West Michigan Mid-Sixties Bands
From Jim Frost of the Intruders
We recorded quite a lot, never released any. We first recorded at Great Lakes in May or June 1965. In '64 and early '65, we were doing a lot of instrumental music, influenced by the Ventures, the Tornadoes, Dick Dale and the Del-Tones, the Surfaris, and locally by the Renegades (more on them later).
Our first recording was of two original songs, one an instrumental called "Space Walk", and the other a vocal, "Oh, Kathy." Dave Kalmbach was the engineer. We had the songs pressed to acetate disc, but never to vinyl. At the time, we were close to two local DJs, Dick McKay and Jack Hoppus. They gave Space Walk a fair amount of air time, as it was usual then to play an instrumental lead in before the news. Dick mcKay had a television show then on WZZM called "McKay's Place", and we played on it several times. The first times, we would record a song and then go to the studio and be taped lip-syncing, and then on the live broadcast, we would step in after the tape was played for a quick introduction/interview. But on July 4, 1965, we played live from the WZZM remote studio in Muskegon, playing "Space Walk" and "Oh, Kathy" before the Righteous Brothers got up and lip-synced a couple of their songs. We went back to the studio on a number of occasions, but we were not prolific writers and did not have that much good original material.
In late December 1966 and early January 1967, we recorded in Phil Roberts's basement studio, which was quite nice and very complete, but the songs were all top 40 covers, no originals. Again, we had the songs pressed to acetate, but not to vinyl, and there were no releases. We used this output mainly as an audition tool. (I think I still have acetate discs of some of our recordings, if I can find them).
What we were was an excellent cover band, and we played a good live show. We played virtually every Friday and Saturday night from 1964 through 1968 with the core band, and then splintered and evolved into other groups. The core band, The Intruders, played literally hundreds of shows and dances during that time. We played at the places mentioned in my message in your guestbook, as well as many others that I can't remember. School dances, many dances at the armories in Wyoming and Holland, teen clubs all over the Midwest. We played in, and won, several battles of the bands. We played in Ottawa Hills High School's "Junior Review" in 1966, as one of our members was a junior at Ottawa that year. The other three of us went to East Grand Rapids HS.
I have pictures of the Intruders, and of the Root Beer Stand Band that evolved out of the Intruders. Other Ottawa and East bands at the time included the Soulbenders (all Ottawa), Chaos, Inc. (mostly East), Peter and the Prophets (mostly East, but I think Pete Samuelson and John Kay went to Central),(Chaos, Inc., and Peter and the Prophets later merged into a band called The Everyday Things, and released a recording of two Pete Samuelson songs)(also, Steve McKay, sax player in Chaos, later joined Iggy and the Stooges and played on their "Funhouse" album), The Guildsmen (East), the Renegades (East), the Kingtones (East, mostly, but they were several years ahead of us in school), and The Fredric (East and Forest Hills). The Renegades were Fitz Green (guitar), Brian Bracken (organ), Pete Idema (drums), and a bass player whose name I think was Bruce Baldwin. Originally an instrumental group, they released "Greensleeves" in about 1964. They then turned to vocals, and went through a couple of singers whose names I don't remember, and they released "Wine, Wine, Wine" (a cover of a song by a group called the Astronauts who never got much recognition).Last updated on May 17, 2004.