Archive for the ‘SMALL TOWN MEMORIES 60’s & 70’s’ Category


‘Rocktober’ Like It’s 1976

September 22, 2012

This website gets lots of ‘hits’. Lots. And the majority is from all around the country and, in fact, the world. So this entry probably won’t hold much interest to most of Bangagong’s visitors but it’s important to me, personal, you know?
I attended high school at Orrville High School in Orrville, OH from 1972 – 1976 and I can say, without any doubt, that everyone I attended high school with were among some of the best people I have ever associated with. When I think of my former classmates words like decent, integrity, fun, character, respect come immediately to mind.
Well, next month the OHS Class of ’76 is coming together for a good thing. and everyone is invited, inlcuding you! Thanks to such wonderful & special people like Ruth, Jeannie, Shelly, Jeff and so many others.
The Orrville High School Class of ’76 Reunion Committee has announced a special event to benefit the Class of 1976 Memorial Scholarship Fund. The 1st Annual ‘Rocktober Reunion Benefit’ will be held on Friday evening October 12, 2012 from 8:00 PM – Midnight at the Orrville Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 3446 located at 430 W. Market Street in Orrville, OH. The evening will be a benefit for the Class of 1976 Memorial Scholarship Fund with all proceeds going towards the continual building of the Class of 1976 Memorial Scholarship Fund.

 Admission will be $10.00 per person. There will be a cash bar and Dalessandro Concessions will be providing food at a special low price. The event will run from 8:00 PM – 12:00 AM and will include a 50/50, raffle items and music provided by Liquid Sky. All proceeds will go to the Class of 1976 Memorial Scholarship Fund. The event is open to any OHS alumni from any class.
The scholarship will be awarded to a graduating senior of the Class of 2016, the 40th anniversary of the Class of 1976’s graduation. The Class of 1976 Memorial Scholarship will be awarded in memory of former classmates who are no longer with us, including Daniel Rehm, Steve Rogers, Joe Derflinger, Greg Begert, Mike Weiss & Richard Wright.
During the Saturday evening activities the renowned band, Liquid Sky will be performing. The professional band features Class of ’76 alumni Ed Marthey on keyboards. Liquid Sky, a band from Akron, Ohio, is a group of five talented men who have crafted a show that has something for everyone, particularly those who want to rock.
The band specializes in music that most other rock-n-roll bands don’t usually play while keeping it highly danceable. In short, they are rock without apology. Liquid Sky consists of Marthey, Ben Powers, Brad Johnson, Bruce Lindamood and Chip Maggio, who performed at the OHS Class of ’76 35th Reunion held last September 17, 2011.


The GOODWILL BAND will be opening for LIQUID SKY at the 1st Annual ‘Rocktober Reunion Benefit’. The Goodwill Band consists of Jim Good, Tom Williams & Bob Good. All three began their music careers in Orrville and have all performed with a number of bands throughout the years.
The three longtime friends hooked up in 1999 as the Goodwill Band and have played all over the state, most notably at the Miss Ohio Festival and opening for Red Ball Jets at The Brickhouse. They were also fixtures at the former Starboard Café in Orrville.
The Goodwill Band performs both originals and covers of songs by Beatles, Eagles, CSN&Y, The Who, Hollies, Al Jackson and others.
Tickets are available at Gary’s Drive Thru and the State Liquor Agency, both located at 331 West High Street in Orrville as well as via mail order.
More information, including possible additional fund-raising activities for that evening, will be announced soon. “Just from our class website and Facebook page, we already have commitments from former classmates in four states who will be attending,” said Walentik-Johnston. “This will be a special, special night!”

To order tickets send $10.00 per person (checks made out to Class of ’76) to: Ruth Walentik-Johnston, 347 Wabash Avenue, Orrville, OH 44667. Pre-sale tickets will be mailed. For those wanting more event information, suggestions, make donations of raffle prizes, contact Walentik-Johnston at: 216.820.1439 or email: Updated information will also appear on the OHS Class of ’76 website at:
In the meantime anyone can donate to the ‘Class of 1976 Memorial Scholarship’ fund at anytime by sending a check to the reunion committee (Ruth Walentik-Johnston, 347 Wabash Avenue, Orrville, OH 44667). Donors are asked to signify on the check memo that the monies are designated to the scholarship fund. Make checks & money orders payable to OHS Class of 1976.

The OHS Class of ’76 Memorial Scholarship Fund is in memory of Daniel Rehm, Steve Rogers, Joe Derflinger, Greg Begert, Mike Weiss & Richard Wright.

Daniel Rehm


‘Big Time’ Rock N Roll In A Small Town Pt. 2

August 6, 2012

Back in the 1960’s Wayne County, Ohio was your typical Midwestern rural/farming community. Amish buggies dotted the outlying areas (and even in the towns & cities.. And still do!). And you wouldn’t think a mellow-appearing rural-type county would have many, if any, rock & roll culture back then, but it did, especially the Wooster & Orrville communities.

Back in the 60’s Orrville hosted various sock hops and dances with local bands, and on occasion bigger named bands like Terry Knight & The Pack came to town, usually before or after an Upbeat TV Show taping in Cleveland. In 1979 Kim Simmonds’s Savoy Brown performed at Wayne County Speedway.

But Wooster, Ohio, the county seat of Wayne County, was at times a hotbed of live appearances during the 60’s and into the 1980’s. With plenty of local bands springing up in the wake of Beatlemania in the area, like JD and the Malibus, The Streys, Me & The Guys, The Repercussions, Spoonjobs, Olivers, Blue Steel, Blue Prynts as well as bands from neighboring counties like the Es-Shades from Ashland and Music Explosion from Mansfield.

                       The Spoonjobs, a band from Wooster, OH

Those bands, and others, brought the teenagers in to local venues, like school gyms, the Wooster Armory and the YMCA. But bigger named regional and national acts performed during the 60’s at both the YMCA and Wooster Armory. Bands like the Amboy Dukes with Ted Nugent, the James Gang with Joe Walsh, Glass Harp, The Outsiders, Terry Knight & The Pack, Damnation of Adam Blessing and the Bob Seger System, among others.

                                    Amboy Dukes w/ Ted Nugent

(Club 42, The Ranch (El Rancho Grande) in Wooster, The Dugout in Ashland, and the Mixer in Bucyrus were other venues that local & regional bands performed at.)

                                                        James Gang

Once the 70’s hit the powers that be at the College of Wooster loosened up and started bringing in national acts open to the public. I was able to catch a couple of these and the performances and venues on-campus like the Timken Gym & Lowry Center were outstanding. I can recall Vanilla Fudge playing there and a little later on Sly & The Family Stone, Spirit (saw that one!), Styx (saw that one, too) and Brian Auger’s Oblivion Express during the early years of the 70’s.

Brian Auger’s Oblivion Express

I remember wanting to see Emerson, Lake & Palmer (with opening act Dr. Hook & The Medicine Show) on April 9, 1972 but the Old Man dragged the family to Colorado just in time to miss it. However, as I later discovered the next several months or so of listening to more of their music, I never could get myself to get into ELP. Still can’t. Also passed on the Charlie Daniels Band.

One College of Wooster show I caught, at the last minute and thanks to my cousin Sue, was Ike & Tina Turner and the Ikettes on June 30, 1972. Between the band, Tina and the Ikettes, it made up for missing out on Sly & The Family Stone.

On May 13, 1974, the Beach Boys played and a friend talked me into going with dates. Went expecting to be bored, but it was a pretty good show and they were on.

My cousin got a handful of tickets for the November 3, 1974 Souther-Hillman-Furay concert. She wanted to see them because Richie Furay had just left Poco, a band we saw at the Akron Civic Theatre. Was surprised when on stage was former Derek & The Dominoes member Jim Gordon and Al Perkins and Paul Harris were in Stephan Stills’ Manassas. Livingston Taylor was the support act.

                                          Souther – Hillman – Furay

In February 1980 the Michael Stanley band, on top in northeast Ohio and surrounding regions, played at the College of Wooster’s Timken Gym to a jam packed crowd and a roof-raising performance. My kid sister, who was there, brought it up in conversation just a few days ago. The last show I attended
was David Johansen on April 22, 1983. Ronald Koal & The Trillionaires were the support act.

In the late 70’s the Wooster Theatre, originally known as the Lyric Theatre,  became the Schine’s Theater and renamed Wooster Theatre under the Shrine chain. After closing it sat dormant for a considerable length of time before local investors Henry & Chell Bishop purchased the property in 1976 put Henry Bishop in the Manager’s position.

Bishop managed to give it a facelift by renovating the restrooms, main offices, improved lighting, carpeting, painting and other improved amenities. Bishop, who also held down a full time job at White Jewelry, began showing films, offering $1 movie nights. The Bishop’s closed won the theatre in 1981 due to declining attenance but the following year leased it to Alice Schafrath who reinvented the theatre as the Theatrical Lounge and eventually brought in live entertainment, not the least of which were appearances by nationally known acts.

Theatrical Lounge

With a bar installed the Theatrical Lounge began offering a variety of entertainment, with local & regional bands like The Godz, White Horse, McGuffy Lane, Norman Nardini & The Tigers,  Link, Raising Cain, country performer Lacy J. Dalton, Diamondback,  the Chippendale’s and, of all things, Caesar The Bear, a wrestling bear that would take on all locals for a potential cash prize. One of the top names brought in was Nazareth. It eventually closed in 1988 and in 1999 the building was demolished.

You can read ‘Big Time’ Rock N Roll In A Small Town Pt.1 by clicking HERE.


Cutting Edge Technology – 50 Years Ago!

March 3, 2012

Late this afternoon my 10-year-old grandson made a proclamation to me: “Grandpa, I know what you can get me for Easter. An I-Pod.” A…. what? I’ve heard of them, but didn’t know precisely what their function was. Hunter explained it.
So I asked him, what’s wrong with a transistor radio.
His turn to go, “A….what?”

 So I tried to explain to him and then, finally, started digging through containers in the basement and dug put two of my old ones. I dug out new batteries, stuck them in, and damned if they didn’t still work! AM!

(NOTE: They are both pictured here. Click images to enlarge!)
While mildly amused, and at first quite curious, within minutes he said, ‘So, is that all it does?”
After assimilating the information and demonstration, he wasn’t impressed.
But in 1965 I sure was!
For Christmas that year Mom got me my first transistor radio, a small Westinghouse, with an earpiece even! (It measures 2-1/2″ x 4-1/4″ x 1-1/4″). It was green with a green leather carrying case. I was thrilled. Now I could listen to WIXY, WHLO and the Mighty CKLW at night! Without borrowing my older sister Cheryl’s!
I loved that thing and used it constantly. Over the years I recall ending up with a several more transistor radios but none would ever replace that Westinghouse. It always worked, and always had a strong receiver.
I had one other transistor radio that I thought was pretty cool when I first got it, a Sunoco gasoline promotional radio that the stations were giving away if you bought so much gas. They were manufactured to look like Sunoco gas pumps. The Old Man came home one day in 1967 or ’68 with two of them, one for myself and one for my kid brother.

The Sunoco radio was a damn good radio, but nothing compared to the green Westinghouse Mom got me.

One thing that was pretty cool about the Sunoco radio in ’67 or ’68 was the pump numbers changed as you moved the tuning knob. It was made in Hong Kong.

Having a transistor radio in the 60’s is comparable today of having a cell phone, or Iphone or SmartPhone or whatever the hell they are calling them this week. Transistor radios were first developed in 1954 and soon became the most popular electronic communication device in history, with billions manufactured during the 1960s and 1970s. Of course, it won’t be long and may have already happened, that today’s ‘cell phone’ has eclipsed that.

One thing’s for certain, those small radios communicated to an entire generation during the 60’s. It was the major media for the young generation of the 60’s and it’s impact is likely immeasurable.
42 years ago, in 1970, the last assembly line producing transistor radios in America shut
down. The Zenith Trans-Oceanic 7000 was the last American-made transistor radio on the market.

(c)2012 Doc Lehman/Bangagong!


A Date That Will Live In Infamy

February 15, 2012

I should save this for my birthday, but that’s not until October and who knows what will happen between now & then? Anyway, and I may have mentioned this a few years ago here, but the rock n’ roll fever has been burning deep within me as far back as I can remember. Just love the stuff, you know? And I can’t play a note!

Anyway, confirmation I was born under the ‘R & R Sign’ is the fact that the very day I was born (as well as my good pal, Jeannie!) Elvis Presley had the #1 hit in the USA with ‘Jailhouse Rock’. Pretty appropriate. For me, not Jeannie! (I’m a sinner, she’s a saint!)

(Aside: Jeannie is a sweet, sweet person who I went all through high school with. We were born on the same day, in the same hospital and delivered by the same doctor! I just had dinner with her & her husband, Kevin, earlier this evening!)

More proof I was destined to be a rock ‘n roll fanatic is the fact that besides Elvis having the number one hit the day I was born, I also share the same birthday as Chuck Berry (October 18, different year of course) and according to one of my Beatle books the day I was born John Lennon & Paul McCartney perfomed in public together for the very first time as McCartney made his debut as a guitar player in Lennon’s Quarreymen, the forerunner of the Silver Beatles and then of course, The Beatles.

Promoter Charlie ‘Mac’ McBain held regular skiffle and rock events at his venues and on Friday October 18 he ran one such event at the New Clubmoor Hall in Norris Green, Liverpool where McCartney made his live debut with Lennon.

Of that event, McCartney commented on the Anthology DVD:

“For my first gig, I was given a guitar solo on Guitar Boogie. I could play it easily in rehearsal so they elected that I should do it as my solo. Things were going fine, but when the moment came in the performance I got sticky fingers; I thought, ‘What am I doing here?’ I was just too frightened; it was too big a moment with everyone looking at the guitar player. I couldn’t do it. That’s why George was brought in.”

                     Lennon & McCartney’s stage debut – October 18, 1957

And on that very same day, unknown to me until today (thanks M. L.!), was a, what I would presume, huge concert in Sacramento, CA with nearly every superstar and big star of the day performing at the Sacramento Memorial Auditorium in an event promoted by the Sacramento J. C. Student Association. I now know where Chuck Berry celebrated his birthday on the day I was born!

Nope, I never had a chance as the stars were aligned in perfect harmony that autumn Friday to birth me into a rock ‘n roll world. The cruel irony is there was no talent to go with the passion!


Albums My Mom Bought For Me

October 7, 2008

In less than 10 days it will be one year ago that I lost my Mom, so naturally she’s been on my mind a lot here lately. One memory that came back recently was when, after I became a teenager and she saw my growing record collection (and my sister’s and my brother’s), she would ask each Christmas for a list of three or four album titles, in case they were sold out of one or two selections. She would always make it a point to tell me to only expect o-n-e album, if any at all, yet invariably each year there would be two or three albums under the tree (it was that or another bottle of Hai Karate cologne!). Shown here is just a small random sampling of some of the albums my Mom bought me over the years.  Looking back she was younger than I am now when she bought these for me (she was in her early 40’s). God bless you Mom. You were always hip!


‘Big Time’ Rock N Roll In A Small Town Pt.1

September 7, 2008

Terry Knight of Terry Knight & The Pack

Way back in the early 1960’s at the Atlantic-Richfield gas station on West Market Street in my hometown of Orrville, Oh ‘sock hops’ were held during summer evenings. I was too young to attend but my older brother and sister went to them. A couple years later a couple dances with live bands were held in the parking lot on the north side of Smith’s Grocery on South Main Street and even though I was too young to attend I do remember one dance in particular, circa 1966, that my sister and her best friend attended that featured Terry Knight & The Pack.


Dad & Mom drove Cheryl and her friend, also named Cheryl, in to Orrville and dropped them off at Smith’s while the rest of our family went several blocks away to my uncle and aunt’s home until the dance was over. Another uncle & aunt were there so eventually a cousin and myself walked up Oak Street to Main Street to Clyde Matthew’s Union 76 gas station to get a bottle of Pepsi. Several blocks south we could hear the music so we decided to walk down and take a peak.


Once we got near Smith’s Grocery (we were across the street and intimidated by all those rowdy teenagers) we hung around for about a half hour and watched the band and the high schoolers having a good time before walking back to our uncle’s.


After the dance both Cheryls walked up to where our uncle lived and man were they exited! Terry Knight & The Pack (never heard of them prior to that night) had a couple records being played on Cleveland radio and to the two Cheryls they were big stars! You’d have thought they died and went to heaven (they had some of their 45 singles).


Fast forward to 1971 and I’m a typical male teenager into Grand Funk Railroad. I knew they were managed by Terry Knight but imagine my surprise when, after reading various articles and interviews with Mark, Don and Mel in Creem, Circus, Hit Parader and Rolling Stone I discovered that Grand Funk’s Mark Farner and Don Brewer were in Terry Knight & The Pack! Cripes, I saw 2/3 of Grand Funk Railroad several years prior and didn’t know!


Not long after that discovery I was able to catch Grand Funk Railroad in concert in Cleveland and I think somewhere around ’73 or ’74 I caught them in Indianapolis when a carload of us went to see them.


Terry Knight, from Flint, MI, was a DJ in the early 60’s (including a stint at the legendary CKLW and credited as the DJ who broke the Rolling Stones in the USA – some referred to him as the ‘Sixth Stone’) before deciding to become a ‘rock star’. He started Terry Knight & The Pack in 1965 and served as frontman and singer with Don Brewer on drums, Mark Farner on bass, Carl Johnson on guitar and Bobby Caldwell on keyboards.


At least a half dozen of their records made the Top 40 regionally (Detroit, Cleveland, New York) and among the singles were Mister, You’re A Better Man Than I, I (Who Have Nothing), This Precious Time, I Can’t Get No Satisfaction, Tears Come Rollin’, How Much More, Better Man Than I, and the song they are most identified with, A Change On The Way.


Soon after Farner took over as lead guitarist.


The band was big in Cleveland and appeared numerous times on Don Webster’s UPBEAT TV show and throughout the region opened for bands like the Rolling Stones, Yardbirds, Dave Clark Five and others.


By the end of ’67 Knight left for a solo career as a singer (that failed) and producer (that succeeded). As a producer/manager he helped put together Grand Funk Railroad with Farner, Brewer and bassist Mel Schacher in 1968 and took them to the top before a major falling out in 1974 that resulted in Knight more or less retiring from the music business.


Knight, born Richard Terrance Knapp, was born April 9, 1943 and was tragically murdered on November 1, 2004 by his daughter’s boyfriend. The boyfriend, out of control on drugs, was fighting with his daughter when Knight stepped in to protect her. He was stabbed 17 times.


I always thought my first ‘big time’ concert was Alice Cooper in Akron after that band made it big (I had seen them prior to becoming superstars at Chippewa Lake Park) but perhaps, in retrospect, my first was really Terry Knight & The Pack.

As far as I know the next ‘big time’ name band to play Orrville was Kim Simmonds’ Savoy Brown on September 1, 1979 at Wayne County Speedway.

%d bloggers like this: