Remembering Ron “Honeybear” Hort

Posted: November 13, 2013 in 1968
Louie Lenz, Keith Luer, Ron Hort Summer of 2011

Louie Lenz, Keith Luer, Ron Hort Summer of 2011

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our good humor man, Ron “Honeybear” Hort, or Bear as we often called him. We will post more details as we learn them, but as of this post, the information we received was that he passed on Monday, November 11, 2013.

You can add your remembrance of Ron by posting a comment at the bottom. I (Jerry Lenz) know that Ron would want us all to celebrate with a laugh…and, if you got ’em smoke ’em! We have two recordings to share below. The Candy Floss song “Here Come Da’ Judge,” and a cover of “Treat Her Right.”

Sometimes it is hard to remember exactly how some of the members of the Nickel Revolution found us, or we found them. The core of the band remained Louie Lenz (guitar), Jerry Lenz (drums) and Scott Jeffy (bass)—that would never change. In fact, they were the members deciding when to bring the Nickel Revolution to a conclusion.

The “Honeybear” Addition

In this post we celebrate Ron “Honeybear” Hort. Without a doubt, “Bear” was the most colorful, humorous addition to The Nickel Revolution. He always—well almost always—made us laugh and certainly expanded our network of friends and followers (interesting stories about some of our “followers”). He would turn an ordinary evening into an event with his antics and would often break into his Yiddish accent.

In fact, the ONLY Candy Floss recording we are halfway proud of is the novelty song titled, Here Come Da’ Judge.

Listen and view Here Comes The Judge by The Nickel Revolution.

Photo of Honeybear adding the lead vocals in the studio (Jerry laughing in the background)

The story behind Here Come Da’ Judge

As mentioned in other posts, The Nickel Revolution were contractually obligated to Candy Floss Productions, a group of writers specializing in bubblegum hits. When the concept was presented to the Nickel, the band actually liked the idea of a novelty song based on the huge TV hit at the time, Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In.

(The NBC program launched in January, 1968, ending in 1973.)

A popular recurring sketch was The Judge. The often-changing judge was always wearing a black robe and powdered wig. Flip Wilson is credited for introducing the sketch and announcing, “Here come de judge!” (Candy Floss flubbed the phrase in its spelling of the word, “de.”)

Others would play the judge character on Laugh-In including Sammy Davis Jr. and you can see various versions on You Tube.

After a few regular and boring takes, Honeybear brought the song to life by singing it in his Yiddish accent. The rest is history as they say and everyone in the studio was laughing out of control. It was the perfect touch for the song.

John Berman was with The Nickel Revolution for a short period of time and his sax talent is included on this “golden” recording.

The producers mixed the tune and made dubs. They immediately shopped their record label contacts offering a surefire novelty hit to the first company ready to take a risk. No deal was struck because Candy Floss did not have an original idea. There were dozens of bands racing to record a “Here come de judge!” song. One notable version was recorded by Shorty Long on Motown (hear it on You Tube).

How fitting as we celebrate Ron “Honeybear Hort.” Listening to the crazy recording of “Here Come Da’ Judge” will always be a reminder as to how much fun we had with Bear.

NR Color on stage standing JL LL RH SJ KLNickel Revolution on Front Page of Minneapolis Tribune May 1968NR Walker Art Center SJ KL JL LL RHNickel Revolution attending the Connie Awards May 1968Nickel Revolution New City Opera House Dec 31 1967Glenwood Prk Jerry Scott Bear Jeff Louie 1967 CGlenwood Prk Jerry Scott Bear Jeff Louie 1967NR on rocks by the old Hennepin Lyndale crossing MPLSBear Louie Red Wing MN High School rehearsal 1967Inchanters with Jeff Simon on leadRascals Backstage Nov 1967Studio recording HCDJ Bear and Jerry (laughing)

In addition to Louie, Jerry and Scott, here is a list of the members of The Nickel Revolution:

*Ron Hort “Honeybear” or “Bear” (keyboards)

Jeff Simon (lead guitar)

John Berman (sax)

*Kent Saunders (lead guitar)

*Keith Luer (lead guitar)

Mickey Larson (keyboards)

In Memory: Mickey Larson was the first member to graduate to Rock & Roll Heaven, now joined by Ron Hort.

Ron “Honeybear” Hort…you will be missed and the many hours of humor will be replayed in our minds as we recall all you added to our lives.NickelRevolution_logo

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:

Visit our YouTube Channel to listen to our recordings

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. Billy Hallquist says:

    Adios Bear. In heaven there is no Bb.

  2. Mike Mankey says:

    When the Olivers first came to MN, we stayed at the Nickel Revolutions house. We became very close with all of the guys and especially Honeybear. May he rest in peace>

  3. Keith Luer says:

    His unique spirit will carry on with us all. We smoked ’em and he exclaimed DEE-LISH-WAH!

  4. Kent Saunders says:

    When I met Honeybear, I was barely out of high school. He taught me a lot about not taking things too seriously, for which I am grateful. A “bit” of irreverence was also part of the deal! Already miss ya, Bear.

  5. Dale Strength says:

    Never again will we hear those words on the other end of the line. . . Hey, it’s yer daddy!. .
    That was the endearing term myself, my brother Bob and Gregg Inhofer gave to Ron when we were kids together. Kids. . . thats how long we and many of you have known him. Our circle of friends is not unlike thousands of others I imagine, but special none the less. We’re the family we picked for ourselves and Bear was part of that family. Those of us who remain, aren’t the same when we lose a member of our circle. We will miss you Honeybear. I miss you now.
    It’s going to be a different world without you. We all lived together in a most wonderful point in history. We went through many life experiences together. We were hippies, musicians, roommates, artists and Ron was even a model for a while. He looked pretty damn good, and there’s pictures to prove it. We’re all going to miss you here Bear, but we know that you are now safe and happy and that one by one, all in good time, we’ll all be seeing you again.

    Much love to you our friend,
    Dale Strength
    (and on behalf of Bob Strength, Karen Mason
    and Gregg Inhofer )

  6. Suzie Mork says:

    remembering a funny giy fro the 60’s & 70’s. Will not forget you and hope we all see each other in Heaven.
    Suzie Mork (19th Amendment)

  7. Suzie Mork says:

    Sorry my keyboard is a little sticky but a funny guy, he was. RIP Honeybear.

  8. Scott Jeffy says:

    The day Bear joined the band, he took us to a “higher” level. You could write a book about the good times we had with him. The parties we had on the west bank; it’s a wonder any of us survived….and yet we had some of the best times of our young lives out there. Bear was always part of the glue that kept us together. I’ll always regret that he never had a chance to make it to our reunion last year but at least we got to talk many times on the phone. Rest in peace, Ron.

  9. There is a memorable story on the trip down to Zumbrota in southern Minnesota. We played there in December 1967 (thank you Scott for keeping that calendar). The band was racking up a lot of miles and our entertainment on those trips was generally Ron “Honeybear” Hort with his endless humor. He found the name of the town, Zumbrota, funny. “We’re heading to Zumbrota,” quickly turned into, “That’s Zum (some) brota you got there.” His antics didn’t stop in the van, that evening he entertained the locals constantly saying, “Hey, that’s Zum Brota you got there.” A little glimpse into road trips with Bear. One small example of the most entertaining guy I ever worked with in my life…loved doing Doors tunes with Bear, he could nail the keyboards and vocals on that material. If you were in the music scene in the Twin Cities in the late 60s and early 70s you knew Honeybear…the one and only. I am trying to remember what he won in a card game from Jim Lopes (B Sharp)…I think it was a keyboard. I imagine he is rolling one fat doobie right now…miss ya Bear! (Jerry Lenz)

    • Scott Jeffy says:

      Jerry/Everyone: Bear walked away with a Fender amp from Jim L. As I recall, it was a blond tolex bass speaker cabinet (no amp head). He never used it on stage as we had moved on to Sunn amps by then. He won it in a card game in the backroom of B-Sharp music. No telling what else went on back there.

  10. Kathleen Johnson says:

    How sad, I have so many fun and funny memories of hanging out with “Honeybear”, Kathleen (Whitey) Johnson, 19th Amendment

  11. Steve "swenny" Swenson says:

    Although I hadn’t seen honeybear in years at one time we spent a lot of time hanging out doing music related stuff! He was a unique character and lots of fun! Stories I don’t dare repeat! Rest in peace Bear!!

  12. Leland says:

    He was my wife’s cousin, knew him by legend only for twenty years until finally meeting him at some family function and we went for a walk outside to talk and have “a smoke”. It was both a great talk and a great smoke. R.I.P. Ron.

  13. Louie says:

    Well Bear rest in R.I.P. no pain no worries !! I will miss you and wish like Scott that you had made the reunion, you would have had a blast. It would have been better with you there. I am sorry you, me and Joe Carroll did not have another lunch together. I will never forget the time you rolled the Van!! We tried coming up with a story for my dad, but he new something did not look right.LOL And thanks for letting me know that you liked my father and respected him. I will also never forget the favor you did for me co-sighing for my first motor cycle with your fake I-D!!! I also will never forget I our road trip to play on tour and to be on National TV UPBEAT! Remember, YOU drew the shortest straw and had to sleep with our roadie Dave Arneson and all his famous little friends. With much regret and sadness I will miss you…but the memories keep coming back Love Louie

  14. Wayne Sticha says:

    RIP Ron “Honeybear” Hort. Bear and I were partners in Wayne & Ron’s Record Store back in the early 70’s. He and I introduced skit commercials to KQRS which, I’m sure you’ll understand if you don’t remember them, were hilarious. We sold more records than any single record store in 1972 and I think it was Warner Bros. Records that honored us and brought Foghat into town to play a personal little concert for the two of us at the distributor’s home and they played along side the pool as Bear and I drank champagne. Of course we had the opportunity to eat and drink and visit with the band after the short set they did for us. I have lots of memories of Bear. He and I sold antiques and oriental rugs out of the record store and that may have been his start in the oriental rug business.

    • jim ballard says:

      ty… wayne… as a student at brown institute in 1971 and 1972, i had many hours of checking out the store on lake st, and being included in the “lock the store up for a few” breaks!.. bear was a good guy! may he rip…

      • Wayne Sticha says:

        Those were definitely different times back in the early 70’s. Nice to hear someone remembers Wayne & Ron’s Record shop, Jim Ballard. Thanks. RIP “Honey Bear”

  15. Ward Monroe says:

    So long, pal. We wouldn’t have had as much fun in Volcano without you.

  16. Cindy says:

    RIP my friend. I will miss you.

  17. Ward Monroe says:

    There was a segment on “How It’s Made” last night about the manufacture of Turkish rugs. Ron would have approved.

  18. Joe Haschka says:

    Just seeing this now. I met Bear at the Sunnyside Marina in Stillwater the summer of 1970. Our dads both kept their boats down there. Honeybear introduced me to many vices that I still enjoy today. As a card carrying member of the Wayne and Ron’s “10 for 10” record buying club, I built a large record collection of great music, something I also enjoy to this day. My life was truly enriched by the Bear. Mazel tov!!!

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