The Suns of Mourning

Suns of Mourning Photo

Suns of Mourning Midgard 45 Come On EverybodyThe Suns of Mourning do a ripping version of one of Eddie Cochran’s signature songs on the A-side. It could be 1960 except for the organ bubbling away and that pounding style of drumming. The flip is a sappy vocal over a decent rhythm backing.”Come On Everybody” is incorrectly credited to [Gene] Vincent – it was written by Eddie Cochran and Jerry Capehart and is correctly titled “C’mon Everybody”.

“I’m Not Worth It” sounds like it’s an original but has no writing credit on the label and is listed with Beat Music BMI.

In On That Wisconsin Beat Gary E. Myers noted that the band was from Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, and wrote “Originally the Chaotics, this band began circa 1964 and worked mostly in Wisconsin, including a 1966 show at Madison’s Capitol Theater with the Association and the Left Banke. Label owner Chuck Regenberg produced their session at a Madison radio station.”

Suns of Mourning Midgard 45 I'm Not Worth ItMembers were Eric Goetz (vocals), Steve Hassemer (rhythm guitar), Tim Gunther (lead guitar), John Schmid (bass) and Ron Skalitszky (drums). Goetz and Skalitszky had been in an early version of Spectre, Inc. George DuFre’ (George Durfee) was the Suns of Mourning’s manager.

The RCA mastering number TK4M-6765/6 denotes this as a late ’66 custom pressing made at RCA’s Indianapolis plant. Midgard Records has fine print listing it as a “Div. of International Promotion Production and Recording Unlimited”.

Chuck Regenberg owned Midgard – the label’s first release was his own 45 under the name Joules Regan, “Hey Girl” / “The Night Winds Blow” from 1962. He seems to have revived the label in 1966 to release the Bacardis “This Time” / “Don’t Sell Yourself”, a real garage classic, and very rare. These are the only other releases on Midgard that are known at this time.

There was a Suns of Mourning from Boise Idaho, but one of the members of that group informed me that they never recorded.

Thank you to Gary E. Myers for sending the photo of the Suns of Mourning, and for all the info on the group and Midgard in his book On That Wisconsin Beat.

22 thoughts on “The Suns of Mourning”

  1. I’m Not Worth It was originally done by Bocky and the Visions – it’s one of their 45s on Philips. Beat Music BMI was affiliated with their manager.

  2. Hi,..I’m from Beaver Dam,Wisconsin originally,(I live in Vietnam now),and saw The Suns of Mourning several times in Beaver Dam in the mid ’60s..,as a matter of fact,I was good friends of Eric Goetz’s brother “Tim”.,I was at times house often while they would practice..,They were probably the best band around the area at that time..,later,a group called “The Shades Of Eve” appeared as a play on the Suns Ofr Mourning name,..It featured a great prodigy on guitar “Paul Huza”,(Still In Junior High),who later became well known as “Paul Black & the Flip-Kings”,who had a CD release in the ’90’s,Paul was an awesome Bluesman,playing incredible slide guitar,Heavy drinking,raunchy,Blues..,Ben Sidren,(Sidran?),frequently sat in with the band,as well as other well known names.,..also around Beaver Dam in those early days were..”The Blue Raiders”,..they were really good too…,I hope this is of interest to those interested in info about the Suns Of Mourning…,Thanks…

  3. Hello Michael, I hope this isn’t too far off track, but, it seems everybody crosses paths at one time or another, such as Beaver Dam bands and then off to Vietnam. Back in the summer of ‘67 I was a drummer with a B.D. band named THE EXISTS which included Dave Cooper, Mike Seering, Keith Bobholz, Paul Huza and myself. We had kicked around the name SHADES OF EVE, and I as I recall… SHADOWS OF EVE, but, as I remember, it was a take off on the SHADOWS OF KNIGHT, a band from Chicago. Back in the day we often started with the song G L O R I A. Ironically, at the time, the THEM version was banned and we played the Shadows of Knight’s version. I left Beaver Dam in 1969 and by June of 1970 I was living in Saigon/Cholon RVN with a naval advisory group.

    I still have a copy of a July 1967 publicity photo of the band “EXISTS” if you are interested.

    Steve Loomis in Phoenix Arizona

    1. Mr Loomis, I’m trying to reach you as you posted a few photos of my father in law from the Saigon Naval Shipyard. Doan Bich is my father in law.

      1. Hello John,

        I may have just connected to your Linkedin account. If you are the same John Balmer you should be able to connect through that site. I knew, and knew of, Captain Doan Bich as the head Vietnamese Naval officer in the Saigon Shipyard (Vietnamese Naval Shipyard, Hai-Quan Cong-Xuong, also known as the Bason Shipyard). Our offices, Naval Advisory Group, were in the same administration building in the yard. It was Captain Bich that pinned my Vietnamese Staff Medal on me. It was rather memorable, at least for me, as he stuck me with those long French pins while pinning me. I was there from June 1970 to June 1971. There is a nice article on the Captain in the April 1968 issue of the Navy’s ALL HANDS. Steve Loomis

    2. Hi Steve
      I remember you from the old Lincoln School. I had seen a picture you had of the school years back I believe. Also interested in that 1967 pic of the band with Paul Huza. I seen it not too long ago, but now I can’t find it. I’d appreciate it if you could send those to me, if you have them. Linda

  4. Beaver Dam native. Grew up with chaotics. Played bass for years with Paul Huza (Black) and John Goodwin in The Restt followed by Steeler Woman.

    1. I have an old newspaper clipping of Steeler Woman Blues Band. Prior to that they were the Strangers. This picture is 45-46 years old. Found it a year ago folded up in a book.
      Nancy Maloney

      1. I am also a Beaver Dam native. The Suns of Mourning were just a bit ahead of my time, but I remember well the Steeler Woman Blues Band. It was not easy to keep track of who went where in these bands of the late 60s. I could have sworn that the band referred to in these comments as The Exists was actually called The Exit. To the best of my recollection, Cooper left The Exit, was replaced by Campbell, and The Exit became Steeler Woman Blues Band, with John Exner doing vocals and Huza and Goodwin making up the rest of the band.

        In that time period, I played guitar in a much less successful band called Liquid Fire. If we played four gigs during our short run (67-69), that was a lot. I know we did the YMCA (as The Daybreakers), Beaver Dam High School, St Pete’s, and the Juneau Park Pavilion. Joining me (John Coleman) in the band were Dale Shute (guitar), Gary Klebs (bass), and Gary Macheel (drums).

    2. I am Tim’s Gunther’s sister, Mary. He played lead Guitar in the Chaotics. I used to listen to them play/practice alot. They were fantastic!. He inspired me to go on to get my Master’s degree in Classical Guitar Performance … Loved that guy and miss hearing the band jam at our house.

  5. Ron Skalitszky was my 1st cousin and a great inspiration to me. I was 11 or 12 years old when the photo was taken and while I never saw the band perform I probably met all of the members at one time or another. I went on to play drums in bands in the 70’s and 80’s all because of Ronnie. Ron went on to a career in the Army and became a sound man for The Presidents Army Band which let him travel all over. We were in touch periodically over the years and he was always a very cool and supportive guy where my drumming was concerned. I still have a copy of the record given to me by my aunt shortly after it was released. Ronnie passed away a few years back sad to say. But he was the same cool laid back guy to the end. Thanks for the site and the preservation of a very fond memory.

    1. Paul Heimer – I knew Ron S. well and remember him coming to Albuquerque, N.M. to visit my brother Tim. Our family would love to get a copy of that record you still have!

  6. I remember the Suns of Mourning (and previously The Chaotics) jamming in our basement. My brother was Tim Gunther. He passed in January 2010. I knew them as a kid and while growing up had the chance to become friends with Steve Hassmer and John Schmid. Those were the good ole days……

  7. Tim Gunther was my musically gifted brother. His name is spelled incorrectly in your article. He was a brilliant lead guitarist and is the man pictured on the far right. He also played piano, organ and rhythm and bass guitar. He had perfect pitch and was an excellent vocalist as well. He went on to be in a successful southwestern touring blue grass group named “Juniper” and also played in a few other rock bands after that. We miss him and his music.

  8. The Steve Hassmer name spelling is also incorrect. t is Steve Hassemer. He played rhythm guitar. Tim Gunther played lead guitar, Thanks for making these corrections.

  9. Tim also served during the Vietnam war. As I remember, the day before he was to leave for Vietnam, he got a call from the Army saying he’d stay stateside, to teach for the Army, due to his high test scores. Brilliant, he was

  10. Tim is my brother too, as we come from a family of nine! I remember the Chaotics played in the basement for my First Communion party! I was in second grade! It was so cool. I also remember him teaching us four girls (Jane, Mary Chery, and I) four part harmonies for a Mothers Day show we were singing with all of our dresses pink and white matching. We sang: “I’m looking over a four leaf clover” and I think “Mr. Sandman”.. Because of Tim, we all learned how to sing harmonies! Tim also had us girls with cardboard guitars singing Beatles songs for our parents. What a cool brother! I love you Tim!

  11. We also sang with Tim and all of our siblings: Seven Bridges Road with SUPER harmonies! Brings tears and goosebumps to me!


    I don’t know if my image will load for you, but it is a Beaver Dam Daily Citizen promo photo of the band THE EXISTS, taken at Swan City Park in July 1967. The headline reads: PLAYING AT “Y” PIZZA PARTY THURSDAY, which was held at the Crystal Beach Roller Rink (we usually played at the “Y” downtown). I’m pretty sure it was Dave Cooper that came up with the name EXISTS because I jokingly said we could call ourselves the EXIT and he got pretty hot under the collar about it. If they changed the name later on to EXIT… that may be the reason. Anyhow, the clipping, with it’s photograph of the band specifically says: …dancing to the rock ‘n’ roll music of “The Exists”… and lists the band’s member as: Dave Cooper, Mike Seering, Keith Bobholz, Steve Loomis, and Paul Huza. — Steve

  13. Beaver Dam native. Started a band by the name “Exit”. Played with Paul (Black) Huza, Doug Pieper, Mike seering,Keith Bobholz and Mike Vohen. Play in the area, won a few battle of the bands and went to the state finals. Fun times. Knew most of the local player.

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