Monday, March 26, 2007

Olivers - Ft. Wayne Indiana 1965 - 1967

The Olivers from Ft. Wayne, Indiana, evolved from the Serfmen. 2 45s on the nemfres label (Serfmen spelled backwards). Pictured are not the full line-up that created the wonder that is "Beaker Street / I Saw What You Did". Mike Mankey replaced the original guitarist and co-writer of Beaker Street, Jason Penndorf (stage name Jason Ritchie). Billy Franze replaced Greg Church on bass.

Members pictured include:
Chuck Hamrick - drums
Bill Franze - bass
Mike Mankey - lead guitar
Carl Aldrich - Organ

The Olivers waxed one of the best 2-sided 45s that I've had the pleasure of having, and reported to have an aborted LP in the can recorded in Minneapolis, whereabouts of the tapes unknown. Tomorrow.....hear "I saw what you did" from the Phalanx 1022 45!

34 comments:

Ravensun Straysinger said...

My brother, Chuck Hamrick, is alive and well and living in Georgia.

Mike Mankey, last I saw, is also alive and well. I *think* he's in Wisconsin.

Carl Aldrich is selling cars in Fort Wayne.

I don't know about Bill Franze - I haven't seen any of these guys (except my brother!) since the band broke up in 1969 (when I was all of four years old)... but I have found Mike online... I was looking for him again, in fact, when I ran across this site! :)

vinylfool said...

Way cool info Ravensun. Have Chuck contact me, I have loads of questions!

Billy Franze is alive and well in Minneapolis. Check out Doc Mambos Combo on myspace, and there is at least one youtube video showing what a bitchin' jazz guitarist Billy has become.

Anonymous said...

I heard this band at Indiana Beach. My favorite they did was "Show Me", originally recorded by Joe Tex...their version was better than his.

Anonymous said...

Hi, this is Mike Mankey. I was the guy that played lead for the Olivers, after Jay left, and Triad which formed when the Olivers broke up. I'm actually alive and well and also in Minneapolis. After Triad, I played with Thundertree and a regional company of Jesus Christ Superstar. I'm now just doing a one man band thing for mostly fun arounmd the twin cities metro. Hi all.

vinylfool said...

Thanks for checking in Mike! You guys were legendary and need to be honored! I'll put the Triad 45 up soon. Great music.

Anonymous said...

During the Carl Aldrich,Mankey,Franze, and Hamrick days, the Olivers were a great band. I learned how to play a lot of bass runs by watching Franze on that Epiphone hollow body bass.
Mankey played a sunburst Gibson 335 during that time, too.

They played the good covers....
Yardbirds, Who, Animals, etc...and they had great vocals, including high harmonies. A Class Act...they influenced a lot of other groups in Indiana......

I wish I could see them again.

ASCAP Writer

raj52 said...

Hi all. The Olivers was my favorite band. They would come to the Lawrenceville/Vincennes area and play shows at "The World", The VFW, and many other venues. Yeah, "Show Me" was great, "Happenings Ten Years Time Ago" (w/homemade strobe lights), "Dazed and Confused"...Bill played bass and sang with so much soul it still influences me 40 years later. And Mike's guitar played was awe inspiring. Chuck's drumming style was all his own and Carl carried his weight with flair. I still remeber Mike's red Gibson SG and they all had Vox Beatle amps. I also remember their soundman/roadie, John, I beleive was his name. We would follow the boys all over the place. They once stayed at my parent's home in Lawrenceville after a gig. I traveled to Minneapolis and got to see Triad play. Mike, Bill, Chuck, and Carl, if you read this, thanks for taking a young musician under your wing...it was very much appreciated.

raj52 said...

I was wrong. Their soundman/roadie's name was Tom! Mike, if you read this, do you remember Tom rolling the van off the side of the road near Vincennes one night?

Anonymous said...

OMG! I can't believe this! Mary Jane Hamrick used to date my dad, which is how the Serfmen ended up in Rhode Island! I was actually in the WGL radio station studio the day "Chills and Fever" was recorded. I was about 7 years old. My dad was Al Russell, and he worked at WGL in Fort Wayne, before relocating to Pawtucket, Rhode Island.

Anonymous said...

Yes, my favorite cousin, Chuck, is alive and well in GA. We just had dinner together last week while I was in town on business. We reminisced about The Olivers; I remember being totally in awe of them as I was about 10 at the time. When I came home, I dug out an old picture of the group taken at our grandmother's house in Terre Haute! Wish I had some of their music in Mp3 format to share with my daughter and to keep for years to come! Fun to find this blog!

vinylfool said...

Hi Chuck's cousin! I think we all agree that the Olivers should have been bigger. Still one of my favorites, and believe me, I have lots of 45s here to choose from!
Email me at vinylfool-at-gmail.com, and I'll send you a cd of the Serfmen and Olivers 45s. Fair deal?

Tim

Anonymous said...

This is Mike Madrid. I played bass with Gary Sauers, Cliff Webb Kevin Walsh and Cliff Fortney as well as many other locals......We loved the Olivers......We have all scattered to the four winds except Cliff Webb who is still in Ft Wayne......I would love to buy a copy of the Olivers cd........as well as sharing in old memories......Gary Kevin and I regulary e mail and are planning a reunion.......with instruments....

Bob Goodwin said...

Hey Mike Mankey or Bill Franze; if you are till out there I would like to hear from you. Not sure if you know but Dick and Jerry are both gone. I was at at both funerals. Email me at rlgoodwin011@verizon.net-some of my best memories are playing drums with you guys.

Bob Goodwin

Bob Goodwin said...

Does anyone out there know how to contact Mike Mankey or Bill Franze? If so let me know.

Thanks
Bob Goodwin

Anonymous said...

Hey guys, I loved reading about the OLIVERS in your comments. Bill Franze was a very close friend and a Jr Bowling teammate of mine at Eagles and GE bowling lanes in Ft. Wayne in the early/mid 60's. Then he started in the band scene, and in no time got picked up by the Olivers. The OLIVERS WERE the ABSOLUTE BEST around, and started doing more extensive traveling gigs. They still came back to FW about every 6 months to play The Flame (at jack and jill), and at the Armory. They were so good that when they did get back to FW, the crowd wouldn't even dance for the 1st 10 or 12 songs--------just packed in maybe 200 people deep, just watching the OLIVERS do their show!!! I talk to Bill ("Franz") Franze occasionally, the last time about 6-8 months ago. He's still in the music business up in Minnesota, and has been there for many years. If you want to know more---or to get ahold of him, E-mail me your phone number at "tobrienbball@yahoo.com" TOM O'BRIEN

Unknown said...

Man, sooo glad to find this info. about one of my all-time favorite kick-ass garage bands, The Olivers! Through the years as I've reminisced about the days of my youth, I've often fondly remembered & thought of them.
They were/are heroes to me and played frequently on Sunday nights at Holiday Skateland in my hometown of Shelbyville, IN. Can STILL see and hear them on stage doin' "Can't Explain" and "Beaker Street"...as far as I'm concerned, they did "Can't Explain" better than the originators of the song, The Who!
Glad that all of the guys in the band are still with us!!
Is it possible to get recordings (MP3 or CD) of them?
Would like to say a big "THANK YOU" to the band...not only for the music and the memories; but also for the inspiration!!!
"Rock & Roll will NEVER die"


Sincere regards,




Fred Dickmann
Columbus, IN

Anonymous said...

They were a big influence to me. I remember peeking through the bushes at the CYO dances cause I was too young to get in. I especially liked Carls vocals and I liked down at the end of Beacdon Street and Chills and Fever. Thanks for the inspiration.

Rick Parker Ft. Wayne Indiana

Jan said...

If anyone has an original of the record Beeker Street when Jay played, please let me know. I know him and I would like him to sign it.

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to let you know my Dad,Jason"richie"Penndorf is alive and well in Indianapolis,IN.Im sure he follows the blog.

Linda Kidwell said...

Shades of LeScene! Often wondered about where all of you are & what you are doing now. I'm alive & well in Bloomington, IN. I'm still in contact with Rick. Would love to hear from you!

Tyler beaghley said...

Jay(Jason) Penndorf is my grandfather. its crazy to see how popular the band he was in and the influence it had. he is a very wise man and an awesome guy to be around. snd hes still amazing at playing the guitar and jay was not replaced he served his country in the war

Anonymous said...

im jay pendorfs grandson.. I wonder where hed be if he wouldv never got drafted.. But he gt a silver star in the 101st airborn he was a rocker/ war hero wata grandfather :)

Anonymous said...

Just found this on the net about Billy Franze..

Starting out as a bassist with the Indiana-based band the Olivers back in the mid-'60s, Billy Franze has gone on to play mostly lead guitar for a host of fine artists, primarily in his adopted home of Minnesota but sometimes on the road, too. His résumé includes recurring gigs with the Tuesday Night Organ Band and Dr. Mambo's Combo, plus past associations with Jack McDuff, Jonny Lang, Mavis Staples, Prince and the rogue's gallery of visiting stars who've shown up to jam at Bunker's. Now Franze leads an ad-hoc jazz quartet with pianist Peter Schimke, bassist Billy Peterson and drummer Kenny Horst.

Butch Taylor said...

Hi..I saw the Olivers at Sherwood Country Club in Indy...they opened with Magical Mystery Tour....very cool

Anonymous said...

Just had a two hour talk with Carl Aldrich after buying a storage barn from him. Said there was a possible european tour in the works? Sounds like they are still listening to vinyl over there, and they like the Olivers.

Mortamus said...

Does anyone remember the Novations?
We were in Ft. Wayne playing at the same time Olivers were.

Mortamus said...

Anyone remember the Novations?

Rich Lewis lead guitar
Rob Lewis guitar
Sam Lipscomb drums
Rick Hudson Bass

We were around the same time as the olivers and the serfmen

Unknown said...

I used to work with Chuck at WFFT-TV in Fort Wayne, IN.
I would love to re-connect with him. Can anyone help?
Jim Glendening
Toledo, OH
810-853-9119
jamesglendening@gmail.com

Unknown said...

I remember seeing The Olivers for the first time back in the late 60's. It was a barn dance on the north side of Indianapolis, a private party held on the sprawling estate of then city council chairman,, Buert SerVass. I went to North Central HS with one of his kids and it was some kind of gig related to that with private security. Anyway, I'll never forget hearing The Oliver's rendition of "Whiter Shade of Pale". It became my favorite song and remains so to this day.

Unknown said...

I was the lead singer in a band based in Charleston, Ill, called Rhythm's Children. I caught the Olivers every time they were in our area. Still can see Billy Franze belting out a great tune with his upper lip hanging over the top of the microphone which was strategically placed about 5 inches above his head. These guys were a true inspiration and we still talk about them online.

Rich Lewis said...

Does anyone remember 'The Novations'? From Fort Wayne In.
Same Era as the Oliver's?

vinylfool said...

I've seen a couple of "Novations" gigs posted in the Journal Gazette, late 65 to early 66. but no photos or any other info except what "mortamus" posted a couple of years back.

Anyone remember the Novations?

Rich Lewis lead guitar
Rob Lewis guitar
Sam Lipscomb drums
Rick Hudson Bass

We were around the same time as the olivers and the serfmen

Would like a pic if you have one.

Unknown said...

I was lead singer in a band called The Malemen. We were from Northside H.S. we were on TV show 21 A Go Go Oct. 1965 to mid February 1966 on WPTA Channel 21. I knew Carl Aldridge of the original Sermon. We were tight with the Exiles from Southside HS. The malemen broke up when Rick Thomas our lead guitar player was drafted. We played all over Fort Wayne and Northern Indiana. I just thought I would add my info.

Unknown said...

Does anyone remember The Malemen 1965 to 1966? We were from Northside H.S.and were on 21 A Go Go on WPTA Channel 21 Oct.1965 to Feb.1966. My name is Wally Geller and I was the lead singer. We played all over Fort Wayne and Northern Indiana. Lead Guitar was Rick Thomas, Rythem Guitar was Rick Johnston, Bass Guitar was Dave Armstrong and on drums was Jim Brickley. Other bands at that time were the Exiles,Serfmen, I Knew Carl Aldridge. The Crescendo and Ronny Speaks and his band. They were great times but the Malemen broke apart when Rick Thomas got drafted. Im retired now and live in Sun City, Arizona.