The aptly-named Stompers cut one of the wildest rock records of the ’60s, “I Know”. The drummer slams the cymbals while pounding the toms, a great intro that they come back to after each chorus accompanied by intense screams. The rhythm of the guitars is ferocious and the lyrics are delivered in clipped phrases of a few words at a time. “I Know” was released in February 1965, with a cover of Bruce Channel’s “Hey Baby” on the flip.
It took me years to find a copy of “I Know” after hearing it on Root ’66: The Frozen Few where they were mistakenly thought to be a Minnesota band because of the Studio City label. The Stompers were actually from Mount Vernon, Iowa, a town east of Cedar Rapids and 300 miles away from the studio in Minneapolis where they recorded.
It seems like every state in the Midwest has a rock music association to formally recognize the great local acts of the ’50s and ’60s. The Iowa Rock ‘n Roll Music Association Hall of Fame inducted the Stompers in 2006.
The Association’s website gives this intro to the band and is the source for the photo:
Donald A. Bradford, Steven M. Edwards, Bill Bauman, Greg Harman, Randy Harman, Brian Harman, Michael S. Sexton, Scott Bascom
In 1963 … Steve Edwards exposed southern-oriented R&B to the small-town, upper-Midwest ears of Greg Harman, Randy Harman and Bill Bauman who at that time were immersed in Beach Boys/Surf music. By 1964, the Stompers’ sound had become heavily influenced by British R&R (especially the Beatles and the Rolling Stones). During this time, the Stompers played a regular circuit of ballrooms (Danceland, Dance-Mor, Highway Gardens, The Col) and other eastern Iowa venues. They opened for the Everly Brothers, Buddy Knox and the Rhythm Orchids, the Hondells and backed Chuck Berry at Danceland in Cedar Rapids.
In the fall of 1964, the Stompers recorded their first record in Minneapolis which featured “I Know” b/w “Hey Baby”. “I Know” was an original song written by Greg and Randy Harman which gained a notoriety long outliving the band. “I Know” made it as high as #19 on a number of regional charts.
The summer of 1965 brought the release of a second record “You’re Gone” b/w “I Still Love Her” (two Greg Harman originals). “You’re Gone” peaked at #24 on regional charts. The Edwards, Bauman, Harman, and Harman version of the Stompers ended in the fall of 1965 with the departures of Edwards and Bauman.
Version Two of the Stompers included Greg and Randy Harman and the addition of Scott Bascom, Don Bradford and Mike Sexton. The Stompers’ venues expanded to include several Chicago-area clubs. The Stompers opened for Eric Burdon and The Animals at Danceland Ballroom in Cedar Rapids.
Later that spring, Randy Harman and Don Bradford made contact with Nathan Weiss. He told Randy and Don to send him a tape and he would give it a listen. The tape was recorded at Fredlo Studios in Davenport and sent to Weiss. He invited the Stompers to come to NYC. Weiss produced a record-company-exec showcase at The Scene in Manhattan with the Stompers featured. Present at the showcase were Brian Hyland, Tiny Tim, The Cyrcle, and The Tokens. Weiss helped the Stompers get a gig as the house band at the Village Purple Onion. In the fall of 1966, version two of the Stompers disbanded.
In 1969, Steve Edwards, Greg and Randy Harman reunited and with Brian Harman opened a show for The Paul Butterfield Blues Band at Vet’s Coliseum in Cedar Rapids. This turned out to be the precursor to a series of annual reunions that continue to this day. In September of 2004, Edwards, Harman, Harman, Harman, Bauman and Kansas City keyboardist Everett DeVan recorded a group of original songs by Steve Edwards for distribution among friends. Individually, many of the Stompers continued their much varied musical interests.
The Studio City label shows “I Know” written by Stonie Beecher and Randy Harman instead of Greg and Randy Harman. I hadn’t heard their second 45 on their own Stomp label, “I Still Love You” / “You’re Gone” until November 2011.
This 45 doesn’t match their name, as both sides are very calm originals by Stonie Beecher. They’re excellent sides, especially “I Still Love You” which reminds me of the Zombies.
Thank you to John Owens for the scans and transfers of the Stompers second 45.