Category Archives: NWI

The Warlocks

The Warlocks photo on their NWI 45 sleeve, from front to back: Mark Lanfear (drums), Jerry Sloan, Jon Anderson, John Crew and Steve Messuri (with bass)
The Warlocks photo on their NWI 45 sleeve, from front to back: Mark Lanfear (drums), Jerry Sloan, Jon Anderson, John Crew and Steve Messuri (with bass)

Worlocks NWI 45 Banana SoulI had read about this 45 but hadn’t actually heard the songs until lead guitarist Jerry Sloan contacted me and sent transfers of the music and the great photo below. “You Keep Me Hanging On” is done in the style of Vanilla Fudge though not as heavy. “Banana Soul” turns out to be an adaption of “Watermelon Man”.

The picture sleeve consists of a printed card glued to a plain white 45 sleeve. Interesting that the sleeve has the band’s name as Warlocks while the 45 spells it Worlocks. The sleeve reads “Futura Enterprises, Inc. Caldwell, Idaho 82605.” Caldwell is 25 miles west of Boise.

The 45 was recorded at NWI (Northwestern Incorporated) studios in Portland, Oregon, which bands hired to record and press their records for them. The label number 2709 is close to that of the Gentlemen Wild 45 on NWI (#2694), which dates this to late 1967 or early 1968.

I guess NWI also handled publishing for original songs recorded by groups, as Neuchatel Music BMI is listed as publisher on “Banana Soul” just as it is on the Gentlemen Wild’s “You Gotta Leave”. However, neither song is currently registered in BMI’s database.

It wasn’t unusual for bands to leave Boise to record – William Penn and the Quakers traveled to the Bay Area, and the Mystics went to Sountronics in Lodi, CA to record their great 45 “I Get So Disgusted / “Weekend People” (released as by the Mystic on Frantic – hear it on the Up From the GraveCD from Frantic Records).

 The Warlocks at the Soul Kitchen
The Warlocks at the Soul Kitchen

The Worlocks NWI 45 You Keep Me Hanging OnJohn Crew was leader of the group, and had been in other bands prior to the Warlocks. The members of the group were:

John Crew – vocals
Jerry Sloan – lead guitar/vocals
Jon Anderson – keyboards/vocals
Steve Messuri – bass
Mark Lanfear – drums

Jerry added this information:

John Crew formed the Warlocks a year or so before I joined the group. I was playing with another group at the time, but saw an opportunity with the Warlocks that I thought had, if not potential for fame and fortune, at least fairly steady local work.

Recording a record was a goal of most local bands at that time, so we decided to give it a try. Portland was the closest city with a reputable recording studio, so we pooled our money and scheduled a recording session. “You Keep Me Hanging On” was a favorite of John Crew’s, so we decided on it for the lead song, and John Anderson had written the instrumental, “Banana Soul” for the flip side. We ordered a 1000 records, and probably sold half of them, and gave the other half away to friend and relatives. The record was played on local radio stations a few times, but never took off as we had hoped it would. I still have one copy framed on my den wall.

I am attaching a picture of Warlocks playing at the “Soul Kitchen” (formerly called the “Cinnamon Cinder”) in Caldwell, Idaho, our Saturday night gig for about three years. The band eventually broke up for various reasons, and some of the members played in other local groups…none achieving fame and fortune that I know of.

Some other groups playing in the Boise area during that time were the Crystal Ship and the Lee Curtis Group. I played in the Lump Sum, the New Critics and, later, Street Level. I quit playing in bands when Street Level broke up in 1978. There was one person that I used to jam with who did become quite well known for his music and song writing…Bill LaBounty, who played with Fat Chance out of Seattle.

If I may, I’d like to say that my son, Todd Sloan, picked up the music bug from me I suppose. He has made made a career in the Seattle and Boise area. His band is low-fi, check him out at Todd writes all of the band’s material, and they are planning to record a new (independent) CD in January.

Jerry Sloan, December 2009

Thanks to Alle. for the scans of the record sleeve and labels, and for inspiring this article.

"Sorcerors of Sound", BHR Productions in Boise Thank you to Rick Stedtnitz for the photo of the poster.
“Sorcerors of Sound”, BHR Productions in Boise
Thank you to Rick Stedtnitz for the photo of the poster.

The Impacts

The Impacts of Longview, Washington

One of several bands called the Impacts in Washington state, this group was from Longview, a small city along the Columbia River, a half-hour’s drive north of Portland. Original members were Ron Baldwin and LaDonna Lockman on vocals, Bruce Farquhar on guitar, Dick Sayles keyboards, Bill Uhlig bass and Spook Brusco on drums.

By the time of their first 45, Dan “Spyder” White and Steve Green had replaced Sayles and Brusco, respectively, and LaDonna Lockman had either left the band or was only appearing at their live gigs, as she isn’t on any of their recordings.

Impacts NWI 45 A Little Bit MoreThey recorded their first 45 at Northwestern Inc., the legendary Portland studio where the Kingsmen cut Louie Louie, and paid the studio to press it on its NWI label. “A Little Bit More” is a fine original, and may have helped get them signed with Pat Mason, a major booking agent in the Pacific Northwest.

“Leavin’ Here” is an Eddie Holland song on Motown that became a staple of live acts like the Who and the Birds in the UK, but in the states was less often covered. The Impacts probably learned it from Jimmy Hanna & the Dynamics’ version on Bolo.

Compared to the frantic pace of the UK groups who recorded “Leaving Here”, the Dynamics and the Impacts versions take a much more languid approach. The Dynamics make it work with swirling organ fills and horns responding to the vocal lines. The Impacts start off well, with a sharper sound than the Dynamics, but the band somehow fails to generate the energy to make this work, especially on the chorus.

Impacts Lavender 45 Green Green FieldOnce signed with Pat Mason, the Impacts started releasing records on his Lavender label, and recording at Bob Gibson’s Ripcord Studio in Vancouver, WA.

“Green Green Field” and “Don’t You Dare” show a much more confident and accomplished band. Like “A Little Bit More,” these two songs are originals by Dan White (Robert Douglas White on the BMI registration).

After this record they changed their name to the Impact Express and released three additional 45s on Lavender in progressively pop stylings. I’d feature “I’m Gonna Change the World” if I had a copy, but by “Sunshine Day” they sounds like a completely different band.

45 releases:

The Impacts:

A Little Bit More / Leavin’ Here (NWI 2006)
Don’t You Dare/Green Green Field (Lavender 2005)

The Impact Express:

I’m Gonna Change The World/ You Get Your Kicks (Lavender 2006)
Sunshine Day / Don’t You Dare (Lavender 2007)
A Little Love/Fly With Me (Lavender 2008)

Photo from PNW Bands

The Gentlemen Wild

Gentlemen Wild Photo SignedAThe Gentlemen Wild had a lively career based out of Portland, Oregon starting in 1965. The band went through several personnel changes, but early members include Craig Cathey vocals and keyboards, Jay Zilka lead guitar, Page McCallum keyboards, Bill Whitcomb bass, Tom Phelps guitar and David Vermilya on drums.

In 1966 Bob Hart joined from the Beaverton group, the Nightraiders, and his father Ross Hart took over management of the band. Both additions immediately improved their prospects, and they became a house band at a teen club in Portland, the Tork Club.

In May of 1967 they won the state Battle of the Bands, enabling them to travel to the Ridge Arena in Braintree, Massachusetts (just outside Boston) to compete nationally. Their version of “Nowhere Man” from that competition is on a rare two record album released at the time. The photo just below is taken from the program for the Battle of the Bands.

They appeared on local and national television shows, including the Paul Revere & Mark Lindsay hosted show, Happening ’68. In the episode I’ve seen, the Gentlemen Wild lip synch to their version of “Keep On Running”, easily beating out a California band, the Good Friends and Merry Fellows, who did “Heat Wave”. Judges for that show included Bobby Vee and Sal Mineo, who says “have beads will travel” during the introductions! All the photos below are from the Happening ’68 show.

They released just one 45, recorded at the local NWI (Northwestern Incorporated) Studios and pressed on its vanity label. This is a label I’d definitely like to know more about! “You Gotta Leave” became a big hit on the west coast, reaching #2 in Portland. It was written by the guitarist, Jay Zilka.

The flip side, “I Believe”, wasn’t written by any of the band members. It’s not garage, more like the last slow song at a dance, the kind to get you to leave! Other members of the Gentlemen Wild at one time or another included Dave Cookson drums, John Crowe drums, and Steve Joslin keyboards. The band broke up in 1969.

Thanks to Mike for the Gentlemen Wild appearance on Happening ’68, and to Paul for the scan of the Braintree Battle of the Bands program.







All the screen shots above from the Happening ’68 TV show