Category Archives: Dan Fogelberg and the Coachmen

The Dave Clark Five Meet The Coachmen

Recently PBS Great Performances aired a special on the Dave Clark Five: Glad All Over. A flood of memories came back to me. The year was 1966. Paperback Writer was released by the Beatles hits #1 on the charts for 2 weeks. Paint it Black by the Rolling Stones tops out at  #1. US planes bomb Hanoi Vietnam. The Dave Clark Five set a record number of appearances, 12 times on The Ed Sullivan Show. Meanwhile in Central Illinois a strange event occurred. The Dave Clark Five now almost as famous as the Beatles do two shows in a roller skating rink in Peru, Illinois. What the? IMG_1320 Why were they playing such a small venue? There was an afternoon matinee and an evening show at 7 pm.  Produced by Frank and Pat Bunzell local promoters that teamed up with Hank Skinner of Peoria Musical Enterprise, the concert essentially flopped. The Bunzell’s later went on to produce Peoria’s favorite “The Shags”. The Coachmen were pre Dan Fogelberg at that time. We still wore our Coachmen outfits and did some cover tunes. The concert had 3 opening acts. The Friars, The Inn Group and The Shillings. At the last minute the Inn Group cancelled. This is historically how we got our groove and eventually became the band that Dan Fogelberg would join and become a member. We rehearsed our songs and then decided to do something new. The Inn Group had been playing James Brown tunes like “Out of Sight” and “Please Please Don’t Go”. We pretty much stole these right out of their set list. I think we got to play five or six songs. The other bands were real pros and that intimidated us. Terry however stuck a turkey feather in a specially designed belt harness and shook it in a rousing rendition of “Shake A Tailfeather”. We had no fear and went for it. We smoked cigs at the stage door and signed autographs. Yes it went right to our heads. IMG_1323IMG_1321 “What in the world were the Dave Clark Five doing at a place called Skaters Junction at the height of their career?” This is attributed to a Peoria blog, dated Jan, 2007 … “Probably the saddest venue for a big name group was … The Dave Clark Five, playing in a roller rink in Peru, IL. This was in the spring of 1966. I won a free ticket from WIRL and they loaded up a school bus with all us winners and we were about the only people that showed up. The show was right on the rink floor, with about a hundred folding chairs in front of them. I was no more than ten feet from the band.” When the DC5 came on stage the sound blew us away. Huge Vox amps crowded the stage. We had never heard such a powerful wall of sound. The stomping on “Glad all Over” was deafening. Meanwhile backstage they were perfect English gentlemen. I remember their starched white shirts. They seemed so clean and tall to us. I wanted to find out how my other bandmates remember that day so I emailed them. Here are some of the memories from Terry and Tom. “Dear Coachmen, Yes, Carol and I caught that PBS piece.  I had forgotten how much I liked them and mused that I never play their music anymore.  They seemed to be just nice, clean-cut guys.  As I recall they treated us well; not aloof or condescending.  I too got all of the autographs.  In fact, Dave Clark signed across the sleeve of my ruffled shirt; though many washings have erased all evidence.  At the time I really did not realize that the Dave Clark Five were so popular world-wide or that they played the Sullivan Show so many times.  I will certainly watch the PBS piece again and I will add a couple of the DC-5 tunes to may playlists. Yes, I remember how impressed I was with the sound.  These guys acted totally pro, played well and sounded terrific.  I was quite surprised how really good the sound was at that time. Seems that we played a matinee for sure; thought we played an evening show too.  It seemed that we spend some time with the DC-5 milling about while waiting for the evening show.   It was the only time I ever signed autographs at the stage door. ” Terry “I saw that broadcast too!  Almost sent a text to everyone to advise it was showing.  I love the DC5.  Glad All Over, Bit’s N Pieces, Anyway You Want It……were probably my favorites.  I remember having drank some root beer and standing by the back stage door, thinking I was going to Throw up!  I was as nervous as a whore in church!  I was in awe at the Huge sound the DC5 had!  I think the sax had a lot to do with it.  Great fill, on any song! There was another 1st for me that weekend.  My parents had already planned for a family vacation in Minnesota.  They let me stay ‘home alone’.  (Well, I was sorta alone….lol.  May have had a visitor.)  Anyway, the Monday after the concert, I enjoyed my first ever plane ride.  Flew alone, to meet up with my family.  All at the tender age of 15!  I really liked this rock star life!  (pic of me arriving in Minneapolis attached) Tom DSCN0073

“Was it just luck that we played this gig that launched us into a kind of local stardom? Was this part of our destiny to become the band Dan Fogelberg wanted to join? At least in our minds we were now part of the “British Invasion” quacking around Peoria with our phony british accents.” Jon
I guess I’m feeling glad all over! And we go out stomping…
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Ed Sullivan The Beatles and years of inspiration

Hey Coachmen! It was fifty years ago today that we sat mesmerized watching the Beatles as they took the US by storm. Listening now to the Ed Sullivan show on KVMRNevada City. A fateful day that changed the very essence of pop music, I can’t believe the music was so good and tight. Years of playing clubs showed. This was of course before the electronic world made any hack sound good. Every kid in america wanted to be just like them. It launched a thousand garage bands. Last night I picked up the guitar and sang Beatles songs in honor but there was something missing. Dan’s high part. We nailed those Beatles harmonies.

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A Band Named Coachmen

I get questions concerning the Coachmen and name recognition that would have put this little garage band practically all over the US. Here is the reason. There were many bands named the Coachmen in the 60’s. Seems that it was the Iconic idea of a British sounding band name. After all it was a British Invasion reaching every 15 year old kid coast to coast in a garage band. It was if a strange force was driving us to dress up like a British historical figure and speak in tongues. British accents that Is. Righto!

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The first rendition of the Coachmen wore red coats , ruffled shirts, knee high boots. Tom played lead. Terry played rhythm guitar. Jim Ketcham played bass and John Mayers on drums. I was lead singer and keyboards. Terry’s Mom, Alice made our coats, one red set and one blue set. We were managed by Frank and Pat Bunzell and Peoria Musical’s Hank Skinner. Frank got us a gig opening for the Dave Clark Five. We felt like stars signing autographs at the stage door while we smoked our cigarettes. Our big show stopper was James Brown’s “Out of Sight” a choreographed tune we ripped off from Duke and the In Group, an older band we looked up to.  By today’s standard it was only a shuffle shuffle kick.  We were so young our parents had to drop us off.
Somehow in a few short years we moved culturally from Leave it to  Beaver to The Rolling Stones.

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The Coachmen of Nebraska formed with six original members from two Lincoln Bands in April of 1964. Read about there extensive history and awards.

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The Coachmen Bellingham, Washington 1964 – 1966
Dave Brewster ~ Drums, Vocals Jeff McSorley ~ Organ, Lynn Pigg ~ Drums, Jerry Ranger ~ Saxophone, Stan Reimer ~ Guitar, Vocals, Rick Rudy ~ Guitar, Vocals,Dick Stensland ~ Organ

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The Coachmen St Louis, Missouri 1965-1966 Gary Hudson /Bass RIP, Danny Isom /Drums, Jerry Rock /Guitar, Denny Kilmer /Guitar, Rich Hodshire /Keys RIP, Denny Henson /Keys, Vocals, Vicki Couch /Drums

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The Coachmen (1966) New Jersey
l to r: David DiStefano, Al Santinello (A.K.A. Bubbles) , Russell Vizzini (behind music stand) & Paul Plumeri
Paul’s first band performing at the Washington Crossing Inn in the summer of 1966. Paul Plumeri went on to become the Bishop of Blues. PaulPlumeri.com

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Sporting natty black bowlers, Sacramento, CA’s anglophilic Coachmen left little doubt whence they drew their musical inspiration. Originally founded in 1964, the group’s “classic” personnel included three guitarists (Brian Costello, Rick Fitzpatrick, and Mike Davis), bassist Skip Kelly, and drumming vocalistPaul Kern. And That’s Why by the Coachmen.

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Billy Gibbons of ZZTop fame’s first band 1967-1969 formed as the Coachmen then Moving Sidewalks.

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The Coachmen Maybe Time Will Let Me Forget

Then came Dan Fogelberg. Tom asked Dan to join after the Clan, his first group broke up. I remember sitting in Terry’s living room harmonizing with Dan. Our New sound was born. The New Coachmen formed with a new drummer, Robyn and Dan on lead vocals. Terry shifted to bass guitar and we became a five piece with me on keyboards. Keyboards consisted of an electric piano to a Vox organ to a Farifisa.
Immediately, the long coats and ruffled shirts gave way to Nehru coats then fringe and moccasins. Dan refused to wear the Coachmen outfit.  We used to shop at Chief Little Wolf’s Indian Teepee Gift Shop on Main Street in Peoria.
Again Terry’s Mom Alice made our Nehru coats. The Beatles had just returned from India wearing them. It was important for us to practice new material constantly. We had to keep our edge and compete against our nemesis The Shags, a popular band that could have been the first “boy band”. They out harmonized us and had a bigger female fan base! Damn!
We did renditions of Sgt Peppers theme, Magical Mystery Tour, Purple Haze- with Dan throwing flowers to the crowd through the strobe lights. Dan was bored with the music and showed up at rehearsal with a guitar and a banjo. We were learning Steven Still’s Bluebird.

By then the set list was centering around the Buffalo Springfield. We did renditions of Bluebird and Questions
Neil Young’s “Down by the River” had become one long jam.   Gloria, Wild Thing, Louie Louie, were gone from the set list.
What started in 1964 had now seen four years of change and growth. It was 1968 and The Coachmen were restless. One was in college and two of us had just graduated high school. One of us was falling hard for a  girl. One was writing Love Songs and planning an escape from Peoria. Friends we knew were being sent to Vietnam. The anti war protests were in full swing across the nation. We witnessed the assassination of King and Bobby Kennedy. Lines were being drawn between generations. The Coachmen like all good bands drifted apart. We did one last show with Give Peace a Chance as the last song. Joining us were members of Suburban 9 to 5. Gary Richrath soon to be REO Speedwagon on lead guitar.

I now remember how powerful that era was. Today one just has to look at just the musical timeline.  Many Thanks to all the various Coachmen bands for your participation in this post. I’m certain that I have even missed a few.

I leave you with a piece of sweetness from the past.

Dan Fogelberg The Beatles

The Beatles by Dan Fogelberg courtesy Jean Fogelberg
All Rights Reserved


Hello from Outer Space

No I didn’t get lost just took a wrong turn in Nevada, ( was singing Long Way for a while afterward) I wasn’t abducted by aliens as some of you thought. I was with the Coachmen for a weekend. We had one crazy Saturday night of  awesome jamming music that was memorable (at least in my mind). We even tried to re-create our single “Maybe time… ” just for fun. Michelle sang Dan’s part.

We play it really loud

Terry handed out earplugs this year. What did you say? I bitched about it and got the shit level where Tom and Robyn barely played just to give me shit. I deserved it though. Did I really think after 44 years that we could actually turn it down. Just a warning to future reunion venues. We play it loud!

Jon and Michelle sing while Terry plays bass guitar

And you know Dan was watching us and laughing. I thought I noticed him once near the ceiling wearing earplugs.


And the beat goes on…

I want to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of you for the comments and love that you have given me through this blog. I am about to embark on yet another adventure. I will be traveling this year and taking a year to reflect upon my life. This is not some lame reason to abandon the blog, in fact it could actually increase the frequency. As I was packing up to leave I found even more memories to write about.

Here are some contact sheet pictures from a trail ride at Dan’s ranch circa 1986. Yes this was the one that they played a fake dynamite joke on me and that I had to be tied to my saddle after an unfortunate run in with a bottle of tequila. Ah yes those were some crazy days. Trailride

Into the sunset

Dan and Miss Sally riding into the sunset… Happy Trails!

 


Rajah the Wonderdog and other dog stories…

Behind every successful musician is a dog.

Rajah’s Timeline of Events
Rajah becomes a star in the back of REO’s Limo with the mini spots directed at him. Every passing car strains to see what celebrity is in the back eat only to see Rajah and wonder.

Rajah causes Broom the St Bernard to pee on the door of our ground floor flat that creates a tidal wave coming at Dan’s hippy style floor bed and Claude’s D35 Martin Guitar. Dan awakens and avoids disaster by stuffing a towel under the door.

Unable to provide dog food, Rajah finds Ralph’s Pizza in Champaign Illinois up the street from the McDonalds. Seen many times begging with his girlfriend, Muffy for pizza bones.

Rajah disappears then reappears looking better than he left. Found under a different name living in some sweet grandma’s kitchen.

Rajah is a babe magnet.

Rajah saves the recording of Home Free after a bottle of Rum almost spills on the Quadrophonic sound board. In a move that only could be described as mystical, Rajah relaxes to hear the playback.

Was present for every early Dan recording from Nashville to the Record Plant in LA.

Receives a copy of Souvenirs Gold Record dedicated to him and some other guy.         

“Rajah was an asshole” the most repeated memorable phrase uttered by many of Dan’s friends.

Despite the character defects that Rajah often exhibited on other dogs, mainly fighting and some uncontrolled humping, he lives on in this blog.

Dan decided that he would get a dog when he lived outside Boulder on Beak Peak. After careful searching, he came up with Pancho a full-blooded Sheep Dog. Rajah and Pancho did not get along right off the bat.  I can still remember the sound of their first meeting.  It was a flurry of fur and teeth.  Rajah unfortunately never got a chance to hang out there again.

Further on, Pancho got a companion, Maggie’s dog Loki. Together they formed a pack and brought down the neighbor’s prize steer. Both dogs were caught and had to be put down to appease the neighbor. It was a sad day for man’s best friend. Reminds me of Willie Nelson’s lyrics. Instead of Pancho and Lefty, it was Pancho and Loki the dog banditos.

All the Federales say
They could have had them any day
They only let them slip away
Out of kindness, I suppose

If only they had escaped to Mexico.

Rajah faired slightly better but got caught killing a kitten in cold blood belonging to my sweetheart. It was only a matter of time for Rajah. Dogs running free were being shot by the sheriff’s posse in Coal Creek Canyon. I tried to keep him safe and tied up in the mountains but eventually couldn’t stand to see him like that. I took him to the Boulder shelter in hopes he would be readopted, I will never know what happened to him. It was a sad ending to a fabulous life.

Another friend sent this picture of the old days with Dan, Loki, Pancho and of course, me.

 

Happy New Year 2012!

 


Happy Birthday Old Man

Happy Birthday Old Man

Dan and I had this tradition. I would tell him what it was like to experience the next birthday milestone being a year older. I would also try to find the most ridiculous birthday greeting I could to send him. Sixty is the latest milestone among the Coachmen who one by one as they turned that age gave a report on what it was like. Terry was the first and reported that he didn’t disappear as we had feared. Don’t trust anyone younger than 50 should be the Coachmen new axiom.

So even as Dan has left our physical realm, he continues to be in all of our hearts and thoughts. Ever nearing that August 13th milestone, fans are gathering in Peoria to celebrate his 60th birthday. Ahhh Peoria-dripping in heat and humidity in the middle of August not a pretty sight. I am afraid that I will be watching hummingbirds landing on the New Mexico Bee Flower out the back window rather than return to the heartland in this August heat. Still I will be celebrating with all of you. Witnessing so many facets and creative moments of my friend. It’s hard to believe life has zoomed by so fast. Sixty, holy shit!
Here is a postcard from Dan in 1972 on his way to stardom.

Greetings from LA

Did he regret not selling that tune? As his Mom reminded me a few years back, “he never sold out!”
Would I have had the vision to maintain this integrity in spite of being broke and living in the Alley in the Valley”. I don’t think so.

Jon Asher in his painting studio 1970

Jon Asher in his painting studio 1970

Oh Danny boy, the pipes, the pipes are calling
From glen to glen, and down the mountain side
The summer’s gone, and all the flowers are dying
‘Tis you, ’tis you must go and I must bide.

Happy 60th Birthday Old Man