The Original Sensational Showmen

The Original Sensational Showmen
National Guard Armory-Concordia - 1965

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Interesting Biography of the Rising Suns/Young Raiders band members

The Rising Suns/Young Raiders/Southern Flavor 1962-1978 Postscript- 2009
On Sat. Jan 13, 2007 The Rising Suns were inducted into the Kansas Music Hall of Fame. Members of the first Topeka band, Greg Thompson, John Neal, Dave Newman, Donnie Wierman, Steve Dahl, Ron Mikkelson etc/ along with Steve Clark and Ken Weidenbach of the "combo- Rising Sun/Young Raider " bands were inducted. In March 2009 The Young Raiders were inducted in the Kansas Music Hall of Fame and 21 members who played in the band from 1967 to l971 were inducted. "......everybody played in the Young Raiders....." has been said many times but the musicians who came and went in the band were not your every day players. The following postscript may surprise you.

John Neal, vocalist, band leader. Several Rising Sun and Young Raider bands were built around his voice. John is still playing in Calif. He has a new (2006)blues CD out. After leaving the Young Raiders also played with The Germs and was inducted into the Kansas Music Hall of Fame with them in 2006. Johnny Neal stays busy performing with his band, Johnny Neal and Bluesprint.
Steve Clark, trpt. trombone, sax, leader. Took over after Neal. "Kept band together" until late 1977. Young Raiders became Southern Flavor who toured all 50 states, toured with Ike and Tina, Righteous Bros. in Canada and Hawaii. Clark still plays 60 gigs a year with Mr. Cabbagehead and the Screaming Radishes, a successful 9 piece R&B show band. Clark has also toured and recorded with Okla. and Ark. Country bands. Greg Thompson The original band member lives and plays in Topeka and continues to try and keep all the "boys" connected from the Dantes, Rising Suns,Young Raiders/ Southern Flavor. Responsible for successful Rising Suns induction at KMHOF. Who knows what's next? Rock and Roll,..........
Ken Weidenbach, bass, vocals, co- leader with Clark until 1970. Later played with The Smoke Ring, did recording in Calif. and was called on to do a few emergency gigs with America.
Marlin Butcher, bass, vocals, leader. Took over after Clark. Later played with Ray Wylie Hubbard, The Sensational Shoes. Continues to play with "Harvey and the Wallbangers, a successfull Oklahoma City, party band.
Steve Dahl, trpt. vocals, Left Suns to be front man/vocalist for the Red Dogs for years. Made them one of the premier bands in the mid-west. Later fronted The Smoke Ring. Currently manages Monteray Entertainment in Nashville, one of the most sucessful booking agencies in the entertainment business.
Larry Lingle, guitar, vocals, left Young Raiders/Risings Suns to join Dennis Loewen's The Fabulous Flippers, the top show band in the mid-west. Later played guiter and sang in the Four Seasons with Frankie Vallee. Currently a guitar rep.
Mike Lingle, drums, vocals, left Young Raiders/Rising Suns for the Germs. Continued to play for many years in Calif.
Bill Leacox. drums. Came from the Germs, After two years with The Young Raiders, joined the band "America" who he has toured with for the past 30 years and recorded with on several million selling hits such as "Horse with no name" etc. Elected into the the Iowa Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Roche Grace. organ, vocals, A major part of the l 970 Young Raiders and composer of many of the songs on their l970 album. After leaving The Young Raiders, Rocky put a new Blue Things band together, then played with Denny Loewen's Sanctuary. Co- wrote, million selling "Rocky Mountain Way with Joe Walsh.
Tom Stephenson, organ vocals, Young Raider organist before Grace in l969. Tom also later played with Joe Walsh and Tommy Bolin. Later recorded with Glen Frey of the Eagles and Poco.
Kenny "Ajax" McKenna continued to play on the road after Southern Flavor and today his a successful western artist and gallery owner living in Oklahoma but he still plays when he is not painting and can sometimes be found backing up singers in casinos and clubstheOklahoma City area.
Jeff Severson, guitar, vocals. After leaving The 1970 Young Raiders Jeff moved to the Washington D.C area where he runs a very successful recording studio. He also played four tours with Hall and Oates and did two solo albums for C.B.S. Records.
Greg "Grog" Ayers, trombone. After leaving The Young Raiders he toured for several years with Kent Leopold's "Central Standard Time," "Calliope" and finally Danny Hein's "Heinsight" Grog has written several musicals, and church anthems.
Mitch Bible, guitar, vocals. Played with Eric and the Norseman before joining "The Young Raiders in l969. Mitch left The Young Raiders to play with Central Standard TIme. Mitch was inducted into the Kansas Music Hall of Fame as a member of Eric and the Norseman
Steve "Klondike" Solmonson, guitar, vocals Klondike was the first musician hired by Clark for the l971 Young Raider band and stayed at Mid-Continent when the band moved to Chicago. Klondike later was a major part of the Daisy Dillard band of Minnesota which he still records and tours.
Tom Taylor,vocals. After fronting both The Young Raiders and Southern Flavor, Tom returned to Nebraska where he still continues to sing with his own band. He also owns Taylor's Steak House.
Cleve Warren, drums. Played in both The Young Raiders and Southern Flavor with Clark, touring most of the U.S. Later played with Gary P. Nunn, composer of the Austin City Limits theme. Currently is the first call drummer in Oklahoma City in everybody's book.
Butch Neese, vocals, Joined Southern Flavor on the east coast after many years with The Red Dogs, In 2005 was inducted into the Kansas Music Hall of Fame with the Red Dogs. He also continues to sing with the Coffeyville Rising Suns.
Bruce Dunlap, bass, guitar vocals, Played bass in the l971 Young Raiders, left to join Leopold's "Calliope" and later returned to play guitar with Southern Flavor. Inbetween, he played with "Little Anthony and the Imperials." Bruce is still on the road somewhere.
Steve Schmitz, drums. Played nearly every state in the union with Southern Flavor. Came off the road in Houston, Tex. in the late l970's and continues to play regularly in the Houston club scene.
Donnie Weirman, after leaving The Rising Suns, "Gorilla" played with Spider and the Crabs and the Soul Express. Today, he is a factory guitar rep. and still plays and records in Minnesota. He has a new CD out in 2007.
Dave Sisson, organist/vocalist in last Southern Flavor band, toured for several years as organist, musical director for numerous vocalists, eventually put himself through law school as piano bar performer. Today, successful attorney in Norman, Okla. but can't stop playing keyboards. Key member of successful Southern Flavor recording and concert reunion in June, 2006.
Fletcher Buckley Fletcher was the last member hired into Southern Flavor, replacing longtime member Steve Clark in late l977. Fletcher still continures to play his sax today in New York City and has performed and recorded in recent years primarily in Florida and New York. Fletcher also spent time on the road with the Talking Heads.
Gary Michaels "Muck" was almost killed in the wreck that ended the Topeka Rising Suns, being saved by Greg Thompson. Gary moved back to South Dakota before moving to Southern Calif. where he has worked as a record producer for many years. His current project is with Lou Marini and he sometimes records old friend Mike Finnigan .

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A quip from Ron Balderston

I pulled this old post from the Yahoo group while the 2009 induction was in process. Since there were 3 different Sensational Showmen groups in Kansas from 1964 to the early 1970's, Ron did a good job of clarifying that the Concordia group was the original group and had actually been the group that made the name "The Sensational Showmen" popular and well-known. Thank you Ron, for this excellent posting.

From: baldy60ron

Subject: [KS_and_KC_GenOne_Rockers] Re: The Sensational Showmen-Concordia to Parso...To: KS_and_KC_GenOne_Rockers@yahoogroups.comDate: Saturday, November 15, 2008, 11:27 AM
Hey guys, my name is Ron Balderston and I was lead singer & trumpetplayer for the original Sensational Showmen "back in the day"! Itstruck me funny to see the times of your posts this morning. Once anight owl always a night owl!I can appreciate the dilemma you are faced with and am honored simplyfor the consideration. If you look at Bills post on Oct. 31referencing an archived post I had made on another website you willget a sense of who and what we were. We did establish the name of theShowmen, performed extensively thru-out Kansas and the midwest. Weadvertised heavily on KOMA radio the last year or so of our existence.As a bunch of high school, or recently graduated kids we knew we hadreached the pinnacle when that first ad played over the airwaves!!!Ha, what great times those were to see the crowds growing bigger andbigger as we became better known and certainly more accomplished. Wewere booked out of the Dark Horse Inn and Jim kept us on the run. As amatter of fact, after my parents passing recently I had to clear outthe safe deposit box and in it was a copy of the summons for breach ofcontract from James N. Reardon & Associates, naming the Showmen underthe leadership of Ron Balderston as defendant when we came home in themiddle of our 1967 summer tour. We were not well networked and whentwo of our original members gave notice we simply returned home topursue our careers or education. It occurred to me when Chris, (SEK Showmen), stated in some post alongthe way that they were approached to take on the name and addedmembers to become a Rhythm & Blues Horn band, that it had been anestablished name and reputation. The group from SE Kansas no doubtmade an impact in those days and much to their credit they continue tocontribute today. My guess is they are very deserving of inductioninto the Hall of Fame.I was told a couple of years ago by a dear friend that our group wasgoing to be put into nomination. I started trying to get caught up viaa couple of different websites and saw then the potential confusion.I, like Chris, new nothing of another Sensational Showmen as I movedout of state in 1969 and currently reside in Boise, Id.No worries!!! Chris and the guys have lobbied hard. Our group was outthere on the circuit with the likes of The Blue Things, The Red Dogs,Spider and the Crabs, of course The Flippers. We did well, we had amarvelous following and I am sure got the most out of our abilities.Of course you always wonder "what might have been"!! When I think of the days of hauling all of our gear in u-haul trailersto buying and customizing our bus, and finally having a custom builttrailer and our big ole Suburban to travel the midwest, not to mentionlugging that heavy Hammond B-3,(wish I had it today), all of ourKustom Amps and one of the biggest & best PA systems available, in andout of different venues every night it makes me tired, but then I amold now!! I feel I can speak for the rest of the guys when I say we are humbled,thrilled, and greatful for your consideration and appreciate themanner in which you are trying to resolve this confusing issue.Founding members were;Robin Hood...Drummer- --Concordia, KsPaul Justyna...Saxophone ---Concordia, KsLarry Jackson...Bass & Vocals (Note) Larry is deceased---Clifton, KsBob Burns...Guitar- --Concordia, KsPhil Pfister...Lead Guitar & Vocals---Clifton, Ks.Mike Srite...B-3 & Trumpet---Concordia , Ks.Ron Balderston.. .Lead Vocals & Trumpet---Clyde, Ks.Others along the way;Dick Bokius...Drummer- --Salina, KsDick Grube...Saxophone- --Kearney, Ne.Ray McComas...Hammond- --Concordia, Ks.I apologize for the extremely long post.Respectfully,Ron