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

A simple post with bandleader Louie Lenz who took a break from practicing his stage antics to launch a new senior career. Enjoy.

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

How The Nickel Revolution Rolled

Posted: December 15, 2011 in 1970

From the very beginning of the band that would become the Nickel Revolution, having a van was important to us. While a trailer behind mom and dad’s car would suffice for other groups, we insisted on having our own dedicated vehicle. We wanted to have a truck like the Underbeats and Gregory Dee and The Avanties.

In 1964, our parents helped us accomplish that goal too, even though Louie was the only one old enough to have a driver’s license. Keith Follese’s folks owned an electrical contracting firm (later becoming an Air Conditioning – Heating contractor) and they had an old panel van that they allowed us to “earn.” We have doctored a photo here to get as close as possible to what the panel truck looked like—a 40s Chevrolet Panel truck. No one has found any pictures of our first truck or our last van.

We earned that first panel truck by cleaning junk out of apartments in a building owned by Keith Follese’s mom. Pretty easy work considering it was only one Saturday and we had a truck.

We used magic marker to “paint” Wailing Phantoms on the side and added the decals of a woodpecker with big eyes and a cigar to be cool. Louie also bought “baby moon” wheel covers—it was cool. At least for a short period of time.

In 1965 we were earning enough money to actually buy a used panel van (again with our parents fronting the money). It was a light blue Ford van and it’s pictured here with the Inchanters logo and painting courtesy of B Sharp Music. The van not only took us to gigs, we went to high school in that van and it ended up in a photo in the school newspaper. Also included here.

The light blue van would go through changes when we became the Nickel Revolution. In the end, we converted it to scrap metal as it was totaled in an accident sending a few band members into the hospital. We were on vacation and not gigging at the time of the accident.

Louie, Jerry and Scott at the Lenz home goofing off and the Inchanters van parked in the driveway

Roadie Joe Carroll doing hand stands to entertain the boys in the band. Here is an article from an early musician’s publication:

Next up was a black and white Ford Econoline window van which is pictured here. Interestingly enough, this van was also totaled on vacation. Louie, Honeybear, Scott and one of our roadies, Dave Arneson took the van to the Arneson’s lake cabin near Maple Lake, Minnesota. Honeybear was out  “joy-riding” (driving) the van when, he claims, a bee tried to sting him and he rolled the van on a country road. Some witnesses claim it may have been vapors from a burning weed of some sort.

We do not have a photo of our final van that we purchased in 1968 when we really started racking up miles on cross country trips. It was a green Ford van and we chose not to have our name painted on the side. The reason being is that band vans became targets for thieves. A lot of fellow bands lost equipment and it happened to us as well. However, only our backup gear was stolen out of the van one night when we played at New City Opera House in Minneapolis.

Sample photo of a late 60s Ford Econoline Van

There are a lot of interesting stories surrounding the Nickel Revolution’s vans. One that could have been a tragedy happened late night or early morning after a gig in Wisconsin. We were traveling south near Black River Falls, Wisconsin and had pulled in to eat at a truck stop. Because we were “long hairs,” we were used to being hassled by some of the truckers and we had our own smartass retorts. One of our favorites was, “didn’t your mother ever teach you not to talk to strangers?” We probably used that one along with some others and got a truck driver really mad. We were unaware that he was waiting for us to leave. When we did, he pulled out his rig and followed us. We got on the Interstate and he followed us as close as he could, trying to scare us off the road. We were already travelling 65 to 70 miles per hour with the van loaded with equipment. Louie Lenz was behind the wheel and put the peddle to the metal, but this crazy driver kept it up and he was now trying now, to bump us off the road.

Much to our delight, he instead took his semi truck into the ditch in a heavily forested area. Looking back we saw his headlights pointing skyward. We didn’t stop but traveled on our way to our destination.

A van story with a lighter twist involves Louie, Scott and Jerry, along with their dates being “taken in” to Police headquarters in New Hope, Minnesota (1965). The police called our parents who—get this—had to come down and pick us up because we were parked on a side street that didn’t allow parking and we were making out. That is all…making out…kissing…BUSTED.

Our folks were very eager to talk to us. As soon as the dust settled, we went back to kissing girls in the van. And that’s how these rockers rolled.

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

In planning the reunion and getting in touch with the various members of The Nickel Revolution, it was shocking to learn that one of our best musicians and singers, Mickey Larson had passed away. With this entry in to The Nickel Revolution, we pay tribute to Mickey.

Upon Ron “Honeybear” Hort’s exit from the band, Mickey was recruited by Keith Luer. Both Keith and Mickey were from Wisconsin. It was 1969 and The Nickel Revolution was a high-earning band as our rates had escalated from the record release and the group was always a high draw for ballrooms and club owners. Keith contacted Mickey and learned he was between bands and was looking to join a group in Minneapolis. It was a very quick process and Mickey was in the band overnight and was such an accomplished musician that it was easy for him to slide into position. He had a strong background before joining the Nickel, including having worked with The Dick Clark Show Band, Chuck Berry, The Everly Brothers and others.

After the Nickel Revolution, Mickey played in various groups including the Tongue Band and finally formed his own band, The Mickey Larson Band. You can see Mickey Larson in action with the Tongue Band in 1974 on this You Tube video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XfqdtU9Ki1w

Although it is a very rough video to see clearly, you can hear Mickey’s vocals and excellent keyboard work.

Mickey Larson (Michael K. Larson) – Born February 17, 1947. Died August 12, 2004 (Throat cancer).

In addition to being a professional musician, excellent vocalist and creative individual, Mickey was the guru of groupies. He certainly had a big following. On one particular night, Mickey was entertaining a young girl who was instantly in love with him. I am pretty sure it was one of our many nights at the London Inn in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. She wanted to stay in touch with Mickey and asked if she could write him (yup…no email or Facebook in 1969). Mickey replied, “Sure.” When she asked for his address he rattled off  “423 Roosevelt Street, Minneapolis, MN.” Then the young woman asked Mickey how to spell “Roosevelt” and dumbfounded, Mickey looked at me and said, “Jerry, spell Rosevelt for her.” I teased him about that one for a long time to come. A good musician and vocalist, full of fun and laughs and I will miss seeing him at the reunion. You remain in our thoughts and hearts Mickey!

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 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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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