Kevin Longendyke found this excellent band photo in Richmond, Virginia and was trying to determine who the band is. Chandler Edmunds wrote in with information about the group:
The band’s name is The Earthquakes from Virginia Beach. Drummer is Chuck Martak. Middle guitar player is Doug Christdon. Right guitar player named Ric (that’s all I have), and the other guitar player remains unnamed.
I understand these guys were in a bad car accident in 1966 and one may have died. Doug got seriously hurt in the accident but survived. I don’t think they were together long enough to get a record out.
Stamped on the back is “Clifton Guthrie”, who was a fine photojournalist in the South Norfolk, Virginia area (see this link for a few of his images).
Thanks to Chandler for finding out about the Earthquakes.
The Wanted released eight songs on six different singles, four on The Detroit Sound and two national releases on A&M.
The names of the band are well-known: they put them on the labels of their 45s. Other information is not easy to come by and I don’t find them mentioned in any detail in my usual sources.
Arnie DeClark – rhythm guitar Dave Fermstrum – organ Bill Montgomery – bass Tim Shea – lead Chip Steiner – drums
All their releases have excellent songs. “Here to Stay” is an amazingly mature ballad, with a great nasal lead vocal, written by Tim Shea and Chip Steiner. The flip “Teen World” is their most basic song, sounding much like “California Sun” with new lyrics, but it’s a fine party song of the mid-60s and probably their rarest release. It was written by C. Shermetaro.
The Detroit Sound Recording Co. was located at 12730 E. Warren. I’ve read that Chip Steiner’s father Irv Steiner owned the Detroit Sound label, which usually featured soul acts.
The label changed the graphics and re-released “Here to Stay”, backed with a good version of “In the Midnight Hour” that reached #1 on WKNR in Detroit & Dearborn in March of ’67, and #3 on CKLW in Windsor, Ontario. They appeared on Robin Seymour’s TV show Swingin’ Time, probably several times. I don’t know which song was originally featured in the clip below as the audio is dubbed in.
A&M picked this up for national release in April, 1967 and bought a full page ad in Billboard for it with a neat watch graphic. As far as I can tell, the furthest it reached in the national charts was “bubbling under” at #128, with Michael & the Messengers’ version of the song on the U.S.A. label at #121. Too many competing versions kept these from breaking out nationally, although each has a distinct style.
They had one further release on A&M, a fine pop number with horns called “Big Town Girl” backed with “Don’t Worry Baby”. Despite being a Detroit Sound production I believe this single was only released on A&M.
Their next single was the tough “Lots More Where You Came From”, with the lyric “girl I’m picking up on your bad vibrations”! It was written and produced by Dugg Brown (aka Doug Brown of the Omens and producer of Bob Seger, Del Shannon, Southwind, etc), backed with a version of “Knock on Wood”. Their last on the Detroit Sound label was a good take on Bob Seger’s “East Side Story” backed “Sad Situation”, which is simply “Lots More Where You Came From” with a different title.
An email from a friend of the band was the inspiration for this post:
My name is Michael Surarez Thompson. In the 60’s I was a close friend of the Detroit garage band The Wanted. The guys all came from the Grosse Point area. Chip Steiner’s dad Irvin bought an old Detroit city bus and had it converted to a motor home if you will. The bus took us to gigs in and around Detroit and came with a chauffeur I believe his name was Walker.
I was a bit older then the boys and I left to serve in the Marine Corps. Through the years we lost contact. I have been searching for my former friends but they seem to have vanished from face of earth. I am from Port Huron, Michigan, retired Marriott executive chef living in Eugene, Oregon.
The Detroit Sound 222 (plain red label) – Here to Stay (Shea – Steiner) / Teen World (C. Shermetaro) The Detroit Sound 222A/223A (red and blue label with instrument graphics) – Here to Stay / In the Midnight Hour (February, 1967) The Detroit Sound 230 – Lots More Where You Came From (Dugg Brown) / Knock On Wood The Detroit Sound 232 – East Side Story / Sad Situation A&M 844 – Here to Stay / Midnight Hour (March, 1967) A&M 856 – Big Town Girl (Dugg Brown) / Don’t Worry Baby (produced by Doug Brown) (May, 1967)
Source: WKNR chart info from ARSA. Thank you to Jim Heddle for the clean scan of the chart.
Al’s Untouchables’ “Come On Baby” / “Stick Around” is one of long-time classics of 60s garage rock. Original copies are rare and when they do sell, go for well over $1,000. The G45 Central site described “Come On Baby” as “raw energy that may never be equaled”, all within two minutes of playing time. After the band establishes the pounding rhythm, lead guitarist Dick Douglas solos for nearly half a minute, and continues whenever there’s a break in the lead vocals.
Though overshadowed by “Come On Baby”, the flip “Stick Around” is excellent bluesy r&b. The label for “Stick Around” has “Douglas” in parentheses, referring to Dick Douglas on lead vocals.There were actually two different groups on Hunt Records called the Untouchables. The first group consisted of Al Huntziner (drums), Larry Fountain (guitar), Ernie Dvorak (saxophone), Ron Hamad (guitar), Bob Keith (keyboards), Bill Alley (bass), Mel Winder (guitar), Frank Glaser (guitar) and Bob Gaston. This Al & the Untouchables released one 45 on Hunt, “Church Key” / “Danny Boy”.
Then came an all-new Untouchables – but that story is best told by bassist and vocalist Tom Hankins. Tom also sent in the photos seen here.
In 1962, 14 year old Tom Hankins (bass and vocals) started a rock band with Scott Bascom (guitar and vocals), Mike Sexton (guitar and vocals) and Mike Curley (drums). The band was formed in Cedar Rapids, IA and named themselves The Belvederes.
Personnel changes were made at various points and the final version was Hankins on bass, keyboards, guitar and vocals, Dick Douglas on lead guitar and vocals, Bruce Nunamaker on rhythm guitar, Eddy Hood on 12 string guitar, bass and rhythm guitars and vocals and Ron Bressler on drums.
They were having moderate success when area manager Al Huntzinger called Tom and asked him if his band would become Al’s Untouchables, as Al’s band of that name had all quit over money issues with Al. Hankins accepted and The Untouchables were born. Al still insisted on putting his name on the band, but they were just known to their fans as The Untouchables and Al no longer performed with them, as Hankins made that part of the deal [which is why “Hankin’s” is included in parentheses underneath the band’s name on the second Hunt single – ed.].They quickly became Iowa’s top group with the backing of Darlowe Olsen, owner of Danceland Ballroom in Cedar Rapids, where The Untouchables became the house band and backing band for touring acts like Sam The Sham, Ike & Tina Turner, The Hullaballoos and dozens more top national and British Invasion acts. They also toured on Olsen’s circuit of venues in the Midwest with Chuck Berry, The Dave Clark Five, The Animals, Johnny Tillotson and others.
In 1965 The Untouchables recorded what turned out to be a double-sided hit in the upper Midwest in 1966 with the songs “Come On Baby” and “Stick Around”, both penned by Hankins and Douglas writing under the name of Thomas Richards.
“Come on Baby” is now being called “The Holy Grail of Garage Punk”. This was recorded in Chicago at Sound Studios, the same studio used by The Stones and also with their engineer Stu Black. Hankins and Douglas produced the songs, but manager Huntzinger listed himself as producer when the record was pressed.
They began drawing packed venues. In 1966 the entire band was kicked out of high school because the school board deemed their hair as “unfit”, as it covered the top of their ears and almost went over their collars.It turned out that Jefferson Senior High School principal William Paxton found out that the boys in the band were making more money than he was and he developed a grudge against them, doing his best to make sure the boys wouldn’t get their diplomas, but he failed. This put The Untouchable’s name in the headlines nationwide and they drew record crowds at all of the big ballrooms in the Midwest.
Once they were out of school they immediately headed to Hollywood. They had been there during Spring Break when Liberty Records asked them to come out and sign a contract. Liberty, however, wanted The Untouchables to clean up their image and cut their hair, to which the band refused, ripped up the contract and walked out the door.
They dumped their manager Huntzinger and changed the band name to The Orphans at this point after finding out he had been pocketing up to 80% of the band’s pay before dividing the rest up with the musicians. Famed producer Phil Spector listened to “Come On Baby” and “Stick Around” and helped them get a production deal with producer Marshall Leib. Herb Alpert was just starting A&M records with Jerry Moss and he wanted to sign The Orphans, but they lacked enough original material and Alpert needed someone immediately.They met The Doors and toured California with them. This was before The Doors were known outside California and were not even signed yet. Dissension broke The Orphans up.
The band returned to Iowa where Hankins and Douglas took over the operation of Danceland Ballroom from Olsen and ran it until it was closed for good, to be ripped down to make room for a parking garage and events center. They also put The Orphans back together. The duo also promoted concerts in The Midwest with The Orphans generally headlining, but other groups like The Byrds and Beau Brummels headlined some of these shows.
Douglas and Hankins returned to Hollywood and formed a new group with vocalist Aaron Brownstone and world-famous drummer Sandy Konikoff, who also played with Taj Mahal and George Harrison, among others. They record a 12 song album of original material for ABC Records, but upon completion of the LP, Brownstone was killed in a motorcycle accident, thus negating the contract.
Douglas and Hankins returned to Iowa where Douglas formed Enoch Smokey and they became one of the top Eastern Iowa groups. Hankins former a power blues trio with Dan Daniels and became the house band at the all-African American club called The Cougar Lounge in Cedar Rapids. In 1969 both Hankins and Daniels started training to become professional wrestlers and became known nationwide as “The World’s Most Dangerous Wrestlers”.
During this period they were both offered a berth playing with Charlie Daniels after participating in a jam session in Nashville, where they happened to be wrestling, but they had to turn him down as their wrestling career was just taking off.Dick Douglas still plays in Iowa and is recording a new CD as this is being written. Coincidentally, Hankins is currently recording and producing a new CD with The Powerhouse Blues Band in Los Angeles. Nunamaker lives in Colorado and continues to be one of the state’s top guitarists. Bressler left the music business completely and Eddy Hood is currently an artist living in Northern California, and still plays with his own group around the San Francisco area.
The band was inducted into the Iowa Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2007, with Douglas and Nunamaker accepting the awards for the band, while Hood and Hankins went to San Francisco for a musical reunion of their own and jammed for two days.
Tom kindly answered some of my questions about the Untouchables and also about the unreleased recordings of the Orphans:
Q. What was the connection with the Legends?
The Legends were the top drawing band in Cedar Rapids until The Untouchables hired Douglas out from under them. They did release a song that Eddy Hood and I wrote called “Sunshine Daydream” and the flip side was a cover of “Back in the USSR”. It received airplay in Cedar Rapids only however and their popularity was mainly around Cedar Rapids itself.
Q. Is that you playing organ on “Come On Baby”?
Yes, I’m playing organ on both sides of the single and Eddy Hood played bass.
Q. Do you remember where the show with the Left Banke took place?
The Left Banke show was at Danceland Ballroom when Dick Douglas & I were running it and was the last major act to play there in 1967. They no-showed twice and this third time when they finally did show, the fans didn’t and they drew less than 200 people.
Q. The Orphans was at least pressed to vinyl – what happened to all the copies of the 45?
“Without You”, written by Dick Douglas and me and recorded as The Orphans in 1966 in Hollywood at Gold Star Studios. It was never released as the, engineering, production, mixing and mastering was so terrible and the quality of the recording is so bad that we refused to let them release it. This is what broke up The Orphans.
The flip side of “Without You” was “Hey Gyp”. written by Donovan and obtained from him for The Orphans to record before anyone else did. The Animals did a much better version.
Our “manager” and all-around thief Al Huntzinger stole the 45’s when we quit, even though we’d paid for them and for the recording session ourselves, and he must have destroyed them. I only have two myself.
I run into Eric Burdon at times as he lives here in Los Angeles too. He remembered Cedar Rapids and being hungover badly while playing there. We had just come off the road and were really hung over too.
Tom Hankins May 2012
Despite the muddy sound, the Orphans’ “Without You” is an excellent cut and deserves to be heard. As far as I can tell it’s never been comped or featured before now. Norman Goodman engineered it and Larry Herbst and Dick Michaels are listed as producers. I can’t find much further info about Herbst or Michaels as far as the music biz goes.
Hunt Records discography: Any additional info would be appreciated
Hunt 450 – Al and the Untouchables – Church Key / Danny Boy Hunt 1401 – Al’s Untouchables – Come On Baby / Stick Around Hunt 1201 – Corruption, Inc – She’s Gone (Logel – McCleary) / Somewhere (produced by Jim Logel) Hunt 270 – Uncle ‘na Anteaters – Kathy Ran Around / I Can’t Go On (formerly the Countdowns)
Jimmy Nichols ran a recording studio in McAllen, Texas and owned the Pharaoh label. The Zakary Thaks and Bad Seeds used Nichol’s studio for their early singles. I’ve read that the studio burned down years ago with whatever stock and master tapes was left in it.
Any help with this would be appreciated
LP: 1001 – Ray Wray Quartet – Yes Indeed!
101 – Ray Wray Quartet – “A Song Is Born” / “When Your Love Has Gone” (with picture sleeve – see above) 102 – Robert Burnie – “My Twistin’ Mexicali Baby” / “Come Just a Little Bit Closer to Me” (J. Nicholls) Division of Alki Alki Music Pub. BMI 103 – Johnny Jay & the Pompadors – “You Drive Me Crazy (You Drive Me Wild)” (Johnny Mendez) / “I Feel So Lonely” (Benny Mendez) 104 – Billy Myers Combo – “Oso” / “Ten Little Indians” (some copies on red vinyl) 105 – Johnny Jay & The Pompadors – “She’s Gone And I’m All Alone” / “I Want You So I Need You So” 106 ? 107 ? 108 ? 109 – Don Blackey – “Mona Lisa” / ? 110 – Marvin Nash and the “K” Sisters – “I’ll Cry” / “Happiness” 111 ? 112 ? 113 – Davis Brothers – “I Don’t Hear You” / ? 114 – Noe Pro & The Blue Valiants – “Hit Me With The Stroll” / “My Love Is Real” 115 – Marvin Nash and the Chevelles – “Darling” / “Dina” (1961) 116 – Don Bennett And His Orchestra – “That’s All” / The Balladiers with Don Bennett And His Orchestra - “Texas A & M Waltz” 117 – Don Bennett & Orchestra – “Jersey Bounce” / “Only A Dream” 118 – Noe Pro and the Blue Valiants – “I Know” / “Reina de mi Vida” 119 – Little Joe Parker and the Vikings – “Straight Jacket” / “Feed the Chickens” (both by Joe Gonzales) 120 ? 121- Noe Pro & the Blue Valiants – “Come Along My Baby” / ?? (1964) 122 – Little Joe Parker and the Tigers – “Is That A Tiger In My Tank” / “Movin’ On” 123 – Ronnie Dale – “You’ve Learned How To Cry” 124 – Noe Pro and the Semitones – “I Know What’s Been Going On” / “I Love You My Darling” 125 – The Cruisers – “An Angel Like You” / “The Lonely” 126 – Jeanne Hatfield – “My Babe” / “Summertime” (March 1965) 127 ? 128 – The Cruisers – “Another Lonely Night” / “Please Let Me Be (The One For You)” (with picture sleeve) 129 – Simon Reyes & the Outerlimits – “My Baby Hurts Me” / “Mistake Number Three” 130 ? 131 – Billy D. Nash – “This Little Light Of Mine” / “There Is A Balm In Gilead” (with picture sleeve) 132 ? 133 – George and the Lion’s Den Trio Here’s George – “The Swinger” / “Crazy Ideas” (with picture sleeve) 134 – Arturo & Pat with the Invaders – “Oh Yes Tonight” / “So Tenderly & Faithfully” 135 – Jim Roberts – “Jukebox for Company” / “Hay for My Donkey” 136 – George and the Lion’s Den Trio – “Tequila Sour” / “Como Prima” 137 – The Cavaliers – “Pride” (Billy Rowe) / “Sea Weed” 138 – Danny Mata & the Pathfinders – “Looking Around” / “Iolavay” 139 – The Cruisers – “My Place” (E.J. Ledesma) / “Walkin’ and a Ridin'” 140 – Eddie & the Emeralds – “Preparation X” / “If You Only Knew” 141 – The Playboys of Edinburg – “Wish You Had A Heart” (James Williams) / “Understand Me” 142 – The Playboys of Edinburg – “Look at Me Girl” / “News Sure Travels Fast” (James Williams) 143 – Simon Reyes – “Broken Hearted Fool” / “What Now My Love” 144 – Jeanne Hatfield – “Wowie, Pretty Scary” / “If You Want Me” 145 – Don Pierce – “Take Another Drink” / “One Man Band” 146 – Thee Kavaliers – “That Hurts” / “Symbols of Sin” ( both by Javier Rios) 147 – The Headstones – “24 Hours (Everyday)” / “Wish She Were Mine” (both composed by Dave Williams) 148 – The Cruisers – “The Fire’s Gone” / “Oh! Sweetness” 149 – George Garza & the Lion’s Den Trio – “Watermelon Man” / “Blue Moon Of Kentucky” (1966) 150 – Thee Kavaliers – “The Last Four Words” / “Ballad Of Thee Kavaliers” 151 – Christopher & the Souls – “Diamonds, Rats and Gum” / “Broken Hearted Lady” (both composed by Chris Voss) 152 – The Headstones – “Bad Day Blues” (Williams-Palmer) / “My Kind of Girl” (Dave Williams) 153 – Brother & Sister – “See What Tomorrow Brings” (Arturo Longoria) / “The Answer Is Love” [square flower-power folk!] 154 – Thee Kavaliers (Cavaliers) – “Congregation for Anti-Flirts, Inc” / “Back to You” 155 – The Cruisers – “Celina” / “Baby Doll”
I had erroneously listed 141 and 142 as by the Playboys of Edinburgh, but they were not named after the Scottish city, but rather after Edinburg, TX, a small town northeast of McAllen.
Chicago: Pharaoh Records 7707 – Hot Coke – “Make This Love Last” / “All By My Self”
Massachusetts: (pressed either in NY or Hollywood): Pharaoh SA-327 – Roy Victor – “Hot Dog” / “You Are My Wish” (ZTSP-94713, arranged and cond. by Fran Devino, Harvest Hill publishing, ASCAP) Pharaoh 339 – Scavengers – “You Do It Too” / “Speed Trap”
Pharaoh 1006 – Paragons – “Who Am I” / “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow” (also released on BTR 1006)
Pharaoh 1235 – Dynamics – ” Lucy Part I” / “Lucy Part II”
Pharaoh 1236 – Roger Wayne & the Clic – “Ballad Of Sara Lee” / “I Gotta Lotta Time”
Pharaoh 1239 – Mike Catron & the Avanties – “Donna” / “Bass Beat”
Thank you to Gilbert Rodriguez for his help with this discography and to Ed Nadorozny for the Ron Wray sleeve scan. Thank’s also to Bob, Drunken Hobo, Jason Chronis, Max Waller and Tommy for the additional entries. Thanks also to Fred Hoyt for the Jeanne Hatfield sleeve scan.
I haven’t seen any concrete info on the Solid State. I’ve read the band was from Bandera, Texas, but the Elpa label was located at 5214 Beautonne in El Paso. El Paso is close to eight hours’ drive from Bandera, while San Antonio is within an hour, Austin two hours drive, and even Dallas is closer.
The A-side is the very moody “Wait and See”, written by Jerry Walker and Sam Lott.
The flip is “The Lynching”, a fascinating original by Jerry Walker with an upbeat rhythm and a catchy six-note guitar line, plus good soloing on the outro. The harmonies are cheery, but the words are most definitely not!
What is the matter in the street, I hear the clattering of feet, Here comes an angry bunch, They’ve had a little too much, You’d better not get in their way.
I hear a bandit’s on the loose, They meant to fit him with a noose, They are looking for a man, He has gotten out of hand, And they are going to string him up.
Looks like it’s lynching time again, And there’s no mercy to be shown, You’d better hide your head from the electric wind, (?) Destruction marks where where it has blown,
Sundown has set the scene for hate, Come ’round let’s all participate, Don’t be late for a party tonight, Celebrate for a triumph of right, The lynching mob knows where it’s at.
Look out, here they come your way, Watch out, you may hear them say, We are looking for a man, He has gotten out of hand, This man we’re looking for is you!
Looks like it’s lynching time again, And there’s no mercy to be shown, You’d better hide your head from the electric wind, (?) Destruction marks where where it has blown.
I have to wonder what inspired this song – perhaps the photos of lynchings that took place in the 40s and 50s where the crowd looks ebullient.
Both songs were published by Linjo Music. BMI’s database lists the song as one of Jerry Jeff Walker’s compositions, but it’s unlikely, as his usual publisher is Grouper Music, and by the time the Solid State released their 45 in October, 1968 Jerry Jeff was part of Circus Maximus and hadn’t made a name for himself as a songwriter yet. Though from upstate New York, Jerry Jeff busked through Texas in the mid-60s, so it is possible he was a member of this group or gave some songs to them.
To the long list of great 45s out of Dallas, add The Tortians’ “Red Cadillac”. The band lays down a chunky groove that never sounds rushed, as John Tincher shouts out the lyrics and plays some fantastic harmonica.
The band was actually from Oak Cliff, but this rare single was released on Karry Way Records, with an address of 4339 Jaffee, Dallas, 75216. The RCA custom pressing code, T4KM-9629/30 indicates it was mastered in the first half of 1966. Woodrow Pearson Baker wrote both “Red Cadillac” and the flip “Vibrations” (which I haven’t heard yet), published by Rightway Pub., BMI.
Guitarist Richard McDonald sent me a photo of his next group, the De’Vells, based in Irving but with some of the same members as the Tortians. Richard has a full bio on the bands at his site SpiritSteelGuitar.com, but I asked him some specifics about the Tortians and he kindly answered my questions.
My name is Richard (Dicky) McDonald. I was born and raised in a little suburb in Dallas, Texas called Oak Cliff. A lot of fine musicians and bands came from that area of Dallas like the Mystics, Kempy and the Guardians, the Jokers, Ray Wylie Hubbard, B.W. Stevenson, Jimmy and Stevie Ray Vaughan, Micheal Martin Murphey and others.
The band formed in Adamson High School in Oak Cliff around 1965, our freshman year. I played lead guitar. The Tortians were James King (rhythm guitar), Johnny Congleton (drums), Carl Lowe (bass), Dick McDonald (lead guitar), Gary McDonald (backup vocals) and John Tincher (lead vocals and sax).
We all played what ever was being played on the radio and some older stuff that we grew up with: Ventures, Chuck Berry, Jimmy Reed, Fats Domino. Duane Eddy. Most bands in Oak Cliff played pretty much the same stuff. That’s all we had besides country, big band, classical. Whatever band listened to the radio and figured out the songs first was the top band. It was Robert Farris of The Mystics who could figure stuff out fast.
How the record came to be. We were playing a gig at a roller rink I think the Shamrock in Lancastor, TX. Woody P. Baker was out listening to bands and asked if we would record some of his songs and we said yes. Woody set up and paid for the studio time. The Tortians were not signed by Kerry Way Records. I don’t remember the name of the studio but, it was the same studio where “Wine Wine Wine” was recorded by the Night Caps. Woody P. Baker wrote both “Red Cadillac” and “Vibrations”.
There are no pictures of the Tortians and I hope someone sees your website and has some.
I also played in a very hot band called the De’vells and I do have a picture of them. Most of the De’Vells played in the Tortians. The De’vells were Joel Reiner (drums), Rick Surratt (lead guitar), Dicky McDonald (lead guitar), John Tincher (lead vocals/sax), Carl Lowe (bass/vocals), and Little David (keyboards/vocals). This band won 2nd place in the 1967 Battle of the Bands at the State Fair of Texas, and got a trophy which We still have. I am surprised that we were not listed in the newspaper clipping on the website [see this page]. We were booked by an booking agency called Showco in Dallas.
Most of the original members still live very close to Oak Cliff. I have a pedal steel guitar shop in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma.
Richard McDonald Spirit Steel Guitar Broken Arrow, OK
Collin Pruit sent in scans and transfers of a very obscure 45 on Chan Romero’s Warrior label, Warrior L-140, The Wanderers “Don’t Pity Me” / “Give Me All You Got”. It sounds like 1965 or 1966. Collin and I agree that “Don’t Pity Me” is fine, low-key garage. The pressing is noisy even though the record Collin found was near mint.
“Don’t Pity Me” was written by D. Day, and the flip by Day and J. Newstrom.
In June 2013, drummer Jan Cahill wrote to me:
The Wanderers got together in the early fall of 1965. All of us were high school students (seniors) and I was contacted by David Day (he attended Billings West with me although I did not know him) as he heard I was a drummer and he wanted to put together a rock band. I cannot remember how he knew Danny Barnhart (Danny was our bass player and he lived in Laurel and attended high school in Laurel). Jerry Newstrom was a guitar player that I had heard of but really did not know all that well until we started practicing in … you guessed it … Danny’s garage.
We practiced for about two, maybe three months, and then began playing various weekends in and around Billings. We almost always had two nights a week which included the following places in Billings: What’s Happening, Lake Hills Golf (teen center in basement of club house), Shrine Auditorium, the Pub … and quite a few teen dances in Red Lodge, Laurel, Bozeman, Roundup, Lewistown, Deer Lodge, Butte, Great Falls, Plentywood (once 30 below zero when we played there), Columbia Falls, Powell, Wyoming, Thermompolis, Wyoming, Casper, Wyoming, Miles City, Montana. For the most part we barely made enough money to pay the rent on the halls, security, and gas for travel. A “good” night would provide each of us $20-$30 each after all expenses. A “bad” night and we had to chip in a few dollars to cover costs. BUT WE HAD A BLAST PLAYING!!
We were one Billings’ top teenage rock bands along with other bands such as the Frantics, Peter & the Wolves, Sound Establishment, Imperials. I am sure there other bands but I cannot remember their names.
Our major claim to “fame” as a teenage rock band was the fact the we won the “State Battle of the Bands” at the Yellowstone County Fair in the summer of 1966. I believe we beat out fifteen other bands from all over the state to be #1. I still have the plaque presented to the band from Governor Tim Babcock that evening. Each band played two songs and if my memory serves me correctly we played “Paint it Black” and “Ticket to Ride”. After we won we were then able to play one more song and I think it was “Walk Away Renee”. The grand finale was for all bands to perform “Gloria” which was the loudest (up to that time) I had ever heard bands play. There were several thousand spectators who watched all of the bands play throughout the early afternoon until the final performances in the early evening. It was one of the most exciting times (probably the MOST exciting) of the Wanderers.
The record was recorded in a local studio which explains the rather tin quality. I think we had 500 copies pressed. We recorded the songs in the thought that the Wanderers would be the next “Beatles or Rolling Stones”. Obviously that did not happen.
I have recorded several other 45’s with two different bands and those recordings were done in professional studios in Vancouver, Washington and Lubbock, Texas. I still have one of the records (Bobby Dann & the Generation Gap) but the other record has long ago disappeared (Gary Mundon Band). Unfortunately I do not have any pictures or posters from the Wanderers. Those that I had have long ago disappeared and the only reason I still have the plaque is that I somehow was smart enough to give it to my parents after the Battle of the Bands and my mother kept it all these years. I found it when I was going though her stuff after she passed away three years ago.
Eventually I left the Wanderers in early 1967 to join a road band that was on the Nevada circuit and make more money … a whopping $110.00 per week plus motel room. David Day moved to California and he eventually split up with Rick Mars and stayed with Whitehorse while several other band members formed Motley Crue. You can see their history by going to the Motley Crue website and you will see pictures of David Day.
Jerry got married and I think stopped playing and I have no clue what happened to Danny and Dennis Devlin. I talked with David Day about a half dozen years and he was still playing and was also a producer.
I played music professionally for another fifteen years on a steady basis in the area of country-rock and continue to play about two – four times a month. I had the pleasure/honor of playing with Wynn Stewart, Rex Allen Jr., and one night with Ray Price (his drummer was sick and Ray needed a drummer to play a concert in Great Falls, Montana, in the summer of 1975).
Bobby Dann and the Generation Gap performed at the J Bar T (Great Falls, Montana) between 1970-1976 and we always took three months off to perform in Nevada, Washington, Oregon and Canada. We played the Calgary Stampede, Edmonton Klondike Days, Carson City, Lake Tahoe, Reno, Fallon, Ely, Winnimucca, Gardenerville, (all in Nevada) but never in Las Vegas. We (Bobby Dann) also had our own nationally syndicated television show (1972) that ran for eighteen weeks.
It was a great time for all of us and one that I will always remember with great affection.
The Cords were a group of Franciscan monks based in Pulaski, Wisconsin, northwest of Green Bay. Most of the group came from Wisconsin, but a couple members were from Buffalo and one from North Chicago. Jim Bertler and James Brojek started the group in 1961, and the band’s lineup and styles evolved over the next decade. They played their first public show at the Pulaski Polish Sausage Day Festival in 1964.
The band didn’t record until 1969, when they traveled to Sauk City to record an album The Franciscan Cords – Spiritual Troubadours and two 45s for release on the Cuca label.
Members on the album and 45s are:
Jim (Bonaventure) Bertler – Vox Jaguar organ, also saxophone, bass and occasional vocal Kevin Schroder – rhythm guitar Bertin Bieda – electric accordion and vocals James Francis Kendzierski – tambourine, vocals, screams, turkey calls Matthew Gawlik – bass and 12-string guitar Sebastian Nocinski – drums (polka numbers only) and maracas Earl Hylok – drums (for rock numbers) and percussion Kenneth Mach – vocals
The Cords had two different drummers, Sebastian Nocinski for the polka numbers, and for the rock numbers first Tim Ryan and then Earl Hylok, who was not a Franciscan Brother but played with a local Pulaski rock band.
The LP was released first, in 1969, followed by the singles the following year. The album demonstrates they were mainly a polka and pop band, and includes a gentle version of “The Letter”. Jim Bertler produced the recordings, taking a more experimental approach with the singles to include sound effects, percussion and distortion. “Ghost Power” was chosen for the first volume of Back from the Grave for this wild instrumental sound.
The version of “Cords, Inc” on the album has the same backing track as the 45, but the album version doesn’t have the heavy fuzz guitar that distinguishes the single. The album version also has many more shouts and calls from Jim Kendzierski, especially on the drum break at a minute in. I like hearing the accordion upfront too.