Clefs of Fort Wayne, Indiana

The Clefs

The Clefs were a band from the Fort Wayne area in the late 50′s and early 60′s.  The members of the band were Kenny Pancake (guitar), two brothers, Steve & Lani Hathaway (drums & guitar), Jim Marker (accordian), and Jack McCormick (guitar).

Jack McCormick relates the story of the band’s genesis:

It was my junior year in high school, 1958. My cousin, Kenny and I, had been fooling around with our dad’s guitars for a while, and Kenny knew of a couple of guys at school that liked to play, so thats how Steve, Jim, Lani, Kenny, and I got together. We started playing in a lot of places around town at record hops and the roller skating rink during most of 1958.

In 1959, the group hired a manager, D.D. Douds (Dave Smith), a.k.a.  “the Rock and Roll Rampager.”  In the very early spring of 1959, Douds got the Clefs a gig to go to New York city to record a new song called “Roll Over Beethoven”. The group was very excited.

At that time in Fort Wayne, drive-in theaters were a big thing and one of these theaters, stayed open all year round.  They had to heat the bathrooms and concession stand with gas heaters. Right after the group got the news about New York, the drummer, Steve, and guitar player, Kenny, went on a double date with their girlfriends to that drive -in.

What they did not know was that the gas company had come to the drive-in that morning and removed the gas heaters out of the bathrooms, but forgot to cap the gas line. So all day the bathroom was filling up with gas.

Jack continued,

That evening, Steve, Kenny and the girls went to the drive-in early, so the girls went up near the screen where they a swing set, while Steve and Kenny went into the bathroom for a smoke. As soon as Kenny flicked his lighter, the place exploded with such force that the bathroom door blew off of its hinges, sailing straight out 40 feet, hitting a speaker post and breaking it in half. Somehow the guys survived, and were taken to the hospital.

Kenny told me that when they got there the doctors decided to cut off their arms because the flesh was just hanging there. But both Steve and Kenny pleaded with the doctors not to do it, because they played in a band. Finally, the doctors decided not to do that, and just wrap up their arms.

The Clefs lost the New York job. Douds dropped the Clefs and took another group, Misty and the Green Men, to Las Vegas where they became a lounge act.

The two band members were in the hospital for many months, but eventually recovered enough to continue playing.  Because of the pain in his fingers, Kenny put bandaids on all of his fingers so he could press down on the strings. Steve  took large balls of cotton and taped it around his sticks, and that’s how he played for months.

In 1961, the group walked into the radio station WOWO in Fort Wayne with D.J. Bob Sievers as the  group’s engineer. They recorded “Don’t Cry” and “The Dream Train Special”, later released on Red Bird records.

Clefs - Dont Cry

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Giant Red Jellybean of Valparaiso, Indiana

giantredjellybeanjpg

The Giant Red Jellybean were from Valparaiso, Indiana.

Standing from left to right  are members Mike Veal, John Radig  and Bruce Resteau. Sitting from left to right are Randy Rueter and Dave Clifford.

giantredjellbean45

The group cut one 45 rpm record -Giany Red Jellybean “Going Out of My Mind”/”I Need Her” (Cliff TR8 368). The band sold a few hundred records and 45 was played on a Gary Indiana radio station for a brief time. The record was cut at Universal Studios in Chicago , 1967 . The Grass Roots and American Breed were also doing some recording at Universal about the same time.

 

I have also been told that members were previously in Hudson Bay Company, apparently releasing another version of “Going Out of My Mind” backed by “Early Morning” on the HBC label.  I haven’t seen or heard this record so if anyone out there has a copy, please send me some audio.

Mike Veal, Dave Clifford, John Radig

Mike Veal, Dave Clifford, John Radig

Mike Veal

Mike Veal

Mike Veal

Mike Veal

Veal Resteau, Dave Clifford, John Radig,

Veal Resteau, Dave Clifford, John Radig

Randy Rueter, Mike Veal, Bruce Resteau

Randy Rueter, Mike Veal, Bruce Resteau

 

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Sangralads of Walton, Indiana

sangralads

The Sangralads were an obscure garage group who resided at the Sangralea Valley Home For Boys in the 1960′s. A recent email from member Phil Armstrong pointed us to a great history of the band on the web site Artifacts in Wax. You can read the story here.

They released two 45 rpm records on the WHAP records label. The first record, under the name Sangralads, included “Think of What You’re Sayin’” and “Mary’s Kidd” and was released on WHAP 318. The second release, under the name Sun Lightning, Inc., featured two slabs of psychedelic space rock: “Quasar 45″ and “There Must Be Light” on WHAP 319.

 

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REDCOATS OF NEW ALBANY, INDIANA

Redcoats recorded "Cobra" / "Dance" on MAE 1002.

Redcoats recorded “Cobra” / “Dance” on MAE 1002.

This morning I received a photo of the Redcoats by email from Gary Wallbaum, the keyboardist for the group. Based out of New Albany, Indiana, the Redcoats released at least one 45 rpm record “Cobra” / “Dance” on MAE 1002. The names of the band members are, from left to right: Larry Hawkins – Bass, Jerry Schleicher – Lead vocalist (kneeling), Bill Heinz – Lead Guitar, Dennis Heinz – Rhythm Guitar, Gary Wallbaum – Keyboards (lying on the piano), Brian Strange – Drums. The Redcoats also had two background singers: Leslie Brockmeyer & Kristine Balgeman (not shown).

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ESQUIRES OF TELL CITY AND EVANSVILLE INDIANA

Esquires of Tell City and Evansville, Indiana

Tonight I received a photo of the Esquires. From left to right (front row) Bob Rossman,
Paul Bosler (second row) Steve Kaetzel, Brent Cardinal, Steve Simpson,
Jim Ashby. All were from Tell City, IN except Kaetzel who was formerly from
Tell City but lived in Evansville while the group operated.

Esquires – “Run Babe / I Still Love You” (Showboat #1519)

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Photos of South Bend’s Phantom Five

Fans of Indiana garage bands will know about the Phantom Five, a really cool surf-garage band from the South Bend are. They are well known in collectors circles for having one of the coolest record labels ever! Thanks to one of the band members, I now have a few photos to share with you.

Check out this YOUTUBE video for “Graveyard” that a fan made:

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Wrinkled Rhapsody Photo

Wrinkled Rhapsody

Dale Brown of Wrinkled Rhapsody sent in this great promotional photo of the band. Wrinkled Rhapsody issued one great rock 45 rpm record:

Wrinkled Rhapsody  – “It’s Only Time/Listen” (Mecca 103)

In Photo are Mark Kelly (drums), Doug Melton (lead guitar, vocals), seated, Dale Brown (Lead singer, guitar, percussion), and Earl Shell (bass,vocals).

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SQUIDD – MYSTIC ILLUSION / HIGH ON THE HILL (Lamp 84)

One unusual 45 rpm record from Indianapolis that seemingly defies description is Squidd – “Mystic Illusion/High on the Hill” (Lamp 84). An acid rock double-sider of epic proportions, it is the only rock release on Herb Miller’s Lamp records imprint from Indianapolis.  Very little is known about the group or this particular recording. The record is credited to “Agriastathes”.  I’m hoping someone can step forward and provide a scan of the label for this record, or any other information leading to contact with the band so we can clear up this mystery!

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Black Conspirators of Anderson, Indiana

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Caroline Peyton – “The most exciting musical discovery since the Beatles”

I recently recovered boxes of memorabilia and rare recordings from my storage unit and I will be sharing these in the coming months. Today, I am sharing a rare promo package that came with early copies of Caroline Peyton’s great Indiana album Intuition. Enjoy!

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