The Magic Reign

Daniel McNabb submits this, the first record by the Magic Reign from October of 1968.

Vocalist Mike Volk and drummer and keyboard player Bobby Winkler had been in the Manassas, VA band the Chocolate Snowflake, whose members included Charlie Johnson and Rocky Isaac, both of whom were also in the Fallen Angels.

Winkler and Volk moved to Arlington and formed the Magic Reign, with original band members Duke Aires on guitar and Mike Burker on bass. Later additions include Pick Kelly bass, Johnny Peterson drums, Steve Summers lead guitar and Steve Crossan guitar.

Both the moody Mirrors and its flip (an adaption of “Pop Goes the Weasel”), were written by R. Christie and Michael Volk. Production was by Howard Boggess. “Pop Goes the Weasel” starts off well, but the nursery rhyme lyrics and an annoying whistle doom it to novelty status. “Mirrors” is genuinely intense, with a subdued fuzz solo and good production.

They released a second on Jamie, “Jefferson Street” b/w “Charcoal Sketch”, early in ’69. Jefferson Street was named after the street where they lived and is a good late-60’s psychedelic pop number.

Recently Dan met guitarist Duke Aires, when working on Duke’s ’63 Fender Jaguar, which inspired him to contribute this post. Thanks Dan!

57 thoughts on “The Magic Reign”

  1. Bobby Winkler (who is my uncle) is a big part of why I got into music 30 years ago. I remember way back in 1970, one year after Jefferson Street was recorded, Bobby had a sitar leaning against a couch on my grandmother’s back porch in Alexandria. I was about 8 years old and I used to crawl up under it and try to play it. Whenever I saw his acoustic sitting in the living room I used to pluck at the strings. I still remember when Bobby taught me what a triad was on the piano by teaching me the intro to a Three Dog Night song. Bobby eventually developed into a PHENONEMAL keyboard player. One time when the band “Quicksilver Messenger Service” was in town, they asked him to fill on keys because the keyboard player had just quit. Bobby rehearsed their albums for a week and played with them at a show in Baltimore. They were so impressed with him that they offered him the job but he turned it down because he didn’t want to leave his girlfriend at the time. Many years later as my skill as a guitar player increased we eventually started getting together and playing. I always learned a lot from those sessions.

    Steve Winkler

    1. Is Bobby still around? I used to Play in a Band and sometimes he played with us. He once said we sounded like we had snails on our toes. He called me Bird head because We slept in a basement once and a dead bird was by my head when we woke up. I guess the cat drug it in. Any way if you see hime tell him bird head said hello. my email is above

  2. Great article on the Magic Reign! Thanks for writing it. BTW, I’m Jamie (Bobby’s other nephew, cousin to Steve).

    Right you are about Pop Goes the Weasel – It was so bubblegum (ref. 1910 Fruitgum Company). Jefferson Street had a good rock-n-roll vibe similar to the early Steve Miller Band sound (ref. “Roll With It”). Charcoal Sketch was reminiscent of early Beegees sound (ref. “I Started a Joke”). I remember how excited we all were to hear Pop Goes the Weasel on Top 40 radio back in the day. It didn’t get much play but we all hoped it was the start of something big for them.

    I remember Mike Volk vividly even though I haven’t seen him in years.

    Pick Kelly is still alive and kickin. I saw him about 5 years ago and hear about him from time to time from family. He’s still reachable through Ginger (Bobby’s wife of 30 years).

    Interesting story about Ginger: she was best friends with Jennifer Juniper, whom Donavan wrote a song about back in the 60’s.

  3. As a founding and long standing member of TMR I can tell you that we never recorded a tune with that title. In what year was the Prom at McLean Steve, where was it held? I can’t place the song title in memory.

    1. I know this string is really old, but I’m Carl Grossman’s sister. I remember the Mosaic Virus poster in our basement. You can email me at ksarasera@aol if you ever see this.

  4. This band played at my McLean High School prom my junior year. Does any one know how I can get a copy of their song “When the Sun Comes Down”? It is a really beautiful song.

    1. Hi, I live in the house where the” jefferson st” photo was taken, can you tell me if they lived in that house, 502 Jefferson st? Thanks.

    2. Hi, I live in the house where the” jefferson st” photo was taken, can you tell me if they lived in that house, 502 Jefferson st? Thanks.

  5. I remember seeing this band at dances in the basement of St. Mary’s Church in Arlingtron, VA right after they were formed in 1967. They were REALLY great! I was a big fan of The Fallen Angels, and I was extremely pleased to see their ex-drummer Rocky playing in this band. The Chocolate Snowflakes music was really distinctive; they did some excellent covers (lead singer Mike doing Bee Gees was especially good) plus their own compositions like “Mirrors” which I felt had a ‘Fallen Angels’ feel to it. I do not remember seeing ex-Fallen Angels lead singer Charlie Jones (aka “CJ”) with The Chocolate Snowflakes. However, I do remember a pretty good harmonica player who’d wail away on a few blues songs. Unfortunately, this band was a very short-lived phenomenon. If they’d been in San Francisco at that time instead of Washington, DC, I really think they would’ve gotten a major recording contract and become very well known. They were good!

  6. Steve,I just ran across this site and saw my old buddy Bobby Winkler mentioned.Is this the same Bobby that went to St.Ritas and Leonard Hall? Ask him if he remembers me? Bobby,Henry Wharton and myself hung together a lot way back when. Like so many, we sort of lost track of each other in the 60’s but I always wondered what became of Bobby. Please let me know. Thanks, Mike Hanlon

  7. The Magic Reign was the result of 4 players from 2 groups joining together in very early 1968. Mike Buker (The Fish) and Bill Aires (Duke) from the Mosaic Virus teamed up with Mike Volk and Bobby Winkler (B-Wink) of The Chocolate Snowflake. The “Virus” was the house band at a “Fillmore West” like venue in DC called The Ambassador Theater and The Snowflake played there on occasion – the four of us met there and the group was born. Over the next several years “The Reign” became one of the top acts in the region and it also morphed many times. However, through all of the personnel changes Mike Buker, Mike Volk and Bobby Winkler remained the core of the group. Mike Buker was primarily the lead vocalist but also played bass in the 4 piece configuration of the group. At one time we were a 5 and 6 piece group. I also recall a 3 piece configuration (and alot of CCR at “The WigWam”). Mike Volk was an innovative lead/rhythm guitarist who sang backup and lead. Mike had a great personality and was always writing original material. Bobby Winkler played either Drums or Piano, depending on the configuration, and sang backup (and an occasional Ringo lead). Bobby was an amazing player on either drums or piano and had a great sense of humor. Bobby’s talent made us very versatile. The other band members as I recall were Picky Kelly (Bass/Vocals), Robert Christie (12 string Guitar), Steve Sommers (Guitar/Vocals), Steve Croson (Guitar/Vocals), Joe Reno (Guitar/Vocals), Johnny Peters (Drums), Vince Santoro (Drums), Tommy ? (Drums). WOW, that’s alot of folks and I appologize for not remembering Tommy’s last name. Tommy was the drummer on our “Jefferson Street” promo picture. We recorded two singles under the guidance of our Manager, Paul Christie, Program Director at WEAM AM Radio. The singles were Pop Goes The Weasel/Mirrors and Jefferson Street/Charcoal Sketch. Paul hooked us up with Jamie records, a division of Phil-A of Soul out of Philadelphia and somewhere along the way we found a producer – Howard Boggess, who produced both 45’s. “The Weasel” was great fun and got alot of airplay (Bubblegum was top 40 then). Jefferson Street took off like a rocket, but the label failed to distribute it so it died after a few weeks. That was truly unfortunate because it would have probably been a top 20 hit. Mike, Bobby and I wrote Jefferson Street in the hallway of a VA High School during a break when we were playing a gig one night. We became great friends with Howard and he guided us to an album deal in NYC with Vanguard Records. However, the $$$ weren’t good enough to support us in California so it didn’t fly. We played alot of original music but in the beginning it was alot of radio music like Bee Gees, Stones, Paul revere, Beatles, Neil Young, CCR etc….We were an excellent cover band and the original music had great promise! We did alot of neat things as a group, we traveled, opened for some big acts (5th Dimension at Constitution Hall) and made a music video with Janis Joplin, Iron Butterfly and The Strawberry Alarm Clock (all seperate segments on the overall video). The video played on a local DC TV station. I guess the group broke up around 1970-71, I don’t recall the exact year. Those were great times and I have some great memories of everyone, the places we played and the fun we had. I may get a couple of pics up on this site later on! If any former band members read this, please accept my Very Best Wishes!

    Mike Buker
    R&R VA 67-75
    Mosaic Virus, Magic Reign, Sun Country, Shades of Autumn, Nowhere Men

  8. Please have Bobby contact me – I saved tickets for him for the British Walkers Reunion concert this coming Sunday, July 19 at JVs in Falls Church – I managed bands and produced concerts for years after Bobby and I knew each other some 30 years ago. Patty 703-971-0201

  9. So glad to make contact with you again even though the last thing I remember you saying to me was “You and Picky are Pimped”. What a great time that was. Whenever I’m asked about the music days I always say that the Reign was the best sounding band live I ever played with. The harmonies were great and you had such a great voice. Hope to hear from you again.
    Your friend Steve.
    Lead Guitar 69-70.

  10. From Patty Harrington, friend of Carol Gorski and Sherry Kerr, Edison in the ’60s. Got tickets to British Walkers – wanted to know if Bobby wants tickets.

  11. Mike – Wasting time online is sometimes fruitful…I’m so glad to have run you down at this site. Hope all’s well with you. The drummer’s name you were trying to remember was Tommy Pinella, I think. I live in Nashville and see Joe Reino and Steve Bishop here. Are you in the D.C. area? Anyway, it’s a flash from the past and I was tickled to read this posting. Vince

  12. Great to hear from you Steve! PIMPED? Probably, sounds like something I’d say. You were one of the good guys Steve, and a great fit to the Reign.
    Loved your vocals and guitar work! Still in DC?

    Mike Buker
    R&R VA 67-75
    Mosaic Virus, Magic Reign, Sun Country, Nowhere Men, Shades of Autumn

  13. Whacked Out Vince! Thanks for Tommy’s last name, it was drivin’ me nuts. Nashville, Joe & Steve? Please say hello to them for me! I love that place. Might be coming to TN to live in the next year or so. Currently in S FL. Are you guys still in music careers? You were/are an awesome drummer, and Steve could really shred! JR, great guy and a good friend!

    Very Best of Wishes!

    Mike Buker
    R&R VA 67-75
    Mosaic Virus, Magic Reign, Sun Country, Nowhere Men, Shades of Autumn

  14. Good to hear back from your Mike. Still in DC but moving to Memphis in Nov. Still see Icke from time to time. Worked with Bobby and Pick in Daddy Warbux for a short time running sound but it been years ago. Lived in San Diego from 75 to 90. Played bass in a 3 piece with sister Elaine for 3 years in SD. Had a great time. Shoot me an email. I met some some great music people in California most of them you’ll know.
    Take care.

    Steve Summers
    steves_48@yahoo.com
    66-70
    J-Walkers, Penny Arcade,Yellow Brick Road,Majic Reign,Telstars

  15. The correct spelling of Tommy’s last name is Panella. We both grew up, less than two blocks apart, in the Anacostia section of DC & had bands at the same time(’64-’66).

  16. Come Piasano,Vince my man, You and I e-mailed fairly recently, being the good Italian boy that you are you must know my name is Panella. Like “pAne”, bread. Thanks for the mention Vince.

  17. Well, well, well…Mr. Michael Buker alias “The Fish” how are you doin’ bro? I can’t believe we could still connect “…after all those years” and not be crazy or are we? I now live in Naples, Fl – where in FL are you? I’m still playin’ and singing a lot. My 25 year old son is an excellent drummer / leader of a band he started years ago named “Diego Roots”(see you tube or Face book)they’re all original Reggae/Funky 3 CD’s. My 27 year old daughter just got married. I lived in Israel and taught music there for 7 years. Then out to San Fran, L.A. & San Diego for a total of twenty some years. Played with the Temtations and the Drifters, Bobby Day , Percy Sledge for 6 years while there in L.A., studio work with RCA and ABC Dunhill records etc. etc. Yea…I still remember Jefferson St. , St. Albans Bud Becker(Domestic Sound Agency. You may know that I carried on the Magic Reign name after we disbanded for another 7 years with players that Bud asked me to put together. We did a couple of records in Nashville studios and played major shows i.e opening for Yes, Jethro Tull Rod Stewart and others, in the D.C , MD, VA and East Coast area. very good times. Write and let me know what’s up in your life Mike. Ciao.

    Tommy Panella
    619 823-5953 cell

  18. Hey Randy,
    Tommy Panella here bro! Unreal to locate you on this site, and all of the others as well. I’m still drummin’/singin’ alot, and now live in Naples, Fl. I’ve been around the world with music over the years. I’ve connected with Rocky Grey, Junior Augustine, Carlos Sevilla and other Anacostia guys, and girls. Shoot me an e-mail or call me @ 619 823-5953. Look forward to hearin’ back from a childhood S.E. buddie.

    Ciao,
    TP

  19. I would like to know the names of the band members of Mosaic Virus. I would appreciate any history on the band. I was googling Strawberry Alarm Clock and saw where Mosaic Virus played on the same night at the Ambassador Theater in D.C. in 1967. A friend from years ago told me he played in the band. Just curious.

  20. Hey Fish, Great to hear back from you. I’m Bobby Wink’s nephew (I was only about 11 or 12 when you knew me).
    Me and Uncle Bob have been laughing about how this page seems to be reuniting all you rock n’ rollers from all over the globe.
    Let us know when any of you come to DC area. Bob’s still ticklin the old ivory and got fire shut up in his finger bones!

  21. I’ve still been in touch through the years with Henry. He’s in to real estate now. Good to hear from you. Hope you’re doing alright. Please give my regards to Marie. I think of you and her a lot. You were a good friend way back when. Please give me a way to contact you. I don’t have access to the internet at home. Be Blessed and have a joyous Christmas and New Year!

  22. Hey Bobby,
    Give me a hollar on my cel. # is 352-397-5508 I’m in Florida now. Daytime is best for me. Been a long time bud.I’d love to hear from ya’ Mike

  23. Saw his name in your commentary. Think it might be the same Joe that I’d love to correspond with. I lived in Springfield Va during the ” era ” & knew Joe very well. My last name used to be Fisher. Joe was the best guitarist I’ve ever known.
    Marnie

  24. I just happened to Google the name of the band and was directed here,wow !. I remember them playing at St.Michael’s and St. Alban’s in Annandale,what a great band. I used to have the 45 of Jefferson Street but it disappeared over the years, what a treat to be able to listen to that song again,brought back many memories. Thanks for this website.

  25. Hi Marnie,

    This is Andy, lead singer from the Princetons. Where is Joe these days? Looking for him as well as the other guys from Kings Park who were in the band. and, yes, Reino was the best guitarist I knew at the time!

    Thanks,

    Andy

  26. Judy….I was in the Virus but can’t recall all of the names. Drums was William “Duke” Aires, one of the guitarists first name was Dave and we had a female vocalist who did some killer Airplane….her first name was Fran, we called her Franny. I played bass and sang lead/backup. Great bunch of folks in the group and I’m leaving out at least two more players, maybe 3, just can’t recall the names. Yes, we were the house band at the Ambassador and opened for many groups including the Strawberry Alarm Clock.
    Mike

  27. Nice to hear from you Jamie (and I do remember you too) and very happy to hear that Bobby continues to play. Me too, and probably everyone else we knew back then. Please say Hi To Bobby and wish him the best!
    Mike

  28. Mike, thank you for your help. These were brothers, Danny and Larry Coleman. Ring a bell with anyone else? Danny went to Viet Nam later. This is a great website, and I’ve loved all the music history.

  29. any idea whatever happened to Bud Becker? he was our (Incredible Fog) manager too. and I well remember Magic Reign. great band.

  30. Jon…..Bud Becker is alive n’ kickin’. I believe he lives in MD and you can find him on Facebook. He operates his own DJ company and has always been involved in music in one way or another.

  31. I remember watchiing u guys at the keg in the 60’s.

    I thought you had a guitar player named Pete Williams who was a lot like Hendrix.

    Enjoyed reading all the mail and hope to see u guys at jaxx on the 27th.

    Mike
    fitzman1150@ yahoo.com

  32. Pete Williams, aka “Peaches” worked with us some and also with “Sun Country” when I was with that group.

  33. How come there isn’t a photo of the band up here yet? Listening again to Mirrors and it’s such a great recording. The drummer and pianist are very in tune with each other.

  34. I PLAYED WITH TOMMY IN THE NEXT MAGIC REIGN WE RLAYED ALL THE LOCAL CLUBS PLUS DOING RECORING IN NASVILLE. ALSO DOING ALOT OF MOVING FROM CLUB TO LOCAL CLUBS OPENING FOR SEVERAL BIG ACTS. HOME CLUB WAS “SOMEPLACE ELSE” PLUS OTHERS,DAN K.

  35. I’m just trying to remember if a VERY tall guy from Annandale ever played in TMR – his name is Rod Hinkle and he played a 64/65 Jaguar. He was a novice guitarist w a pretty good voice (although I don’t know if he actually sang in the group). Thanks!! John

  36. It’s taking me some time to know just what to write. Bobby was a good friend and no matter how many years would go buy he was the same ole Bobby when I’d see him again. What a personallity and of course a great musician. Thanks Mike for letting his friends know.
    Steve Summers
    Magic Reign 68-69

  37. I’m so sorry to tell everyone that Robert “Bobby” Winkler passed away in Northern Virginia about 2 weeks ago. Bobby was a part of the original “core” of the Magic Reign, playing both drums and keys at various times. Bobby was very talented and I will miss him. RIP B Wink!

    1. Hey Mike!
      It was a beautiful memorial and funeral service with most all of Bobby’s friends and family in attendance. Bobby’s son, kept it real and didn’t sugarcoat anything in his tribute, but he accentuated all the positives of his Father’s life. He also professed that, as a result of some amazing occurrences surrounding his passing, he had renewed vision and faith in God. Anyway, just thought I’d share…
      Hope you’re doing well!

  38. An already lousy day just got worse.I’m sure sorry to learn of Bobby’s passing. We were pretty close for a long while back in school.Glad I had the opportunity to talk with him a couple of times in the last year.He had promised me a cd of his current music and,since I hadn’t received it, I was thinking about calling him.Godspeed my old pal.You’re not forgotten.
    And thanks Mike B.for the update,bad as it is.Glad you and Bobby managed to reconnect.Do you have any more details to share?Feel free to email me if you do. Thanks,Mike H

  39. I remember The Magic Reign playing at the Falls Church Community Center dance. The band covered “It’s a beautiful day” by Moby Grape and I complimented the group for choosing that song and playing it so well. I thought the concert was excellent.

    Is the “Jefferson Street” the Jefferson St. in Falls Church? I lived near there. Let me know.

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