Mike Jones Group Photo

The Mike Jones Group

The Mike Jones Group at the Jail
Original lineup of the Mike Jones Group circa 1965, from left: Earl Kimble, Bob Panetta, Mike Jones, Roger Rodier and Richard Dupuis. Photo courtesy of Louise D.

One of the very top Canadian records of the 60’s, its origins were somewhat obscure until I heard from Bob Panetta and George Legrady in 2010 and 2011.

The A-side is a good cover of “Each and Every Day”, recorded by Manfred Mann and written by Mike Hugg. The flip, “Funny Feeling”, is something else altogether, blending a heavy fuzz riff, pounding drums, swirling organ and a first-rate vocal, with a ripping guitar solo to top it all off. It was written by the group’s bassist, Joey Campelone.

Mike Jones was an alias for Michael LaChance, a recording engineer from Montreal. I’d read that he put a studio band together with musicians from other groups for this 45, but the band was actually a working group. Roger Rodier described recording an acetate with the Mike Jones Group and traveling to New York to try for a record deal which didn’t materialize.

The original group, who recorded demos in New York that have yet to be released:

Mike Jones – lead vocals
Bob Panetta – lead guitar
Richard Dupuis – rhythm guitar
Roger Rodier – bass
Earl Kimble – drums

Later lineup:

Mike Jones – lead vocals
Bob Panetta – lead guitar (replaced by Richard Lasnier)
Billy Smith – rhythm guitar
George Legrady – keyboards
Joe Campelone – bass
Earl Kimble – drums

Jet Records was run by Don Wayne Patterson and distributed by London Records. Rumor had it there is a whole LP’s worth of material in the Jet vaults, but that seems to be an exaggeration.

Mike Jones Group Photo
The Mike Jones Group, from left: Bob Panetta, George Legrady, Billy Smith, Joe Campelone, Earl Kimble and Mike Jones

Recently founding member Bob Panetta contacted me with the photos and some early history of the band:

I unearthed this rare photo of a later version of the Mike Jones Group. An old friend of the band, Louise D. had kept it in an old shoebox. From left to right: Bob Panetta lead guitar, George Legrady keyboards, Billy Smith rhythm guitar, Joe Camplone bass and vocals, Earl Kimble drums and Mike lead vocals.

When I met Mike at the St-Germain high school in Ville St-Laurent, I was already playing guitar for a few years. He was a great pop music aficionado. He had all the recent albums by Manfred Mann, The Animals, Stones, Beatles and the rest. We’d get together and learn all of the more obscure songs of these groups. We didn’t want people to tag us as a cover band.

We formed our first group The Forgotten, but it was just a garage band. I don’t think we ever played anywhere. Then we auditioned for Mel Younger who was to be our manager (he was also The Rabbles’ manager). We reformed the band with different musicians and changed our name to The Mike Jones Group with Earl Kimble on drums and Roger Rodier on bass. There was also a guy called Richard Dupuis on rhythm guitar. That’s the original band who went to New York to record a few demos.

We started at the Jail, a pretty hip little joint in the north-end of Montreal. We started getting a pretty good following of fans. As time went on we were playing bigger and bigger dance halls around Montreal. In those days there were literally hundreds of places you could play.

One of the more memorable places was the Bonaventure Curling Club in Dorval. That hall could contain thousands of people. If you were booked there, it meant that you had made it big in Montreal. There was also a place called the Hullabaloo but it’s kind of vague in my mind.

I was in the band for most of the journey and when I quit Richard Lasnier replaced me. They went on to record a single but the band broke up not long after that. I used to have a copy of the demos we recorded in New York but I lent them to some friends and never got them back.

I’ve been a musician all my life and still play to this day. In the ’60’s I played with a group called The Oven with Gary Marcus, a great guitarist and friend. We were the opening act for The Young Rascals at the Paul Sauvé arena if I recall. Then went on to backup French artists like Nicole Martin, Steve Fiset and Claire Lepage. Today I’m more into jazz & blues.

Bob Panetta

St-Germain high school in Ville St-Laurent, circa 1962. Mike Jones is in the second row, third from the right. Bob Panetta in the last row, fifth from the right.

Keyboardist George Legrady wrote to me with some information about the band and also his later experience with the Haunted:

The Mike Jones group in Montreal consisted of Mike Jones (Michel Lachance) on vocals, Earl Kimble on drums, Joey Campelone on bass, Ricky on lead guitar, I think Bill Smith on rhythm guitar, (he and I later played in the Haunted with Bob Bosak, Johnny Monk, Gary Marcus) and I on keyboards. I was the last to join the band in January 1966. We rehearsed in the basement of a suburban house out in north Montreal – I think Pierre Dumouchel was the name of the roadie and it was his parents’ house.

We were together for about 1.5 years and played all the time. There was a lot of youthful “lets conquer the world” energy. I was the youngest at 16 as most of the others were between 18-19 which at that time seemed to make a big difference. We played week-ends mostly french Canadian dance halls. I remember competition were “The Sinners” but then we crossed paths with the Rabble, and did see and admire the Haunted. We began with Animals songs, and moved on to Kinks, and other top music of the time. It was a great experience to be part of this group as for me, I was still in high school and it definitely gave me a boost in the “getting out into the world” scheme of things.

The group was very eager to get Don Wayne as manager.

“Funny Felling” was recorded in a Montreal studio near Cotes-des-Neiges Blvd. The song was written right near the end of the band’s existence, in fact. I played a Hammond B3 with Leslie speaker, but on gigs I normally used a Hohner keyboard and Fender amplifier. I don’t have any photos, nor have kept in touch with anyone, but I do have a tape with three other songs. We used to play at a club called the “Jail” in east end Montreal and one of the songs begins with an intro by Don Wayne…I have to find it…

Mike Jones Group stayed together from 1966 to about 1968. The band broke up because Mike got the offer to become a recording engineer at the studio where we recorded “Funny Feeling” [and] reverted back to Michel Lachance. I knew Roger Rodier but don’t remember when he was with the band. I think before I was in it. I don’t know what happened to the players.

Q. I asked Jurgen Peter of the Haunted if any members were involved in the Mike Jones Group, and he said no, but maybe he just didn’t know about it?

Jurgen does not list me at his website: http://www.thehaunted.com/ and he may have a block about keyboard players as there were others who are not listed either. I was part of the last group consisting of Johnny Monk, Joey Toplay, Gary Marcus, Bill Smith. The original mythic power of the early “1-2-5” rock band Haunted was gone. Jurgen continued to rebuild the band, and I was in the last one which was more Doors/Hendrix/LCD/hippie direction. Our lead guitarist wore a long Japanese robe and sword and went barefoot on Trois-Rivieres TV.

Jurgen did not play anymore but was the manager. He would travel with Hank Squires in front of the truck. I was also the youngest in this band. Jurgen and I had some email exchanges a few years ago about the fact I am not listed, and he was not that receptive to my request to list me as keyboard player. In fact, the exchange could have been a bit more constructive.

Q. How long did you play with the Haunted?

I think it may have been about 8-9 months. My father was pressuring me to go to college, and I had to drop around May 1969. I remember this as I chose to stop playing the night when the Haunted opened for the Who at the Forum who were on their highly successful “Tommy” tour.

Q. I’m curious as to how separate the French and English music scenes were in Montreal, and if it changed between the mid and late 60s. Did the Mike Jones Group sing only in English?

Mike Jones and also the Haunted played at a lot of French gigs. The odd thing was that the French were crazy about R & B. With the Mike Jones group at the Jail, I remember the minute we would break in-between sets Wilson Picket’s “Midnight Hour” would be received with total joy by everyone. We would make jokes about it.

Q. The flip of the Haunted’s 45 “Vapeur Mauve” was a cover of Talk Talk in French called ‘Porquoi’. I’ve read this was a different group and the Haunted were not pleased about it showing up on the b-side of their record. Any idea who the band was and why this was done?

I am playing the keyboards on “Vapeur Mauve” but there was a previous keyboardist I met who played on “Out of Time” the Rolling Stones song and some other recordings…I forget his name…nice person. Jurgen Peter was the business manager and so he was the one negotiating all of this. We were all surprised about the fact that someone else was put on the back.

George Legrady

The Mike Jones Group in Rag Pot vol. 1 no. 1, (Montreal' s Latest Teenage Journal) Feb. 24, 1967
The Mike Jones Group in Rag Pot vol. 1 no. 1, (Montreal’ s Latest Teenage Journal) Feb. 24, 1967 (click to see full cover)

Don Wayne Patterson sent to me the photo above from the cover of Rag Pot no. 1 and wrote to me:

Managed and recorded Mike Jones Group – have an album in the vault and a 45 RPM one-sided French version of “Each and Every Day”. Also put out a lot of other Garage bands on my Jet Label. Have a full album in the can from King Beezz (Edmonton). And have several master tapes of Louis McKelvey bought at a garage sale in Montreal.

Published seven issues of RagPot promoting Canadian groups … missing vol. 1 no. 3 and hope to reprint all issues (book form) along with several columns I wrote for Hollywood’s Teen Screen magazine and a small Rosemere newspaper.

Sources include: Roger Rodier’s notes in the reissue of his 1972 LP Upon Velveatur (thanks to Ivan for pointing that out). Thank you to George Legrady and Bob Panetta for their help.

20 thoughts on “The Mike Jones Group”

  1. i have an ad out of Ragpot Magazine for the mike jones group playing in clubs so they must have not been just a studio group. would be cool if the lp came out

  2. YES I HAVE A WHOLE ALBUM IN THE CAN OF MIKE JONES GROUP ……………NEVER RELEASED – AND DID ONE 45 ON MY JET LABEL.
    RAGPOT WAS MY MAGAZINE-NEWSPAPER I DID TO HELP PROMOTE MY 7 GROUPS I WAS MANAGING IN THE 1960’S AND WOULD LOVE TO HEAR FROM ANYONE WITH COPIES. I AM MISSING A FEW AND WOULD LIKE TO BORROW THEM TO MAKE COPIES.
    MIKE JONES WORKED QUEBEC DANCE HALL CIRCUIT AND HIGH SCHOOL DANCES AND WERE A NICE BUNCH OF GUYS .
    MIKE THE SINGER WENT ON TO BECOME A GOOD AND WELL KNOWN STUDIO ENGINEER WORKING WITH MANY BIG NAME QUEBEC FRENCH GROUPS.

  3. hey don
    how bout releasing everthing you have as a series. people would love to hear a mike jones lp same for a king beezzz lp. what are you waiting for?

  4. hello there im so interested in he past i know joey camplone very well and earl the drummer kimble is my dad please write back my dad wa a drummer at the ustach and all down town montreal

  5. Back in the sixties, I auditioned for what was to be and never was, a come back or re-issue of the Mike Jones Group lead by this colorful character Michel Lachance.

    I showed up as requested downtown at a fancy shmancy apartment complex on Guy and Sherbrooke “Croyden Apartments” to be greeted by the then band agent or manager “Angie.” WOW!!!! She opened the door of her studio apartment wearing a red bikini, looking over the top gorgeous with her blonde hair and Teri Garr look about her that is still tattooed in my mind.

    We had a few moments together before the other fellows showed up. I will always remember some of the incidentals in our conversation. For example; she was an active member of M.E.N.S.A. that group of brainiacs and she had I. Q. tests strewn about her coffee table telling me that she had to regularly get tested (about every year) to make sure that she was up to speed and also that the brain is like any other muscle and that it had to be used as not to fade away. The other small fact that always remained in my memory about Angie is that she told me about her girl friend in England that also managed a band. The band was none other than the Spencer Davis Group. To me and my friends these guys were gods of music, with Stevie Winwood and all, too cool!

    Then walks in this guy with hair down to his ass. Another unforgettable fact here is that his name was Billy Smith and get this, he did not speak English. He explained that his parents split up when he was young and lived with his French speaking mother. It was odd yes, but understandable. He must have replaced Roger Rodier on bass cause when I saw the Mike Jones Group playing outside in back of Sir Winston Churchill High, Roger was on bass with dyed red hair, what a sight he was to see and quite the showman.

    Next, in walks Robert (Bob) Pannetta the guitarist with Mike Jones, not much small talk. The test song was to be “My Generation.” Do you know how to play it Frank? Yes, I was weaned on it. They led me down to a basement room with great equipment and we jammed. It went very well but the band never came to be. They just were this great memory of a super cool afternoon in the sixties.

    Bob was at my sixtieth birthday party last week and he’s still a great guy. He sells guitars at Archambeault downtown. Never heard from the others, but I sure wish them well.

  6. hi shannon, I used to play keyboards in the Mike Jones group when we did the dance circuit. What are Earl and Joey doing these days? How do I get in touch with them?

    Very best,

    George

  7. Hi Shannon,

    I’m Bob Panetta, co-founder of the Mike Jones Group. I knew your dad very well and I’d like to have some news of him. We played together for quite a while with Joey and the rest of the guys. I’d like to get in touch with you. Send me an e-mail.

    Bob

    1. Hey there. Its nice to hear things from my fathers ( Earl Kimble ) past. I unfortunately have bad news my father passed away a few years back but he always spoke of his rock n roll days.

      1. Hi Mark,
        I’m really sadened to hear of your father’s passing away.
        Earl was an intense guy but he had a good heart. I still remember his large smile and his sparkling eyes when the band was really hot,playing in front of a large crowd.He was a great rock drummer hitting those drums with awsome energy and authority. We were good friends and I often visited him on our off days.He had a great sense of humor.You can be proud of him. Bob

  8. hi don,
    I’m bob panetta the original guitarist of the mike jones group.i formed the band with mike who was a highschool friend of mine.We had this first band called the forgotten and we were playing all the hits of the emerging brittish bands.then mel younger came on the scene and we reformed with earl kimble on drums and roger rodier on bass.there was also a guy called richard dupuis on rhythm guitar.that’s the original band who went to new york to record a few demos.we got really good feedback from producers in the states but were turned down on a technicality (they wanted us to change our name to a french one).if you have any of these demos,i’d sure love to have a copy of them.i tried to get in touch with some of these guys but they.re nowhere to be found.you can contact me through my e-mail adress.
    thanks.
    bob

    1. Bob, Michel Lachance lives on de Maisonneuve Ouest and is in the phone book…. he and his business partner have a company.. recording/ads/soundboards???

      Janette Lachance.

  9. Hi,

    Do you have any pictures of Richard Dupuis ? Play with him in a 60’s group call Purple Haze .
    Looking for also any pictures or articles on The Purple Haze .

    Thank you!

    G

  10. Hi, Bob…. remember you well from the days you hung around with Michel, my brother-in-law…. came across a lock of your hair the other day…. a keepsake for the time you and Mike Jones became famous, lol…. Good to have this photo. Mike runs a business in Montreal, something to do with recording ads, etc. Hope you are happy and healthy!
    Janette & Andre Lachance

    1. Hi Janette,
      I just read your comment. A lock of my hair? Really?
      I’m happy to hear from you. I’ve always considered Mike a close friend of mine.
      Unfortunately our paths separated a long time ago but the memories are still dear to me to this day. As teenagers we used to dream of becoming as popular as the Beatles…And we worked hard to get the band going . We came close to realizing our dreams when the band went to New York to record the demos. I would sure love to meet him again and talk about old times. Whenever you speak to him,would you be kind enough to give him my e-mail? Thanks a million.
      Bob

  11. Hi Bob Panetta…. unfortunately the last time I was in touch with Michel was about 5 years ago when his brother Gilles died…. Andre & I live in New Brunswick now and Michel is diabetic and was sick for awhile, but my sister in law says he is in the Montreal phone book and he has a recording business downtown. Lovely to hear from you.
    Janette

    1. Hi Janette,
      Thanks for keeping me informed about Mike & band. I made a mistake about that school photo.It was more likely ’62 or ’63 .In ’65 we were already on the roll and giging around town. I’m sorry to hear that Mike’s being sick. I’d love so much to hear from him. We were close friends in those days and there’s a lot of happy memories, still very clear in my mind,associated with that period of our lives.
      Hope all’s well with you & André.
      Bob

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