“Tornado” shows this band had a handle on the tough instrumental style of a few years earlier, like “Shifting Gears” by fellow Worcester group Beep Beep and the Roadrunners. Through some error the label credits this song simply to “Dave”, probably for his lead playing, though the bass runs and drums are excellent here too.
David Daniels wrote to me about the group and included all the photos and clippings seen here:
Dave Daniels – guitar & vocals
Bob Dube – rhythm guitar
Bernie Thebado – rhythm guitar on the 45
Dean Johnson – rhythm guitar
Bill [surname ?] – bass
Tony Agby (Tony Agbay?) – drums until late ’66
Charles “Chucky” Franczak – drums
I started the Nite Riders when I was going to school at Chandler Jr. High, Worcester, Massachusetts. We were “The Nite Riders” (not “Night Riders”).
My dad played guitar and he showed me the basic chords. My family has always been around music, my sister “Snooky” (she worked at WORC late 50’s) was in charge most times of making contact and setting up gigs for the stars in and around Worcester. She became real good friends with Bobby Darin, he had been to the house many times. My mom would be making dinners for who ever was in town. So I grew up knowing a lot of famous folks.
The very first Nite Rider gig was a bar on Main St., Worcester, called the New Yorker. We made a $10 bill each and free cokes and chips. My dad who drove for the band in the beginning also got free drinks and $25 go figure. We found out real soon after the first set that this was a gay bar – remember we were 13 to 15 years old, we said “a what bar?”
We met Beep Beep and the Roadrunners when we had Tony Agby as drummer. He showed up with the “Roadrunners” (they were older than us) and boy we thought they were so cool with their full length double breasted dark blue “P” coats. They came to volunteer their time and help us learn how to improve our sound, and WOW! they were already professionals. Tony’s dad was our first manager.
After that is seemed we were always playing the same gigs together, I really had a great time back then. We were all age range 13 to 15 and the Road Runners were our idols. It was so cool that they had two drummers. We played most every place they played, Tony Agbie (spelling?) was our drummer and his dad Tony Sr was manager for the Road Runners.
The band really kicked off after winning a battle of the bands contest sponsored by WORC radio station and winning a chance to record a single, “She’s Mine” / “Tornado”. WORC paid for the session. It was recorded at Hill’s Sound Studio on Chandler St. in Worcester. Hill’s Studio was an old house made into a recording studio, they mostly recorded gospel groups. “Tornado” came about from a combination of the Ventures, Buck Owens, Chuck Barry, and maybe a little bit of “Shifting Gears” from the Beeps, but I think mostly from Danny & the Juniors, good friends of my sister Snooky especially Frankie.
Bernie [Thibodeau?] never played anywhere with us, he really wasn’t a guitar player. I showed him the chords so he could be on the record. You will also see “Hassett” as one of the writers (not). They were my friends and wanted to be involved with band, so I put there names on the record.
We got lots of airplay and loads of offers to play even in New Hampshire. “She’s Mine was #11 on the WORC request charts, July 1, 1967 (I think we had help). We sold our first 500 copies pretty quick mostly at Woolworths and another record store on Pleasant St. in Worcester. We also sold them at the concerts. We ordered another 500 on our dime this time but sales slowed down and we had like maybe 300 left but don’t know what ever happened to them.
The Nite Riders – three notches above Beep Beep & the Road Runners’ second single
WORC, August 25, 1967
The Nite Riders had two drummers Tony Agby and then 13 year old Chuckie Franczack, but Tony’s dad still stayed on as our manager.
Later on after the record in ’67 the drummer’s Mom bought a 1959 black hearse and 1960 black limo. Chuck’s mom would drive us to concerts and other gigs in a full chauffeur outfit and we all had black pants with white shirts and gold vests boy we thought we had made the big time.
Chuckie died at age 18 … drugs, he was a great drummer. Dean died in a motor cycle crash I heard. I would love to know if any folks from Worcester have any pictures or stories of The Nite Riders.