Adrian’s Sinsations

James Shott wrote to me about a group he was in during the late ’60s, Adrian’s Sensations, or Sinsations. James wrote:

I played in a band called either Adrian’s SInsations, or Adrian and the SINsations (it was called both by audiences) in the Hampton/Newport News/Norfolk/Virginia Beach area. People knew me as “Smokey.”

The SINsations was a very good band, and played a good bit at the Peppermint Beach Club, filling in for Bill Deal and the Rhondells when they were gone.

Adrian Brandt played keyboards, Wayne Beckner played guitar, Joe Smith played drums, Jean Lynch sang, Jim Williamson and I played trumpet, Mike Minguez and Tom Gallucci played tenor sax, Dickie Dawes and David Champagne played trombone (at different times), Curly (can’t remember last name) played bass for a while and then another bass player, too. Gary Church was a singer in the band before Jean Lynch.

The band was quite good. We played soul, but also the top tunes of the day. Somewhat like Blood, Sweat & Tears, Chicago and Tower of Power, the Sinsations employed elements of jazz into the arrangements.

We spent a good bit of time in Virginia Beach at the Peppermint Beach Club, and played in clubs in Virginia Beach, Hampton, Newport News and Norfolk, and also played military bases. The horn players were music majors in college, and the rhythm section was mostly self taught, but quite good. Jean Lynch was a very thin girl with a big voice; sounded like Aretha Franklin.

I was in the band from either late 67 or early 68 until I was separated from the USAF (Jim Williamson, David Champagne also in AF, Mike Minguez in Army). I believe the group continued to work for a while after that, but lost contact with the guys.

I’d like to get some feedback from other members and anyone who heard/saw the group.

40 thoughts on “Adrian’s Sinsations”

  1. A good friend of mine and a great singing drummer named Tom Strew played in that band at some point. I’m certain I’ve heard him mention playing with Adrian. Tom was with the Beach Nuts in the early/mid 60s and that’s where I first saw him. He and I were in rival beach bands then. I was in the Mustangs from Hampton and Tom lived in Virginia Beach. We played on the same bill at the VA Beach Dome in 1965 and became friends. Over the years we both played with a variety of different Tidewater bands and finally played together in a band called Rooth who played all over Tidewater, DC, the Outer Banks and up and down the mid Atlantic club scene in the 70-73 time frame. In 1973 Rooth re-located to the San Francisco Bay area where we had mixed luck because the great 60s SF music scene was winding down by then. After Rooth disbanded in 1975 and some members moved back to Virginia, Tom and I moved to Los Angeles to bust into the recording studio scene where we did quite well. Tom is in the aerospace field now in Southern California and is on the brink of retirement. I’ll see him over the holidays and ask him if this is the same band he mentioned and if he has anything to add.

  2. I am really hoping and asking for anyone who heard/liked the group or played in it to post some comments. I haven’t either not had contact, or lost contact with the guys over the years and would like to catch up, or be given information about any and all of them.

    Thanks for all assistance.

    1. I went to the Checkmate off Mercury Blvd in Hampton and saw Adrian and the Sinsations. Gary Church was the lead singer at that time! I loved listening to the., went everytime they played at the Checkmate.

      1. Thanks Cindy Martin for that comment. I always liked playing the Checkmate, and all the other guys in the band. I haven’t had contact with most of them in many years.

      2. The Checkmate was a great venue. Always enjoyed playing there.

        Thank you for your comment.

        Would appreciated more from you about the band.

    2. Smokey,
      Ron Lowder here…Played sax with the Sheepherders and a number of other groups. I believe we played together in Jerry Leggett’s band in the early or mid ’60s. Adriain’s band was really great. Last place I saw the group was at that small club on Jefferson Ave. near Briarfield Road. Those were the days!!!

      1. Yeah, Ron! How are you doing? I remember the Echoes and you.

        I was at Langley from Nov. 66 to 28 Aug. 70, and the Echoes was the first group I was in, probably in 67 somewhere.

        That was a fun group. Good days, for sure.

        Do you remember Mickey Siechrist/Sechrist who played drums. I was in touch with him a few years ago. That about the only contact with that group.

    1. Smokey, how are you doing? I am living part time in Florida and in Virginia. Still playing when I get the chance. Last I spoke with Gary Church was about ten years ago. He was living down on the Outer Banks, Adrian passed away in Sept. of 2015. http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/dailypress/obituary.aspx?page=lifestory&pid=175729318
      Wayne Beckner died while playing a job with Adrian. Adrian told me they were play a song, noticed that Wayne stopped playing, He checked on Wayne and he had passed. What a way to go. I have not been able to find his Obit.but think he died in the 80’s. Don’t remember if you were playing with Adrian with a Guitar player named RB Sharp, well he passed also. http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/dailypress/obituary.aspx?pid=161767196
      I stay in touch with Sepi (Mike Minguez) Ex. on facebook. Tommy Clark sit in with us on Guitar from time to time, Tommy is still playing, but has health problems, Tommy has a web site, check it out. All for now. God Bless, Richard (Dicky) Dawes

      1. I just stumbled on this website. I was working and saw the name Adrian and started thinking about when I was younger and would have me transistor radio and cassette recorder and started think about how WGH and WNOR A.M. would advertise whoever would be at the Peppermint, Lido Inn (that’s still standing, most likely has changed hands 100 times) and places I was to young to get into. I didn’t know until now that they were the SINsations.

        I just looked at Adrian Brandt’s obit and it said he was also in the band, “Newport News”. I remember that locally they had a single out at one time called, “When The Bell Rings”. It got a little airplay on A.M. radio for a short time in the early ’70s. Oddly enough, a few years ago, Kiss released a boxed set of c.d.’s which included demos and cuts from their early years as “Wicked Lester” and I saw that they had actually covered that song. I wondered also if “Newport News” were compensated by them for the use of the song.

      2. Dicky,
        Ron Lowder here…we played together in the Royale VII. I remember vividly those gigs at the Blue Light Club in Newport News. Had a great time! Glad you are still kickin’!

  3. Smokey, how are you doing? I am living part time in Florida and in Virginia. Still playing when I get the chance. Last I spoke with Gary Church was about ten years ago. He was living down on the Outer Banks, Adrian passed away in Sept. of 2015. http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/dailypress/obituary.aspx?page=lifestory&pid=175729318
    Wayne Beckner died while playing a job with Adrian. Adrian told me they were play a song, noticed that Wayne stopped playing, He checked on Wayne and he had passed. What a way to go. I have not been able to find his Obit.but think he died in the 80’s. Don’t remember if you were playing with Adrian with a Guitar player named RB Sharp, well he passed also. http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/dailypress/obituary.aspx?pid=161767196
    I stay in touch with Sepi (Mike Minguez) Ex. on facebook. Tommy Clark sit in with us on Guitar from time to time, Tommy is still playing, but has health problems, Tommy has a web site, check it out. All for now. God Bless, Richard (Dicky) Dawes

  4. Used to hang at the Congo Lounge. Jack and Shirley good friends. Trying to find a band called Franklin Freight Train, really liked them.

  5. Dickie, good to hear from you. So sorry to hear of Adrian’s and Wayne’s passing. I’m doing pretty well. Back in my home town as of 88.

    Just got a call from Tom Gallucci, whose name was not included in the info that I sent to the Hangover site manager. What a pleasant surprise that was, as is seeing your comments.

    I’m in touch with Mike and Jim, and did talk with Champaigne a couple of years ago.

    Will add more comments before long.

  6. Hi Dickie Dawes!!! Hope you remember me, this is Ron Crites.(Thomas Piano, Blue Light Club, The Village, etc.) Just stumbled onto this site and this is some good memory stuff!!!! Nice to know some of you guys are still around!! We had some great times!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. Hi Ron
      It is great to hear from you. I am so sorry it has taken so long to get back to you. This site is not one I visit very often. I do Facebook mostly. I hope all is well with you.
      You are soooo right about the great times we had. I think about them often.
      The Newport News area has really changed! I remember the last stop light on Jefferson ave. heading north was at Main street. I still go into Newport News from time to time but drive past it most times when I head to Maryland a couple times a year.
      Again, Great to hear from you and keep in touch
      God Bless
      dawes1@yahoo.com

      1. Dickie, I’m glad to see you still check in here occasionally. I was really surprised to hear from Ronnie Lowder. Haven’t heard from his since … Well a long time.

        Did I mention that I got a phone call out of the blue from Tom Gallucci one day. Talk about a bolt from the blue. I have his phone number and really need to follow with him.

        I still hope to hear from some of the other: Jean Lynch, Curly, etc. It’s been so long I don’t even remember all the names.

        Help me out!!

  7. Smokey, I know you don’t know me but I am Ricky Brandt, Adrian’s son. I stumbled across this page and enjoyed reading the comments about my Dad’s band back in the day. I honestly remember your name coming up over the years during conversations about Dad’s playing days. I’d love to catch up sometime. Feel free to call me anytime @757-254-2657.

  8. Hi, Ricky. Thanks for your comment.

    I remember your dad and mom very fondly, and my time in the SINsations while in the USAF were one of my fondest memories. It was a great band, and I have friends still that played in it.

    I was crushed when Dickie told me that Adrian and Wayne had passed. So sorry.

    Please say “hello” to Sally for me, and I will give you a call.

    1. Hi Smokey…
      I think we played together in Jerry Leggett’s band back in the early ’60s.
      I played sax (and still do). Currently playing in a group called “Soul Intent”.
      Hope you are doing well!
      Ron

      1. Well, I just looked backward in this message stream and see that we have already had this conversation…I’ve got a poor memory as you can see…I’ll just blame it on a “senior moment”!

      2. Yeah, Ron. How are you?

        You had posted on here back last August, and I replied the next day.

        I’m glad you posted again, because I was hoping to keep this contact going.

        I really enjoyed playing with you and Jerry. I keep trying to remember the other guys. I remember Stanley and the guy who played trumpet that was also in the Army, and the brothers who played guitar and bass. Also, the other singer, Art, I think. And Mickey, the drummer, who I communicated with a few years back.

        I still play a little. I just gave up being director of the Bluefield State College Jazz Ensemble, which I did for 16 years. The band was having trouble filling chairs, and its now a combo/little big band, and I still play in it.

        Let’s keep up the conversation.

      1. Ricky,

        I said I would call you sometime and fully intend to do so.

        I had asked when the best time(s) were, but haven’t gotten an answer.

        Let me know. Or, I’ll just take a chance some time.

        Smokey

        1. Hello. I’m Ann Beckner Wayne’s wife. Thanks you folks for remembering. Wayne died on the stage at a moose lodge July 4, 1982 doing what he loved. Our kids are all talented. Wayne jr went to Middle Tennessee State Univ and has a degree in music business. Virginia is a concert violinist and teaches strings. Contact me sometime at annbeckner1945@gmail.com.

          1. I love you & thank you for blessing me with the name of such a precious person… I only wish I could have been there to see the fun things as described in this blog…
            your adoring son,
            WB jr

  9. I was in Adrian’s band in the late 60s while stationed at Fort Monroe and stood right beside you on trumpet. How could you forget? You tried to steal my girl, Jane Mashburn.

    1. Hey, Mike. What can I say? So many years have passed.

      What ever happened to Jane? She had two sweet kids.

      1. Smokey, I don’t know what happened to Jane. I left the area in March ‘69 to return to college. Hope you are doing well.

  10. Chris at Garage Hangover asked me to try to get people to contribute photos of the band.

    I don’t have any that I know of, but anyone who does is invited/asked to contribute then.

    Thank you.

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