One of the great joys of publishing the Nickel Revolution website and blog is the discoveries members are making in their treasure boxes of rock and roll memories. Our bass player and forever member, Scott Jeffy, is a pretty organized guy and when he was going through his old Nickel Revolution stack of stuff, he discovered a calendar he had kept.

On the calendar he wrote where we were playing and how much revenue we generated. No surprise coming from an entrepreneurial family, Scott was tracking the money as a measure of our progress. The money we earned would go up every year and it is amazing when you convert 1960s dollars into 2011 dollars.

Here is a full overview of The Nickel Revolution’s December 1967 calendar of bookings, location and revenue.

Friday, December 1 –Wayzata High School, Wayzata, MN $120 

Saturday, December 2 – Interlachen Ballroom, Fairmont, MN $130

Thursday, December 7 –Arch Bishop High School, St Paul, MN $120

Friday, December 8 –New City Opera House, Minneapolis, MN $88 (creative spelling on Nickel for 12/8…they got it right on 12/31)

Wednesday, December 13 – Bimbo’s, West Bank Minneapolis, MN $96

Friday, December 15 – Eaton Ranch, Mendota, MN $130

Saturday, December 16 –Chaska High School, Chaska, MN $185

Tuesday, December 19 – Magoo’s, Minneapolis, MN $70

Hey look–the Magoo’s discount of 25 cents is good today…and tomorrow it will be good too. Only problem is that they are out of business.

Thursday, December 21, Bimbo’s, Minneapolis, MN $72   Note that Scott marked, “scale” on the calendar for this date. As union members, this was the minimum rate required for musicians. And the union received copies of all contracts. You can see we played above union rates the majority of the time, as did other rock bands.

Also, the top venues in the Twin Cities did not pay what the out of town ballrooms and schools were willing to pay. Thankfully our agents, Central Booking Alliance, kept a nice balance of getting us into the top Minneapolis-St. Paul clubs to continue to build our local following while booking us out of town to generate a better income.

Friday, December 22, Lakeview High School, Cottonwood, MN $130

Saturday, December 23, Zumbrota High School, Zumbrota, MN $150

There is a memorable story on the trip down to Zumbrota in southern Minnesota. As you can see, 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.

Wednesday, December 27,  Maple Lake Pavilion, Maple Lake, MN $120

Thursday, December 28, Adams High School, Adams, MN $175

Friday, December 29, Orchid Inn, Sleepy Eye, MN $150

Saturday, December 30, Someplace Else, Robbinsdale, MN $76

Sunday, December 31, New City Opera House, Minneapolis, MN $100

This New Year’s Eve gig was a blast to play. First of all it was heavily promoted on radio (WDGY and KDWB) and in the Minneapolis Tribune. Additionally, the club distributed posters and we have included a photo of one here. Notice how the art is drastically changing,  just as the music was changing—going for more of a San Francisco, psychedelic look.

What made this gig extra special was the opportunity to play with so many bands that we were friends with. You played short sets, which meant only playing the “A” list songs and not the lesser tunes used to fill long four hour gigs, “everyone take two solos…we got time to fill.”

New City Opera House was one of our favorite places to play, located on Nicollet and Lake Street in Minneapolis. It was formally the historic, Mr. Lucky’s club. They remodeled, updated the stage lighting and changed the name to reflect the times and changes in musical direction.

They added a second venue next door call Magoo’s, which had a different feel. While New City Opera House was a rock club, Magoo’s was more laid back and the music wasn’t as loud. They served pizza and beer and had plenty of seating for the audience.

Let’s look again at the revenue side of things

December 1967

Total number of appearances: 17

Total Revenue: $1,912

Average per appearance: $112

Using an online inflation calculator will tell you the relative buying power of a dollar in the United States between any two years. In doing so, we have converted The Nickel Revolution’s December 1967 earnings into 2011 dollars

Conversion to 2011 Dollars

Total number of appearances: 17

Total Revenue: $12,738

Average per appearance: $749

$1,912.00 in 1967  had the same buying power as $12,737.70 in 2011. Annual inflation over this period was 4.40%.

How many local/regional bands earn $749 per night in 2011?  The purpose of this illustration is to demonstrate how well musicians could do in what some people call the Golden Age of Rock—especially on a local/regional basis.

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

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

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

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

Pre-Nickel 1965 Beatles or Breezy

Posted: October 22, 2011 in 1965

The pre-Nickel Revolution, Inchanters, were in their first year as a band and had come a long way quickly, increasing their musicianship, repertoire, and each member had invested in new equipment. The band received a unique invitation and as the saying goes, “knowing the right people makes a big difference.”

Louie and Jerry’s uncle, Jerome Lenz (Jerry Lenz) was part owner in the premier Minnesota resort, Breezy Point on Pelican Lake near Brainerd Minnesota. Uncle Jerry worked to secure a booking for The Inchanters as Breezy was opening a new teen center at the resort. The adults were already enjoying incredible music and dancing at Breezy Point with big bands like Jimmy and Tommy Dorsey, Harry James, etc.

Band members included Jerry Lenz (Drums) Keith Follese (keyboards) Louie Lenz (guitar) and Scott Jeffy (bass).

As it turns out, a huge kick-off event to open Breezy’s teen center was planned for August 20-22nd and The Inchanters were booked for the gig. The band members quickly realized that this was the same weekend The Beatles were coming to Minneapolis and they naturally wanted to join their friends and other bands to go see the biggest group in rock history. It didn’t take long to make a decision. The young group was more committed to developing the band and taking every opportunity to perform and grown in their ability—they took the Breezy Point booking and it had tremendous perks.

The band was given awesome accommodations at the resort, food plus they had tons of fun swimming, waterskiing as well as the all-around teen favorite past time, goofing off. It was an incredibly fun time and there even were opportunities to practice in the afternoons.

The Inchanters returned in September 1966 for a repeat performance and a poster from that appearance is included here. The teen center was so popular that the resort started promoting their teen center all over Minnesota as teens came to dance and party for the evening. In the beginning it was just another amenity for vacationing families, but the rise in popularity of teen dances—and the money that they would bring—was attractive to Breezy for creating another revenue stream. Once again, The Inchanters enjoyed the long weekend gig (Labor Day) with the awesome accomodations and the chance to swim, boat, waterski, enjoy great food and having down time in style.

Back to 1965 and the August 21st, appearance of the Beatles in Minneapolis. The show at Metropolitan Stadium was the sixth stop of the ‘65 North American Tour. Their concert that evening at the Met was not as big a success as what was anticipated. 

An interesting quote in the Minneapolis Tribune from a Hennepin County Deputy gives another perspective, “I’ve never seen a mob like this in my life,” Deputy  Douglas Sherry was quoted as saying, “I thought Frank Sinatra was bad, but the mob for this thing has him beat all to pieces.”

The Beatles played to about 28,500 people at the 40,000 seat Met Stadium. A soft turnout for The Beatles, apparently due to a lack of publicity and radio advertising. Interesting to note the “bargain” ticket prices $2.50 to $5.50 (in today’s dollars that’s $21 to $40) to see the world’s top rock band. Read More about the Beatles Minneapolis appearance in Twin Cities Music Highlights

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

Pre-Nickel Appearance with Dick Gregory

Posted: October 14, 2011 in 1967

Early in 1967, The Inchanters (pre-Nickel Revolution name) would take a 400 Mile RoadTrip (keep in mind, everyone was still in high school) to play in concert with Dick Gregory on Saturday, March 18, 1967. The venue was Northwest Missouri State University in Maryville, Missouri (near St Joseph, Missouri).

Dick Gregory had a powerful talent for combining comedy with his civil rights activism. The band was looking forward to this gig that Dick Shapiro of Central Booking Alliance had arranged for them as Dick Gregory was well known and often appeared on network television, especially late shows like Johnny Carson and Steve Allen. Also appearing in concert was The Bagdad Orchestra (big band swing). So, The Inchanters were included to entice the university rockers to attend.

Visit Dick Gregory here:

http://www.dickgregory.com/

It was a wonderful opportunity, especially backstage, to meet and interact with Dick Gregory. A fine gentleman filled with wit and humor. Learning about him today will reveal how important a part he played in bringing civil rights front and center—no longer shoved to the back of the bus. This was a rare opportunity for a white rock band from Minnesota and the guys were grateful for the invitation (plus universities paid well too).

The line-up in the band at this time was Ron “Honeybear” Hort (keyboards), Jeff Simon (lead guitar), Scott Jeffy (bass), Louie Lenz (rhythm guitar) and Jerry Lenz (drums).

Road Trip Photos

* Special mention to Louie and Jerry’s younger brother Allen Lenz: “thanks brother for scribbling all over my Dick Gregory autograph!”

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

Whatever you do, pursue it with passion because hard work pays off and success comes dressed in work clothes.

With this post, we salute the one member of our band who actually “made it” in the record business–Keith Follese. And, it’s quite a story. Keith (keyboards) was in the original group with Scott Jeffy (bass), Louie Lenz (rhythm guitar) and Jerry Lenz (drums). In an earlier post we described the groups beginning as the Wailing Phantoms and renamed shortly thereafter, The Inchanters.

It was October, 1964 when the group began. Louie and Scott were in high school while Jerry and Keith were in junior high school. The Follese and Lenz homes were in the same neighborhood and Keith and Jerry rode the bus home together with one thing in mind—practice, practice, practice. It was just keyboards and drums, song after song and the two boys had long talks about their music goals.

Keith and Jerry would look forward to Saturdays for practice and most often a bus trip to downtown Minneapolis. They would attend Dayton’s Top Ten Club (Dayton’s was the premier department store in the Twin Cities). The Top Ten Club featured a top local band, like the Gregory Dee & The Avanti’s or the Underbeats. National bands also played on special occasion. The boys saw the Yardbirds performance as well as The Paul Butterfield Blues Band.

Keith and Adrienne Follese

On the downtown trips they visited every music store like Schmidt’s Music and Dahlgren Drum Shop plus Musicland record shop as well as checking out the expensive clothes at Dayton’s “Mod Shop” (It was an English-looking boutique inside the store, appealing to teens).

Bands are kind of like first girlfriends because a breakup is usually in the cards. Keith stayed with the Inchanters for about two years and decided it was time to start his own group with a different direction. He and fellow classmates formed a group named, The Knics. Marsh Edelstein of Marsh Productions would rename the group, The Youngsters.

Keith’s new group continued for a couple of years and then disbanded as members were going in separate directions. Keith continued to play in bands and clubs and formed a very good band called Fresno. During this time, Keith and Jerry remained friends.

Around 1970 most bands were breaking up and it had a lot to do with the Viet Nam war, the end of student deferments and maturing baby boomers who were getting married and entering the corporate marketplace. Jerry’s family business was jewelry and having that background led him to the Carlson Companies when they ventured into catalog showrooms. Working at Carlson paid off for Jerry as he met an executive who would later hire him at K-Tel International (yes, “that” K-tel”) where Jerry became a sales and marketing executive.

The K-tel background is important because Jerry met another lifelong friend, Bill Isaacs. Bill was in charge of K-tel’s music publishing. He secured the hits, working with the music labels and publishing companies that wanted the marketing muscle of a K-tel release to further promote their artists.

In about 1976, Keith relocated to Los Angeles to pursue his music career. Instead of trying to make a living playing in clubs and doing the “band” thing, Keith sold air conditioning for a San Fernando Valley company. There was more money in a real job and his free time gave him the opportunity to write songs. Jerry visited Keith on vacation in 1978 and they had fun visiting the clubs and attractions around LA. Jerry was impressed with Keith’s material and stayed in touch with him as Jerry grew in his responsibilities at K-tel.

In 1981 Bill Isaacs and Jerry Lenz decided to form a partnership to secure recording contracts for talented bands. The first signed group was Power, a talented R&B act that performed much like the Temptations. Great vocals and excellent dance moves on stage. Bill and Jerry negotiated a recording contract for Power with Malaco Records (Jackson,Mississippi). The group had a series of hits on the R&B charts and released a self-titled album that did well. (Power’s music is available on i-tunes and other online music sites.)

At the same time, Bill and Jerry focused on Follese. Keith met and married Adrienne, another singer/songwriter and they pursued their dream together. Adrienne was a dental assistant and the couple never played gigs. Instead they did an excellent work at their “day jobs” and pursued the songwriting and recording at home. Keith converted their home’s garage and built a recording studio.

Bill’s excellent contacts paid off. Keith and Adrienne were signed to Arista Publishing. With a major publisher, the next step was securing a major label and producer to take Follese (what the act was called) to the next level. Music business success Danny Goldberg liked Follese and signed them to his newly formed label, Gold Mountain Records. Michael Lloyd was contracted to produce Follese. Michael is well-known for huge recording hits such as Debbie Boone’s You Light Up My Life. You can learn more about Michael here: This all happened in 1982

The Follese album caught on in Japan, but the American market never opened its tight doors to let the talented husband and wife team in. It’s hard to keep knocking on doors after you’ve already had a major publisher, record company and producer in your corner and no sales success.

Jerry and Bill were both living in LA—Bill was still with K-tel and Jerry had joined a spin-off record company, JCI. Keith kept selling “coolers” and Adrienne continued her dental assistant career.

Fast-forward to 1987. Bill Isaacs accepted a new publishing position in Nashville and relocated there. Bill and Jerry would talk and the subject of Follese came up. Bill suggested that Jerry talk to Keith and Adrienne about visiting Nashville and testing the country waters. At first the couple was reluctant. Country? It didn’t seem like the right step but they took a leap of faith and visited Nashville. They fell in love with the song-loving, song-writing, music promoting Music City. They decided to make the move, find work (AC sales and dental assistant) and begin down country roads.

Success was not instantaneous, but it did show up after years of wearing work clothes. Keith and Adrienne have become premier country writers and more. A string of HUGE hits and years of success. Learn more here. Search Google to learn more about Keith and Adrienne as there are pages and pages to view.

The Nickel Revolution’s salute to Follese would not be complete without a mention of Keith and Adrienne’s rock and roll success—their sons!

Hot Chelle Rae is mom and dad’s greatest hit. Ryan Follese fronts the group on guitar and Jamie Follese handles the foundation playing drums. Learn more about the group, their hits and tours here.

It’s always great to know that even with life’s twists and turns, you never know where you can end up in the music business if you’re ready to show up—in work clothes.

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

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

How We Became The Nickel Revolution

Posted: October 6, 2011 in 1967

After beginning this blog and announcing our reunion, we started getting questions about the band from friends and family. One of the most-asked questions is, “How did you get the name, The Nickel Revolution?”

If you’ve read the post, “Before The Nickel Revolution,” you’ve already learned that we began as the “Wailing Phantoms,” for a couple of months and then renamed the group, “The Inchanters.” The group included Keith Follese, Scott Jeffy, Louie and Jerry Lenz.

Later under the Inchanters, Ron Honeybear Hort would replace Follese on keyboards and we’d add Jeff Goldberg on lead guitar. This would be late 1966-67. Most every band goes through name changes and as the styles of music expanded with more rock/R&B/blues/folk influences, so too did groups adapt and decide to put a fresh coat of paint on their brand. We were ready to change as our repertoire was expanding. Our agents, Central Booking Alliance, also wanted us to do so, and the process of finding a new name began.

We had developed a list of potential names and one Saturday morning we were sitting about the kitchen table at Scott’s house, working on the new name thing. Scott grabbed the Minneapolis Tribune to see if anything would spark an idea. It did, as he spotted an article about a nickel shortage…and a revolution of sorts.

Thanks to the internet, we located a source that describes what was happening with nickels in the late 60s. The disappearance of 90% silver coins from circulation in the US in the mid-1960s created a desire for the coins. People quickly realized that the debased copper sandwich coins were low-value, so folks started saving every pre-1965 (90% silver) coin that they could find. This resulted in a coin shortage from 1965 to 1967. It created a nickel revolution (saving the old coins instead of spending them) and the government having to rush production on the cheaper nickel coin.

So, there really is a good story behind the name, The Nickel Revolution.

The name was an instant “like” among the members and the experts at Central Booking Alliance dubbed it, “perfect,” because it fit right in with the emerging rock bands of the era; Pink Floyd, Canned Heat, Vanilla Fudge, Three Dog Night. You can quickly see how a name like Nickel Revolution was very marketable.

 

The logo and design of The Nickel Revolution can be credited to the talents of Skip Dahlin who was the original bass guitar player of the Accents. Skip was a gifted illustrator and many bands called on his creativity to come up with the right look and design. For the Nickel Revolution, Skip keyed in on the Indian Head Nickel, and thus the brave’s head is the centerpiece of the Nickel Revolution’s logo. It worked perfect for Jerry’s bass drum head and always drew rave reviews wherever the band played.

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

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

 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: NickelRevolution@gmail.com

 

 

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