Archive for the ‘1968’ Category

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: NickelRevolution@gmail.com

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:

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

http://minniepaulmusic.com/

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

The Nickel Revolution played throughout the Midwest from the mid-sixties to 1970, starting with teen clubs and University of  Minnesota Frat parties, moving on the all the top venues and appearing in concert with many national acts, a short recording contract with Mercury Records (Phillips label), and a national TV appearance on UPBEAT, filmed in Cleveland, OH.

The Nickel Revolution’s Phillips release was even featured on Dick Clark’s American Bandstand. Here’s how it happened, as Dick was surveying the nation, he called on KDWB in Minneapolis to ask for their hottest pick. At the time, The Nickel Revolution’s Oscar Crunch, was crushing the top ten in the band’s hometown. And so, the silly bubble gum song by the Nickel Revolution was played on Dick Clark’s American Bandstand. KDWB had alerted the band that their 45 would be featured on the show, so we were glued to the TV set to “watch” Dick intro the song and play our single (as crappy a song as it was). Every once in a while a crumb falls from the master’s table and the Nickel Revolution was fortunate to have a sliver of a connection to one of the geniuses of rock and roll.

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

 

 

Visit our YouTube Channel to listen to our recordings

 

2012 The New Band: The Nickel Blues Band

 

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/

 

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

 

Candy Floss was the brainchild of Peter Steinberg and Dale Menten, a short-lived production company with a goal of transforming Twin Cites (Minneapolis-St. Paul,Minnesota) bands into national recording acts. There were small hints of success, but the operation quickly failed as the bands involved and managed by Candy Floss abandoned the company, thereby cutting off their funding.

In the fall of 1967, Peter and Dale took the Candy Floss concept to Dick Shapiro of Central Booking Alliance Agency, one of the premier local booking agencies, to make an exclusive offer for Central’s top acts. Standard agency commission was 10%. The Candy Floss offer was for the bands to pay another 10%. In return, Candy Floss they guarantee studio time and produce recordings for the CBA bands as well as develop the bands sound and stage performance. Dick Shapiro rallied the leaders of his bands to come to his office on a Saturday morning and hear the pitch. The band leaders took the information back to their groups, discussed it and most groups signed a Candy Floss agreement, including the Nickel Revolution.

Early 1968 Nickel Revolution members, Ron “Honeybear” Hort (keyboards), Kent Saunders (lead), John Berman (sax), Louie Lenz (rhythm), Scott Jeffy (bass), Jerry Lenz (drums)

The beginning was good for the Nickel Revolution and produced two recordings which we have covered in previous posts: Sweet Sweet Lovin’ and Treat Her Right.

That was early in 1968 (about February) and the recordings did represent the sound of the band, as the group was doing a lot of R&B songs with a showband type of performance. Again, 1968 being a huge year of change, the Nickel Revolution would quickly adjust its sound and became more of a rock band and began producing its own songs with the addition of Keith Luer on lead guitar and vocals.

Within weeks of recording Sweet, Sweet Lovin’ and Treat Her Right, Candy Floss brought the Nickel Revolution back into the studio to record a novelty song the Candy Floss team had written, Here Come Da’ Judge based on the popular Laugh In skit. Read about it here: Nickel Revolution Records “Here Come Da’ Judge.

Here is how Candy Floss describes itself today and this is an accurate assessment, “The music of Candy Floss was all about carnivals, calliopes, tight harmonies, and hope. The songs were whimsical, not edgy; its instrumental attitudes were fun, not angry.”

One of the main reasons the Nickel Revolution joined other CBA bands in signing with Candy Floss was Dale Menten’s involvement. Dale was one of the most respected musicians and bandleaders in the Midwest and had recording success with his group, The Gestures. Here is their hit: Run, Run, Run.

Dale was very involved at the beginning had a great musical sense and had a solid understanding of promotion and building a winning band. Peter Steinberg was a self-described book author that had turned to music (he was not a musician) and he partnered with young writers who were in a non-performing band, The Shambles and Puddle. Dale Menten was always filling the void left by the others and the partnership was a ship that didn’t sail long. Three days after the Connie Awards in May, 1968 Menten and Steinberg dissolved the partnership. The Nickel Revolution was stuck in the middle on this one as they were assigned the new “award-winning” Oscar Crunch.

Photo from Connie’s Insider: Honeybear, Louie, Scott and Jerry attending the May 1968 Connie Awards

You can see an interesting note on this page (enlarged below) where Peter Steinberg is writing Jerry a note saying, “more papers (Mercury Contract) need to be signed tonight and because some members are under 21, the papers must go to probate court (make it legal).

The Connie Awards landed The Nickel Revolution on the front page of the Minneapolis Tribune, pictured with Peter Steinberg

The Oscar Crunch Story

This is based on Jerry Lenz’s opinion as he spent 25+ years working in the record industry and looking back on the Candy Floss debacle, it is easy to recognize how his band had a “hit” record—especially considering the song was very poor quality from a writing and production standpoint. Don’t be offended if you like the song—it’s OK, a lot of people do. What is important here is to publish the real story of Oscar as an ongoing education for young people getting into the music business.

Band line up in May 1968: Scott Jeffy-bass, Keith Luer-lead guitar (standing), Jerry Lenz-drums (center), Louie Lenz-rhythm (standing), Ron “Honeybear” Hort-keyboards (sitting).

Oscar Crunch was forced upon the Nickel Revolution as Candy Floss Management (Steinberg) needed a band with a following to get the record some traction (airplay) in the local market. The song was written by Peter Steinberg, Gary Paulak and Barry Goldberg. Paulak and Goldberg performed on the record but it couldn’t be a Shambles recording because they couldn’t even get booked into local clubs—no way to promote a non-perforating band. In fact, if you’ve ever wondered about the meaning behind Oscar Crunch, it was based on the collective experiences of the Steinberg-Paulak-Goldberg writing team. Each one was unable to connect with women and they felt odd going out to clubs and not being able to hook up: “Oscar Crunch has gone to join the zoo, yes he’s trying to be a kangaroo.” Oscar Crunch is the pic hit on WDGY (it would be top 5 and perhaps #1 for a week–no one remembers)

Everything you’ve ever read about payola in the music industry and radio probably went into the success of Oscar Crunch—everything from signing with Mercury Records / Phillips Label, winning the Connie Award for Best New Material. It is odd, or at least a little bit funny that Candy Floss won almost ALL the recording awards that year $.)

The Nickel Revolution’s Oscar Crunch was “magically” getting spins (played) on KDWB and WDGY in the Twin Cities. Steinberg forced the band to go into Musicland Record stores and buy every copy in the store…”who’s the guy with the funny nose and glasses buying all those 45s?” It is still very common for “best-selling” book authors today to employ the age-old game of buying your way up the charts. However it works. Distributors order more records from the label and other radio stations see action on a new song in the Twin Cites with a major label involved and the synergy engines kick into overdrive and you have a hit.

Oscar Crunch was the only novelty, bubblegum song that the Nickel Revolution performed. It did bring them strong regional exposure, an appearance on the Upbeat Television show and having the record played on Dick Clark’s American Bandstand. Read more HERE

The hit record also multiplied the Nickel Revolutions income as much as five times for appearances and continued all the way to the conclusion of the band. Mercury and Candy Floss never honored their contracts with the Nickel Revolution—and not a single nickel was made. The Nickel Revolution, after consulting with attorneys, simply walked away from the sticky Candy Floss mess in 1968—just as Dale Menten had done earlier that year.

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

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:

 

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/

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

March 1968 was a fun and exciting month of gigs and we’ve already chronicled the WDGY Super Scene at Metropolitan Sports Center (now the site of Mall of America) on March 8, 1968. We owe gratitude to Scott Jeffy for holding onto a calendar, on which he listed our gigs and revenue.

The members at this time included: Louie Lenz – Guitar, Scott Jeffy – Bass, Jerry Lenz – Drums, Ron “Honeybear” Hort – Keyboards, Kent Saunders – Lead Guitar, and John Berman – Sax.

Here is the March 1968 installment:

Friday, March 1, 1968

Inn Too

Menomonie, Wisconsin                                        Revenue: $160

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday, March 2, 1968

George’s Ballroom

New Ulm, Minnesota                                             Revenue: $130

George’s was always a great time because it was such a quality venue in the German inspired town of New Ulm. We’ve included a sample of the cards that were handed out to the crowd showing up for rock dances (we’ve got some Nickel Revolution ones somewhere, but have yet to find them in our treasure chest).

 

George’s Ballroom was located on Center Street. It was built in 1947 after World War II and became a hot spot for young couples reuniting after the war. Performers such as Lawrence Welk, The Andrews Sisters, Glenn Miller, and the Six Fat Dutchmen (hey, it’s polka land in Minnesota) all played there, and in its heyday it was an important center for big bands and polka music, and then the revolution of rock dances as teens created a new revenue stream for the Midwest ballrooms.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Friday, March 1, 1968

WDGY Super Scene ‘68

Bloomington, Minnesota                                      Revenue: $158

Great fun and it really was a “Super Scene” with Wilson Pickett and the Hollies.

Read our full post on this event here: Super Scene

 

Saturday, March 9, 1968

Cabaret

St. Paul, Minnesota                                                Revenue: $120

Friday, March 15, 1968

Holy Trinity High School

Winsted, Minnesota                                               Revenue: $160

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday, March 16, 1968

Southwest High School YMCA

Minneapolis, Minnesota                                       Revenue: $185

Sunday, March 17, 1968

Kato Ballroom

Mankato, Minnesota                                              Revenue: $145

 

Saturday, March 23, 1968

New City Opera House

Minneapolis, Minnesota                                       Revenue: $88

Friday, March 29, 1968

Hill High School

St. Paul, Minnesota                                                Revenue: $180

 

Saturday, March 30, 1968

Inn Too

Menomonie, Wisconsin                                            Revenue: $160

(Ending the month were we began it)

 

Total Revenue for the month: $1,486 (Average gig: $149)

Conversion to 2012 dollars: $1,486.00 in 1968 had the same buying power as $9,892.29 in 2012. That would be like a band making $989 per gig today. 

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

 

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: 

 

 

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/

 

 

 

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

 

We’ve already chronicled what a change 1968 was for the Nickel Revolution, music in general and the nation as well. Our equipment would undergo a makeover as well in 1968. We were loyal customers at B Sharp music, but they did not carry all lines of amps, especially the new equipment that we saw national acts using.

Leo Fine and Mort Kaufman of Park Music Center were aggressive in that they had received the dealer/distribution rights for Sunn Amps and PA Systems. They visited us at local appearances and invited us to stop by their store, which we did. Some of our friends, Jokers Wild and Stillroven had migrated over to Sunn Amps and we liked what we saw.

Leo and Mort were extremely generous in exchanging gear for minimal dollars in order to extend the Sunn brand further in the Midwest. They also paid to have our “Wooden Nickels” printed at their expense so we could pass them out at gigs. They were very popular and if you held onto one, it’s surely worth some money today (well, maybe). The Nickel Revolution’s popular Indian Head Logo was on one side and Park Music Center was printed on the flip side. People still ask why we used an Indian head for our logo…it is based on the very collectable Indian head nickel that was in circulation 1913-1938 (Buffalo on flip side).

Jerry would continue his relationship with B Sharp Music and Rogers Drums as he felt the hardware was better-suited for rock drummers at the time. All the manufactures were racing to improve their equipment for the continuing rock explosion, bigger venues, outdoor concerts and changing needs. Jerry did work with Park Music and upgraded his cymbals, purchasing them from Park. He was photographed in the drum section of Park Music to help Leo and Mort promote their Ludwig line, but most people realized that Jerry was still featured in the B Sharp ads with his Rogers Drums.

Leo and Mort invited the members of the Nickel Revolution to be their guests at the June 1968 NAMM convention in Chicago. NAMM is the organization of manufacturers and retail merchandisers. National Association of Music Merchants.

It was a great experience to see and sample all the new instruments and the convention was loaded with artists and give-aways. Jerry secured a Kustom Kat for his younger brother Allen. Kustom used a “nagahide” covering on their amps and created a little mascot, Kustom Kat, to promote the brand. We were not interested in the amps, but had fun bringing home something for the kid brother.

Jokers Wild Promoting Park Music

Stillroven Promoting Park Music Center

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

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:

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/

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

As we begin this post, a “tip-o-the hat” and a big thank you to Mike Dugo of the national website, 60s Garage Bands. Here is what Mike has posted on The Nickel Revolution: http://www.60sgaragebands.com/nickelrevolution.html

The members at this time included: Louie Lenz – Guitar, Scott Jeffy – Bass, Jerry Lenz – Drums, Ron “Honeybear” Hort – Keyboards, Kent Saunders – Lead Guitar, and John Berman – Sax.

One of the great treasures uncovered in publishing the history of The Nickel Revolution is a calendar that Scott Jeffy kept and he had the good sense to hold onto it all these years. Here is the January 1968 installment.

Friday, January 5, 1968 – Pla-Mor Ballroom, Rochester, MN $140

The Nickel kicked off the new year playing at the Pla-Mor Ballroom in Rochester MN. This was a classic Minnesota ballroom. Ballroom owners learned early on that they could make excellent revenue with teen dances, charging admission and selling sodas (pop as they say in Minnesota), hot dogs and snacks. This rock addition at ballrooms moved the traditional music bands and beer / set-up sales to different nights and afternoon dances.

Researching the Pla-Mor, the only photo we could fine was of “Coat Check” tokens—but that also gives you some insight into the upscale nature of Midwest ballrooms and what life was like in the 1960s….don’t forget to tip the coat check girl (you do want your coat, don’t you?).

We found one news account of the Pla-Mor’s closing in December 2006: “The Pla-Mor Ballroom, where Rochester area couples danced to live bands for more than half a century, now has disappeared into a pile of rubble and into city history.  The 55-year-old building would have been too costly to restore.”

Bimbo’s was cancelled on Sunday January 7, 1968.

Saturday, January 13, 1968 – New City Opera House, Minneapolis, MN $88

As was often the case, the Nickel Revolution played at “union scale” for many in town gigs. It was important to keep building the home town audience and local gigs at NCOH were always a good time in that we’d play with another band and have fun before, during and after the show.

Friday, January 19, 1968 – Phi Beta Phi, University of Minnesota. $185

College party gig…always a good time with perks and good money.

Saturday, January 20, 1968 – Richardson Pavilion, Clayton, WI $160

Another classic ballroom gig and again, no photos or news detailing when this venue closed.

Monday, January 22, 1968 – Stage House, Minneapolis, MN $130

Friday, January 26 – Albert Lee Community Center, Albert Lee, MN $150

Saturday, January 27, 1968 – New City Opera House, Minneapolis, MN $88

Closing out the month of January, we played at one of our all time favorite venues:

Monday, January 29, 1968 – London Inn, Eau Claire, Wisconsion $170

This was always a fun time and 18-year-olds could drink 3.2 Beer (low-alcohol content) in Wisconsin. The revenue was very good and within the year, our earnings because of audience draw, would escalate to $500 per night at the London Inn (excellent income for 1968)

Total number of gigs for January, 1968: Eight

Total revenue: $1,111

Average per appearance: $139

Conversion to 2012 dollars

Total revenue: $7,183

Average per appearance: $898

Besides investing our income in our equipment, we were also able to buy nice cars. This will give a another perspective on 1968. These photos are a good representation of our transportation of choice. Louie and Jerry Lenz shared a new Ford Torino Fastback (alternating with the band van)

Bass Player, Scott Jeffy had a VERY fine 1967 Pontiac GTO

Keyboard player Ron “Honeybear” Hort raced across town in his 1968 Oldsmobile 442

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

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:

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/

 

 

 

 

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

Nickel Revolution Lost Recordings FOUND

Posted: November 23, 2011 in 1968

The discovery of one reel-to-reel tape by Kent Saunders had everyone in the Nickel Revolution on pins and needles for a couple of weeks. Would the tape still be good after over 40+ years of sitting in storage?

Kent was meticulous in his efforts and after testing a couple of other tapes, loaded the band’s only recordings on to his antique Fostek deck…the tape played. He avoided overplaying it until the transfer to digital could be made. On Monday, November 21, 2011, he was able to forward MP3 copies to the band members. What a delight to listen to the recordings and finally have something we could share with our families and friends. Two recordings of the Nickel Revolution from 1968, recorded at Dove Recording Studios, Bloomington, Minnesota.

BONUS Discovery: Thanks to Kent Saunders we have located our sax player, John Berman. Beyond being and excellent musician and vocalist, Kent is also an amateur missing persons detective. After checking with the Minneapolis Musicians Union, Kent found out that the “Fly,” (John Berman’s nickname) had headed west and was living in the Los Angeles area. None of Kent’s phone calls connected, so he used the old school method of sending a letter. Kent explained that the Nickel Revolution was holding a reunion in 2012 and wanted to invite him. He gave John names and numbers and the Fly called the Bear. Hopefully John will be with us, onstage, for the reunion. Kent truly deserves a musician’s thank you–which doesn’t include any money. But, we are grateful for his hard work on this one. (Photo below of the Fly taking five at Dove Recording Studios.)

Sweet, Sweet Lovin’

Kent arranged the instrumental track and coached the rest of us on singing the background vocals. Here is the line up:

Kent Saunders: Lead vocal and lead guitar

Ron Hort: Keyboards and background vocals

Jerry Lenz: Drums and background vocals

Scott Jeffy: Bass and background vocals

Louie Lenz: Rhythm guitar

John Berman: Saxophone

Visit our YouTube Channel to listen to our recordings

Treat Her Right

We had a lot of laughs over the years with this one as Honeybear hammed it up big time singing Treat Her Right.

Here is the line up:

Ron Hort: Keyboards and lead vocals

Kent Saunders: Lead guitar

Jerry Lenz: Drums

Scott Jeffy: Bass

Louie Lenz: Rhythm guitar

Visit our YouTube Channel to listen to our recordings

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

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

It’s interesting to note that the year of 1968 held many changes and new opportunities for The Nickel Revolution. Rock and roll music had evolved and the messages in music were stronger than ever. Why?

Music is a reflection of the times and our country was going through many changes and challenges, consequently the songwriters and bands were responding with songs that would become anthems for many.

The year begins for The Nickel Revolution on an “easy feeling,” and the band goes into the studio to record Sweet, Sweet Lovin’ a cover of the Platters hit. Kent Saunders added his excellent vocals. The second recording was Ron Honeybear Hort singing, “Treat Her Right,” by Roy Head.

Listen to The Nickel Revolution now on You Tube

Visit our YouTube Channel to listen to our recordings

 

The main point of talking about these songs is very clear as it relates to 1968. The year begins with an easy R&B feel for The Nickel Revolution and by the end of the year a heavier rock and roll version of the band emerges. Look at the clothes and style of the band. At the beginning of the year the band wears suits, including tuxes for some shows, and by the end of the year The Nickel Revolution is no longer in matching outfits. Individual style, custom-made clothes with each member expressing their own taste and appearance and long hair.

As 1968 began, we were a show band and the line up included Kent Saunders (lead guitar), Ron Honeybear Hort (keyboards), JohnBerman (sax), Scott Jeffy (bass), Louie Lenz (rhythm guitar) and Jerry Lenz (drums). By early spring, Kent Saunders and John Berman would leave to join other R&B show bands as The Nickel Revolution was moving toward a different sound. Keith Luer is added to the band on lead guitar, bringing original songs and a new rock flavor to the band.

Oddly enough, it was the same year that the band would win, “Best New Material” Award and the Connie Awards in May and be contracted with Mercury Records/Phillips label for the Candy Floss recording of Oscar Crunch, a bubblegum song. It’s awkward because this happened when the band was changing its sound and direction.

Oscar Crunch would become a local and regional hit for the band in the Midwest and radio play included eastern states as well. The Nickel Revolution were booked and packaged with bubblegum groups, but they only played one bubblegum song. Audiences didn’t mind, nor did the concert promoters and venue managers as The Nickel Revolution drew audiences.

Looking back at the music and news headlines of 1968 will demonstrate just how much change was taking place. One interesting story of that year for the band happened when a few of the guys traveled to Chicago to buy clothes and “hang out.” We had finished a gig in Wisconsin and part of the band returned to Minneapolis while Louie, Scott, Jerry and Rich Lindquist (one of our roadies) headed to the Windy City. We traveled in Louie’s brand new 1968 Ford Torino. It was dark blue with a white racing stripe down the center of the car, so it did stand out.

The band checked into a hotel and went out to cruise the streets of Chicago. Especially the north side where the emerging hippie shops were. We had our first real experience of being “hassled” by the cops. The corruption of Mayor Daley’s administration was legendary, including the police force.

Some undercover cops in an unmarked, beat up old dodge, pulled us over. It was unnerving as the car and the cops did not look right. The two “officers” looked like bar slobs. They made us get out of the car and sit on the curb while they searched our vehicle—and there was no traffic infraction or probable cause to search the car, nor did we give them permission to search us and the car. They were mad and disgusted to not find any pot or other illegal substances. They yelled at us and told us to get, “the hell out of Chicago,” noting our Minnesota plates and ID’s. The long hair didn’t help and they said we looked like girls. Fortunately we saved our comments about them for later. Daley’s welcoming committee taught us a lesson—be careful in a corrupt city. This was just a few short weeks before the huge anti-war protests in Chicago during the 1968 Democratic National Convention where the police brutalized the protesters. There are plenty of articles and photos online to demonstrate how bad the situation was.

The leading news stories of 1968:

<>Martin Luther King Jr. and presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy assassinated two months apart.

<>The National Front for the Liberation of Vietnam launches the Tet Offensive

<>1968 – Civil Rights Act of 1968, commonly known as the Fair Housing Act

<>Shirley Chisholm becomes first black woman elected to U.S. Congress

<>Police clash with anti-war protesters in Chicago, outside the 1968 Democratic National Convention

<>U.S. signs Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty

<>United States presidential election, 1968 (Richard Nixon elected president)

Now let’s look at the changes in music and the Billboard Top 100 of 1968

1.

Hey Jude The Beatles

2.

I Heard It Through The Grapevine Marvin Gaye

3.

Love Is Blue Paul Mauriat

4.

Love Child Diana Ross &The Supremes

5.

Honey Bobby Goldsboro

6.

Sittin’ On The Dock Of The Bay Otis Redding

7.

People Got To Be Free The Rascals

8.

This Guy’s In Love With You Herb Alpert

9.

Judy In Disguise (With Glasses) JohnFred &His Playboy Band

10.

Woman Woman Gary Puckett &The Union Gap

11.

Mrs. Robinson Simon &Garfunkel

12.

Who’s Making Love Johnnie Taylor

13.

Hello I Love You The Doors

14.

Tighten Up Archie Bell &The Drells

15.

Young Girl Gary Puckett &The Union Gap

16.

HarperValleyPta Jeannie C. Riley

17.

Those Were The Days Mary Hopkin

18.

Little Green Apples O.C. Smith

19.

The Good, The Bad And The Ugly HugoMontenegro

20.

Bend Me, Shape Me American Breed

21.

Cry Like A Baby The Box Tops

22.

Magic Carpet Ride Steppenwolf

23.

Green Tambourine The Lemon Pipers

24.

Midnight Confessions The Grass Roots

25.

For Once In My Life Stevie Wonder

26.

It’s A Beautiful Morning The Rascals

27.

Spooky Classics Iv

28.

Abraham, Martin AndJohn Dion

29.

Stoned Soul Picnic 5th Dimension

30.

Chain Of Fools Aretha Franklin

31.

Mony Mony Tommy James &The Shondells

32.

Classical Gas Mason Williams

33.

Cowboys To Girls The Intruders

34.

I Love How You Love Me Bobby Vinton

35.

The Ballad Of Bonnie AndClyde Georgie Fame

36.

I’ve Gotta Get A Message To You Bee Gees

37.

Grazing In The Grass Hugh Masekela

38.

Angel Of The Morning Merrilee Rush &The Turnabouts

39.

Fire Crazy World Of Arthur Brown

40.

(Theme From) Valley Of The Dolls Dionne Warwick

41.

Born To Be Wild Steppenwolf

42.

The Horse Cliff Nobles &Co.

43.

Lady Willpower Gary Puckett &The Union Gap

44.

Slip Away Clarence Carter

45.

I Wish It Would Rain The Temptations

46.

Jumpin’ Jack Flash The Rolling Stones

47.

Light My Fire JoseFeliciano

48.

(Sweet Sweet Baby) Since You’ve Been Gone Aretha Franklin

49.

La-La Means I Love You The Delfonics

50.

Girl Watcher The O’kaysions

51.

Different Drum Stone Poneys F/Linda Ronstadt

52.

Stormy Classics Iv F/ Dennis Yost

53.

Yummy Yummy Yummy OhioExpress

54.

Hold Me Tight Johnny Nash

55.

The Look Of Love Sergio Mendes &Brazil66

56.

Sunshine Of Your Love Cream

57.

Dance To The Music Sly &The Family Stone

58.

Turn Around Look At Me The Vogues

59.

Over You Gary Puckett &The Union Gap

60.

Reach Out Of The Darkness Friend And Lover

61.

Simon Says 19l0 FruitgumCo.

62.

Revolution The Beatles

63.

Bottle Of Wine The Fireballs

64.

Lady Madonna The Beatles

65.

Love Is All Around The Troggs

66.

MacarthurPark Richard Harris

67.

Take Time To Know Her Percy Sledge

68.

Hurdy Gurdy Man Donovan

69.

White Room Cream

70.

I Got The Feelin’ James Brown

71.

Nobody But Me The Human Beinz

72.

1,2,3, Red Light 1910 Fruitgum Co.

73.

Think Aretha Franklin

74.

You Keep Me Hangin’ On Vanilla Fudge

75.

Goin’ Out Of My Head/Can’t Take My Eyes Off You The Lettermen

76.

The Unicorn The Irish Rovers

77.

Baby, Now That I’ve Found You The Foundations

78.

Ain’t Nothing Like The Real Thing Marvin Gaye And Tammi Terrell

79.

The Fool On The Hill Sergio Mendes &Brazil’66

80.

Susan The Buckinghams

81.

Time Has Come Today Chambers Brothers

82.

I Say A Little Prayer Aretha Franklin

83.

IndianLake The Cowsills

84.

I Thank You Sam And Dave

85.

Elenore The Turtles

86.

Hush Deep Purple

87.

Here Comes The Judge Shorty Long

88.

My Special Angel The Vogues

89.

I Wonder What She’s Doing Tonite Tommy Boyce &Bobby Hart

90.

Stay In My Corner The Dells

91.

Both Sides Now Judy Collins

92.

The House That Jack Built Aretha Franklin

93.

You’re All I Need To Get By Marvin Gaye And Tammi Terrell

94.

The Mighty Quinn (Quinn The Eskimo] Manfred Mann

95.

Suzie Q (Part One) Creedence Clearwater Revival

96.

Do You Know The Way ToSanJose Dionne Warwick

97.

If You Can Want Smokey Robinson &The Miracles

98.

Say It Loud-I’m Black And I’m Proud (Part 1) James Brown

99.

I Love You People

100.

Piece Of My Heart Big Brother &The Holding Company

If you are familiar with the music, it is very easy to see the contrasting sounds and the emergence of more, “message music” as you look at the Billboard Top 100 for 1968. Interesting to note that Here Comes The Judge by Shorty Long came in at number 87, because at the beginning of the same year, The Nickel Revolution recorded a version of Here Comes da Judge for Candy Floss Productions which was never released (available on Amazon and iTunes). You can see the story on this blog in an earlier entry.

Back to the changing music of 1968, let’s look at two artists and their releases. The first is Dion with Abraham, Martin And John (number 28 on the chart above).

Dion Dimuci was the lead singer in a 50s Doo Wop group, Dion and the Belmonts and he had a lot more to say in his 1968 recording.  Abraham, Martin And John which was in reference to the assassinations of  President John F. Kennedy, the Reverend Martin Luther King and Robert F. Kennedy.

 

 

 

Another true reflection of the changing times, anger over the Viet Nam war and musicians working to bring more message music, is  John Fogerty’s song Fortunate Son recorded by his group, Creedence Clearwater Revival. Here are the lyrics:

Some folks are born made to wave the flag
Ooh, they’re red, white and blue
And when the band plays “Hail to the Chief”
Oh, they point the cannon at you, Lord

It ain’t me, it ain’t me
I ain’t no Senator’s son
It ain’t me, it ain’t me
I ain’t no fortunate one, no

Some folks are born silver spoon in hand
Lord, don’t they help themselves, oh
But when the tax men come to the door
Lord, the house look a like a rummage sale, yes

It ain’t me, it ain’t me
I ain’t no millionaire’s son, no, no
It ain’t me, it ain’t me
I ain’t no fortunate one, no

Yeah, some folks inherit star spangled eyes
Ooh, they send you down to war, Lord
And when you ask them, “How much should we give?”
Oh, they only answer, more, more, more, yoh

It ain’t me, it ain’t me
I ain’t no military son
It ain’t me, it ain’t me
I ain’t no fortunate one

It ain’t me, it ain’t me
I ain’t no fortunate one, no, no, no
It ain’t me, it ain’t me
I ain’t no fortunate son, no, no

1968 truly was a year of change and you can see how The Nickel Revolution was changing and evolving in their sound, direction and style.

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

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:

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

http://minniepaulmusic.com/

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

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 (we will dig deeper into that in a future blog entry).

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.

Follow this link to You Tube to hear Here Come Da’ 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.

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 is the only member to graduate to Rock & Roll Heaven.

Bob Fisher (keyboards)

*Ron Hort, Kent Saunders and Keith Luer will be joining Louie, Jerry and Scott in the Nickel Revolution’s September 2012 Reunion.

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

The national exposure generated by Don Webster and the Upbeat Show made it a must-stop for the musicians of the day. All the big acts wanted to appear on Upbeat and as Don says, “We had a great run from 1964 to 1971 and were shown in 100 cities across theUnited States.”  

The invitation to appear on the Upbeat show was an incredible opportunity for The Nickel Revolution and it came about because of the band’s silly bubblegum hit, “Oscar Crunch.” As we’ve discussed in previous posts the Nickel loathed the poorly written and produced song from Candy Floss Productions because it did not represent the Nickel’s rock/R&B repertoire. Nonetheless, there are several positives in having a major label (Mercury/Phillips) and radio stations through the Midwest and east coast playing your record and promoting your name on a daily basis.

The Nickel Revolution was recruited by a large national booking agency, Dino Enterprises of Indianapolis and they were responsible for booking The Nickel Revolution on the Upbeat TV Show. The agency also provided the band its largest income with major gigs all over the country as well as pairing the Nickel Revolution with national acts.

Upbeat Show was filmed in Cleveland on Saturday morning approximately two weeks before the air date. We were on in late November of 1968 and the program aired in December, 1968. Fortunately we were back home in Minneapolis when the show aired so we could enjoy it (laugh our butts off) with friends and family. Remember, this is well before video taping, so there was no second chance to catch a show (sure wish we could find a copy of this rare gig).

 We had a heavy travel schedule in that on the Friday night before we filmed Upbeat, we appeared in concert in Illinois, with Question Mark and the Mysterians who had a huge hit “96 Tears.” We had to travel through the night to get to Cleveland, check into a hotel for a couple hours sleep, and then race over to WEWS TV where the Upbeat Show was filmed. Fortunately, all the acts lip-synced their hits, so we did not need to drag all our equipment into the studios.

Show listing of the acts The Nickel Revolution appeared with on the Upbeat Show:

The Blues Magoos performing “Leavin’ Trunk”

The Ohio Express performing “Chewy, Chewy”

The Peppermint Rainbow performing “Will You Be Staying After Sunday?”

Neil Sedaka performing “Star Crossed Lovers” 

Bobby Vee performing “Someone to Love Me” 

The Youngbloods performing “Darkness, Darkness” 

The Nickel Revolution performing “Oscar Crunch”

Jerry Butler performing “Never Give You Up” 

O.C. Smith performing “Little Green Apples”

After taping the Upbeat Show, The Nickel Revolution rushed to southern Ohio appearing in concert at Shawnee State University, Portsmith, Ohio (southeast of Cincinnati).

Learn more about Upbeat Show here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Upbeat_(TV_series)

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