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.
Category Archives: Dan Fogelberg’s Life and Loonacy
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!
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.
The Coachmen of Nebraska formed with six original members from two Lincoln Bands in April of 1964. Read about there extensive history and awards.
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
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
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
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.
Billy Gibbons of ZZTop fame’s first band 1967-1969 formed as the Coachmen then Moving Sidewalks.
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.
The Beatles by Dan Fogelberg courtesy Jean Fogelberg
All Rights Reserved
This is the week that I used to scramble around looking for the kookiest birthday card I could find and send it off to Maine. As technology improved, I resorted to emails and short movie clips of something unusual or funny. Now I just look for bizarre stuff to post on my blog. I remember going to most of these shows. Bo Diddley lived close by in New Mexico and I got to see him play that crazy Gretsch guitar.
Then there was the Buddy Guy and Jr. Wells show. Straight out of Chicago Buddy Guy took the stage first. After a what seemed to be an overextended intro, Jr Wells finally came on stage. It was a moment in Blues History. It was back in the day when you could see your heros in a small club. Then there was Franky and the Aliens. Much said and written previously about precious moments in time. My favorite Blow Wind Blow
still shines with the magic of that evening.
Dan was fascinated with gurning. “And now for something entirely different, a man with three buttocks.” Monty Python. Of course it’s British. Here is a link to the Gurning Championship via the BBC.
This one is for you Dan. Happy Birthday you loveable old Loon.
One day I was at Dan’s ranch he was cleaning out a pile of junk on the kitchen counter. He handed me this hook. “Here he said, you can have this.” I laughed at the image and so did he. “I kind of like the concept, its hilarious. You could use it as a trolling device.” Where did you get this? I asked. “A fan sent it to me.”
I took it home and put it on the wall.
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.
“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!
Terry Walters was the instigator of the Coachmen with his partner in crime Tom Cain. Terry made the first strobe light for the band out of a black box. I have to say he was a bit eccentric even then as a kid. But this video takes the cake uh I mean chicken. Here is a shot of the young genius about to turn silicon valley on its ear.
Since the topic appeared on Facebook the other day, thought I would add my two cents.
Yes, Frankie and the Aliens grew partly out of a crazed late night idea and the virtuosity of Dan’s guitar playing. Restless and in the mood for a venue to display his blues lead guitar style. Dan formed the band, had Irving book some regional dates, and went on a small tour and did something that he had always wanted to do- for fun. Rehearsals began at his ranch in Colorado. The band roared into Santa Fe to kick off the Alien’s tour at the now defunct Club West. Imagine my quiet life shattered by the entrance of rock and roll’s notorious bad boys, the likes of Joe Vitale and Rick Rosas. They descended on the “Chicken Shack” our rented 100 year old adobe on Canyon Road. Joe Vitale was freaked out by Santa Fe noting that there were too many artists. He proceeded to fill a sketch book with drawings after having more cups of coffee than Voltaire and made plans for a one man show.
Dan and Anastasia made a big spaghetti dinner before the show for the entire band. At the club, no one was quite sure who this was but they grooved on it. Anastasia was decked out in total blues regalia dancing in front of the stage. The show rocked and Dan’s knowledge of the Blues shined doing cover tunes from Eric Clapton to BB King. His rendition of Muddy’s Blow Wind Blow was later released.
A year earlier Dan and I had seen Albert Collins perform at Club West. Which meant we were about five feet away since not too many people knew who he was or showed up to see him. Dan was soaking up his modal minor tuning and guitar work. His ear for music was outstanding. He grabbed a guitar later and totally played Albert’s riffs.
During the tour, people demanded their money back and generally were horrified when instead of Ballads they got Blues.
Anyway I for one loved this adventure in Dan’s musical career and formed the Emergency Blues Band out of sheer inspiration. It was only last year that the Coachmen collectively realized during our second reunion that we were actually a blues band. Yeah baby…