Part of the fun (and challenge) in trying to organize this book about the Pop House is determining when or even if some of these musical acts perfromed there. There were a number of women performers and possibly a “girl group” or two that probably played at the Pop House, though I don’t personally remember any. Maybe some of my pals out there can remember for me. Already mentioned in a previous post that Paul & Paula performed there. Below is a list of some other individual performers and bands with female members. If you have any recollection of seeing these fabulous females or others at the PH, leave a comment or send me an email. Here’s the list so far, along with a couple of extended selections with photos :
* The Ravelles *
I got a chance to speak with Carmella Altobelli, vocalist with the The Ravelles (later known as Sainte Jon’s Academy), a band from Iron Mountain, Michigan who were a popular Midwest touring band in the late sixties. Carmella said the Ravelles were a unique band for the area as they were the only local group at the time featuring a female vocalist. This allowed the band a broader repotoire of songs that included a number of Jefferson Airplane numbers like Somebody to Love and White Rabbit. The Ravelles had a growing number of fans as they toured throughout Wisconsin and the Upper Penninsula. They played at many 18 year old bars in the Green Bay area and in 1968 released a locally made record of an original song, Psychedelic Movement, described by Carmella as “soul-psychedelic”. The Ravelles opened for the Cryan Shames and Little Anthony & the Imperials in Marquette, MI and also toured with the Buckinghams around that time. Also got a chance to talk briefly with Ravelles guitarist John Richtig who is still in the music business in Iron Mountain. After the group changed their name to Sainte Jon’s Academy, Madison agent Ken Adamany made an effort to promote their 1969 original song, Smile At the Flowers b/w Why Can’t I Be the One, with Irwin Zucker of Hollywood-based Double Shot records but the song received only some local play. Neither Carmella nor John could remember specifically playing at the Pop House. Do you remember them?
Back: Ray Brouillire (bs), Tom Lucas (gtr), Carmella Altobelli (voc), John Richtig (gtr)
Front: Brian Alquist (kb), Rand Alquist (dr)
(Photo courtesy of Stankewitz collection)
* The Tremolons *
A truly unique band, this all-girl quartet from Niles, Michigan performed from 1963 to 1965. During that time they recorded four songs for Chicago-based Dunwich records: Whole Lotta Shakin’, Heartbreak Hotel, Theme for a DJ, and Please Let Me Know. The first two songs demonstrated the influences on these girls… less the typical girl-group “da-doo-ron-ron” stuff, and more Jerry Lee Lewis and Elvis rockers. The other two songs were originals, written by group leader and guitarist Char Vinnedge. The Tremolons’ sound was described as hard-edged and rockin’. Char and the band changed their name to The Luv’d Ones in 1965. In addition to performing, they wrote and recorded several more songs for Dunwich records before disbanding in 1968. Tremolons and Luv’d Ones recordings are collectible and available on Sundazed Records. Do you remember seeing the Tremolons at the Pop House?
Char Vinnedge (ld gtr), Chris Vinnedge (bs), Mary Gallagher (rh gtr), Faith Orem (dr)
(Photo courtesy of Stankewitz collection)
Thanks to Dave Hernandez, I got a call from Johnny Green last week. Remember Johnny Green & the Greenmen? Great show band with dyed green hair! Had a very interesting conversation with him as he fondly recalled playing at the Pop House and his friendship with George. Johnny & the Greenmen have played all over the world and are still at it. They appeared on the 1966 Batman TV series, opened for a Rolling Stones tour, and continue to be a top attraction in Las Vegas. In 2003 Johnny received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Minnesota Rock Country Hall of Fame. He now sits on their Board of Directors. The Greenmen were inducted in 2004. Johnny posted some interesting comments on various blog items and I urge you to read them. Thanks for your input, Johnny. This publicity shot was posted on the Pop House bulletin board to promote a show there in the early sixties.
L-t-R: Howard Wales (kb), Jeff Osland (sx), Tommy Lee (gtr), Bobby Van Holten (dr), Johnny Green (bs)
Misty: Joyce Masters (v)
(Photo courtesy Stanketwitz collection)
**EVEN BIGGER FLASH** Check out Johnny Green & the Greenmen performing an absolutely wicked hot version of Pink Cadillac on YouTube at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cM1F2GgB5X4 !!! There are more videos of Johnny and the band now on YouTube. Find them all at: http://www.youtube.com/user/JohnnyGreensBand
**FLASH** If you didn’t see Johnny & the Greenmen perform at the Beloit Area Crime Stoppers fund raiser on February 16, you missed a good show. Johnny and his new band played great music from all eras for about five hours. At one point, he asked Dave Hernandez to come up and play keyboards for a couple songs. Dave knocked out everyone on “Play That Funky Music White Boy.” I even got to sing a couple of songs with the band including “Whiter Shade of Pale.” Check out the video clip captured and posted to YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IG5V2FfuOH4
You can read more about the band at the official Johnny & the Greenmen Web site.