Vicky Morosan started Columbine Records in Denver Colorado, changing the name to Band Box Records when Columbia objected. After starting on East Sixth, she moved locations to 220 S. Broadway. Releases started with drummer Ronnie Kae’s “Boom Boom” in the late ’50s and continued into the late ’60s, totaling almost 200 singles altogether.
I’ve read that the Lidos disc predates the British Invasion, but from the Rite pressing number, 13555, it dates to mid-late 1964. So the Invasion had started, but the Lidos weren’t really paying attention. “Since I Last Saw You” is repetitive and crude, with its cool opening bass line, pounding drums and a great shout before the guitar break, which comes earlier than usual. I think this would make a great instrumental. The ensemble vocals are bizarre for sure. It ends with a fantastic drum break and repeat of that sliding bass line.
The chorus of serenaders on “Trudi” turns it into a parody of the doo-wop style. The band must have been disappointed in the absolutely crappy fidelity they got out of the Band Box studio, even though that cloudy sound is part of the charm of “Since I Last Saw You”. However, I do like the intense decay on the last chord of “Trudi” – so, you have one reason to take a listen to it.
The band’s names are on the song credits – G. Nole, G. Fick, D. Silvis and R. Saunar but I don’t know first names or if the band was from the Denver area or even out of state.
For more info on Band Box check out this article from the Denver Post on the documentary Gears, Grease and Guitars, as well as Rockin’ Country Style, and this extended, though partly incorrect list of releases (the Lidos are not listed and #359 is attributed to “The Royals and The Shades”).
The Tuesday Club started as the Garfield Air Mattress, a band formed in 1966 by Bruce Lambert and Tony Tezak in Grand Junction, Colorado.
In an early flyer they are shown as a quartet with three members from Grand Junction: Terry Tezak (bass), Daryll Cooper (guitar and keyboards), Bruce Lambert (lead guitar); plus Salvador “Pete” Friese from Fort Collins on drums. Bill Wagner managed the Garfield Air Matress, who advertised as playing “rhythm and blues and what have you”.
Tony Decker of Salt Lake City, a freshman at Mesa College, joined on guitar and lead vocals.
When the Mesa College paper, The Criterion profiled the Garfield Air Mattress on May 16, 1967, Mercury Records had just signed the group and Ray Ruff was their manager. All of the group were freshmen at Mesa College, except Bruce Lambert, a senior at Grand Junction High School. Tony Decker had already written “A Goddess in Many Ways”, which would be the A-side of their single for Philips (a Mercury subsidiary), and the group had already decided to change their name to The Tuesday Club.
The Tuesday Club relocated to Amarillo, Texas, recording at Checkmate Studios, with Marty Cooper and Ray Ruff producing. Ray Ruff was producing and managing a number of bands at the time, including Tracers, Them, the Orange Confederation and the Page Boys.
Even though Tony Decker wrote both sides of the 45, each song is incredibly different from the other; they could almost be by separate bands. The top side is “A Goddess in Many Ways” a gentle paean to a seventeen year old beauty who commits suicide. For years it’s been overshadowed by the flip, the garage classic “Only Human”, but will probably be garnering more fans from the recent resurgence of interest in Fargo. It did reach #24 on Grand Junction AM station KEXO on August 26, 1967.
I’m sure “Only Human” is familiar to every fan of ’60s punk, with it’s memorable opening bass slides and tambourine, the powerful guitar line and Tony Decker’s shouting delivery of the lines “… when you turn the heads of everybody in the crowd!” and “… but all this competition’s driving me insane!”
After the 45 was recorded, Terry Tezak and Bruce Lambert left the group and returned to Colorado. Dean Wilden joined: he had been in Maudz Only with Tony Decker at their Salt Lake City high school. The band changed their name to Fargo, and in 1968 relocated first to Grand Junction, where Cooper and Friese left the group, and then to Salt Lake, where Randle Potts joined on drums, later replaced by Bob Holman. By the time they became Fargo, neither song from the Tuesday Club single was part of their live sets.
Fargo traveled to Los Angeles to record a single, “Robins, Robins” / “Sunny Day Blue” for Capitol and an LP I See It Now for RCA, both produced by Marty Cooper.
Dean wrote to me about how he joined the group and their change to Fargo:
Garfield Air Mattress was a Grand Junction based band with Tony Decker. When they moved to Texas, two of the members quit and I joined. At that time we were called the Tuesday Club. Tony & I had previously played together in a band called Maudz Only.
I never recorded with Tony’s early Grand Junction band, so I really don’t know where the two tunes were recorded. I don’t remember ever even hearing those two Tuesday Club songs, and they weren’t anything we ever played live. The Tuesday Club/Fargo, Texas drummer was Pete Frease. I was on bass, Tony on guitar & Daryl Cooper on keyboard. Tony & I went to Grand Junction for a short time after Texas. Long enough to lose the other two and return to Salty.
In Amarillo, Ruff’s company, Checkmate Productions, included the bands Them, The Tracers, The Orange Confederation & Fargo. We played Texas, New Mexico, Kansas & Oklahoma. I would take a dozen or better of the Salt Lake bands over the best band I ever heard in Texas, during that period. We played venues alongside many of them & they all seemed to be listening in the past. You didn’t hear much of the British Invasion coming out their speakers. In fact, having played both Texas & Oklahoma, I’d say the three most requested songs were “Louie Louie”, “Wipe Out” & “Gloria”. It was as if they couldn’t comprehend beyond three chords. It was nice to leave there & get back to the ’60s.
As for those Texas bands, I’d say the Tracers were the best I heard. Richie was The Tracers drummer & one of the funniest people I ever knew.
Ray was our gig manager, and a good record producer, but Marty Cooper was our producer. Marty was based in L.A. and this was where Fargo recorded all it’s tracks. Tony & I had a unique vocal blend. Our – Fargo’s – earliest Capital recording was “Robins, Robins” / “Sunny Day Blue”.
Back in Utah, we decided to go three-piece. We needed a drummer and I suggested my old school mate & drummer from Maudz II, Randle Potts. He played on one album cut, “Lady Goodbye”. He froze up like playing in front of 100,000 people, so we hired 2 different studio players to finish off the recordings. We got rid of Potts and stole Bob [Holman] from a band called the Avanti’s, which was strange, seems how Potts drove an Avanti. So Bob was our live drummer and was with us to the end. We’re still in touch. Bob is a remarkable artist with a clever edge to his creations.
I played bass on all but two of the “I See It Now” cuts, and Tony did a great deal of the guitar work. Why bass & guitar credits were given otherwise on the back of the album is baffling. Kind of negated us as musicians. We were damned good & tight on stage. Dr. John played piano on the album but was given no credit, nor were the drummers. Tony was given composer credit for “The Sound Of It,” which is one of my songs. I had Tony sing the first verse because of how I’d layered the harmonies, thus the confusion. When I first saw the back of that album I thought I must be in a parallel universe. The references to religion, alone, blew me away. I was and am as far removed from that world as is possible.
The post-RCA Fargo recordings were mostly made on a Sony sound-on-sound recorder using those cheap little microphones. We were a 3 piece band back then: Tony on guitar, Bob Holman on drums, & me on bass. These later nine sound-on-sound recordings need to be tuned-up a bit before I’d feel comfortable with anyone hearing them.
I’m still writing up a storm & recording “one-man-band” tracks in my studio. I’ve recorded recently in Nashville, & am now working with a couple of different people to promote me as either a singer/songwriter, or songwriter.
Dean and Tony are working on reissuing Fargo’s Capitol single and RCA LP, possibly with bonus tracks from their later self-produced recordings.
Thank you to Dean for information on his time with the Tuesday Club and Fargo.
Special thanks to Bruce Lambert for the Garfield Air Mattress flyer and news clip and for additional information about the group.
Of the three (or more) ‘Trolls’ who recorded in the ’60s, my favorite is this group from Pueblo, Colorado. They had an interesting history I’d like to know more about, releasing two excellent 45s. Their first was “That’s the Way My Love Is” a great original with a tough sound typical of Ray Ruff’s productions of the time. The flip is a ballad, “Into My Arms”.
Their second record came out on Chan Romero’s Warrior label and features an energetic but tinny cover of the Stones’ “Stupid Girl”. Much better is the flip, Rich Gonzales’ original “I Don’t Recall”, a wild and very catchy song with repetitive tweeting organ notes, great fuzz guitar and bass, wonderful drumming and excellent vocals. Plus, it was released with a bizarre and goofy picture sleeve. For more info on the Warrior label see my entry here.
Members at the time of recording were:
Richard Gonzales – lead vocals, guitar Doug Rymerson – lead guitar Fred Brescher – Farfisa organ Monty Baker – bass, vocals Phil Head – drums
A now-defunct website on Colorado groups, mountainmusic.net had the fullest description of the group I could find:
A very “English” band from Pueblo they covered Stones and Kinks songs. They started with Gonzales, Head, Brescher and one/two additional players in 1964 and made what proved to be a worthless trip to Los Angeles in the winter of that year.
They retooled the band with the addition of Rymerson and Baker from the visiting Radiants from southern Minnesota. Unhappy with the Radiants the pair jumped ship and into the “New” Trolls. This lineup traveled to Amarillo, Texas to record for Ray Ruff and his new Ruff record label, already having regional (KOMA radio) success with the Blue Things.
The first single “That’s The Way My Love Is” / “Into My Arms” featured both sides penned by the organist, Fred Breschler and while anywhere from four to ten additional tracks may have been recorded. All masters where lost when Ruff’s facility in Amarillo burned in 1968. This includes an unreleased track with the interesting title: “Trash Talk”.
The next recording session was in Clovis, New Mexico with Norman Petty in late 1965 or early in 1966. The resulting single “Stupid Girl” / “I Don’t Recall” was packaged in a picture sleeve which omitted a member (Fred B.?) because he was in the hospital. It was released on the Warrior label (see this post for more info on that label).
One additional local recording session produced what Richard described as “all cymbals!” and resulting unhappiness with the master scuttled plans to release it as a disc.
The departure of Monty Baker in the fall of 1966 was the end of band, he left to join the Colorado Springs band, The New World Blues Dictionary [a major fixture on the area’s live scene]. Richard stopped performing and moved to Orange County in Southern California for a few years, only to join in his drummer brother Leroy in White Lightning in 1968. During 1967 I believe Doug Rymerson and Phil Head worked with bands called The Chosen Few and the Rubber Band. Fred Breschers’s post-Trolls work is unknown.
In addition to this description, there is more info from the liner notes of the Big Beat CD Now Hear This! Garage and Beat from the Norman Petty Vaults: after returning from L.A. the band was managed by Tony Spicola who brought them down to Clovis to record at Petty’s studio. Also, Fred Brescher does not appear on the sleeve photo due to having just been fired for excessive drug use. He was, however, impossible to replace and the band broke up in 1967.
Tom from The Denver Eye tells me of a rumor that one fan would record their shows on reel-to-reel tape. If true, I’d love to hear them.
John Grove wrote in with the following remembrance of the band and identified the members in the photos:
My name is John Grove, also from Pueblo. Have been through about 30 bands locally, started playing in 1964, now of the classic rock band “Dr. Fine”. For bio and pictures, go to bobyeazel.com.
There were three hot semi-pro [Pueblo] bands in the mid-sixties. The Teardrops who did great top 40, the Chandells who did great R&B, and the Trolls….They were the “guy’s” band, and they were bad-asses – super cool, very English! As you stated they did Beatles, “Run for Your Life” I remember. Lots of Stones, Kinks, they even did “Take Five” by Dave Brubeck.
They all had nicknames, Richard Gonzales was “Speedy”, Fred Brescher was “Brush”, Phil Head was “Flip”, Monty Baker was “Denny”, Doug Rymerson was “Digger”.
Phil had played earlier with a band called the Cobras which featured Donny and Richard Bussey. Donny was the one who gave me my first guitar lessons. I believe Speedy, Phil Head and Fred Brescher were in a band called The Pueblo Beatles. They joined forces with Digger and Denny and formed The Trolls. Denny was the brains and the organizer and business guy of the band.
They were in fact managed by the Southern Colorado legend Tony Spicola, originally from Trinidad, Colorado. Tony also managed Chan Romero who wrote “The Hippy Hippy Shake”. Tony was a close friend of Ray Ruff, thus the connection on Ruff Records. Tony was also a major concert promoter in Southern Colorado, and did acts such as the Young Rascals, Buffalo Springfield, Everly Brothers and many many more. His story is another whole book by itself. A true legend.
Denny and Digger used real English Vox AC 50 amps (“Super Beatle” style that were tube. Not the solid state Thomas organ American made stuff), Speedy used a “black face” Fender Super Reverb, Fred had a red Farfisa Combo Compact organ, Phil used Premier Drums. Guitars consisted of Digger using a Fender Jazzmaster, Denny used a Fender Jazz Bass, Speedy used a “dot neck” Gibson 335.
All of their equiptment was hauled around in a Corvair van painted a custom metal flake mustard yellow with “Troll Rock n’ Roll” painted on the side, on the front, it said “Here comes Troll”. In Pueblo, they were big time. Beatle boots, vests, blazes, in other words no matching uniforms.
Fred did leave, don’t remember or know why, and they continued as four-piece. The rest of the stuff about where the members went to after The Trolls is as far as I can remember is accurate. Digger did join another cool band called Century Fox which evolved into Justice. I stay in contact with Denny, he is back in his native Iowa and retired as a registered respiratory therapist which he had made his career since the early 70’s. Speedy is in Pueblo, and the last I heard was a barber, Phil is in Los Angeles, Fred passed in the late eighties or early nineties. He was a great guy, as was all of them. They were a tremendous influence on all of young musicians. Hope this helps.
Doug Rymerson and Phil Head played with Baby Magic during ’67 and ’68., and Phil Head drummed with a group called the Frantics, that had relocated from Billings, Montana and Santa Fe.
I’ve read Fred Brescher passed away in February, 2003.
Thank you to Jeff Lemlich for supplying the scan of the Trolls PS.
JP Coumans of the Netherlands sent me the scans and transfers of this 45, writing: “These guys from the United States Airforce Academy cut this great garage rocker ‘Fun Girl’ with ‘girl messin’ with other guys’ and so we get ‘put the girl down’ lyrics single in 1966! Other side is more moody. On the back you can see they were ALL coming from different states! I wonder if they made more records!? Pressing done by Columbia Records!”
The band included Tom Mravak of Ossining, NY; Jerry Becker of Palmerton, PA; Dan Eikleberry of Lincoln, NE; Bill Berry of Port Aransas, TX; and Garry Meuller of Bensenville, IL. Their bass players included Mason Botts, Bill Todd of Shelby NC, and Dan Lavrich. They were students at the U.S. Airforce Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Guitarist Dan Eikleberry wrote these comments about the group:
The group was The Flameouts, a 1966 rock n roll band from the USAF Academy. Three of the band members were in the Class of ’66, one was in ’67 and two in ’68. We flew to Hollywood in a very classy VIP T-29 the Academy kept hidden at Pete Field, and made the record at Columbia Studios in Hollywood.
I played lead guitar on “I Won’t Cry”, and wrote the background vocals and harmony, also wrote the intro, the lead guitar break in the middle and figured out how we’d end this thing. I don’t recall we had an ending until we arrived in the studio and looked at each other ‘how do we end this thing? We don’t want a fade-out!’.
This side took all day in the studio. As was the common technique of the day, we did the instrumental work first, (over and over again), then put the instruments down, listened to the track (they had only 8 tracks in those days)on headphones, and did the vocals last.
Old Fender tube amps caused some buzzing problems, and they had the drummer concealed in sound-walls in the back of the room. Recording was interesting in those days. Terry Melcher (Doris Day’s son) did the mixing and producing for us.
“Fun Girl” we laid down in just the last 20 minutes or so in the studio — much easier song. Lead singer Tom Mravak wrote the song, we recorded it something less than 3 or 4 takes. Gerry Becker wrote all the harmony and background vocals on this one. He and Tom lead the band and were our lead singers for all songs. Bill Berry wrote the musical lead and guitar break in the middle and played lead guitar on “Fun Girl”, I just played rhythm guitar.
Listen for “no flies on that, Bubba!” after the lead guitar break. Gerry Becker telling Bill Berry his guitar lead was terrific! It came from a joke we heard that day — you had to be there.
“I Won’t Cry” was supposed to be the “A” (hit) side. I guess it was just too complicated, and in a minor key. The other side was much more popular. “Fun Girl” was basic simple 3-chord R n R.
The record came out June week, 1966, and sold out immediately in Colorado. The Academy then changed their mind and decided not to press any more records, lest the public complain tax payers $$ were being wasted. Cadets should be marching and studying and learning to be officers, not playing Rock ‘n’ Roll.
I wasn’t involved in the ‘business end’ of it all. I was a bit surprised when the record came out that it did NOT have “Columbia” label on it, but that “Flameouts” label instead.
Bill Todd was not really a Flameout — he was a quick replacement for the Hollywood trip in April 1966, because the usual bass player, Mason Botts, was on ‘academic probation’ and could not leave the Academy. The bass player in the photo is Dan Lavrich, who was a freshman (‘doolie’) and couldn’t get off base for much of anything, but did play bass for us now and then and was available for the photo shoot.
Mravak was killed in Feb 1971, when his F-4 Phantom crashed just short of the runway at Udorn Air Base, Thailand. Gary Mueller, drummer, was also flying F-4 aircraft at the base at the time, and I arrived in September 1971 at Udorn, to fly the RF-4C, photo recon version of the F-4 until 1973. Bill Berry last known to live in Ft. Worth, haven’t seen him since 1966 when he graduated from ‘the zoo’. Gerry Becker was last known to be flying ‘aggressor’ aircraft in air combat tactics at Hollomon Air Force Base, New Mexico, but that was 30 years ago. No idea where he is now. I just retired as a Boeing 747-400 Captain from United Airlines. Starting up a new airline in Las Vegas www.familyairlines.com.
I still play guitar now and then, but not often enough! I still have the Fender Jazzmaster I used on both these recordings (the guitar in the photo was borrowed that day because the Jazzmstr was back at Fullerton, CA Fender factory for a repaint job into candy apple red). It sounds better today than it did 46 years ago when I bought it!
Q. Were you in bands before or after the Flameouts?
Dan Eikleberry: Many. You’ll find my name a few times in the Nebraska rock bands web sites of the early 60’s, and on the Mark Dalton page (he played bass on the song 2525 by Zager & Evans many years later). I was in a band called the Chandels of Lincoln NE that became the Coachmen after I left to go to the USAF Academy.
I played in several other bands during the Academy years, as I got a job as a studio musician at Columbia Records in Hollywood, and they would send me out to fill-in as a guitar player for several notable performers of the day. Some of my recordings later became hits, but I never got any royalties from them! The music was recorded at Columbia,then the tracks were sold elsewhere or they added voices in house, we didn’t care — we were gone!
Q. Was the band part of the music scene in Colorado Springs, or just playing on base?
Dan Eikleberry: We were quite busy. We played for various Cadet parties, and public shows and night clubs around Colorado, and traveled to various places in the US to perform, mostly at USAF bases. We flew to Wash DC and recorded in a studio in the basement of the Pentagon that not many know is there. Those were for radio ads for the military. Promotional stuff. And we recorded in Colorado Springs a nice long tape of many of our songs — I had that tape until about 20 years ago when it finally disapeared in a move.
Q. Were you involved in music at Udorn?
Dan Eikleberry: They had mostly Phillipino bands come to play there.. occasionally I would hop up on the stage and whip out a tune with a borrowed guitar if they let me. That’s about all! We were too busy flying in the war!
Check out Dan’s videos featuring the songs and photos of the Flameouts on YouTube.