The Hedds

The Hedds were one of San Francisco's "lost" but legendary bands. Predating the "Summer of Love", the group was contemporaries with Butch Engle & The Styx, The Mystery Trend, The Baytovens, and other pre-flower power or hippie acts of the latter half of the decade.
Here is the band's story - direct from drummer Barry he remembers it...

The Hedds - As I Remember It
By Barry Lewis

It started out as a dream. I remember playing on friends drum kits and wishing badly for a set of my own. My source of musical inspiration at the time was the Lonnie Mack album The Wham of That Memphis Man, Wild Weekend, Dick Dale, and Paul Revere and The Raiders.

Skip to 1964. Barry Lewis meets Rory Butcher. Rory and I used to walk to Galileo High School together and we envisioned ourselves in a rock and roll band. Rory was a great singer and had a friend, Reese Marin, who was slightly older than us. Reese was also a singer and could play some pretty good boogie woogie on the piano and passable rhythm guitar. Reese was also a popular guy and a hit with the ladies so we faced some difficulty recruiting him for our band; he was a lot cooler than us. We eventually did convince Reese to join us and we played our first gig, with a fellow named Bill on guitar, at the Galileo Auditorium. The name of our group was The Impazions, a name Reese made up. All groups at that time had names that ended in "ion", such as The Temptations etc.

We actually started getting better and had a ten-song set list. Hey Senorita, Twist and Shout, Money, Louie Louie, and Harlem Nocturne are some songs I remember. If we did two or three sets, we would have to play the same songs over and over. A sax player named Boots Houston joined us for a short while. Boots would later go on to perform with Van Morrison's band.

It was around 1965 when we changed our name to The Enticers and added Dennis O'Brien on bass, and George Theresa on 12-string guitar. George Theresa left the band and we recruited Billy Booth to take his place. Billy could write songs which we hadn't tried to do as yet. Billy had a friend named George Castagnola who was a really good guitar player playing with a rival band. George was really far ahead of anyone else at that time. I remember that he had B.B. King and other blues records, and he could play great lead. In our greatest coup, we stole George from his other band. The Hedds was now complete (1965) and the lineup never changed. There was a story on the Internet that had us with fluctuating personnel, but it's not true! The article also said we were about the punkiest band around San Francisco at that time.

We played a lot of school dances around this time, but things were changing. We acquired a "Manager", Joy Johnson, who got the idea that we could throw our own dances. California Hall on Polk Street was the chosen site (this was before The Fillmore or Avalon) and pretty soon we were filling the place. We were in fact doing so well, that the Musicians Union Local 6 Representative showed up at California Hall and confiscated the gate (our cash) and declared us to be "in the Union" which we formalized with a "swearing in" the following week. Other bands that joined us were Butch Engle and The Styx, The Vandals, The Friendly Stranger, Mystery Trend, The Mockers (some were in an early version of Santana Blues Band), The Baytovens, William Penn and His Pals (Greg Rolie on keys), and the great Filipino group The Intruders. Lydia Pense (later of Cold Blood) had a good band too, but I can't recall the name (NOTE: NEWCASTLE FIVE).

I can remember playing three gigs a day on Saturdays. We would play at H. Leibes' department store in the morning, the Whiskey a Go Go (the San Francisco one) in the afternoon, and our regular Saturday night gig. By 1966 we were solid headliners at many of the Halls. We played the first Sunday gig ever at the Fillmore Auditorium with Jefferson Airplane, and one of the first rock and roll gigs at Winterland with The Mojo Men and The Vejtables. In the Band Bash of 1966 we came in second place to Butch Engle and The Styx (I joined their band after The Hedds broke up).

The Hedds broke up in the Summer of 1966 after Reese left the band. We never reached our potential. There was a recording of us made in a studio in San Mateo, but the tapes were "lost". The Hedds had a "sound". The sum of the group was better than the individual talent, and there was a lot of individual talent. Most of us played with other bands afterwards, some of us still do play. All have had interesting lives; four of us are still friends and stay in touch with each other. One disappeared, one committed a murder.

The Hedds were:
Reese Marin - Keyboard and vocals
Rory Butcher - Vocals
Barry Lewis - Drums
George Castagnola - Lead guitar
Dennis O'Brien - Bass
Billy Booth - Rhythm guitar and vocals

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