Archive for the ‘1966’ Category

 We’ve discussed in earlier posts how our parents were not only supportive of the band, but also involved in looking for opportunities to further promote the group. Keith Follese (original member and keyboard/guitar player) brought a suggestion to The Inchanters. Keith’s mom had obtained information that applications were being taken for tryouts to be considered for the 1966 Judge Wright Awards. The Inchanters had a little over one year playing at this point and they decided to go for it.

The competition invited only youth in a typical 50s/60s variety show format. The Inchanters entered the competition and advanced to the finals.

All of the finalists competed before a live audience in a formal setting. There were a lot of dance groups and individual singers. The Inchanters were the only rock band to make it to the finals.

The 20th Annual Judge Wright Variety Show was sponsored by the Minneapolis Junior Chamber of Commerce and supported by many prominent Minnesota businesses (you can see the listing on the program photo included here). It was a two-evening event, first at Henry High School on Friday, February 18, and then Southview Jr. High School on Saturday, February 19, 1966. Tickets were sold and a large audience was on hand both evenings.

The event was named after Judge Fred Wright who had served as a juvenile judge in the Hennepin County Court System. A memorial fund was set up in Judge Wright’s name and administered by the Minneapolis Junior Chamber of Commerce.  In the program it states, “The show is made possible only through the unselfish efforts of the young men and women who constitute the cast. These young people, by generously contributing their time to talents to this cause, perpetuate the intent of the Judge Wright Fund—that youth help youth help themselves.”

Although the Inchanters had played a variety of songs during the competition leading up to the finals, only one song could be selected for the finals. The band decided to play the song that had originally launched the group, so the Inchanters played, “The Grind,” by Gregory Dee and The Avanti’s. One of the Twin Cities leading rock bands from the 60s. And they WON the competition.

It was a promotional asset for The Inchanters to use the tagline, “winners of the 1966 Judge Wright Talent Show.” It helped secure new bookings for the band. We put the tag line on our promotional materials and you can see an example of how it helped us in the ad for Block’s LTD. That ad ran in Robbinsdale Senior High’s Newspaper and all four members of the Inchanters attended Robbinsdale at the time.

The Inchanters would continue to book themselves until the fall of 1966 when Dick Shapiro of Central Booking Alliance (CBA) signed the group to exclusive representation. 

Members at this time included: Keith Follese (keyboard/guitar), Louie Lenz (guitar), Scott Jeffy (bass) and Jerry Lenz (drums).

 Listen to The Grind by Gregory Dee and The Avanti’s HERE

 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: NickelRevolution@gmail.com

Nickel Revolution on You Tube:

Sweet, Sweet Lovin’

Treat Her Right

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

     http://www.jeanneandersen.net/musichighlights.html

 

   http://minniepaulmusic.com/

If you truly enjoy reading about local and regional rock bands from the 60s, you need to check out this national website: http://60sgaragebands.com/ 

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Every Twin Cities rock musician in the 1960’s was familiar with B Sharp Music in northeast Minneapolis on Central Avenue and B Sharps’ superstar proprietor, Jim Lopes. He was a promoter extraordinaire with immense sales ability, and a story teller with an extra measure of charm.

Jim Lopes was a musician, but he didn’t sell his instrument of choice in his B Sharp Music store. He was an accordion player. Most everyone that visited B Sharp would not easily forget the charismatic, sharkskin suit wearing, hair-slicked-back Jim Lopes. For giggles every once in a while, Jim would break out his accordion and entertain the young rockers and visions of Lawrence Welk danced in our heads. (If you do not know who Lawrence is, do not bother searching online.)

B Sharp was the leading dealer of Fender guitars and amps and expanded into the European lines of instruments as the British Invasion hit the USA. Jim Lopes was aggressive at locating and securing the instruments that were transforming the music scene such as the products used by the Beatles; Rickenbacker guitars, Hofner bass, played by Paul McCartney and Vox amplifiers and keyboards. One of the biggest publicity stunts that Jim Lopes pulled off was to present a Rickenbacker guitar to the Beatles during their only Minneapolis appearance in August, 1965.

 

One of the greatest things that Jim Lopes did for local bands was to promote them and his store at the same time. Included here you will see small publicity photo cards that Jim printed up for groups. He included the B Sharp name on the cards and as the bands passed out their cards, B Sharp was promoted. 

After your band became a significant client of B Sharp Music, Jim Lopes would pay for painting your van (as long as it was a late model van) with the group’s, logo, booking agency and a small block was reserved for the B Sharp name. This was a great deal for the bands and for B Sharp. As the Nickel Revolution went through several vans, each time, Jim paid to have the vans painted.

 

He extended his branding to putting the B Sharp name painted on the Fender amps. We’ve included a photo of Louie Lenz’s Guild guitar and Fender amp and you can see the B Sharp name prominently displayed.

 As the other music dealers in the Twin Cities woke up to the super-promoter, Jim Lopes, their offerings to help promote local rockers became more lucrative. In the end, The Nickel Revolution had moved its business to Park Music and the band endorsed Sunn Amplifiers. We will include more details in future posts.

 

In closing, it is important to mention Jim Lopes’ favorite pass time of playing high stakes poker. It is rumored that Ron “Honeybear Hort won some equipment in a game with Jim and we are awaiting his “story.”

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: NickelRevolution@gmail.com

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:

http://www.jeanneandersen.net/musichighlights.html

 http://minniepaulmusic.com/

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

Nickel Revolution Salutes Greg Thomassen

Posted: October 29, 2011 in 1966

A better friend cannot be found. Greg Thomassen was part of The Nickel Revolution although he didn’t play a musical instrument—he was our favorite photographer and all-around good guy. Sadly we are still searching our treasure boxes for a photo of him! So much like a photographer to spend all his time on the backside of the camera, such was the case with Greg.  The Nickel Revolution “on the rocks” (L-R) Keith Luer, Jerry Lenz, Louie Lenz, Scott Jeffy and Ron “Honeybear” Hort. Photo by Greg Thomassen

Greg hand quite a string of nicknames, “Bobo,” and “Beebs” were two favorites, and teens around Robbinsdale, Golden Valley, and the northwestern Minneapolis suburbs knew Greg. You could often find him buzzing the Robbin’s Nest A&W in his gold 1965 Ford Mustang. That Mustang was a sweet, 289 three-speed. Greg knew cars and a favorite pastime with Greg was “tooling around.” That meant an evening of driving all over Minneapolis and Saint Paul. Greg knew every cool place to cruise and not just one Porkies drive-in, Beebs would take you to two or three Porkies. Tooling down lake street all the way to Saint Paul and then driving down the streets of the Minnesota State Fair grounds (always looked strange when the fair was not in progress).

 Greg would hang out with the band at practice and travel with the band to out of town gigs—remember, he loved to drive. He always had his camera and would catch us doing what bands do (well, not everything) and he was a great joy to have with us. 

                                                    Rehearsal at Red Wing High School Kent Saunders and Scott Jeffy

                                              Louie and Honeybear at rehearsal (Red Wing)

                                            Jerry Lenz contemplates his drums (Red Wing rehearsal)

                Jerry, Louie, Kent and Scott at the Red Wing rehearsal wearing our school clothes…suits for the show

            

                                                                      Louie, Bear, Scott’s back and Kent

                                                         Louie, Kent and Scott

                                                Louie Lenz at Red Wing Minnesota High School

                                                            Scott Jeffy at Red Wing Minnesota High School

                                                                Jerry Lenz at Red Wing Minnesota High School

We lost Greg early in life. He passed away in December of 1982 at the age of 34 due to a severe case of diabetes. 

The plan is to have other members of The Nickel Revolution share a story or favorite memory of our friend, Greg Thomassen. We will post those updates as they come in.  This first one is from Jerry Lenz:

 “Greg was everything a friend should be and he provided plenty of humor and wisdom as we tooled around. He was a friend of Louie’s first as they were in the same grade and attended elementary school through high school together. Through thick and thin, in the good times and the not so good times, Greg was always there. For a brief period of time after the band years, Greg and I were roommates and we sure had a lot of fun. I remember hours and hours as we explored the stupid Atari games together. Really lame by today’s standards, but it was all we had and we enjoyed it.

The last time I saw Greg was the morning of the day that he died. We had made plans for a get-together and I went over to his place in the morning. I remember him coming downstairs to greet me and I could tell he wasn’t feeling well. He sat in his favorite chair and wanted to reminisce. We talked about all sorts of things and then he asked me if I had any pictures of Chelsea and Nygel (my two oldest children). I did and he took the pictures and spent a long time staring at them. Shortly thereafter Greg said, “I really don’t feel well and I better go back to bed.” He walked back upstairs and I let myself out. Later that evening his roommate called to tell me that Greg had died. Losing a friend like Greg so young had an impact on me. I think it changes your outlook on life–learning to cherish and love friends each day you have with them.”

Celebrating The Nickel Revolution’s glory days with a salute to Greg Thomassen includes just a handful of the pictures he took of the band.

 

The Nickel at Glenwood Park: Jerry, Bear, Scott, Jeff Simon and Louie

                                                                     Glenwood Park Jerry, Bear, Louie, Jeff and Scott

The Nickel on Ron “Honeybear” Hort’s Olds Station wagon: Louie, Jeff, Bear, Scott and Jerry

UPDATE (Thanks to Teresa Lenz): We now have Greg Thomassen’s graduation photo from Robbinsdale High School, class of 1966.

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: NickelRevolution@gmail.com  

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:

http://www.jeanneandersen.net/musichighlights.html

http://minniepaulmusic.com/

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