West Michigan Mid-Sixties Interviews

Phil Roberts, Jr., of the Kingtones

The following is an interview conducted with Phil Roberts, Jr. via email between June and July 2000. Phil has been playing with the Kingtones since 1959.

Jake: Hi, my name's Jake Brown and I live in Grand Rapids and I'm researching the local rock and roll scene back in the mid-sixties. My friend's dad was a member of a band called the Paeans who recorded a single at Fenton in 1965 but it remains unreleased, and that got me thinking about other bands around here at the time...

Phil: Don't quite remember the Paeans.

As a member of the Kingtones, I'm sure you have a unique perspective on the whole scene. A guy named Kip Brown tells me that you ran a studio in town where the Ju-Jus recorded. Is that true? Were there many studios recording rock and roll in West Michigan at that time? I only knew about Fenton.

About three. Dave Kalmbach (Fenton), who was no doubt something of a genius on matters of electronics and sound, mine, and Cinerama sound were pretty much the main ones back in the sixties.

I know that Fenton's studio was in the old Theatre in Sparta. Where was yours located?

444 W. Leonard across from Lannings.

What was the name of the studio?

Midwestern Sound Studios

Where was Cinerama Sound located?

Division Ave near Burton Heights. It was a break off from my studio owned by my previous partner, Denny Cuson.

Was there a lot of competition between the studios trying to book the coolest bands?

At times.

Other than the Ju-Jus, do you remember the names of any of the bands you recorded during the sixties?

Kingtones - A Love I Had (Kitoco)Yipes!!

Phelgethon (Aris Hampers), The Fredrick (their albums were going among collectors for $1,100.00 a copy last I heard), Band X, Ray Hummel III, Me and Dem Guys, Jackey Beavers, The Kingtones, Lynn and the Invaders, Ruth Ann and the Invictas, The Roy Sorenson Group (that was a laugh), Bethel Pentecostal Choir (the Debarges before they went Hollywood and became Debarge), etc., etc.

Bunny Debarge was the lead vocalist in the choir when I recorded them. Don't know for sure if El was in the choir at that time. Reverend Abney could probably fill you in though.

I thought Debarge was an 80's band. What years were you recording them?

Probably early 70's, before any of them went Hollywood.

Also, I used to record Junior Walker and the Allstars without Junior ("What Does it Take" and "Shotgun") who were dissatisfied with both Junior and Motown and were trying to use my studio as their breakaway.

Did the Allstars stuff ever get released? If so, what was it called and what label did it come out on?

Jackey Beavers ("What Does It Take" - Supremes) used them as his back up. Also, I remember a couple of instrumentals which were just incredible. Eddy Hollis (organ), Jerome Teasley (drums) come to mind. I remember one of them telling me they used to have Jimi Hendrix (before he got big) touring with them at one time, and hated it, because he was always making these god awful sounds with his guitar whenever they took a break. Funny stuff.

Also, I recorded Al Green's (now in the rock and roll hall of fame) first album and first 45.

That's a pretty huge deal! Did you get a chance to see Al Green's concert here last week or were you still in England? Do you remember the name of the album (was it Back Up Train, released in 1967 on HotLine?) or the songs you recorded?

Yep. And I remember that the best song on Al's album (in my opinion) was "Stop and Check Myself", written by Al himself. Hey. Can I spot talent?

Oh! John R, the most famous R and B disk jockey in the universe (60's, 70's) working out of WLAC Nashville, (50,000 watts of soul) came all the way to my studio with one of his groups to capture "the Grand Rapids sound" (written up in Billboard Magazine).

Can you describe what he meant by "the Grand Rapids sound"? What records was he referring to? Do you remember approximately what year he said this? Who was the band he brought to your studio?

I think they were referring to the soft soul sound of Al Green's "Back Up Train", with the strings and all.

There's a million others, but coming up with names is a bit of problem at the moment.

Do you still have the masters?

No. Most of them ended up in the hands (I gave them to him) of Big John Lubinskas (brother of Ruth Ann and the Invictas), recently deceased (month or so ago).

Do you at least have copies of the records of most of the stuff you recorded?

Nope. Sorry. Might have a Kingtone or two, but that's about it. Bruce might be of more help on this.

My friend's dad told me that his band the Paeans used to play at "The Place" on Plymouth, "The Guest House" on Bridge, and the 44th Street Armory. Were there other places that booked local rock and roll bands?

The Civic WGRD dances were the creme de la creme. We did a complicated routine to "Walk Don't Run" only to find when we got off the stage that Bruce had is fly open through the whole thing. :)

I tried to look up some info in a copy of the Grand Rapids Press from 1966, but there didn't seem to be a lot of coverage of rock and roll. Were there any music papers at that time like today's "Music Review" or anything like that? How did kids find out about shows?

Not sure. Bruce probably has most of the old newspaper clippings on us. Some of the artists we have played with through the years are Bobby Vee, Bobby Vinton (yuk), Del Shannon, Lou Christie, The Beach Boys, Johnnie and the Hurricanes (you really ought to look into these guys, they were my heroes for quite some time until some dude got a hold of them and gave them all Fender instruments and tried to put an orchestra behind them -- boy did that suck), Bobby Bare, Buzz Clifford, Brian Highland, etc. Bruce will probably remember them better than me.

I put up a website devoted to Grand Rapids rock bands from the mid-sixties. Have a look and let me know what you think. There are a lot of "holes" in the data that still need to be filled in, and there are a lot of details I'd like to add. Eventually, I'd like to have a unique page for each band, and have it display all the info I've found out about each band. That will take a while though!

Lookin' good. I didn't even know some of the stuff you've come up with. Great research.

Other bands:
  • Tom Carter and the Ramrods
  • The Eschelons (Lonely Christmas)
  • Me and Dem Guys (Black Cloud)
  • The Roy Sorensen Group
  • Loyd Brown Trio (bar group) - played at the Blue Note during the twist era and at the Coral Cables East Lansing during the twist era
  • John Brown Trio (bar group)
  • Band X (Ludington area recorded here though - Jay Fortier, etc.).

Are you familiar with the recent "garage rock" revival? There are a lot of new bands that try to capture that mid-sixties, "lo-fi" sound, playing vintage instruments, and even wearing vintage clothes!

Nope. Nowadays my interests lie in the area of philosophy and evolutionary psychology. In fact, I'm presenting a paper in Sheffield England 26th June [2000] on "The Psychodynamics of Genetic Indeterminism" (now there's a rip snorter) at 'The Institute of Biotechnological Law and Ethics' (yipes, those words are as long as most of the sentences my recording customers used to use). :)

Friends of mine were in a band called Fortune & Maltese who dressed like Paul Revere and the Raiders and played old Vox guitars and Farfisa organs. They played mostly original material along with a few obscure oldies that no one recognized. The punk rock kids loved them. Do you think it's strange that the mid-sixties local music is now sometimes thought of as the original punk rock? I guess it has something to do with the "do it yourself," independent attitude that comes across on those old records...

Not really. I loved some of the early Ramones, where every song was at full volume and sounded like every other song on the album. They were a hoot.

I hear the Kingtones still play shows regularly. Where's the next one? I'd like to check you guys out.

Still going but hanging by a thread. We're still well received, but because we don't learn new material our audience keeps getting older and older. Just lazy.

Recently we got a new bass player who brought in some new material and it seemed like we were starting to pull in a younger and bigger crowd, but he was a bit flaky, not always showing up, and all, so we are back in limbo at the moment. No bookings, although we are thinking we will probably book a few weeks in the fall at Hilliards (south of G.R. near Waylon) just to be out in the boonies while trying to break in a new guy.

Our main stomping ground has been Harvard Tavern, but we had to cancel the last booking a few weeks ago because of the flaky bass player problem.
Last updated on May 24, 2004.
Comments

I was wondering are there any recordings of the Bethel Pentecostal Choir with Bunny Debarge singing lead that are available to the public? She has the voice of an angel and I would gladly purchase any such recordings.

Thank You

S Lyles

Posted by: sdl at June 7, 2004 05:49 PM

I SEE YOU USE TO PERFORM WITH JR. WALKER & THE ALLSTARS. DID YOU PERFORM WHEN SONNY HOLLIS WAS IN THE GROUP, OR HIS SON?
I USE TO SING WITH THE LATE JR. WALKER DOIN BACKGROUND A COUPLE OF TIMES. I KNOW THE FAMILY WELL AND KNOW THAT THEY ARE GREAT PEOPLE. I ALSO PERFORMED AND RECORDED THE LATEST ALBUM WITH THE FLOATERS & SHUGA ENTITLED: "FOR YOUR LOVE" IN 1981. WOULD LIKE TO KNOW WHERE YOU ARE PERFORMING NOW.

GETBACK MIRACULUS7

Posted by: MIRACULUS7 at March 4, 2005 07:30 AM

PHILL,HOW COME NO MENTION OF THE COMMON PEOPLE RECORDING THERE FIRST AND ONLY PRINTED RECORD IN 1968 OF " LOVE OF THE COMMON PEOPLE " WRITTEN BY WILLIE NELSON IN YOUR STUDIO. ALSO RONNIE FRAY'S BAND WITH THE COMMON PEOPLE HORN SECTION . WE DID MANY A RECORDING ON LEONARD ST. I STILL REMEMBER THE OLD ECHO CHAMBER OR REVERB CHAMBER WHAT EVER YOU CALLED IT. MY FIRST BAND WAS THE FLINTSTONES IN 1961 THEN THE DRIFTWOODS, 1962, THEN THE "IN CROWD" THEN THE 4 U & HIM THEN, THEN THE "COMMON PEOPLE ( 8 YRS ) THEN " LUCKY STAR" THEN " NATCHEZ TRACE " THEN " DIRK RIVERS BAND" THEN " RONNIE FRAY " THEN "HORSEFEATHER" THEN I WENT TO L.A. TO SALTY DOG RECORDIND STUDIO OWEND BY FRED MUNCH& LARRY COOK MY OLD MATES FROM COMMON PEOPLE. DID THAT FOR 1 YEAR AND RETURNED TO MICH. FROM THERE I HOOKED UP WITH OLD FRIEND JERRY BROWN ( JERRY BROWN AND BEYOND ) IN KALAMAZOO WITH STEVE VANDENBERG FORMALY OF " THE THYME " PROBABLY WRONG SPELLING . ANYWAY I'VE MOVED TO NASHVILLE,TN. WHERE THE ONLY FRIEND I HAVE FROM THE OLD DAYS IS BOB VOGEL FROM DIRK RIVERS . BLA BLA BLA ONCE I GET GOING ON THE OLD DAYS IT'S HARD TO STOP. ANYWAY I LOVED THE 60'S 70'S 80'S AND 90'S IN WEST MICH. NOW I HAVE A REAL JOB BUT STILL HAVE LONG HAIR. HEY TO ANYBOBY WHO HAS KNOWN ME, GOOD LUCK TO ALL. BOB REILLY

Posted by: BOB REILLY at February 27, 2006 11:24 PM

Yeh... That's Right!!! How come NO MENTION,Phil, of the Common People, and Ronnie Frey? We sure did have fun jamming at the studio! Those late, great, creative nights, and the Red Line hot dogs... Ooooo weee... good times... Oh, wait... I know... it IS now 2006... has THAT much time really gone by?.... too many good times to remember. That's Ok. We love you anyway... don't we Bob?
Love,
Lin"

Posted by: Lin' at March 29, 2006 08:09 PM

In Regards to the article stating:

Jackey Beavers ("What Does It Take" - Supremes) used them as his back up. Also, I remember a couple of instrumentals which were just incredible. Eddy Hollis (organ), Jerome Teasley (drums) come to mind. I remember one of them telling me they used to have Jimi Hendrix (before he got big) touring with them at one time, and hated it, because he was always making these god awful sounds with his guitar whenever they took a break. Funny stuff.

I had the honor of getting to record Jerome live in Battle Creek on a few occasions last year.
I can honestly say I've never enjoyed drums more in person or in nationally released recordings.
He is trying to write a book on his experiences right now.
I hope he gets it published, it might include some of my recordings.

If anyone wants more info write ericshep@net-link.net
Thank you,

Posted by: Eric Shepherd at March 29, 2006 09:44 PM

Bob Reilly, Dirk Rivers, Yourself...Bob...Dick...Ronn...You had the right band at the right time...I miss all of you more than you can ever know...be good...love you all...breeze

Posted by: mr. breeze at August 30, 2006 09:37 PM

Saw the Kingtones at St. Georges Club for New Years Eve and they are still GReat. How many are the originals? They still have a big drawing and followers that were there. Thanks Carole R

Posted by: Carole at January 1, 2007 05:07 PM

I've been around GR for a long time and I used to go to Burton Heights Elbow room and watch a band called the strangers. Has anybody else ever heard of them and what the lead singer name was? Was it either Jackie Tuner or Jackie Curtis? And do they play at all anymore?

Posted by: John at January 12, 2007 03:36 PM

Hello Everyone! Extremely nice to hear about and read some of the postings! What fantastic memories!I'm very lucky to have some of the old recordings.(Dirk Rivers,Pedestrians, Phlegathon)They still sound good!(Good stuff, never grows old)Is the music scene still as good in W. Michigan, as it was back then?

Posted by: Dick Vogel at January 20, 2007 11:11 AM

HEY DICK , SO YOU FOUND THIS SIGHT TO. PRETTY COOL EH.BOB AND KAREN ARE COMING OVER FOR SUPER BOWL SUNDAY, WE'LL GIVE YOU A CALL. SEE YA. BOB REILLY

Posted by: BOB REILLY at January 27, 2007 11:59 AM

Just wannted to let you seasoned musicians with children know that your children got alot more out of your music than they will ever admit.
My father Frank Eimer may have said to you"my daughter would sleep with her head next to the bass drum" Apparantly thats a genetic musicians trait because my daughter Megan did,does, and will sleep by a bass drum.Anywho I am Now to old to admit my age being female and singing rock and roll, but i just wanted to share the fact
that i that i have only had 3 new years eve off in the last 18 years. I think live music makes the world go round. Best Addiction in the world

Posted by: Darcy Eimer at February 3, 2007 05:34 AM

This is a reply to Carole R. regarding The Kingtones
dated January 1,2007. There are 2 original members
left, Bruce Snoap (organ player) was with the band
from the start in 1957. In 1959 Phil Roberts joined
when the guitar was added to the group. They have
played on all the recordings the band has released.
You can read the history of the band and find our
performance dates by going to www.thekingtones.com Thanks for the Question and the
compliment. Jim Lewis

Posted by: Jim Lewis at March 5, 2007 11:22 AM

Hi Phil and Jim
What a treat reading about G.R. bands. Always enjoyed you and the Kingtones. My brother had a band mid 60's the Shandells all instrumentals They were on a T.V. show on ch. 8 can't remember the name of it, Buck Matthews hosted I belive.They were Mike Larsen, Ron Barry (Bucks son)Walt Cross and Rick VanAntwerp. Mike and I later formed the Larsen Brothers for a 25 year run of lots of fun.Had the pleasure of playing with Bob Reilly for a year in a group of mine called Freeflow. Great Bassists, he brought out the best of my guitar playing by his creativity.
Do you remember the Plantation on Plainfield? Always enjoyed the Vogel Brothers, The Common People, Ronnie Frey, The Beveridge Brothers, Pedestrians, The Kingtones, Phalegathon, Frost, Vic Amato, Loved your article. Thanks Hope to see you again this summer Jim!
Denny Larsen

Posted by: Denny Larsen at March 24, 2007 07:01 AM

The show you are probably thinking about would have either been "Teen Time" on channel 8 hosted by Don Melvoin, or "Mckay's Show" (not "Mckay's Place", which is a common error, as at one time Mckay owned the teen club "The Place")Can't see Buck Matthews hosting anything even close to a teen dance show- not the right personality. Anyone out there know exactly what years "Teen Time" ran. My guess would be about 61-64. Please correct me if I am wrong. Thanks.

Posted by: Mr. Matt at March 24, 2007 11:32 AM

I'd like to know if Phil Roberts has the masters of recordings made by us, The Quests, at his studio in the late 60's (Quests: Bob Fritzen and/or Lyle Hotchkiss), specifically "She's not there," "Love can do these things," and "I've Had it." If not, could he provide contact information for whomever may them? Thanks, Lyle Hotchkiss

Posted by: Lyle Hotchkiss at April 2, 2007 02:58 PM

Hi Denny, Thanks for the reply it is always a pleasure to see & hear You play when I run into You usually in the Park in Howard City. I plan to be there again this summer to see Jay Fortier & Bo White & The Bluzers play & also The Sea Cruisers. Had Fun listening to The Larsen Brothers a few times over the years always a great time and good music. Keep Rockin & stay in touch. Jim Lewis

Posted by: Jim Lewis at April 2, 2007 04:23 PM

To Lyle Hotchkiss,From the conversations I have had with Phil over the years, He had got rid of the masters of the bands He recorded as stated above in the interview at the top of this page. I think He has had a lead recently on where some of them may be. Try the link to Phil off The Kingtones page (rationology) or his phone number in the Grand Rapids phone book. Hope this helps. Jim Lewis

Posted by: Jim Lewis at April 2, 2007 04:46 PM

WELL, HELLO THERE. MY, IT'S BEEN A LONG LONG TIME:
THIS SURE IS A GREAT WAKEUP CALL FOR ME.
IT'S REALLY FANTASTIC READING AND HEARING ALL ABOUT THOSE LONG GONE DAYS...I MISS 'EM AND YOU!
ALL I CAN SAY IS...I WOULDN'T CHANGE A DAMN THING.
IT WAS BY FAR, THE BEST DAYS OF MY MUSICAL CAREER.
THANKS FOR THE BOOST!
=RONNIE FRAY=

Posted by: RONNIE FRAY at April 26, 2007 01:30 AM

Man what a trip down memory lane for me. My good pal Ronnie Fray sent me this and I couldn't believe all the names and places that I remember so well. Truth of the matter, that was when the music really said something. No Carrie Underwear there!!
I can still recall, I was in the sixth grade, 1963?, our class at Palmer Elementary school got to go up to Creston High School and watch Tom Carter and the "Ramrods" play Walk Don't Run. I had never heard an Electric Guitar before and to say the least it changed my life! I really appreciate you guys keeping this stuff alive. Those really were the days. Bob Vogel, Vogel Brothers, Dirk Rivers Band, Loretta Lynn. Nashville Tennessee

Posted by: Bob Vogel at April 26, 2007 12:40 PM

I've been around the GR music scene for about, well too many years to admit, but I've been a close friend of Fray, Bob Riley, Bob Vogel and many more. My tip for getting some GR music info is to get in touch with Ed "Buc" Buchanan. He's been in the GR radio biz for as long as I can remember and has a fantastic collection of records and tapes.

Posted by: Cathy Straub at April 26, 2007 06:18 PM

TO THE FRIENDS OF THE COMMON PEOPLE SAD TO SAY THAT GEORGE PAWLOSKI, OUR DRUMMER FOR MANY YEARS, DIED LASE WEEK ( 5-2-07 ). HE WAS 59. SEE YA LATER GEORGE.

Posted by: BOB REILLY at May 8, 2007 05:43 PM

I still haven't heard anything on the Floaters& Shuga album done in l981. I would like to know if it is still on the market. People ask me about it and I don't know what to say because I havent seen any albums anywhere. Oh, and Autry if your out there give me a holla. Are you still playing drums?

Posted by: renee at May 14, 2007 06:55 PM

Anyone remember The Plague from Lowell from 1967-1970? A group of high school guys that played high school dances, many Battle of the Bands, Ray Hummell III venues? They recorded a 45 and album at Smitty's Studio on the NW side?

Posted by: Rick at May 22, 2007 12:01 AM

HEllo, trying to find music by phalegathon, Help! Thanks Steve

Posted by: steve miller at September 27, 2007 10:55 PM

Going to the Bavarian on Bridge St. and listening
to Ronnie Fray were some of the greatest times of my life.

Posted by: Mike A at November 23, 2007 10:47 PM

Just a note to all of Ronnie Fray's friends.Ron had triple bypass surgery on Mon. 12-17-07 in London, Ont. Here's hoping all went well.

Posted by: Bob Reilly at December 18, 2007 05:11 PM

This may be old news to some of his G.R. Freinds
but I recently heard that Chuck Bob Carnes was involed in a motorcyle accident and came out in pretty bad shape.

Posted by: Derby at January 8, 2008 01:47 PM

Hey, Phil R.: The Quests found the masters of the songs recorded in your studio in 1967. They've been restored and soon will be released (after more than 40 years...can you believe it?). You did a great job for us. They were our best recordings at the time, but we broke up before they could be made into 45s. I'll let you know when they are published. Lyle H.

Posted by: Lyle Hotchkiss at January 13, 2008 09:58 AM

Yo Lyle. You were recorded? Great! Will Suttles

Posted by: Will Suttles at March 9, 2008 05:03 PM

I and my friends used to really enjoy Ronnie Fray & his band. Does he play anyware in the area ?

Posted by: Gary at March 18, 2008 06:05 PM

For all of you Ronnie Fray fans! Ron is doing pretty good after his heart surgery and is looking forward to getting back on stage in the near future. He has a birthday coming up in June I be leave it's the 18th. Wish him well. I for one still think he is one of the best rockers to hit the stage.

Posted by: Homer at May 19, 2008 07:35 AM

I'm trying to locate Jerome Teasley.

Posted by: Beecher Hines at June 5, 2008 09:20 AM

HI PHIL
REMEMBER ME THE LONG LANKY DRUMMER TALKED TO YOU A YEAR AGO FIRST WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO OR WHERE ALL OF THE OLD LOCAL BANDS BACK IN OUR ERROR OF THE SIXTYS. ALSO YOU LISTED SOME OF THE OLD BANDS AND THERE RECORDS WHAT ABOUT MINE. THE BAND RHYTEM ROCKERS SONG THREE STRIKES MYSELF,LARRY COOK AND JOHN BOGGS.LET ME KNOW HAVE A GREAT DAY. LARRY

Posted by: larry boltz at June 6, 2008 12:15 PM

i played with all the old timers. times have changed. fray,dirk rivers,lucky star,rockabillys,beveridge bros,larry ballard, commander cody,cod,gungor,coffied,houghton,reynolds, desire, recording my new cd in nashville for creative soul records. alot of fun but,not like the old days!! jerry the deacon davis

Posted by: jerry davis at June 25, 2008 03:39 PM

hello everyone my names bill. iam the step-son of George Pawloski (drummer of "The Common People" george has been gone for over a year now.I miss HIM SO MUCH!! . LOVE U GEORGE!! iam looking for any Picture,recording and or storys about george or "THE COMMON PEOPLE" so i can show my little girls what there Grandpa did for a living when he was young..if u were in the band maybe u remember me or my brother Jon or my mother Yolanda . i think when my mom meet George we were living in the western burbs of chicago "THE COMMON PEOPLE"were playing at a bar called "GRANNIES" in glendale hights,Ill .. thanks to all!!!

Posted by: william gay at July 19, 2008 09:13 PM

hello everyone my names bill. iam the step-son of George Pawloski (drummer of "The Common People" george has been gone for over a year now.I miss HIM SO MUCH!! . LOVE U GEORGE!! iam looking for any Picture,recording and or storys about george or "THE COMMON PEOPLE" so i can show my little girls what there Grandpa did for a living when he was young..if u were in the band maybe u remember me or my brother Jon or my mother Yolanda . i think when my mom meet George we were living in the western burbs of chicago "THE COMMON PEOPLE"were playing at a bar called "GRANNIES" in glendale hights,Ill .. thanks to all!!! EMAIL ME AT WINDYCITY_MADMAN@YAHOO.COM

Posted by: william gay at July 19, 2008 09:14 PM

Looking for band members from the 60's from THE LAST WORD out of Centerline Michigan. They were a garage band - my husband Ron Markowicz was a guitarist - Write me at gsm813@yahoo.com

Posted by: Gerri Markowicz at July 22, 2008 11:32 PM

Does anyone know how to get in touch with Bob Reilly? Has been a long time would like to talk and catch up with him about the old times. Please post or let him know that Joe is looking for him. Miss the band miss the good times and the old days.

Posted by: Joe Brown at August 11, 2008 04:36 PM

I remember when Bob got electrocuted by a mic how are his nerves doing? He sure was pissed that time. I do not know know where he is now. If he's around let me know.

Posted by: Tina Smith at August 15, 2008 03:36 PM

I remember something about that to, Could be how I heard from someone he was not all well. Would stay mad all the time. He also could drink like a fish I could not last with him he'd out drink me every time. Tina if you hear about him please post.
Joe

Posted by: Joe Brown at August 18, 2008 11:43 AM

Joe, yes I'm still with the living. I have gotten over the electric mic.event.I still have to thank Bob Vogel everytime I see him.I live not too far from Bob down in Nashville,Tn. so we get together every once and a while.He is doing quite well.I no longer play for a living ( miss the music but not the life ).My health is good and so is my life. I get up to Mich. a couple times a year.Hope you are doing well.Take care,Bob

Posted by: BOB REILLY at August 18, 2008 01:07 PM

Joe I think that you have it wrong but as I remember it bob also did some backup for the village people did he not? Could be wrong it has been a long time ago. My son told me he noticed your name on this site. You and I went around together for some time. Never thought I would find you on some old web-site. Still think of you Gladys

Posted by: Gladys Althrop at August 20, 2008 11:45 AM

Got a call the other night from Tina (ya I know my ex) we still talk sometimes. she said that someone was looking for bob reilly on this site. Just wanted to say HI to bob r and also to bob vogel I remember all of that bunch that used to hang around together. I will try and remember some of the funny things that used to happen and post at a later time. Thanks Tina for letting me know where some of the old people are at.

Posted by: Tony Smith at August 20, 2008 09:10 PM

HEY DICK , SO YOU FOUND THIS SIGHT TO. PRETTY COOL EH.BOB AND KAREN ARE COMING OVER FOR SUPER BOWL SUNDAY, WE'LL GIVE YOU A CALL. SEE YA. BOB REILLY

Posted by: BOB REILLY at August 30, 2008 03:15 PM

Who is Dirk Rivers?

Posted by: scarf at September 20, 2008 01:55 AM

BOB AND DICK VOGEL! PLEASE CONTACT ME, OK? I DARE YA! :-) KIM RUSH

Posted by: KIM RUSH at September 21, 2008 02:43 PM

Who is Dirk Rivers just ask anyone talk to Bob or Dick Vogel they will tell you who Dirk Rivers is

Posted by: Dirk Rivers at October 2, 2008 03:20 PM

Who is Dirk Rivers?

Posted by: Pat at October 3, 2008 07:47 AM

I know who Dirk Rivers is!!!

Posted by: Steve Damstra at October 3, 2008 10:08 AM

no really................who is Dirk Rivers?

Posted by: Pat at October 7, 2008 03:43 PM

Dirk Rivers shall always live in the hearts & souls of the the experienced...( are YOU experienced?) The harmonies...the phrasing...the humor...the chaos....put's a smile on my face 30 some years later

Posted by: mrbreeze at October 12, 2008 09:48 PM

by the by...to Stevie D... How about some N.T on myspace?

Posted by: mrbreeze at October 12, 2008 09:54 PM

Hey Breeze, how ya doin'? You can find N.T. at www.natcheztrace.us Where are you living these days?

Posted by: Steve Damstra at October 15, 2008 09:33 AM

I know who Dirk Rivers was. Actually the name came from an Elvis Presley movie. Elvis played a character named Deke Rivers. Hey Steve Damstra, how are ya? Those were fun days for me and I miss the hell out of that whole music scene in Grand Rapids. I would go back there and relive 1979, or thereabouts, in a heartbeat. Hope everyone is doing well, and wish I could see you all again. Kim Rush, contact me through my email, bv108@comcast.net. I love you guys!!! Does anyone remember the flaming P---y?? Now that was really something to see!! Bob

Posted by: Bob Vogel at October 21, 2008 05:23 PM

I'd have to maintain that Sir Robert Vogelstinker is correct about Dirk..he is the original Dirk, in all fairness....I'm still here, Bob. Singing with you was probably the sweetest musical memory I'll ever have...thanks for letting me do that to your poor ears :-( We all have someone we look up to musically, and you're IT for me to this very day. Our memories and background go WAY far back and even deeper than music. Your old pal, Kim

Posted by: kim rush at October 22, 2008 11:15 AM

Hey Bob Vogel, how's life in Nashville? Dirk Rivers was by far the wildest band in my musical career... totally insane, but we sure did know how to rock!!! Remember the "Wigwam"? Hard to believe it was almost 30 years ago. I hope all is well. Stevie Dee

Posted by: Steve Damstra at October 24, 2008 01:50 PM

Hey Steve Damstra hope to see you this coming Thursday at Cheers, if I can make it. Robin and Ron have been bugging me for those old Natchez Trace tapes that I produced through the Golden Years. You remember the ones I showed at Ron's 50 birthday. I have about 5 of them I think. For everybody reading this post: I would go to the differant bars back in the 80's and video tape the band with commercial equipment. I would walk all over the stage and get "drum cam shots" etc. Got some real good guitar picking too. I never did edit them. Its just raw footage. It showes the fun we were having. Later, Doug Taylor

Posted by: Doug Taylor at October 31, 2008 10:01 PM

Does Bob Vogel come in here? Bob, if you come in here, E-mail me: ( thelineman16@comcast.net )Steve Damstra I remember when Bob Vogel had a "basement band". Yes, basement band, not a garage band, they was too loud for the garage. Then Bob and his brothers started "The Vogel Brothers Band" then "Dirk Rivers" and I think now he is lead guitarist for Loretta Lynn, I think. He can really make a guitar talk. Last time I seen him, was just before he went to live in Nashville. He was showing me his Baby Grand Piano. I wonder, if he ever mastered that too. Glad I found this site. Doug Taylor

Posted by: Doug Taylor at October 31, 2008 10:34 PM

Hey to all of you that remember us, me. Great to hear from you Steve D. That was a gas and it is hard to believe it was 30 years ago. I remember the Wigwam well. We won't get specific, unless we want our current wive's to divorce us!!! Contact me man. Same to Doug Taylor. How are you man. Great to hear from you guys. Loretta is still doing fine and sells out everyshow she does. Talk to you soon, Bob

Posted by: Bob Vogel at November 1, 2008 02:16 PM

Bob Vogel or Bob Reilly who cares that was 30 years ago. Between the two Vogel had to be the best he at least had some talent to go on. The other one was in some small time band the common folks or something. Our band never took off so I cant say to much. Must have something about the name bob. It's used in every bathroom joke around. Well to all of the Bob's out there later.

Posted by: Bob Tompson at November 18, 2008 01:55 PM

Bob Vogel update: Just got an E-mail from Bob on Mon. He moved to Nashville in 1991, so it has been 17 years. Says he remembers those days well and sometimes really misses them. He answered me that he was still married to the same girl and they just celebrated their 33rd anniversary. He's still with Loretta Lynn. She made Bob her Band Leader in 2006. He says he's going to stay with her until the end. He has been with her for 12 years and she is still selling out shows everywhere she goes. She has 2 new albums coming out this year and they are looking forward to that. Quote from Bob "Glad to hear Natchez Trace is doing well. I went to their website and could hardly believe my eyes. Steve looks very different, Ronn looks the same. I never met Robin. Tell them all I said Hi. Next time we get up to Gr., we will have to get together and go see Natchez Trace. Keep in touch. Bob" He says Nashville has been good too them. Glad to hear from old friends. Doug Taylor

Posted by: Doug Taylor at November 22, 2008 02:30 AM

Anyone remember a band called "The People's Choice back in the 70's?

Posted by: chris at December 27, 2008 10:16 AM

I remember the Sorenson Bros. who played jazz with Harry Smith at konkle's Bar in the old days. Also, Ronnie Fray at Sullivans Shamrock on Bridge - his song "Travelin' Light" was a favorite.

Posted by: mickey at January 10, 2009 09:24 PM

Who is Dirk Rivers? Bob, I remember the flaming P***y. I witnessed it at a small place on Knapp and Egypt Valley in Grand Rapids. Good friend of mine. Those were the days.... The Bogue Rogue, The Mousetra. Nice to see Scarf and Breeze chiming in.

Posted by: todd johnson at January 11, 2009 06:53 PM

Remember Ronnie Fray at the Inn in Ada, Michigan.
He could really belt it out and yodel with the
best of them. I loved Delilah.

Posted by: louise at January 17, 2009 10:17 AM

Ronnie Fray said he could do that when he was sniffing cheese dust does anyone remember that stuff? Also the flaming P---y WOW!!!!!

Posted by: John Simmons at January 29, 2009 04:06 PM

Whatever happned to Sonny and Stan Sorenson? I have a weird LP that Sonny and Harold 'Popeye' Booker played on, called 'Tarantula Toes' by Jo An Morris. Please, put me in touch with the Sorenson Bros if possible! shannongr@hotmail.com
Thanks,
Tom

Posted by: Tom Shannon at February 3, 2009 03:53 PM

My father, Stan Sorensen, died in a plane crash outside Lowell airport April 8th., 1972. My uncle Sonny (Jack) Sorensen died in 1986 of brain cancer. Popeye Booker died a couple of years later. They're all gone. I remember the 'Tarantula Toes' undertaking by my uncle and wish I had a copy. I believe my dad's last recorded work was an original writen by and recorded with Carl O'Bergner, 'Your Arms Aren't Long Enough To Box With The Lord.' I wonder what happened to Carl O'Bergner.

Posted by: Rick Sorensen at March 18, 2009 12:32 AM

Just stumbled on this site..WOW!..what memories..
first time i saw Fray was just before he hired Hal Beveridge..just Ron & Clay on drums.. i ended up spending many nites at the Bavarian..i played drums with Ron & Dale Thomas the first time they played at the Night Hawk north of Belding..also played with them at the old Northside Inn in Greenville, and a few times at Barney's in Sand Lake...i used to play drums in many Country bands
..lots of years with Johnny Shattuck at the Continental Bar in Greenville, but i don't play Country any more..i helped start the Flat River Big Band (18 piece jazz & dance band) over 25 years ago and that's all i play now...have many memories of Grand Rapids & surrounding area bands
i used to play with and listen to...wish Fray & Dale Thomas were still playing together in the area...they were the best !!

Posted by: Chuck Laper at March 21, 2009 09:52 PM

I met Ronnie Fray in the early 1970s in Columbus MS, where he did a duo with Clay Highley at a place called the "Wharf". I still have a copy of his "Ronnie Fray and Reptile, Almost Live at the Bavarian Inn". With Ronnie on Guitar and kicking bass, and Clay on drums, it was the best duo I had ever seen. I played at a supper club and got off early enough to catch the last set or two several nights a week.....Those were the days!

Posted by: J. R West at April 16, 2009 06:49 PM

Got a call the other night from Tina (ya I know my ex) we still talk sometimes. she said that someone was looking for bob reilly on this site. Just wanted to say HI to bob r and also to bob vogel I remember all of that bunch that used to hang around together. I will try and remember some of the funny things that used to happen and post at a later time. Thanks Tina for letting me know where some of the old people are at. If you find bob vogel tell him he could find better people to hand with and other things.

Posted by: Tony Smith at May 11, 2009 10:03 AM

Great site with lots of good information about older rock bands.

Posted by: Tommy Shaw at September 10, 2009 11:56 AM

Does anyone remember a Band called "Home"? As I recall WLAV dj's used to play a live recording of "Somewhere over the Rainbow" That was cut at Danny J's on Division.would love to have a copy. I also went to a site called Internet Archives and actually downloaded My first concert I ever went to Early 70's Little Feat and the Fuller Cass Band at the Civic. Totally freaked me out that it was captured on tape then digitally recorded for our pleasure!

Posted by: Rick Thomson at October 19, 2009 12:07 PM

Love GR Nusic! Asked ChucK Bob to play @ my wedding reception. He shows up with Ronnie Wiiliams and others, and we had a blast! 22 years later we are still married and loving Carnes, Fray, Ballard and Natchez Trace. OK others too! Keep on rocking! You too aris and ed!

Posted by: Dan Gilespie at October 25, 2009 09:53 PM

For Rick Thomson -

Hi - I ran sound for Home for a couple of years in the mid 70's - really a great time. I know "over the Rainbow" well - a marimba is a tough instrument to mic well!

Posted by: Tom Barton at October 28, 2009 05:02 PM

How about Dick Wagner and the Frost? And what was that band that use to play at some bar and they wouldlock the doors than let you stay after 2pm because we were all "meidicated" and the band played on till 4am or so?

Posted by: Daniel Grant at November 3, 2009 06:27 PM

My father was part owner of the Bavarain Inn on bridge st. along with Bob Sullivan, anyone remember Ozz, Blindman's Bluff or how about Sunnava(as in Bitch)?

Posted by: Mike Black at February 9, 2010 02:20 PM

Hey Mike Black, I remember your father, as I was one of just a few male bartenders that work at the ole Shamrock Lounge that Sully owned across the St. Quiz for everybody: What year did Ronnie Fray first play in GR and what bar? Also what was he known for doing good?

Posted by: Doug Taylor at February 10, 2010 01:00 AM

Don't know where he first played. I first saw him at the Bavarian and was impressed with his yoedling!

Posted by: mike black at February 10, 2010 10:55 AM

Hey this has been fun, Im one of the original guitarist for Tom Carter and the RamRods, really enjoyed reading, brings back back a lot of memories
Wonder if Tom is still around, Ive been on the road since 66' and live in GA now. I Get back to MI now and then. Another group I recorded with , was the sessions with Linda Nowicki and cousin Mary, Bill Stewart,& Denny Brown. Feel free to contact me

Posted by: Russ Selby at March 11, 2010 01:58 AM

Sorry here is my email
williamselby@comcast.net

Posted by: Russ Selby at March 11, 2010 02:01 AM

Mike Black, your correct, yoedling was Ronnie Fray's expertice. He yoeled better than anybody I ever knew. Now, what was the first place he played in and what year in Grand Rapids.

Posted by: Doug Taylor at March 11, 2010 11:56 PM

THE ONLY FRIEND I HAVE FROM THE OLD DAYS IS BOB VOGEL

Posted by: BOB REILLY at March 16, 2010 09:40 AM

stil have a brother that drums in gr. don selby,and his son bass and guitar also don selby,me and jack wood and phil hamacker had a group called two plus one in the 60's also the brad, with me,rick priest,dan mouer,jim wilsons brother in law,and a family band,the selby brothers,good times

Posted by: russ selby at March 18, 2010 01:41 PM

Sittin @ The log Cabin on Divisin about 6-8 weeks and in walks Ronnie Fray---goes up and does a song with OTC.. Cool cool cool---By the way OTC is Fantastic.

Posted by: Dirt at April 30, 2010 03:28 PM

Anyone remember a band called sunrise

Posted by: simpson johns at April 30, 2010 03:31 PM

Hi Everybody,Just wanted You to know that the Kingtones are on the ballot for the Michigan Rock & Roll Legends Hall Of Fame this Year and We would appreciate Your Vote. Along with Us are artist from our area that deserve votes also such as Eschelons,Band X,Fredrik,Pedestrians,Ect. You must vote for at least 10 bands or artist for your vote to count. Voting closes June 1, 2010. The list of eligible Bands/Artist are available at the Michigan Rock 7 Roll Legends Website. Be sure to VOTE PLEASE! THANKS

Posted by: Jim Lewis at May 2, 2010 06:47 PM

I'm glad you posted this reminder. While you all are voting I hope you'll cast one vote for Tonto and the Renegades. And, one other MUST do for youe vote to count is you must also vote for 10 songs. If you don't vote for 10 of each, you're ballot will not be counted.

Posted by: tom kirby at May 5, 2010 06:26 AM

Hey Bob Reilly
I am still trying to track you down, If you are around and not to busy can you e.mail me at squid701@sbcglobal.net.

Posted by: Bob Elliott at May 24, 2010 01:38 PM

does anyone remember a band called Flying Home? they used to play at the Stardust early 70's. can't remember any band member names. seems like there was a flute player

Posted by: Diane Cummings at June 1, 2010 11:18 PM

I remember Flying Home. I believe the lead singers name was Scotty. I have friends that know them pretty well. Sorry, that's all I know for now.

Posted by: EKIM at June 2, 2010 06:38 AM

Furgy Fredrickson was the lead singer for Flying Home.After them he went with Common People then he finally ended up as lead singer for " TODO " for 1 album.Scott Phetzing was the drummer and the last time I saw him was in 1990 living in Marina Del Ray and doing quite well.Can't rember the other guys.

Posted by: Bob at June 2, 2010 12:50 PM

Wow. Flashback. I dont know how I found this, but you are all here. Bobby's Bar, Hilltop, Konkle's.Fray, Ballard, Rielly, Chuck Bob, Dirk Rivers Band.Does anyone still live in GR? Im in Indy these days.

Posted by: Brad Baker at July 3, 2010 05:26 PM

Someone had told me that Bob Reilly from dirk rivers band lives in Nashville Tn. He said in another post that he does not have any friends and that he only talks to Bob Vogel. This is sad he seemed like a cool guy years ago.

Posted by: Barry Jones at September 1, 2010 10:29 AM

Looking for anything about Jerry Brown and Beyond. Still listening to their album today, burned from album to Ipod. Great music back in the day. Anyone know if there was more than just one album made? Thanks!!

Posted by: Marc at September 11, 2010 09:23 PM

Hi Marc,
Jerry runs a very successful advertising/production company here in Grand Rapids called Lawrence Productions (Fred Munch ,Common Peoples keyboard player works with him)I just did a voiceover job for him last week!Doug Cassens the hornplayer in the band used to play with me in Me and Dem Guys!

Posted by: Keith Seccombe at September 14, 2010 04:13 PM

Looking for any information on anyone from Dirk Rivers. Would like to find some recordings from them and just say thanks for the great times back then. I remember Bob and someone else but can't think of there name.

Posted by: Pat at September 24, 2010 03:24 PM

Pat,

Bob Vogel lives in Nashville and I keep in touch with him regularly. His brothers still live in the area. E-mail me, thelighthouseguy1@yahoo.com

Posted by: Doug Taylor at September 26, 2010 03:05 AM

I lived in GR from 76 to 86 . Great memories of Fray and the Vogels at the East Town Saloon . Good music scene back then. I'm a Florida boy , saw enough snow to last a lifetime !

Posted by: mike foard at November 13, 2010 09:06 AM

Wow! I remember those days. Dirk Rivers Band and the whole Creston Heights crowd. The first time I saw the flaming 'P' was at the Greenville benefit in maybe '77 or '78. Pat, are you female Pat J.? I moved to FL in '79 with Ricky Breckon, lost track of him for 28 yrs then ran into him at a biking event, still riding that old Triumph. Ran into Craigar a few times in FL. Sorry to use ya'lls space, i've been looking for Pat J. Find me on Facebook Natalie Choals Howell.

Posted by: Nat at December 17, 2010 12:56 PM

THE ONLY FRIEND I HAVE FROM THE OLD DAYS IS BOB VOGEL. AND HE ONLY WILL TOLERATE ME MOST OF THE TIME.

Posted by: BOB REILLY at May 24, 2011 03:59 PM

It's good to see alot of the "old Rockers" are still ROCKIN !!!

Posted by: Larry Cartwright at May 28, 2011 07:13 PM

Larry Cartwright, were you in the band "Force of Habit" If so, are you still "Rockin".

Posted by: Doug Taylor at May 30, 2011 03:04 AM

Does anyone have any information about common people? That was a good band.

Posted by: Toby Johnson at July 14, 2011 03:16 PM

Just wanted to inform the Music Community and Friends of the passing of My Brother, Mitch Lewis. Mitch played guitar in the Band "Defiance" in the late 70's & early 80's. He also played in the Band "Past Time" during the 90's. Mitch would once in a while do a tune or 2 with Us (The Kingtones) before Our retirement, when He was there over the years. Mitch was laid off at the time of His passing and a possible benefit may be planned. Mitch was proud to have helped launch the career of Dennie Middleton and Nick Lewis (no relation)also Rob Roe and enjoyed his many friends & fellow musicians. I had re-united Mitch with long time Friend Mike (Micky) Romanowski former Bass Guitar player with OZZ & We had been working on a few of Mitch's original songs up until His death. Please feel free to contact Me at 616-984-2605 God Bless You All, Jim Lewis

Posted by: Jim Lewis at September 27, 2011 04:36 PM

HEY GUYS, BOB REILLY HERE FROM COMMON PEOPLE.I COULDN'T RESIST SAYING HEY TO ALL THE GUYS. HEY!!!
THERE NOW I SAID IT. BOB

Posted by: Bob Reilly at September 29, 2011 04:33 PM

Spent some time reading and remembering a lot of names dates and places. I went to school with Bruce Snoap, Pete Mervine, and others from The Kingtones. I did not realize that so many groups sprung up around the GR area. I had my days hobnobbing, but that was Hawaii, when it was hot, and all the stars played there. It was fun.

Posted by: Rick Harig at December 18, 2011 09:28 PM

I KNOW WHO I AM, I AM BOB REILLY WHO ARE YOU?
DO YOU UNDERSTAND WHAT IT IS THAT YOU KNOW?
I AM BOB REILLY AND I KNOW AND UNDERSTAND. AND REMEMBER TO SAY HI TO THE MUFFIN MAN!!!

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Posted by: Winfred Junior at February 19, 2013 07:28 AM

CAME IN FROM CANADA.FRANKIE RONDELL AND THE CHANCELLOR'S.HAD MUCH SUCCESS WITH OTHER BANDS.STILL ACTIVE AS MUSICIAN AND M.C. AND D. J.IN THIS AREA.
THANK YOU LORD.
BIG AL.

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Posted by: Pharmd899 at May 15, 2013 11:22 AM

Hey to all. Love the site. I just found it today July 13, 2013
See many names I know from my days booking the local GR bands in the 60's while I was DJ at WMAX and WERX.
Need Bob Rielly to contact me as I have photo of Driftwoods as Trio. Bob u may be in the picture?

Lee

Lee Lyons
Naples, Fl 239-537-8706

leedena@earthlink.net

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