The Skaliwags

The reformed version of the Skaliwags, from left: Pete Christensen, Gerry Foster, Eddy Mitchell, Ralph Leroux and Chris Saunders
The reformed version of the Skaliwags, from left: Pete Christensen, Gerry Foster, Eddy Mitchell, Ralph Leroux and Chris Saunders

Skaliwags 45 Turn Him Down 1st issue
Turn Him Down 1st issue
The Skaliwags (sometimes misspelled Skalliwags) came from Ottawa, Canada like a band I profiled last month, the Raphaels. The Skaliwags had been around since 1961, based in Gatineau. Lead singer Eddy Mitchell remembered Big 12 shows at the old Coliseum from noon to midnight, where each of the 12 bands would play two short sets and as many as 8,000 kids would attend during the day. Those shows gave the band many contacts, including John Brower (who would later produce the Rock and Roll Revival festival where the Plastic Ono Band would record Live Peace in Toronto) and local DJs including Al Pascal of CFRA.

Skaliwags 45 365 Days a Year 1st issue
365 Days a Year 1st issue
Alex Sherman of Sherman’s Music was owner of Excellent label and put up the money for the singles. The Skaliwags went to RCA studios in Montreal to record their first single in February of 1966. “Turn Him Down” reached #1 on CFRE. The flip, “365 Days a Year” is equally excellent.After this single, the band splintered. Lead guitarist John Bacho left to join the Townsmen, and bassist Andy Cody left the band to get married. Ed Mitchell recalled the Skaliwags recruiting Chris Saunders and Ralph Leroux from The Slaves of Time. Ralph Leroux is the brother of David Leroux of the Raphaels. Pete Christensen of the Raphaels joined on bass.

Skaliwags 45 Turn Him Down 2nd issue
Turn Him Down 2nd issue
I’ll reproduce Eddy Mitchell’s comment below:

I was the singer for the Skaliwags. The version of the group that recorded “Turn Him Down” consisted of Ed Mitchell singer, John Bacho lead guitar, Gerry Foster (real name Gerry Fortier) rhythm guitar, Andy Cody (real name Andre Cote) bass guitar and Gil Brooks (real name Jules Leclair) drums. The names were changed so as not to appear to come from Gatineau, since we thought that it make a difference to Ottawa kids.

Skaliwags 45 365 Days a Year 2nd issue
365 Days a Year 2nd issue
The second record, “Me Minus More” was recorded by Ed Mitchell, Gerry Fortier, Ralph Leroux, Peter Christianson, and Chris Saunders. I left the Skaliwags in October of 1967 and joined another Gatineau called Musical Fantasy who went nowhere, and I quit music altogether on December 15, 1967 when my lung collapsed on stage at what was then called Immaculata High School on Bronson Ave.

Paul Warman (spelled Paull Warman on the green label releases) wrote all four songs the Skaliwags released, including their second release, “Me Minus More” / “Broken Man Am I” from 1967. Eddy Mitchell said in an interview on Brian Murphy’s Capitol Roots radio show on CHEZ 106.1 FM in Ottawa in the early ’80s that the band was trying to find a song as catchy as “Raindrops keep Falling on My Head”. The band broke up after the second single.

Eddy wrote to me about Paul Warman:

Paul Warman who passed away in January of 2011, was our manager. He never played in the group and as you know he wrote all four songs. He also wrote another song titled “You Ain’t Pulling the Wool Over My Eyes Babe”. We actually recorded the song and one of the guys in the group kept the acetate. It was destroyed in a house fire several years later. As to photos, you have everything that I have, except some that go further back to the really early days.

Paul Warman passed away on Jan 23rd, 2011 at the age of 67.

Skaliwags Excellent 45 Me Minus More

Skaliwags Excellent 45 Broken Man Am I

Skaliwags releases:
Excellent E-5001 (1st issue, gold label) – 365 Days a Year / Turn Him Down
Excellent E-5001 (2nd issue, green label) – 365 Days a Year / Turn Him Down
Excellent E-5001 (green label) – Me Minus More / Broken Man Am I

Thank you to Alex for the promotional photo seen at top, and to Ivan Amirault for the scans of the Skaliwags 45s, the additional photos, and the clip of the Capitol Roots show.

Skaliwags Promo Photo

Skaliwags Live Promo Photo

Skaliwags Leonard Alexander Agency Promo Photo

Skaliwags Promo Photo

Skaliwags Promo Photo

Skaliwags Live Photo

Skaliwags Live Photo

Skaliwags live photo
Does anyone have better quality scans of these photos and promo pics?

16 thoughts on “The Skaliwags”

  1. I was the singer for the Skaliwags. The version of the group that recorded Turn Him Down consisted of Ed Mitchell singer, John Bacho lead guitar, Gerry Foster (real name Gerry Fortier) rhythm guitar, Andy Cody (real name Andre Cote) bass guitar and Gil Brooks real name Jules Leclair) drums. The names were changed so as not to appear to come from Gatineau, since we thought that it make a difference to Ottawa Kids.

    The second record, Me Minus More was recorded by Ed Mitchell,
    Gerry Fortier, Ralph Leroux (not Dave as outlined in your information) Peter Christianson, and Chris Saunders. I left the Skaliwags in October of 1967 and joined another Gatineau called Musical Fantasy who went nowhere, and I quit music altoghter on December 15, 1967 when my lung collapsed on stage at what was then called Immaculata High School on Bronson Ave. Hope this information proves helpful.

    1. Hi ed.
      I am 30 years old and 365/turn him down is one of my favourite records of all time. I even learned to play em on guitar! Thank you for these great tunes!
      Best wishes!

    2. Hello, Ed. I’m Michele and I’m from Turin, Italy. It’s the first time that I wrote about a garage band. I listened the song Turn Him Down on Youtube and I find It beautiful. I’m a great fan of the garage music of the 60’s. I have 25 years. I love so much your voice in this song. My favorite 60’s garage band are The Sparkles. I love the songs The U.T., He Can’t Love You, The Hip, Hipsville 29 BC. I like also some 60’s garage bands: The Jaguars, Satan’s Breed, The Customs 5, The Penthouse 5, etc… It’a a pleasure write with you. I like play drums. I learned alone at the age of 15 years in 2005. I’m to able to play some garage songs. I downloaded some garage rock tunes in my mp3 player. i love your music and your songs. I hope for a reply.

      1. Michele: It’s nice to here from you and how much you enjoy garage band music. We had a lot of fun all those years ago. As you probably it’s just as much fun to play music as
        it is to listen to it. Good luck with you drumming and thanks for writing

        Ed Mitchell

        1. Hi Ed. It’s Peter Christensen here. A few things have gone on over the last 5p years since we met. Just thought I would ssee if you are around. Do you see anyone? Where is Fitz? I am in London Ont. Peter

          1. Hi Peter: Just saw your comment today July24, 2017. Fitz and I remain close, I’ve known him 55 years. We’ve had breakfast every Tuesday for the last ten. We often go back to the days of the band and shoot the breeze about the good times we had. Bacho move on to the Townsmen and eventually joined a group called Bubs with Chris Saunders. See him occasionally. He’s doing well. Our former drummer Jules Leclair passed away 4 or 5 years. Also our former manager Paul Warman passed about 3 years ago. Turn Him Down our first record pops up all over the internet and often comes up for sale through internet auctions. Me Minus More is very rare and sought after. If you have a copy or copies hold on to them. Great to hear from you. I’m back in Ottawa after many years of living away because of my work. Thanks for touching base and I will mention our contact to Fitz. Incidentally, Fitz stayed in music for another 16 years after we broke up. All the best and take care.

    1. Bob: so glad to hear from you. But if you can remember the Tru-Tones you’re way older then me, and I was there. Before we changed to the Tru-Tones we were called the Blue Angels. You may remember that one of the other start up bands in Gatineau was called the Red Devils. Shows you how original we were with names eh. Glad you took the time to make a comment, and if you’re in town please give me a shout.

  2. Hi Eddie!

    I had already long blown the pop stand that was Gatineau in the 60s so I never heard the Scaliwags perform. My loss. Nice to come across this.

    Joan Thornley (nee Jevcak)

    1. Little Joan Jevcak: I truly appreciate that you would take the time to connect. What’s it been 59/60 years ago. Hope you are well and enjoying life. It’s a shame the you missed the Skaliwags in action (not really). But I’m sure you remember John Bacho and Gerry Fortier as they went to St Al’s with us. Marie and I just celebrated 50 years married. I hit the jackpot there. I’m not sure she feels the same way. (lol)
      Take care and if you’re in the area please touch base

  3. Hi Eddie
    We were a litte non union band back in 65 from Aylmer PQ I was lead singer. I remember getting influensed by Ottawa groups at that time but as it turned out we disbanded a year or so later. I do remenber talking to you’s at Hillcrest high at one of your gigs . My greatest thrill was practicing on second floor atop Farrands clothing Main St. Hull and a young dude came up and showed us the lead to ” I ain’t going to eat out my heart anymore” Yep it was Gene Cornick of The Young Rascals. Ottawa had so many talented bands back in the day and I was very privliged to share a bit of that moment, being a young dude and all. That influence has kept me going to this day. Thanks for this page and the teen memories.
    Dave

    1. Nice to hear from you Dave. I’ll bet you had a lot of fun playing music at that time. What a great thing for Gene Cornick to do. The young Rascals were one of our favorite groups back then. Terrific to hear that you still enjoy listening to music and reflecting on memories. You own and earned those memories so enjoy them

  4. Hello Ed,

    While talking with Lise, my girlfriend of 13 years about our band she said let’s Google it. I typed The Skaliwags to see what I could find. There, to my amazement, I see that you have been busy answering messages.

    It makes me feel good to see that some people enjoyed our music. It makes it all worthwhile.

    After so many years I feel The Skaliwags is a captivating story that illustrates the value of hard work and commitment. What memories, stories of fun, great times we shared and can now tell.

    Frogman

    Lise Gagné for André Coté

  5. Frogman (I call you that with the greatest affection) So so glad to hear from you. Didn’t we have a blast all those those years ago. Warbucks and Jules are gone but fondly remembered. I still have breakfast with that tall drink of water known as Fitz, and he hasn’t changed a bit. For the Wags it was always about the music and friends we made along the way. I always thought we had each others backs. Would love to reconnect with you over lunch sometime and I’m sure Gerry would love to join us. Strangely I have not heard from John since our re-union back a few years age. Please give me a call or contact me at emitch45@yahoo.com

  6. Hi Michael: nice to hear from you. 365 days a year b/w turn him down are so rare because we only released about 300 copies and my mom bought about 150. Turn him down did get to number one locally and we hung around in the Ottawa area about 4 years. More famous now then we were 55 years ago (lol). As to your write-up on 365. the only I do not recall is a planned tour of Canada. My probably would not have let me go.
    Cheers
    Ed Mitchell

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.