Contemporaries of The Sonics, The Wailers, and Paul Revere & The Raiders, The WAYDS from Oregon City, Oregon never reached the heights of those classic Pacific Northwest groups, but still managed to play most of the area Battle of the Bands, and attract quite a following. Guitarist Dick Schalk is currently trying to reunite the band but, in the meantime, has kept active in the music industry by, among other endeavors, recently releasing his first solo concept album - a CD entiled SingleZero ( www.cdbaby.com/singlezero).
Jim Hopkins - Drums
Ben Fritchie III - Drums
Tom Hopkins - Bass
Alan Rondeau - Bass
Ray Shipley - Vocals
Steve Hove - Vocals
Larry Linnum - Vocals
Terry Read - Vocals
Mike Woods - Vocals
Denny Seeley - Organ (Farfisa)
John Richardson - Organ (Farfisa)
Dick Schalk - Guitar
John Weiler - Guitar
60s: Who named the band? Was there any special significance?
DS: I named the band The WAYDS. I remember my dad bought a new naugahide couch, and I decided to lie down on it and take a nap. I don't know if it was because I was breathing the out gassing fumes from the naugahide while I slept or if it's just a coincidence, but the name came to me in a dream while I napped on the new couch. I woke up with the name still running through my head, and decided to us it as a name our new band. True story.
60s: The band wore matching outfits. Where did you find those matching tops? They're GREAT.
DS: Thanks! Nehru jackets were big in the late '60's, and we thought they'd go well with our musical direction at the time, but we couldn't find five, super cool, matching ones. So, I bought a sort of generic brown-colored one and took it to my best friend's mom, Evelyn Washburn, who, among other talents, was an excellent seamstress, and asked her if she would make five matching jackets, custom-tailored, for each of us, if we bought the material. She said she would, IF we would come to their house, scrub, strip and wax (paste wax) their hardwood floors. Seeming like this was a great deal, we shook hands, bought the fabric (green and purple silk brocade, and purple velvet), and started on the floors. It was tons of work for her (and us), but it was definitely worth it! They turned out to be the best-looking outfits we ever had. Some of the jackets still exist.
60s: Where did the band typically practice?
DS: In the early days, we practiced in the basement of Tom and Jim Hopkins' family house. After I moved and rebuilt the band, we practiced at Ben Fritchie's (drummer) family house. We also practiced in the basement of Al Rondeau's (bass) house. There were plenty of garages, patios and sun porches along the way too.
60s: What type of gigs was the band typically landing?
DS: We played at lots of school sock-hops, Battle of the Bands, private parties, church teen clubs, JC functions at various armories and any other gigs we could find. Since we were all underage, we weren't allowed to play in nightclubs or bars.
Q: What about the local Oregon teen clubs? Did you play in any of those?
DS: There were a few teen clubs in the Portland area, but the bigger bands like The Raiders, Wailers, Sonics and Kingsmen had them pretty much tied up. We mostly did high school dances, house parties and armory gigs.
60s: How would you describe the band's sound? What band's influenced The WAYDS?
DS: Our "sound" changed quite a bit over time, although we definitely had a "West Coast" vibe, since we cut our teeth on Paul Revere and The Raiders, Eric Burden and The Animals, The Ventures, The Beatles, The Beach Boys, Rolling Stones and The Yardbirds. We all loved the bands coming out of Philly, and the Motown R&B bands had a big influence on us, too.
60s: Did The WAYDS have a manager?
DS: Our first manager was my dad, until he became ill. Then, we all acted as "agents", digging up gigs. I signed most of the contracts for the band.
60s: How popular locally did The WAYDS become?
DS: We became very popular in '67-'68 in our region, after "paying our dues" in '65-'66. Our growth was steady, as was our popularity.
60s: What other local groups of the era do you especially recall?
DS: We competed with other local bands like The Stags, The Vandals, The Rising Sons, The Fire, The Sound and The Fury, The Redcoats, The Off Set, The Cobras, Burgandy Grass, Loves Children and lots of others. We had fairly good relationships with the other guys, but it wasn't unusual for wires to mysteriously "unplug themselves" during Battle of the Bands and such.
60s: Apparently, The WAYDS participated in many Battle Of The Bands? How did the band typically fare?
DS: Yes, we were in more Battle of the Bands than most of us can remember! Quite a few were sponsored by local JC organizations, as well as schools, and rock promoters. We actually did quite well; we won some of them, and came in second and third more times than not. The battles usually had at least six bands, and as many as 50-60 bands! They were usually held in armories or gymnasiums, which were basically big concrete boxes. The acoustics were usually terrible, but we sure had fun shaking the walls! Hundreds of kids came to these things, to dance, to "be seen", and to support their favorite band. Most of them charged $1.00 "stag", or $1.50 "drag" (per couple) to get in. What a blast!
60s: At one of the Battles, your drummer - Jimmy Hopkins - won a "Best Drummer" award. Did this have positive impact on The WAYDS - or was it more of a personal accomplishment?
DS: It worked out both ways. Jimmy, to this day, still has the trophy. I took a photo of him and his trophy a few weeks ago, and we're all just as proud of him now as we were then. That was truly unheard of (a 12 year old kid winning it); he beat out drummers twice his age. It was the first of many other trophys that we won at various Battle of the Bands from 1966-'68. The trophys (and publicity that we got from winning them) also helped us gain credibility with promoters, dance organizers and other bands, which helped us get more gigs. They really helped build confidence in ourselves too during our "fragile, formative years". I've still got two of them sitting in my music room at home.
60s: How far out from your home base did the band's typically perform?
DS: It was primarily the Portland Oregon/Vancouver Washington area, including the outlying towns. I bought an old white Chrysler hearse when I turned 16 to haul our gear around. It was HUGE, and I can remember having all five band members and our girlfriends in it one afternoon. We were going to rehearsal after school, and we were late, so I floored it. I'll never forget looking at the speedometer and seeing it pinned at 100mph! It had bald tires and worn-out shocks too! It's a miracle that we lived to tell about it!
60s: Did The WAYDS ever record?
DS: Yes, we recorded a few songs at Oregon's largest Battle of the Bands, called "The Teen Fair", which was held at the Portland Memorial Coliseum. Sunn Amplifier Company sponsored the recordings, as long as we used their amps!
60s: Did The WAYDS write many original songs?
DS: Actually, it was pretty unusual for most bands from the '60s to write original music, but we did write a few. My most favorite original was named Mr. Foster Loves Us All, which is kind of a sugary-sweet sounding name, but it was really about a ghost in a "haunted" house in our area. I can remember all of us sneaking up to the house one evening, peering through the windows, looking for the ghost of Mr. Foster. We were all scared to death! We didn't see any ghosts, but it left an indelible impression on us… to the extent of writing a song about it! I think this was the first song we ever wrote. We literally wrote the song too (notes on a treble and bass clef); after we finished it, my dad took it to the post office and mailed it to our house by certified mail. We were told by an old country western musician that if we did this and didn't open it, it was "as good" as copyrighting it. I've still got the unopened letter at home.
60s: One group original that I'm aware of was titled Hey Dan. Who was Dan?
DS: I think Terry Read wrote "Hey Dan"; Terry was a great lead singer and good friend. I think he chose the name "Dan" because it rhymed with the appropriate word…I don't believe there really was a "Dan" per se.
60s: Did you ever play any of your originals on stage - or did you mainly stick to the cover versions?
DS: We played our originals on stage, usually to end each set. We discovered that if we played our originals, the girls in the audience would come up to us right away and ask questions about the song!
60s: Do any '60's WAYDS recordings exist? Are there any vintage live recordings?
DS: The only remaining WAYDS recordings that I know of are from our 10 minute, 16mm black and white sound film that Sherm Washburn, a Portland TV and radio personality, made of us in 1966. We were really green and sounded pretty bad, but we were pretty typical of most of the neighborhood garage bands of that time.
And the later version of The WAYDS (1967 or 1968) recorded some songs as a "prize" at a huge battle of the bands in Portland Oregon at the Portland Memorial Coliseum during the "Teen Fair". I'm not sure whatever happened to the tapes, but I'd love to find them.
60s: Those were the songs for the Sunn Amplifier Company, right? Which songs did you record?
DS: I believe either Hey Dan or Mr. Foster Loves Us All was one of the songs, along with some covers. I'd sure like to find the tape!
60s: What can you tell me about the Washburn film? Does the footage exist?
DS: It was an unscripted black and white film. We were from 12 to 16 years old, and VERY green! It is pretty cool though, with "costume" changes between songs, a visit from "Fidel Castro" and his wife "Wanita", a giant innertube rolling by, and other odd, quirky, unknown at the time surprises. It even features our bass player picking his nose and depositing his findings on his vocal mic in the last few seconds of the film. He didn't know the camera was still rolling...glad it was him and not me! It's pretty funny to watch (unless you're one of us guys that was in The WAYDS...then it's pretty painful to watch)! This was the very first iteration of the band, and we were pretty bad, but we got MUCH better over the following two to three years.
60s: Why did the band break up in the '60's?
DS: It was in late '68, and some of us were either going on to college, or being drafted, or enlisting to avoid being drafted because the Viet Nam "conflict" was in full swing. Some of the guys were squabbling over girlfriends too, or moving on to other bands.
60s: What can you tell me about the groups you joined after The WAYDS?
DS: After The WAYDS ( http://www.theregents.net/wayds.html), I joined a band named Phoenix ( http://www.theregents.net/phoenix.html) which was in 1969. Then I joined a band named Atlantis ( http://www.theregents.net/atlantis.html) in 1970, which became very popular and successful and stayed with them until we finally broke up in 1973. Atlantis did lots of touring throughout the U.S. and Canada. We also did quite a bit of recording. After that, I did some music composition for industrial films and radio commercials. Then in 1982, I started a blues-rock band named The Executives ( http://mp3.com/theexecutives / http://cdbaby.com/theexecutives), which is still playing and recording. I also released a solo CD on January 1, 2003 named SingleZero ( http://mp3.com/singlezero / http://cdbaby.com/singlezero). SingleZero is a concept album, which combines musical instruments and "sounds" from many cultures, past and present. It's a bit hard to describe without hearing it; check out some of the songs at the websites.
60s: What are some of the other members of The WAYDS up to today?
DS: Tom Hopkins owns a video production company based in Kobe Japan, with offices in Japan and Oregon. He enjoys playing the bass these days, mainly as a hobby.
Jim Hopkins is a master carpenter, and builds beautiful wood interiors for yachts, custom homes and offices. He's still playing the drums and lifts weights for fun.
John Richardson works for an Oregon organization that processes recycled materials. He also has continued to play the keyboard for fun.
Mike Woods is an editor for a trade magazine for the building trade, as well as producing a radio show at KBOO radio in Portland Oregon. He's still got a great voice!
Al Rondeau is a process engineer in the paper industry, and lives in the Seattle area.
Larry Linnum was in law enforcement and retired recently.
John Weiler is continuing his family business selling cars.
I am the director of an Oregon-based division of a musical instrument manufacturer headquartered in Japan. As I've noted above, I'm still quite active musically "in my spare time".
As of today (late July), we're still trying to find the other guys to find out how they are and what they've been doing!
60s: Is it true to you're looking to reunite The WAYDS?
DS: The idea for the reunion came up a few years ago, but at that time, the original members were living outside Oregon or the U.S., or I just couldn't find them. The Internet has been very helpful locating the members, or friends who knew how to contact the members. The reason for putting together The WAYDS reunion was to see some great friends again and catch up on what everyone's been doing for the last 35-38 years. All of the members parents that are still with us, as well as spouses, "significant others" and kids are attending too. Since we're videotaping the reunion and creating a DVD of it (including the original 1966 The WAYDS Movie) we'll have a wonderful keepsake for our families. Most of us are lucky to have a few old photos of our grandparents and great grandparents; we're hoping that we can pass on our DVD to our families so that future generations will get to see us, as well as hear us! (UPDATE: The Reunion became a reality on August 23. According to Dick, "
60s: How do you best summarize your experiences with The WAYDS?
DS: The WAYDS happened during an tumultuous time in history, as well as during our lives. We were the children of World War II parents; our dads had "jobs", our moms were "homemakers". We were transitioning from kids to teenagers; we were trying to figure out who we were. All this was happening during the "Flower Power" and Viet Nam War era years. The military draft was on all of our minds. Telephone numbers had just changed from four or six digits to seven digits. S ome cars still had "fins" and most were still built in the U.S. and had V-8 engines capable of "burning rubber." Radio stations were still AM stations, broadcasting the latest hits in mono. Hamburgers cost 19 cents at the local burger joints, and were served by pretty girls wearing short skirts and roller skates. Gas cost 24 cents a gallon. A good after school wage was $1.00 an hour, and movies cost 75 cents to get in. Candy bars cost 5 cents each or six for a quarter. "Long hair" was perceived as anything longer that a crew cut. Rock and roll music was "only a passing fad", and "we'd grow out of it soon". There have been many changes since then, some better than others. The band taught us about working together as a team; we learned about and accepted new responsibilities; we gained confidence in ourselves and learned how to deal with victory as well as defeat. And we had a wonderful time! As we look back at it, the years we spent playing music in The WAYDS was one of the best times of our lives.
The Wayds Today:
- Tom Hopkins (bass) owns a video production company based in Kobe Japan, with offices in Japan and Oregon. He enjoys playing the bass these days, mainly as a hobby.
- Jim Hopkins (drums) is a master carpenter, and builds beautiful wood interiors for yachts, custom homes and offices. He's still playing the drums and lifts weights for fun.
- John Richardson (organ) works for an Oregon organization that processes recycled materials. He also has continued to play the keyboard for fun.
- Ben Fritchie (drums) is a senior electrical engineer for a firm that manufactures extremely large, ultra high definition video monitor systems.
- Mike Woods (vocalist) is an editor for a trade magazine for the building trade, as well as producing a radio show at KBOO radio in Portland, Oregon. He's still got a great voice!
- Al Rondeau (bass) is a process engineer in the paper industry, and lives in the Seattle area.
- Larry Linnum (vocalist) was in law enforcement and retired recently.
- John Weiler (guitar) is continuing his family business selling cars.
- Terry Read (vocalist) is a maintenance engineer.
- Dick Schalk (guitar) is the director of a division of a musical instrument manufacturer headquartered in Japan. As I've noted above, I'm still quite active musically "in my spare time".
- Denny Seely (organ) is a truck driver.
- Steve Hov (vocalist) owned a sign company before retiring a year ago.
- As of today (8-19-03), we're still trying to find Ray Shipley to find out how he is and what he's been doing!
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