Club Pop House - Beloit, WI - 1941-1973
Preserving the memory! (Copyright Joe J. Accardi, 2005-2013)

October 2022
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The Chevelles
Filed under: General
Posted by: Joe @ 9:21 pm

Followed up on a sixties Beloit band named The Chevelles (not the current Australian power pop group) with band leader Tom Chekouras (guitar).  Tom provided me with the line-up changes that occured throughout the history of the group.  If anyone has a copy of the 45rpm single “Debbie I Love You b/w You’re So Wise” recorded by The Chevelles on the Leaf label, please let me know.  Here are the musicians who worked in The Chevelles over a three-year period…

Drums – Jim Hills > Ray Mckinzie > Bill Meeker
Organ – Dave Hernandez > Kevin Schmale > Chuck Amato
Lead Guitar – Bob Gosa > Tom Chekouras
Rhythm Guitar - Don Shepard > Tom Chekouras > no one 
Bass Guitar – Don Stackhouse > Dan Wassman > Dave Hernandez > Don Hess  
Lead Vocal – Dave Hernandez > Dave and Tom > Keith McGuire and Tom
(The final lineup of The Chevelles included Tom Chekouras, Chuck Amato, Bill Meeker, Don Hess, and Keith McGuire.  This may have been the line-up that played at the Pop House when I saw them there.)

If any of you are reading this, please drop me a line.  Bill Meeker (drums) went on to work with Ben Sidran and with Elvin Bishop.  He also appeared on American Bandstand in 1970 with Norman Greenbaum (and Russ Dashiell and Doug Killmer) in Greenbaum’s touring band.

As for Tom… after relocating to the Milwaukee area he hooked up with a band in 1973 and transitioned 100% over to keyboards.  He’s been a keyboardist ever since, playing a monster syntesizer rig.  He currently plays in a project band (i.e. no outside gigs), getting together about once a month to play power rock material such as Kansas, Deep Purple, Styx, etc. just for the fun of it.  It was great to hear from Tom.

**UPDATE**  Got a chance to spend a day with Dave Hernandez and his brother Jim, both fine Beloit musicians with a long history of interesting bands.  So, I’ll be writing more about them in a later blog item.  In the meantime, here is a photo of the Chevelles that Dave provided…

Seated left-to-right: Kevin Schmale (organ), Tom Chekouras (guitar), Dave Hernandez (bass)
Jim Hills (drums)
(Photo courtesy of Dave Hernandez)

3 Responses to “The Chevelles”

  1. Kevin Schmale Says:
    I haven’t seen this picture in years but remember it well. I see Dave and Jim H. around occationally but have not seen Jim or Tom in YEARS. Keep on posting the interesting and valuable memories. Thanks.
  2. Joe Says:
    I received the following email from Bill Meeker today: “Joe- What a nice surprise to see this website about a Beloit institution! I thought I would send you some updates. After working with Doug Killmer and Russ Dashiell in Norman Greenbaum’s band and working with Ben Sidran, I went on to work with Elvin Bishop, Booker T, Boz Skaggs, Sheila E., Ringo Star, Crosby,Stills and Nash, Tower of Power, Pink Floyd and Dave Mason, among others. I retired from that and I am now a real estate broker and developer and live at the beach 20 minutes north of Malibu, California. Carry on the great work about the Pop House and midwest music!! Bill Meeker (On a more somber note Rick Jagger and Doug Killmer from the Beau Gentry have both passed away.)”
  3. Michele (Chekouras) Pizza Says:
    Being Tom Chekouras’ sister meant that there must have been at least 300 musicians that went through our house when I was 13 thru 20 years old. I never knew what people would be stretched out on the living room floor, over chairs, or in beds when I awoke each morn. My first gig, was at a talent show at school. Tom, (brother), handed me a guitar, taught me three chords, and said,”play”. I have very fond memories of the Chevelles to this day, I liked to hang at the basemsnt rehearsals, and am happy to say, made some very dear friends over that space in time. I remember thinking Jim Hills was really cool, because he would twirl his drumsticks, when doing “Louie, Louie”. When Tom went into the service, Don Hess dropped into his slot and we would listen to music all the time. We lost Don last year…Love ya, Don. Michele (Chekouras) Pizza