In January 2001, Dionysus Records released a CD and LP by Sonny Flaharty and the Mark V. The band is best known for it's fantastic
single "Hey Conductor," which has been reissued on one of the "Pebbles" volumes. Doug Porter, drummer for the band, was gracious
enough to provide The Lance Monthly with all the historical facts behind the Mark V. And what a story it is!
An Interview with Doug Porter of the Mark V One of Dayton, Ohio's Top '60s Rock Bands.
[Lance Monthly] How did you first get interested in music?
[Doug Porter] As a very young fellow, I loved rock & roll. I remember hearing Elvis sing "Blue Suede Shoes" & "Hound Dog" on the radio. I remember my Dad had a brand new 1952 Ford Ranchwagon and we would take long trips in it. I drove my Parents nuts drumming on cans, etc. in the car. I started taking drum lessons at Hauer Music in Dayton, Ohio from Mr. Frank Buck. In 1958 I got my first drum set for Christmas.
[Lance Monthly] Was the Mark V your first band?
[Doug Porter] In about 1959, one of my best school friends, Mike Flaharty, played bass in his older brother's band. I would ride my bicycle down to his house and listen to them practice in their garage. His brother, Sonny, had, at that time, [released] several records and the band would tour on weekend in the Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois area. Sonny's record, "My Baby's Casual" on Spangle records, is in the Rockabilly Hall of Fame. He also had "Heartbreak Station" on Epic Records, "Mystery of Love" on Huron Records, "Please Don't Wear That Bikini" and others. Sometimes Sonny would let me play drums for them at practice. Eventually they asked me to sub for them when their drummer couldn't make a gig.
By 1960, I was Sonny Flaharty and the Young Americans' full time drummer. I was still in Junior High School. I stayed with the Young Americans for about 5 years, until we broke up. We traveled every weekend. We backed up many of the early stars. We all were card-toting musicians and I could site read. We worked with Lou Christie, Bobby Vinton, The Shirelles, The Four Seasons, Bobby Darin, Chuck Berry, The Four Tops (we backed the Tops up several times and they offered me a road job but I was still in high school). The list goes on and on but one sticks out with me. The Rolling Stones came to Dayton, Ohio just about the time the Young Americans were at their peak and we were the opening band for them. We shared the dressing room with the Stones. That is a story all to itself. Soon after that, the group broke up. It consisted of Sonny on lead vocals and sometimes rhythm guitar,Terry Nieus on lead guitar, Mike Flaharty on bass, me on drums, Ray Bushbam on piano/organ, and Bobby Brain on tenor sax. (Note: the songs "Whole Lotta Shakin" and "Coconut Stomp" on the new Dionysus CD are by the Young Americans). We never played nightclubs - just road gigs, proms and private parties. Bobby Brain came to us from Teddy & The Rough Riders. They were also a hot group in the area. We both played things for WING radio. Check out: www.thecoolgroove.com