Monday, September 14, 2009

Rockin on Main Street - 1967

Back in 1967 when Main Street was still a vibrant business district, the Main St. Businessmen's Association sponsored a yearly "Battle of the Bands," as part of the North End Festival Days. The event attracted 13 of the local "garage bands" existing in the area. The first year the "stage" was the back of a flat bed trailer parked in front of Ruben's Discount Music Shop. The second year two stages were set up in what was then a vacant lot on the NE corner of Cleveland and Main, next to Rubens. Gerry Jaffe, of Jaffe Jewelers was the chairman of the event, assisted by Bob Goodman and Ed Riley. This writer (reader J.B) was asked to assist as the Contestant Coordinator because of my experience in the local music scene. Judges were John Pilato, music director of Lew-Port Central School, John McEwan, manager of Denton, Cottier & Daniels music store, and John Love of Rubens. The bands consisted primarily of young men between 14 and 20 years old. A large crowd of about 500 turned out for the Saturday June event and The Apaches from Niagara Falls came in first, with The Invaders, second, and The Loved Ones, third, both from Lewiston.

Here are photos from the event of 10 of the participating bands. It is interesting to note that 40 years later, a number of the musicians are back playing in retro-groups, and several have never left the music business. You may recognize many of the names in some of the groups as they are prominent citizens of our area.

Click any image for larger photo:

The London Fog - members unknown

The Missing Links - with Rick Elia on bass - rest unknown

The Knots - with Gerry Ketch on guitar and John Pasquantino (of the Youngstown Diner) on guitar - rest unknown

The Hocks - members unknown

The Cinders - members unknown

The Avengers - members unknown

December's Children - Frank & Tony Grizanti were key members

Benedict and the Traitors - members unknown

The Loved Ones, with Dick Lucinski on bass, Larry Elia on guitar, Wayne Dunn on guitar, Mike Franzek on drums and Yogi on vocals.

The Apaches, with Thom Rotella on guitar, Rich DelZoppo on guitar, Willie Favaro on bass and Pat Peri on drums

Perhaps some of the readers may be able to fill in some of the blanks! Recognize a name? Pass on the site's address to anyone you may recognize!


Main Street Niagara said...

What great photos! Where did you find these??

We are having a Main Street/Niagara Falls reunion at the Crowne Plaza in November ( the day before Thanksgiving) If anyone is still playing music and wants to join us - let us know!
Call Main Street at 716-285-1318!

Colleen Kulikowski said...

Wow! What a great blast from the past! We were just talking about something like this for homecoming!

philsett said...

1967 Battle of the Bands!
Love it!
I was hoping for a picture of the 2nd Prize Winners - The INVADERS.
Chuck Scrufari, Tim Kneeppel, John Gray and I were in that band. As I recall, Tim and I were 12 years old.
Chuckie T. was 13. John the old-timer at 14.
(who'd have known that I'd have ended up a lifetime professional musician?)
Does anybody out there have an INVADERS photo from that day?
Every so often, I get to come back to quaint little Lewiston and see my precious old family home on 205 South 4th St.
I was fortunate enough to participate in the unforgettable inaugural Summer of '69 concert.
Great memories.
I hope I can come back and perform one day soon.
All the best to you folks up there!
-phil settle

Jim said...

I gave away the missing photos to members of the bands or relatives of those members many years ago (before the days of scanners and computers) and now I wish I hadn't. I know the photo of The Coachmen and The County Orphanage are also missing and I'm sorry for that. Perhaps someone will find them.

Anonymous said...

The members of the London Fog were from left to right. John Saad, Tom Scalzo, Jim Moran , Pax Roman, and John Stempien not shown in photo. They finished in 4th place.