The Satyrs' Yesterday Hero is an acknowledged classic. It's been comped on numerous '60's garage compilations, and has received
airplay on several Internet radio stations...35 years after its recording. The continued popularity of the song amuses guitarist
Bob Agnew to no end, and continues to provide him with great memories of the times spent with his teen band.
An Interview With Bob Agnew
60sgaragebands.com (60s): How did you first get interested in music?
Bob Agnew (BA): I got a nylon string acoustic guitar when I was 13 or 14. I took enough lessons to not be able to read music. I then got an electric (silvertone) when I was almost 16. This was 1966, when ALL kinds of great music was happening.
60s: Was The Satyrs your first band?
BA: That was the first band we formed from a nucleus of friends that fooled around with guitars and stuff. It was the only band I was 'officially' in. We were together almost one year.
60s: Where was The Satyrs formed?
BA: I'm a little foggy on exactly where and when we all got together and decided to do it. It was 1968, spring/summer, in Haddon Heights, New Jersey. We (Kenny and me) met Craig and found out he played bass and knew a singer and it sort of rolled from there.
60s: Who all comprised The Satyrs?
BA: Kenny Reibel - keyboards; Andy Madajewski - drums/percussion; Craig Morrell - bass/vocals; Mike Doerr - vocals/percussion; and me - guitar. The first picture of my band shows a couple different guys. The drummer's name was Rusty, and I can't remember the other guitar guy's name.
60s: Who named the band? Any reason why?
BA: I think it was a group effort that came up with the name. Possibly from all of our exposure to Greek Mythology and such in High School English. I searched Google for "Satyrs" and saw some of the things associated with that name - well...try it yourself.
60s: Where did the band typically practice?
BA: We mostly used Kenny's basement . My parents occasionally let us practice in my basement, and we used Craig's place a few times.
60s: Where did the band typically play?
BA: We started out doing parties, hgh school dance-type things, and just jamming when people showed up. Craig was the enterprising type and got us hooked up with a manager, which lead to all kinds of jobs. We played local dances, a lot of radio station remote-type things (car dealers and stuff), and that type of thing.
60s: Who was your manager? How active was he in promoting the band?
BA: Craig found a guy - I think his name was Hamilton - from the phonebook(?). He got us jobs through local radio stations (WFIL and WIBG) - not real frequently but enough to get exposure. The radio station 'gave' us recording time and we cut one hour of a 'jam' that WFIL used behind station announcements and stuff. I really would like to find that tape.
60s: Your group did release one single: Yesterday's Hero b/w Marie.
BA: We recorded that at a studio on Admiral Wilson Boulevard in Camden. The studio was on the second floor of a motel (I can't remember the name). The songs were both recorded in one take on a two-track unit in the studio, with an addional two- track of the vocals. If that sounds goofy, so does the result. We paid for the pressings ourselves - $400 for 400 copies. The A and B sides both got airplay. We even pitched it ourselves to the radio stations, and in one case were in the studio of WCAM in Camden, a religious station during the day that was experimenting with a free form broadcast at night. We somehow met one of the deejays and went to the studio with our record, as well as a bunch of albums we had. The deejay used most of our albums for the show and played Yesterday's Hero three times that night.
60s: Who wrote Yesterday's Hero? Did The Satyrs write many original songs?
BA: That was a Craig/Mike combo on the lyrics, and the entire band worked on the music - which we did for most of our tunes. We probably had 15 or 20 songs we could do of our own, in one form or another. We all contributed something.
60s: Do any (other) '60's Satyrs recordings exist? Are there any vintage live recordings, or unreleased songs?
BA: The tapes from our recording sessions have to be somewhere in a vault or something, but I sure don't know where. We only made the one record. The fact that it's been found and put on compilation CDs and had recent 'airplay' is freaking me out. It's the motivation behind all this.
60s: How would you describe the band's sound? What band's influenced you?
BA: We leaned towards keyboard-based songs because Kenny could play well, and was a fast learner (he played the entire Light My Fire keyboard part - everything - and learned it by listening to the record. I would say The Doors, Iron Butterfly, ? and The Mysterians, Simon & Garfunkel, and The Beatles were a lot of our influences.
60s: Did you play any of the local New Jersey teen clubs? Were there many?
BA: There were a lot of local dance clubs, mostly not featuring local original bands. Also, the over 21 clubs weren't a venue for us as we were too young to play them.
60s: How popular locally did The Satyrs become?
BA: We got around a bit and won a local Battle of the Bands in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, that got us in the paper. We had two different Battle of the Bands appearances - the one in Cherry Hill, which we won as we were simply the best band there. The fact is that I can't remember any of the other bands names. I do know Yesterday's Hero got the 'crowd' as it was original and we were all rockin'. We also did the 'long' version of Light My Fire including guitar solo, which I hadn't played before. For some reason it just flowed off my fingers.We got airplay on three local stations, although not a lot. There was one other band from Haddon Heights (Danny Paul, you out there somewhere?); they were more popular with the girls, looked better, and sounded better, too. I got to sit in on a recording session with them one time and played some rhythm guitar.
60s: What band was it that you jammed with?
BA: I wish I could remember. Danny Paul and another guy named Dale Fisher are the only names I can remember, and they were drummers. I think they had a guitar player named Eddie but I'm sorry, that's all I can recall at this point.
60s: They released a single? I don't suppose you recall the name if it?
BA: The band did release a single but again, memory fails me. Maybe one of the former band members will see this and contact you or me!
60s: What other local groups of the era do you especially recall?
BA: Recall...that's one thing that's the hardest about this. This was almost 40 years ago (holy Crap!). I'm not good with names. There were a lot of bands around. We at one point sort of hooked up with a band we met during a battle. They were from the Philly suburbs, had a girl singer, and we ended up going to her wedding, where both bands played. It was a fabulously drunken good time. I hope someone out there reading this can confirm some of this for me!
60s: How far was the band's "touring" territory?
BA: About a 50-mile radius of our hometown, which is about 10 miles southeast of Philadelphia.
60s: The Satyrs once opened for Ultimate Spinach. Did you perform with any other national acts?
BA: Ultimate Spinach was from Massachusetts, and was big on the East Coast. The other band at that concert was Mandrake Memorial.
They were a legendary Philly band, and one of the "founders" of the Philly psychedelic scene. Most of the crowd at that show was there for them. We partied with their guitar and bass players before they went on. That whole night was great. The club was in Manayunk, just outside Philly. It was the club's opening night, an old theatre converted into a rock and roll hall. It was all blacklights/dayglo posters, strobes and stuff. It was a lot of fun! This was our only large venue where we were an opening act; typically we appeared alone.
60s: Did the band make any local TV appearances?
BA: No TV, and no known film. Anybody have any pictures out there?
60s: Why did the band break up in the '60's?
BA: Everybody just went different ways at the same time. Plus, we were all draft bait - this was 1969.
60s: Did you join or form any bands after The Satyrs.
BA: Nothing formal. I enjoyed many hours of jamming with several friends. We also had a short lived reformation with Kevin Lynch added on electric piano (or was he with us? Oh well). Kenny and I tried a few combinations of things, but nothing worked out like The Satyrs.
60s: What about your career today. Do you perform? If not, what keeps you busy?
BA: I'm ashamed to say I haven't played in so long it's a sin. My regular life has changed so many times there's not enough space to document it. I currently live in Scottsdale, Arizona, and work for a local ISP. I've been spending time lately with these memories.
60s: How do you best summarize your experiences with The Satyrs.
BA: Standing on the stage of the Kaliedoscope Theatre in suburban Philly, looking out at over 1000 people, screaming and clapping and dancing and actually liking what you are playing, even though they don't know who you are and are waiting for Ultimate Spinach to come on. That concert was such a trip, the whole night was magical and it was the culmination of our efforts being handed back to us.
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