Before The Nickel Revolution…The Beginning Years

Posted: September 24, 2011 in 1964

 1964 ushered in The Beatles and their explosion on the American music scene. It also brought about the garage band movement as many fans were not content with just listening to rock—they wanted to begin their own band. And, so it was for the founding members of what would become The Nickel Revolution.


Louie Lenz got a guitar. It was a cheap import guitar from Musicland which was the forerunner of today’s Best Buy. Louie also bought a Sears Silvertone amp (very collectable if you have one today). Jerry Lenz begged mom and dad to front him the money for a used set of Apollo drums from Schmidt Music. Price tag: $100 (in today’s dollars that is over $700).

It was time to find others that had an interest in forming a band. Keith Follese, a neighborhood friend, joined to play keyboards. Keith’s family had a beautiful Hammond organ, but it was not portable. So, Keith used the Lenz family’s Lowery organ and the band practice in the Lenz living room. It is important to note that our parents were VERY supportive.

Next, Louie recruited Scott Jeffy from school and we had our first four piece band with an interesting twist. Scott had also purchased a cheap Musicland guitar and we had no bass guitar. Scott quickly moved to get a bass guitar to balance out the group.


When we started, Louie was sixteen-years-old, Scott was fifteen, Jerry was fourteen, and the baby of the group was Keith at thirteen. Very fitting as Keith would break off from the band and form his own group with younger classmates and call his band The Youngsters.

The very first name of the group was The Wailing Phantoms (perhaps one of today’s garage bands will want to grab that name). We only played our very first gig (for free) as The Wailing Phantoms. Louie and Jerry’s dad was a member of the VFW on Lyndale and Lake in Minneapolis and he suggested that the band play at the annual Children’s Christmas Party the VFW hosted for the local neighborhood kids. They had a lot of entertainment and gifts for the kids. Starring on the bill was Axel. Axel was a local television and radio superstar. He was so popular that his photos, recordings and fans can be found online today.

It is interesting to note that The Wailing Phantoms only knew three songs for that first gig and included their version of Jingle Bells, so there would be a little Christmas flavor in their repertoire. The band’s main song was The Grind, by local stars, Gregory Dee and The Avanti’s. Louie, Jerry, Scott and Keith would go to see the Avanti’s play clubs every chance they had as they had a connection to the band. The bass player of the Avanti’s, Frank Prout (stage name Frank Thomas) worked part time in the Lenz Jewelry store and Frank was very helpful in helping the young band get their start.

With only a month or two as The Wailing Phantoms, the group searched for a different name. The Inchanters was the choice—a creative spelling of Enchanters to mean the band was “in” or cool (please stop laughing as you read this). Much like the Beatles put “beat” in beetles.

The band would continue playing together for at least two years and joined the union. Bands at that time could not play in bigger clubs and venues without being members of the American Federation of Musicians. We not only had our union cards, we were accepted in to the Central Booking Agency with Dick Shapiro and Bill Diehl (Bill was also a big radio personality with WDGY).


There will be time for more early stories in future blogs. If you have questions, or want information about The Nickel Revolution’s Reunion(September 2012), email us:



We welcome your comments and feedback on this blog. You can post here and share this with your friends via Facebook and Twitter (see easy links). If you want to email us any questions or comments:  

Listen to The Nickel Revolution now on You Tube

Link for Sweet, Sweet Lovin’: Sweet, Sweet Lovin’

Link for Treat Her Right: Treat Her Right

See these great websites for further insights to Twin Cities bands from the 50s, 60s, 70s:

© 2011 © 2012 Jerry Lenz, Lenz Entertainment Group All Rights Reserved

  1. powerhouseus says:


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