “I Don’t Want to Find Another Girl”. For years collectors have listed the band as a Fort Worth group, but like their Vandan label-mates the Gentlemen, they were actually from Dallas, as their bassist Phil Patterson confirmed to me:

I was in Five of a Kind (1964-1967) in Dallas, Texas, I was the bass player.

The band members were:

Lead guitar and singer: Wayne Taylor (Rickenbacker 12 string and Vox 6 string)
Rhythm guitar and singer: Jimmy Reese (Vox)
Drums: Mike Magruder (Ludwig)
Sax: Jay Vestal
Bass: Phil Patterson (Fender Precision)

We went to Bryan Adams High School in Dallas along with Kenny and the Kasuals and others you have listed. Our first band, ‘the Rhythm Kings’ with Wayne Taylor, Jim Reese, and Phil Patterson along with our first drummer, James Parrish, before Mike Magruder joined us. The Rhythm Kings never recorded, but became ‘5 of a Kind’ with the addition of Jay on sax and Mike on drums. James Parrish died in 1966 racing his Corvette at a local quarter mile track. He had left the band about two years before I believe.

The music we played was probably typical of the period. We played mainly the popular British Invasion music – Beatles, Stones, Yardbirds, Animals, Dave Clark 5, etc. as well as Young Rascals, Beach Boys, and we did a great version of Sonny and Chers’ “I’ve Got You Babe” (sorta campy version really). Also some of the soul standards and rhythm and blues we needed to play depending on the crowd that night.

The Mystics beat us out for the record contract they received and I believe that would have been at Broadway Skateland in Mesquite, Texas. There were sixteen bands in that battle-of-the-bands. Ronnie Blocker was also a bass player for Ricky and the Royals who was the house band there, and his dad owned the place.

We also played at Louanns, the Sumpin’ Else television dance show (with Ron Chapman as host) and Panther a Go Go television show in Ft. Worth where also on the bill that night were the Bill Black Combo, Peter and Gordon from England, and Johnny Green and the Green Men. We also played at La Maison in Houston and Gilley’s as well, when they added rock type music. We also played at Dewey Groom’s Long Horn Ballroom in Dallas when they added rock music to their usual country schedule.

We played at all the usual skating rinks in the area (Twilighters in Oak Cliff and Broadway in Mesquite come to mind); the Vaughan brothers would have played at Twilighters. Also high school sock hops and graduation dances. Small clubs and private parties all over the metroplex. Bill Ware’s Pirates Nook, the Amber Room where Lady Wilde and the Warlocks also played (Frank Beard and Dusty Hill’s older brother Rocky Hill); we played with the Marksmen (Boz Skaggs and Steve Miller at my uncle’s airport in Garland with sponser KBOX and Scotty McKay I believe. Hate to call those guys a garage band but they probably were at one time. We played many times at White Rock Lakes’ Winfrey Point for private parties, etc.

I remember the night we played La Maison in Houston and were playing the Rascals song “Good Lovin'” when we were surprised by the actual Rascals coming on stage and finishing the song and announcing they would be playing there the next night. That was a thrill for us.

Some nights were not so great such as the time we were booked into the NCO club at Ft. Hood. We were double booked with a soul band. The club manager said we could battle it out to see who played and would be paid for the gig and let the audience decide. We played to luke warm response and the soul band clinched it with some James Brown and the two sax players they had doing a front somersault off the stage. The crowd went wild and we packed up to head back to Dallas that night.

We played all the time and had a good local following. All the band members were good musicians but Wayne wrote the original songs. Wayne was a typical lead singer/guitarist with lots of ego going on, but I think you have to be that way. The girls all loved Jay’s blonde surfer locks. I, as the bass player had a good music following because I played my Precision bass by finger picking and could play fast Yardbirds riffs. Then there were the groupies (thanks Sandy and Sherri and all the others), they were probably the real reason we all became musicians in the first place.

We released one 45 on the Vandan label (Tom Brown manager, and recorded at Summit Studios [Sumet Sound]). The ‘A’ side was called “Never Again” and the ‘B’ side was “I Don’t Want to Find Another Girl” [both] written by Wayne Taylor.

We sold almost a thousand records at 10 cents per record going to the band. I remember one check for $16.00 for each of us. Wow…

At one time we had a booking manager who said his name was Andy Presley and was a cousin of Elvis. The guy had the pompadour and the look. We later found out he was a Mexican guy and may not have been Elvis’ relative after all. We dropped him as he was also not booking many gigs for us.

I have not heard from Wayne, Mike or Jay since not long after the band broke up in ’67. I do know that Mike Magruder became a successful local DJ in Denton, Texas. Jimmy Reese worked all his life at the JC Penney company and lives in San Antonio, now retired I believe.

I’m now practicing commercial real estate sales in Plano, and was formerly an owner of the San Francisco Rose restaurant (still open after 32 years) with Scott Fickling and Larry Smith.

Phil Patterson, December 2009

Thanks to Phil for sending me the history of his group, and for the photos and scan of the 45. Thanks to Jay Vestal for the two flyers and the photo at the bottom of the page. Transfer of “I Don’t Want to Find Another Girl” courtesy of Jeff Lemlich.


Rhythm Kings, from left: Jimmy Reese, Phil Patterson, James Parrish, and Wayne Taylor

Rhythm Kings, from left: Jimmy Reese, Phil Patterson, James Parrish, and Wayne Taylor

Early photo of Five of a Kind

Yearbook photo for a show with the Rafters, with band business card

from left: Wayne Taylor lead guitar, Jay Vestal on sax and Phil Patterson on the bass guitar he wishes he still had, and Mike Magruder drums.
(caption by Jay Vestal)

July 4, 1965 gig at a barbeque place in Dallas

“I don’t remember, but I think we won. Anybody that was willing to play at 9:30 a.m. deserved to win!” – Jay Vestal

The Five Bucks / The Byzantine Empire


The Five Bucks, from left: Steve Hearn, Chris Rose, Bruce Kerr, Jerry Daller, and Bauchman Tom

Jim Heddle of Ann Arbor wrote to me and said I should cover the Five Bucks, “WPAG played ‘Now You’re Gone’, which was a ballad, but I remember WAAM playing the b-side, ‘No Use In Trying’, which is a great rocker.”

Jim is right, this is a band with two of the finest harmony songs of the mid-60’s: “No Use in Trying” and “I’ll Walk Alone”. What I didn’t know at the time is that the group had a third 45 as the Five Bucks, and then three more releases as the Byzantine Empire. A little digging around the internet led me to Bruce Kerr, the bassist and one of the principal songwriters, who kindly answered my questions about the group and provided photos:

We formed the band days after we all converged on University of Michigan/Ann Arbor in August of ’65. Chris Rose and I met in our dorm piano lounge and started harmonizing. He brought in his roommate from Glencoe, IL, Steve Hearn; we grabbed our guitars and had a trio. We then added Jerry Daller across the hall from me who had to call his parents and have his drums shipped up from Detroit. I called my parents to have my amp shipped over from Waukesha, Wisconsin. These are calls parents do not want to receive three days into a frosh year, as you can imagine.

We put up an ad for a keyboard player and Bauchman Tom from Akron, OH, also a frosh at U/M answered it. [He played] a Farfisa organ, that characteristic 60’s sound, but he could make it cook. He turned out to be very good, played rock, classical, and jazz, and was Chinese-American which gave the band’s look some uniqueness and, right in the middle of the Civil Rights era, some political correctness before that phrase was in use.

We decided to name the band, “The Five Bucks.” I recall it was Chris’s idea. Our band card was a fake $5 bill with our names and dorm phone numbers in the corners (plus 1).

Chris, Steve, and I were all rhythm guitar players so we decided I’d learn bass, Steve would sing lead and play rhythm, and Chris would play lead. The three of us started collaborating immediately and “No Use In Trying” was our first effort, “Now You’re Gone” was our second (misprinted as “Now You’re Mine. The band was plagued by label misprints, the “5 Bucs” [on the Omnibus single] was a misprint, we were never anything but the Five Bucks, then the Byzantine Empire).

And after playing frat parties, doing Beatles song with perfect replication of the harmonies, and getting a great reception, the thing in those days was to get out a single (as your website shows). An album was a distant dream but local bands who sustained nearly always got to a single. We had a date with Detroit’s Edwin Starr on a Sunday to record. We drove in and he didn’t show at the studio.

In the spring of ’66, as our freshman year was ending, we all decided to live in the Chicago area where Chris and Steve had their family’s homes and play for the summer. When we got to Chicago, Chris’s dad had arranged through a friend for us to audition for a label, which turned out to be Afton, eventually. The mistake, we felt, was the promotion ended up going for the ballad rather than “No Use In Trying.” So it got played on WLS a few times, got us some good gigs, but never made it.



“Now You’re Gone” makes #46 on Ann Arbor station WPAG’s chart on April 26, 1966


The Five Bucks, from left: Bruce Kerr, Chris Rose, Jerry Daller, Bauchman Tom and Steve Hearn

Chris & Steve’s friend, Harlan Goodman, went to work for William Morris in Chicago and the next thing we knew that spring and summer, we were opening major concerts in Chicago and Indiana for the Animals, Turtles, Hollies and others.

Harlan Goodman booked us in ’66 as Del Shannon’s band, backing him up at two county fairs in Minnesota and a small college, I think it was. It was amazing to be 19 years old playing bass behind “Runaway” and other hits that six years before I was dancing to at junior high dances.

Having flunked out of U/M Engineering, I had to go back to Ann Arbor for the second part of the summer and Steve Gritton filled in on bass on keyboards.

We played a bunch of venues like the Aragon Ballroom with other bands like the Shadows of Knight, Buckinghams, the Flock, the Real McCoys and a couple more that were popular locally that I can’t remember…ah, the Cryin’ Shames. Went between Ann Arbor and to Chicago on half the weekends and all summers.

There was camaraderie but competition too. Everyone wanted to be the breakout band, like American Breed finally did, and Chicago (Transit Authority) who became monster-big.

We hung back stage in Hammond, Indiana with the Hollies in ’66. I asked Graham Nash how long he’d be in the states and he replied, “about 6 feet.” everyone laughed and I shrunk back into the ranks of the opening acts.

 


“I’ll Walk Alone” a pick hit on WAAM’s chart on April 10, 1967



“I’ll Walk Alone” reaches #1 on WCBN, March 19, 1967

Five Bucks opening for the Doors at the U. of Michigan Homecoming

The Five Bucks opened for The Doors, fall of ’67 for our U/Michigan Homecoming. Morrison got booed off the stage, he was drunk and the crowd wanted to DANCE. The student in charge came begging to us, “Please go back up and quiet down this crowd.” We took to the stage and opened with the Temps’ “Ain’t to Proud to Beg” and the place went crazy and the night was saved. Huge crowd, the old U/M gym, high stage, it was nuts.

That winter of ’66-’67, we recorded on Omnibus: “I’ll Walk Alone” / “So Wrong.” Came out in the spring, was #1 in Ann Arbor and some other places. In the fall we recorded “Breath of Time” / “Without Love” on USA Records.

Q. Where were the Afton and Omnibus singles recorded?

Both in Chicago, I forget the studio names. The Afton record was recorded in an old 4-track studio. I think Omnibus, as well. Only with Universal in ’68 were we in anything bigger, 12 track then. Still, the singles were mono, not stereo.


The Byzantine Empire at Soldier Field, from left: Steve Hearn, Bauchman Tom, Bruce Kerr, Jerry Daller and Chris Rose

That fall, our agents, Bruce Shankman and Earl Glicken (the Monkees promoter in Chicago) hooked us up with Traut. We went in unplugged (another term before its time) to Traut’s office and played some new originals: “Whenever I’m Lonely,” “Girl In the Courtyard” and some covers and Traut was sold on us. Wanted us to be an answer to “The Association.” Even had the Asian-American. Bauchman briefly took on a Hawaiian stage personna as Kelly Kulukua, something like that.

Bill said, rightly, we needed a new name. I was a history major and suggested the name, a weird choice of a name in retrospect, but what wasn’t that year?

In the winter of ’68-69, Traut signed us and booked us on spec into Universal Studios, a 12-track studio, state-of-the-art facility, hired members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. We recorded the two originals listed just above, plus the Association’s album song “Happiness Is,” “You,” “Snowqueen” by Carole King, and “Shadows & Reflections”, two sessions, a couple months a part, as I recall.


The Byzantine Empire in the studio, 1967, from left: Chris Rose, Bruce Kerr, Bauchman Tom, Jerry Daller and Steve Hearn

Traut sold us to Amy records, a sub of Bell Records in NY for $25K. Problem is, he had his pal, Eddie Higgins & Bob Schiff produce us. They were competent but not the visionary Bill was. We would have done better with Bill producing but he was trying to build up his team. He was partnering with Jimmy Golden but they had a falling out just as we were hoping to blossom, which caused problems for Bill, and ultimately, for us, I think.

Q. So Bill Traut set up the Universal Studio sessions but didn’t produce any of them?

Right, he gave us Eddie Higgins & Bob Shiff instead; we were let down by that.

Q. Were you all playing your instruments on the Amy recordings, or using studio musicians for the backing?

We all played except Jerry Daller on drums. Traut brought in a jazz club drummer, especially for the 3/4 beat on “Snow Queen.” not many drummers in rock bands played 3/4, Jerry included. He was really a garage band drummer, but he held his own. Still, Traut was right to replace him for the two sessions, three songs at each.

Q. I can see “Happiness Is” as an obvious commercial choice, but how did you decide to record “Shadows and Reflections”?

Traut, it’s a weak song, strange too, but we couldn’t find anything better in the stack of writers’ promo demo copies he gave us to choose from. “Shadows & Reflections” was during our second session with Bill, probably summer/fall ’68.

Q. Were you aware of the original version by Eddie Hodges (ironically on Sunburst, which was distributed by Amy) or the one by the UK group the Action?

Interesting, no, I hope they were better than our version.

Q. Would you say the band tried to cultivate a more refined sound over time, or was that mainly Bill Traut’s doing?

Yes, the Byzantine Empire went for harmony a la Association. We liked their sound anyway, from “Mary” to “Cherish.” We could do chords (correctly) and we could do harmony, this was no band of blues three-chorders. So part of it was Traut…definitely the “You” / “Shadows & Reflections” stuff…we thought it was square, like the Vogues, and wanted something rougher but he knew we were no Troggs, that our look and sound had to be melodic and pop sounding. The USA side A, “Breath of Time” before that, was an attempt to get a rougher sound, fuzz tone, etc.

“Snow Queen” was a Gavin pick but, being 3/4 waltz time, and with no major hook other than the title being sung at the end of each verse, our soaring harmonies weren’t enough. Then “Happiness Is” was released (we pretty much copied the arrangement of the Association) and it didn’t make it. Finally, per the contract, “You” came out close to our graduating and did zip.

Bill Traut once told us, in retrospect, that “Whenever I’m Lonely” could have been a monster ballad hit. I’m not sure if he was hoping for a flip hit after “Happiness Is” which he thought was a sure-fired hit, if “Snowqueen” didn’t hit. None of them did and we maybe should have stayed with our original sound instead of thinking we had to have a hit with an almost exact replica of “Happiness Is.” But, we were hungry to make it, felt we could shape our sound after we had a commercial hit.

Even “Courtyard” and “Whenever I’m Lonely” were our soft side. We had a rockier, Beau Brummels type sound that had more grit and might have served us better by ’68, with the way music turned away from pretty harmonies toward heavy guitars and, if any, soul harmony, or none at all.

We graduated, did one more gig that summer in Chicago, and went our separate ways. Chris and I have maintained our friendship for the next 40 years, he still is in contact with Steve, but Jerry’s totally gone, and Chris and I only kept up with Bauchman through the mid to late 70’s and he disappeared also.

Q. Are there any unreleased recordings? Any live recordings?

Somewhere there’s our third song ever from ’65, “Say It Now,” that I think could have been a hit. It was a recording session dub, nothing ever came of it. Chris had a great song, “Inspector Hayes,” another dub from a session that never became a record. No one knows where these two are. Nothing live ever, too bad.

Q. Lastly has there been interest in re-releasing the records? I know they’ve come up on bootleg compilations, but I don’t think they’ve ever been legitimately released, at least not together.

Nothing I’ve heard about. Frankly, there may be more interest in our stuff now than from the record buying public back then (apparently)!

Q. Finally, I find it amazing that the group was able to stay together all four years of college with no changes, other than that short time “Stubs” subbed for you.

Yeah, we all got along pretty well. Steve, Chris and I were fast friends which was the core. We all liked the money (lots of gigs) and (mostly) not having to work other jobs in the summers or during the school year. Helped with meeting girls on campus since the band was popular there…

Mostly, it was the age-old (well…) bit of the dream to become like the Beatles or Stones, on the radio, songs people would love and hum, and the life of a millionaire rock star, as we envisioned it. All of this with the Vietnam War draft in the background. And there was no deferment for rock star. Some of the best moments were when we were in the studio, it seemed like we were about to make it, there with all the tools and “old guys” at the controls (they were probably in their 30’s), telling us, “it could be a hit!”

When you get played on WLS, you pretty much figure it’s just going to keep going up from there. It was a great time, and I’m probably happier today for our not making it and having to play state fairs now with REO Speedwagon.

When the band broke up, I went to law school and am a lawyer today (though I took 20 years off, ’73-’93 to be a solo performer, “Loose Bruce Kerr,” so the itch was not entirely scratched in the band years). Easier now as a lawyer than living in motel rooms and touring!

Bruce Kerr

Chris Rose adds:

It was Steve Hearn’s girlfriend’s father, Jerry Wexler, real estate tycoon, who got us the audition with Milt Salstone, owner of Reprise records [actually owner of M-S Distributors]. Milt started the Afton label as a subsidiary for rock and roll music.

I haven’t heard from or about our keyboardist in many years. His name is Bauchman Tom (people used to frequently mispronounce his name as “Tom Buachman”). He was, by far, the best musician in the group. He was up there with the best of the day in keyboard talent. On one mini-tour with The Iron Butterfly, Doug Engle (the composer of “In a Gadda Da Vida” ) told Bauchman that he played the song as well, if not better than Doug did. Our road managers [were] Terry Gano and Dean Suffka – they went on to work for The Seeds, Friend and Lover, Iron Butterfly, Blue Cheer, Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart, The People, Kansas, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Blues Image, The Doors, and Captain Beyond, and others after our group broke up.

The Seeds, Friend and Lover, Iron Butterfly, Blue Cheer, Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart, The People, Kansas, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Blues Image, The Doors, and Captain Beyond.

Adding to the list of groups and artists we played with or opened for: Del Shannon (opened and played as his band, the second set), Edwin Starr (he told Barry Gordy he wanted to manage our group because we could harmonize), Bobby Head (Sunny), People, The Iron Butterfly, Paul Revere and the Raiders (Lake Geneva), The Vogues (opened and backed them up instrumentally), Eric Burdon and The Animals, The Turtles (one concert at the Hammond Civic Center – crowd: 10,000, and one TV appearance), The Hollies, The Royal Guardsmen (they hated the Snoopy songs), Friend & Lover, colleagues of Herb Alpert (from our manager’s stable of talent) – he even went to Arlington Park racetrack with my Dad, all the Chicago based groups, multiple times – The Flock, The Buckinghams, The New Colony Six, The Shadows of Knight, The Mauds, The Ides of March with Jim Peteryk (they used to wear long-haired wigs when they were 17 – their parents wouldn’t let them grow their hair), Baby Huey and the Babysitters, The American Breed, Brenda Lee (a TV show in Windsor, Canada), Siegel-Schwall Blues Band, Sam the Sham, The Knickerbockers, The Kingsmen, The McCoys. I am sure I have left a few out.


The Byzantine Empire, 1968 from left: Chris Rose, Jerry Daller, Steve Hearn, Bauchman Tom and Bruce Kerr


The Byzantine Empire, from left: Chris Rose, Bruce Kerr, Bauchman Tom, Steve Hearn and, Jerry Daller.


The Byzantine Empire at the Jaguar, April 6, 1968 with the Strawberry Express
45 releases:

The Five Bucks

No Use In Trying / Now You’re Gone (erroneously printed as Now You’re Mine) (Afton 1701) May 1966
I’ll Walk Alone / So Wrong (Omnibus 1001) November 1966 (band listed as The Five Bucs)
Breath of Time / Without You (U.S.A. 882) 1967

Byzantine Empire

Girl In The Courtyard / Snowqueen (Amy 11,018) 1968
Happiness Is / Whenever I’m Lonely (Amy 11,034) 1968
You / Shadows and Reflections (Amy 11,046) 1968

All photos courtesy of Bruce Kerr. Thanks to Jim Heddle for scans of the radio charts and Omnibus 45.