The Bummers from Royal Oak, Michigan were together as a band for a total of nine months. During that time, however, they were a vital part of the Michigan rock and roll scene. Lead singer Ray Bane was a member of various garage bands in his home town of Dallas prior to moving to the Detroit area. As a member of The Bummers, Ray wrote and sang lead on both sides of the band's killer but rarely heard single, I Can't Imagine b/w L.S.D.
Ray Bane Recalls The Bummers
I first got interested in music (as a result) of my Dad's record collection of 45's and 78's as a little kid in Dallas. (The collection consisted of) Patty Page, Homer and Jethro, Frankie Lane, etc. Rock 'n Roll was all my own doing because my folks didn't like it at all. The song that really got me was Del Shannon singing "my little runaway"...Before that day, (I didn't listien to) much rock...maybe I Walk The Line, Ring of Fire, and Hound Dog. I now realize that guys with older sisters seem to get into rock music and chicks sooner than those of us without them (due to) AMERICAN BANDSTAND and magazines and their sister's girlfriends, etc.
In 1963 I watched Alvin Rogers and Wayne Calmes play Ventures-type stuff on Alvin's Fender Mustang and Wayne's Gibson SG. I worked with a house painter all summer in 1964 and (earned enough for) a Supro Electric with a basball bat neck and plugged in with them until I got my own amp for Christmas. Just touching an electric guitar still gives me chills. I had to take lessons that fall in order to get an amp at Christmas. My teacher was a hillbilly guy named Clyde Boyd who, thinking back now, must have been kind of a pervert (as we might have said back then). I can't imagine what he might have actually taught me except how to fight off perverts! Anyway, the amp ended up being a hi-fi cabinet our neighbor across the street sold me. It worked okay, I guess. I should have bought a Silvertone. Who could have known?
I played lead on Wipe Out with Alvin and Wayne until I convinced three friends to start my first band: Gary Rogers (no relation to Alvin) was on snare drums, John Reynolds (still a good buddy of mine) was lead singer on Louie Louie and Jimmy Bailey...poor Jimmy...I convinced him to talk his folks into buying him a guitar (Silvertone and amp). My Mom came up with the name Delphisians...not too bad! I'm sure we were, though.
There were good bands in Dallas in 1964/1965. The Mystics had a regional hit, and the rhythm guitar player, Danny Fugate, was in my drafting class at South Oak Cliff High School. He had a Brian Jones hair(cut) at a time when guys in bands in Dallas were coming back from summer vacation and to be expelled for (having) a lot shorter (hair).
My band played parties. We played Long Tall Texan, Farmer John, Louie Louie, and Beach Boys stuff. Alvin joined once he realized we resembled a real band. The French Club party was a highlight when two of The Five Amercians (Western Union) showed up...not to see us but to check out our French teacher, Peggy Hess. She was a fox (that wore) short skirts.
There's not too much more (to tell) on The Delphisians because I moved to Detroit in the summer of '66. That summer was spent listening for garage bands in my neighborhood and walking over to check them out. Garage bands were everywhere! I found this bunch of guys that were pretty rough. They had four cheap guitars, a drummer and a singer, Dave Chambers, that knew one song, Last Kiss. Man, I still hate that song. I told them I knew 30 songs (it was a lie) and that night Louie Louie, Gloria, etc. were soon being sung by me with The Bounty Hunters. We played a party or two and after school started up a junior high dance. (We were) on stage with an opening curtain and screaming little girls; really...it was great!
At lunch one day (I was a new kid - a senior who had no friends) in a big school. I sat down across from a guy I knew from chemistry class, Mead Warner, and found out he played bass (Framas star bass with a big, mean Silvertone solid state amp. He could play the bass with a pick or his thumb or overhand like John Entwistle) in a band with lead singer problems. The singer was a guy named Mike Abdullahead who only liked lounge singer songs like Strangers In The Night. I told Mead I knew 70 songs - he was impressed with that lie - and soon I was in Mead's basement auditioning. Danny White, who soon left to join a great band called The Puppets, was the drummer; Chris Fahner (Vox organ and Ampeg Amp) was lead; Billy Bellever (Epiphone red hollow body with special amp and cord) and Mike Reject (Fender Jaguar twin reverb) was rhythm. Somehow the singer guy got wind of it and demanded to come over for sort of a "battle" of the singers. I told the band that Satisfaction should be the song because I couldn't sing Strangers In The Night. They took a vote and threw a piece of paper on the floor with my name on it. Mike A. grabbed it, read it and split. The Bummers were born!
We got the name from a LIFE MAGAZINE article about Timothy Leary. We soon had a Keith Moon style drummer, John Corbett, and became a real garage band. We played songs by The Stones, Blues Magoos, Yardbirds, Tommy James, 13th Floor Elevators, more Stones, Beau Brummels, Them, My Generation, and more Stones. We had no problem getting to play and even earned money now and then.
The heavy ballroom music scene had not really kicked in yet - MC5, SRC, Jagged Edge - but Bob Seger was a legend by 1966. John Corbett, our drummer, spent weekdays in Juvie and only got out on weekends. He was a great guy but we eventually had to get another drummer, Kirt Voneberstein (sp?), a straight ahead drummer that didn't drink.
We cut a 45 at Falcon Records in Royal Oak, Michigan in the spring of '67 for thirty-five dollars and got eight copies at $5.00 each. We all got one. One went to the Kimball High cafeteria and one we left off at some radio station. I wrote and sang both sides: I Can't Imagine and L.S.D.
We opened up a dance (Bob Seger played, too) for Royal Oak Kimball High School Homecoming Dance in the fall of 1966. At the audition there was rumors that The Mushrooms with Glen Frey were going to show up. They never did. All the bands were pretty shook up because The Mushrooms played like The Stones and looked like The Beatles.
We played a teen club called the Crow's Nest and beat out a bunch of bands because we didn't do any Motown. All the little white boy bands played Motown stuff. We weren't good enough to do it right and the guy gave us the job half way through Satisfaction, which was always our opener. He loved it and us and he had heard enough Motown, I guess.
We tied for first place in a Battle of the Bands and I figure we once made about $5000 and had almost that much in equipment our parents bought before and during our nine months as The Bummers. We faded away by the summer of 1967 but regrouped for a while with a White Rabbit-like girl singer, Joyce Carmen. That didn't last long.
Hey...I could go on but won't. If anybody knows where any of The Bummers are contact me via this website. I was thinking of writing this thing by using only song lines from the late '60's. Maybe I will someday. I have always felt that The Bummers was great name for a band and can't believe that nobody (else) has ever used it. If anybody wants to do a real garage band movie...call me.
"Copyrighted and originally printed on www.60sgaragebands.com