Out of Green Bay, Wisconsin, this band went through many lineup changes before settling on the quintet that recorded their great 45 on Tee Pee Records.
The Journeymen came from the Misty Shadows, who formed in 1965 with a lineup of:
Steve Van Pay (lead vocals)
Mark Paulick (lead guitar)
Tobin Kraft (bass, rhythm guitar)
Dan Gallagher (drums)
By 1966 the lineup had changed to the one pictured in the photo above, with only Mark Paulick remaining from the original group. This lineup changed the band name from the Misty Shadows to the Journeymen.
Mike Bogart (lead vocals)
Mark Paulick (lead guitar)
Rick Fonder (organ)
Bob Van Calster (bass)
Gary Clark (drums)
However, Paulick soon left to join first the Society for only one month and then the Invaders, who released several 45s on Cuca, USA and Capitol. Paulick recommended his friend Tom Halfpap, and within six months the lineup had completely changed to the group on the record:
Dennis Pharis (lead vocals)
Tom Halfpap (lead guitar)
Tobin Kraft (bass)
Buzz Eastman (drums)
Mike Giese (keyboards)
Toby Kraft’s father Bob started handle bookings for the band, namely at Premontre High School and the Prom Ballroom.
In the spring of ’68 the Journeymen won a battle of the bands sponsored by Henri’s Music, the prize being five hours of recording time at Appleton’s Target Studios. As usual with these kinds of “prizes”, the recording would be free but the band would be hit for the expense of mastering and pressing the records!
They went into the studio in June to cut their cover of the Yardbirds “You’re a Better Man Than I” for the A-side of their 45. They spent over four and a half hours getting that song down. Engineer Tom Gebheim overlapped Tom Halfpap’s two takes on the fuzzy lead to create a cool echo effect.
With the remaining twenty minutes they cut one take of “Realities in Life”, a song Tom Halfpap and Dennis Pharis sketched out during the ride from Green Bay. Lyrics for the final verse were provided by engineer Gebheim. “Realities in Life” blasts out with an unworldly guitar sound that seems to be shredding the tape it’s recorded on. Vibrant and spontaneous, it’s a rocking winner for all two minutes run time.
As it turned out local radio station WDUZ AM picked up the B-side original for play, so the band added “Realities in Life” to their set list. Most of the copies of the record were sold at gigs. However, Dennis Pharis refused to contribute towards the pressing costs, so Halfpap destroyed Pharis’ share of the 45s in his yard one night, contributing to the present-day rarity of this record!
That summer of ’68, Chicago’s USA Records approached the band about making an album – but the offer required the band to raise the money to cover recording costs, which they were unable to do.
Dale Evans filled in on drums when Buzz Eastman couldn’t make a show, including a few battle-of-the-bands, and joined the group full time when the Marines drafted Buzz after the record was out.
In 1969, Mike Cygan took over on drums. He wrote to me:
I was the last drummer for the Journeymen. I attended East High with Tobin Kraft, Bob Vancalster and Doug Cayer and they approached me in the fall of 1969. Buzz Eastman was still in the service and they really wanted someone who had the similar beat as Buzz. I was already in a band called the Backward Community and was a little hesitant at first but after a bit of prodding from Tobin agreed to step in. The band consisted of Tobin on lead, Bob on bass and Doug Cayer on the Wurlitzer with twin Leslies.
I remember we were playing in Sheboygan and it was one of those Friday & Saturday gigs so we were on our way home early Saturday morning and we were involved in a head on crash that nearly wiped us out. Luckily we swerved and only caused damage to the driver’s side. I think we got home at about 7:00 a.m.
We played for a couple years into the early part of ’71 and then I got drafted and left the band. Ironically when I got out, Doug called me and asked if I wanted to play with him and Tobin and go by the name of; Cayer, Kraft and Merlin. We played for nearly a year but then I got a job as a police officer with the Green Bay Police Department. As a matter of fact, Doug is still playing with a band he started after I left by the name of Rocker. I hope this helps in the story of the Journeymen, one of Green Bay’s finest.
Tom Halfpap left the group in early ’69 and was replaced by Jeff Hermice, but the Journeymen broke up that fall.
Source: Band photo and most of the info cribbed from Lost and Found #2.