Monday, February 27, 2017

Cyrkle Of Sound

The following is composed from a couple email conversations I had with original Cyrkle Of Sound band member Billy Miller.

The band members were:

Billy Miller - Guitar, Vocals, Writer
Jim Girarde - Bass Guitar
Chuck Booker - Trumpet
Alex Yanez - Guitar
David Gurrera - Drums
Zeke Esquivel- Lead Guitar
Ruben Gonzales - Keyboard

Note the additional accidental misspelling of "Sounds"

Cyrkle Of Sound was formed by South San Antonio High School students in 1966. 

The band was booked by Sam Kinsey (who ran the Teen Canteen) and would perform live at the usual array of gigs which included school functions, military bases, college parties. 

One noteworthy show that Billy recalls is playing at the Pusi-Kat Club in San Antonio opening for a band from Acapulco, Mexico called The Love Army.
They even once competed in a battle of the bands event and came up second behind scene kings The Chayns (known for their regional hit cover version of The Strangeloves "Night Time").

The band got connected with Augie Meyers through Sam Kinsey, as Sam was helping book appearances for Augie's band at the time, The Visions Of Lite. Augie at the time was still reeling from his recent success with "She's About A Mover" in his other band The Sir Douglas Quintet (featuring a young Doug Sahm). Meyers was responsible for the trademark Vox-organ-through-a-fender-guitar-amp sound that the Quintet was so known for.

Augie had recently started up his own record label called VOL (which also featured two records of his own and an excellent record by another San Antonio band- The Graven Image). The Cyrkle Of Sound played all 8 of their original songs Augie, and he chose the two he liked best. 
Soon after, the band recorded the two originals over the course of an afternoon at Texas Sound Studios in the winter of 1967.

A record was mastered for pressing on November 16th, 1967, and was to be VOL Records #133.

While the record didn't do exactly take off, it received some airplay down the in the South Texas valley, and a few plays on the radio in San Antonio proper.

Like so many teen bands of the era, the group split up when most of the members were drafted by the US Army during Vietnam.

Thanks to Billy and Sam Kinsey!

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The Trochais

line up:

Tommy Akeroyd - Rhythm Guitar
Dan Akeroyd - Bass Guitar
Francis Akeroyd - Lead Guitar/Vocals
Ronnie McAneer - Drums

The Trochais at a HS talent show, joined by occasional percussionist Greg Chesser.

The Trochais were a family band started circa 1965 at McCollum High School in the south side of San Antonio, TX.

Oldest brother Francis Akeroyd was a self-educated guitarist who taught his brother Tommy to play rhythm guitar, and his brother Dan to play bass guitar.
The trio were originally joined by drummer Bobby Cole, whose stint with the band was cut short when he sadly died at a very young age in a motorcycle accident.
One day at the Akeroyd boys aunts house, she mentioned to them that one of her friends had a son named Ronnie who could play drums.
Ronnie McAneer was first chair drummer in his school band at Lee High School, and made an excellent addition to the group.
The name of the band was derived from a meter in poetic verse that Francis was studying at the time in high school.

Starting off with performing at the typical high school dances, The Trochais quickly graduated up to playing at ever popular local teen club the Teen Canteen, and the south side's own version: Teen Town.

One day Francis got a call from a man named EJ Henke who asked if the band would perform for a few hours out front of his record shop on Military Drive in exchange for the chance to record at Jeff Smith's Texas Sound Studio.
At one point, EJ ran outside while the band was playing and asked what song they were playing. Henke insisted they record the song, and original written by Francis called "Give Me An Answer".
In addition to the latter song, EJ suggested they record an instrumental song and call it The Phantom in order to beat the production of a Hollywood movie of the same name that was to be released soon.
The idea was that the movie production would somehow be forced to license the recording for use in the movie since it already used the movies name.
Francis quickly came up with a song to fit the bill, a nice moody surf rock guitar instrumental.
The movie was never to see release, but the recording of the The Trochais first and only 45 proceeded. On January 12, 1966, Satin Records 004 was mastered for release.

"Give Me An Answer"


The boys once got a gig playing a "Band Bust" sponsored by local music store Caldwell Music where the music shop provided the bands with all the gear on loan to perform with. Celebrated KONO radio DJ Don Couser was the guest announcer and host of the event. Francis was already well acquainted with Don from his time as a regular guest dancer on popular teen TV dance show Swingtime. During the Trochais set, Dan pulled a stunt where he swung the bass back and forth between his right and left hand while playing, and this apparently drove the crowd into a frenzy!

By late summer of 1967, Ronnie went off to college and brothers Dan and Francis enrolled into the Navy. Like many teen groups during the period, the end of high school marked the end for the band.

Thanks to Francis and Tom Akeroyd for sharing their memories, and for use of the band photos!

Friday, July 8, 2016

The Pendeltons

Here's another mystery band, possibly from San Antonio.

They recorded at least one 45 on the Alamo Audio custom imprint, ran by Jim Ridgeway.

Both sides are cover versions. One is a cover of a Carole King/Gerry Goffin composition first popularized by The Cookies called "Chains." Presumably The Pendeltons were inspired by The Beatles version, which came out on their first UK album "Please Please Me."

The flip side is a cover of "Mustang Sally," which I would assume they heard from the 1966 cover rendition that the Young Rascals released, though it is quite possible they heard the Wilson Pickett version first.

"Mustang Sally"


Anyone out there know anything about this group? Drop me a line at shape3 "at"

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Symmetry Of Sound

I first became aware of The Symmetry Of Sound after hearing their beautiful cover version of The Byrd's song "Here Without You." For years, I wondered who the group were and what their story was. Finally, with the help of the great Sam Kinsey (who ran the Teen Canteen club in San Antonio), I was put in touch with the bands drummer, Scott Price. Below is an email interview with him, with some input from Joe Sarli.

L to R: Tommy Davis, Scott Price, Greg Gardner, Joe Sarli, and Mark Murray

1. What got you started playing drums? When did you start? 

I grew up playing all kinds of sports – especially football – I was injured playing football – had hip surgery and was on crutches for 2 and ½ years – doing this time I took drum lessons at Music Mart (owned by Joe Sarli’s dad) with Guy Davis.

2. How did you get connected with the guys in the Symmetry of Sound? 

The band would practice at Music Mart and Guy suggested I go by and listen – I picked up drums quickly – at this time the band was called the Loners and their drummer was Steve Gleaser, he was a very good drummer – with a jazz background – the band wanted a more “drive” drummer – and I tried out and they asked me to join – I was by far the least accomplished musician in the band compared to Tommy Davis and Joe Sarli.

3. How old were you at the time? Do you remember roughly what year this was? 

15 years old; 1967.

4. What High School did you guys attend?

Joe Sarli, Tommy Davis, me and Mark Murray went to Lee; Greg Gardner went to Highlands.

5. What were some of the venues/gigs you guys played around San Antonio? Did you perform outside San Antonio much?

Teen Canteen; Southside Teen Town, TAG at Fort Sam Houston, All the local military bases, Jewish Community Center, Lee and Churchill High Schools, many private parties,. We played a couple of times at the Shaft in Devine with touring national bands; and a few areas in surrounding cities – mostly San Antonio.

6. What do you recall about recording the bands 45? How did that come about? 

It might have been Tommy or Greg’s choice – maybe Greg knew all the words – a rare occasion – (Tommy's sister) Marilyn lined up the recording; I selected the Young Rascals song on side 2 of the record.

"Here Without You"

"Come On Up"

7. Do you recall how many copies were pressed and how it was distributed? Any notable airplay for the record?

100 copies – we sold or gave them away. No airplay that I know of.

8. I love the bands "dreamy" cover of "Here Without You." What made you guys decide to record that song? Was it a regular in the set?

Tommy and Greg wanted to record the old Byrd’s song. Yes, it was a regular in the set.

9. Did the band make any TV appearances? 

No direct appearances, but were featured in newspaper articles and TV regarding local entertainment. I do recall being filmed at NIOSA one year by a local TV station, but do not recall seeing it on air.

10. Any other funny or noteworthy stories about the band or its members? 

While I was in the band and on crutches, Mark Murray (organist and now attorney) would not only bring in all his equipment – but all of mine as well. Mark was the only one with a car big enough to hold most of our equipment – so he drove most of the time – we would stop and each get a soda to drive and Mark would always hit his brakes so we would spill soda on our shirts!
We were the first northside groups to have “uniforms” - blue blazers, white shirts with ruffles down the front, blue pants and dark shoes – cool!!!!!!!!!!!! 
Our manager was Tommy’s sister – Marilyn; She was a very bright, nice, organized and a stunning blond. She was always a hit at the military bases.
Tommy Davis knew every chord imaginable and like Joe Sarli, could pick up any song after hearing it once. Tommy, when he would, had a very nice harmony voice – serious musician – went on to play with other bands - very sensitive – God rest his soul.
Joe Sarli was one of the best bassist I have ever heard – he played brass instruments as well – and could fix them. He was smooth and kept excellent rhythm; has since opened his own music store in Boerne. He went on to continue playing with other bands as well as with his father in the rodeo band.
Mark Murray joined the band in 1968 and was a solid organist – dry humor - now a very well respected local attorney.
Greg Gardner – always wanted to be called “gorgeous Greg” - vocalist and could play drums (I would sing Hang on Sloopy and Louie Louie) – I tried not to let him play that much. At a Church gig, he once put the bass drum pedal through the head! I had never done that in all my times of playing! No telling where he is.
I was a drive drummer with fast hands, decent timing and very good bass drum control; I worked my way through college as a drummer in a local night club – I wore headphones and played along to the records – great gig – went on to receive PHD and taught at A&M, UTSA.

11. How and roughly when did the band come to an end?  

The band broke up in 1969 – 1970 about the time Mark and I went off to College.

12.What were some of the groups that you went on to play with after SOS?  

I went on to College as did Mark Murray; Tommy played with Giant Smiling Dog and Pablo’s Grove; Joe played with Gene Coleman and Feel and First Light.

Thank a ton to Scott Price, Joe Sarli, and Sam Kinsey for their time and help!

Monday, June 27, 2016

The Ivy

From L to R: Mike Lloyd, Larry Schott, Ned Goff, Ladd Paul

The Ivy was formed in the fall of 1966 by four men stationed at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, TX who met while living in the same section of the barracks.
Guitarist Ladd Paul was from Benton Harbor, Michigan originally and had played in bands through high school after finding his first guitar at a rummage sale.
Mike Lloyd from West Virginia was originally a trumpet player who learned how to play bass for the band.
Ned Goff was from Louisville, Kentucky and played sax.
Larry Schott was from Pontiac, Illinois and played drums in the band.

The band started rehearsing in the basement of the barracks and by early 1967 were performing at the army base and at the notorious "Holiday Inn" (not related to that Holiday Inn) at Lake Mcqueeney.

In March of 1967 the group went to record a single with two original songs composed by Ladd. One song of which was a matter of contention due to its resemblance to "Mrs Brown You've Got A Lovely Daughter." The record bears a TSS code of 670529, indicating that it was mastered at Texas Sound on May 29th of 1967.

Ladd recalls hand delivering copies of the record to radio stations all through the south and in Michigan after having it pressed up. However, it did not pick up much traction, as it didn't appear to chart anywhere.

"I'll Never Understand You"

The band fared some success after winning a battle of the bands event at the air force base, and were sent to a bigger talent show in Biloxi, MS.

Alton Elvy replaced Mike Lloyd on bass when he was shipped out.

Scattered deployment eventually broke the band up by mid to late 1968.

Thanks to Ladd Paul and Ned Goff!

Thursday, May 26, 2016

The Trackers

The Trackers core line up at the time of making their record was:

Jimmy Brietzke - Rhythm Guitar
Mike Byrne - Drums
Johnny Williams - Bass, Lead Vocals
Jack Williams - Lead Guitar

Trackers live at the Elks Club! Left to right: Johnny Williams, Mike Byrne, Jack Williams, Jimmy Brietzke

The Trackers were formed in 1965 at New Braunfels High School.
Originally formed with Butch Wullschleger on drums, he was soon replaced when guitarist Jack Williams overheard Mike Byrne tapping out the rhythm to "Wipe Out" on the back of a chair during a class at school...

The outfit was quickly making decent money from their gigs and Mike was able to buy a brand new '65 Gretsch drum kit.
The bands frequent live venue was the pavilion at Landa Park in New Braunfels. Mike's dad would tie a ski rope around the perimeter of the pavilion and charge admission to enter the area inside the rope. Most kids would gladly pay the price and not sneak under the rope or stand just outside it to watch!

In the summer of 1966, the band went down to Texas Sound Studios to record their lone wax outing, two fine original songs entitled "You Are My World" and "Why Do I Cry". The TSS code in the dead wax indicates that the record was mastered on June 1st, 1966.
When deciding on a name for their record label, they used the name of their regular performing spot, Landa Sounds.
San Antonio's KTSA gave the record a fair amount of airplay and the band even took a trip down to do a live interview promoting the new release with famed DJ Bruce Hathaway.

"You Are My World"

"Why Do I Cry"

Other venues the band performed included the ever popular Holiday Inn (no, not related to THAT Holiday Inn) at Lake McQueeney, TX, an obscure teen club called the Cyclops-A-Go-Go in Kenedy, the Elks Lodge in New Braunfels that Mike's parents were members of, and a private party all the way down in Laredo.
The need for a proper venue in NB spawned the idea that the town needed its own teen club, so the members of the Trackers and the Williams boys parents decided to open a club called The Freak Out. Although this venue was mostly an outlet for the Trackers to perform, they also ended up bringing in groups from the surrounding areas including The Bourbons from San Antonio, who made an excellent 45 of their own on the Royal Family label. 
The venue was partially cared for by friend and occasional stand-in lead guitarist Paul McLaughlin, who recalls having long late night jam sessions with the Bourbons after hours.
Another band Paul recalls playing at the venue is the legendary Zakary Thaks, who they brought in for New Years Eve of 1967 at a great expense.
Even the Playboys of Edinburg performed at the short lived club!
With growing complaints from the city, and the overhead cost looming too large for them to handle, the crew decided to close down the venue within only a year of it being open.

1967 Line-up. Left to right: Mike Byrne, Johnny Williams, Bill Stowe, David Poehlman. 
What a photo!
1967 was also a year that saw several changes to the bands lineup, as Jimmy Brietzke went off to college at A&M and older brother Jack Williams joined the Navy, and later the Coast Guard.
David Poehlman from La Vernia, TX took on the role of lead guitarist for Jack.
Bill Stowe was a college aged kid who came in on rhythm and lead guitar to replace Jimmy. He was noted by Mike as being an incredible lead player who was the only person Mike knew who could play "Jeff's Boogie" by the Yardbirds.

Mike Byrne decided that he could probably get the interest of more girls if he moved out from behind the drum kit to playing keys, so he went out and bought a Farfisa combo organ.
Tommy Smith was brought in to fill in the missing drummer role.

In 1968 as the Trackers came to a fold, Mike joined The Mad Mods from San Marcos on keys, a band which old friend and guitarist Paul McLaughlin had already had a stint with.
Mike was in the band at the time that they did their second session for Abe Epstein, recording a 45 which would land on Abe's Jox record label. Mike's girlfriend at the time (and future wife) Deborah Smith even made an appearance on the record, playing flute on one side.
Gaining some traction with the single, the band got to appear three weeks in a row on KSAT's weekly TV teen dance show: Swingtime.

Shortly after beginning schooling at Southwest Texas State University in San Marcos, Mike quit playing with the Mad Mods and joined a band called Jacob's Well on the Hammond B3 organ. This band also included notable Texas guitar virtuoso Van Wilks.

Thanks to Mike Byrne and Paul McLaughlin for their help!

Monday, December 28, 2015

The Aggressors/The Band Ayd

The Aggressors were a teen band from the south side of San Antonio. The band featured two brothers, Steve and John Caroll. Their father, John Caroll Sr, ran one of the prominent 1960's teen clubs in town: Teen Town.
Essentially the south side's equivalent to the ever popular Teen Canteen ran by Sam Kinsey.
I conducted an email interview with Steve this year, and here are the results, complete with scans and audio clips from Steve's archives:

The Aggressors circa 1966 at Teen Town

The band members were (in order from L to R according to photo above):
Tommy Biggers - Guitar
John Caroll - Bass
Bunky Yates - Drums
Bobby Laxson - Guitar/Vocals
Steve Caroll - Guitar

Q: What got you interested in playing music and when did you first begin to play?

A: When I first heard The Beatles on the radio.

Q: Did you play in any bands before the Aggressors?

A: Yes, Two other close friends whom were class mates in the 7th grade wanted to start a band. David Hall played rhythm, Mike Lozano played the drums and I played lead guitar. We played some school functions and a couple of talent shows. We did not have a name and it was short lived but a great experience. 

The second no name band was Bunky Yates on drums, David Hall on Rhythm Guitar, John Caroll on bass, and Steve Caroll on lead guitar.

Q: How did the Aggressors come together as a band?

The 2nd band was a group my brother was playing with that was just jamming trying get some songs together. They all went to Highlands High School (11th grade) and I was at Hot Wells Jr. High ( 8th grade).  They really did not have a lead guitar player so the rhythm guitar player was doing his best. So my brother asked me to try out for their group and I got the spot. That was when the Aggressors came to be. It consisted of John Caroll (Bass), Tommy Biggers (rhythm), Bobby Laxson( Rhythm guitar and lead singer), Lewis Yates (Drummer), and me on Lead guitar. Lewis was in the same grade as I but he went to a Catholic school. We best friends. A year later Tommy dropped out. and we picked up Ricky Jones on Keyboard. Ricky was in Jr High then I believe at Rogers Jr High.

Q: What was your fathers role in helping the band? How did he come to start operating Teen Town?

A: My father (John G Caroll) was Detective on the San Antonio Police Department. He always supported John and I with our music. He managed our band. We lived on the South side of San Antonio. Teen Canteen was on the North side and my Dad wanted the kids on the South side have a place to go to. We played all over the place including Teen Canteen. My Mother had her first case of cancer at that same time and the doctor told my Dad that if she could make through the next five years she most likely would survive which did not happen much back in that time. So my Father and my Mother (Bonnie J Caroll ) John G Caroll  were there every Friday and Saturday night for over four years. All the kids respected and loved my parents for all they did. They made sure it was a safe and clean environment for everyone. My Mother passed away 2014 after 45 years of cancer having  3 major cancers. She was my heart beat. I miss her so much.

Front entrance of Teen Town

Q: How often did your band play at Teen Town? Any notable experiences about playing there?

A: We played at Teen Town once a month, every now and then twice.  We played out a lot. There was a lot of good plans out  at that time and he had no problem getting a lot of good bands to play. We made a lot of new friends, played for a lot of people we knew in all the surroung schools and got to meet some really cool bands.

The Aggressors from crowd perspective at Teen Town 1966
Another crowd shot at Teen Town

Q: What were some of your favorite bands you saw perform at Teen Town?

A: I had a lot of favorite bands. The Chains, The Outcasts, The Cave Dwellers, The Spydels, Bubble Puppy, Texas Tornadoes, Zakary Thaks...

Q: What were some other venues or towns you guys would perform at?

A: The Cave in San Marcos, Holiday Inn at Lake McQueeney Tx, Randolph Air Force Base, College Fraternities in Austin, Devine, Carrizo Spring Texas Dance Hall...

The Aggressors at Lake McQueeny with DJ Ricci Ware on stage

Q: How and when did the band decide to make the 45 record? Any memorable experiences about recording it?

A: It was a lot of fun going to record at the studio. Swing Time was a TV dance show here in San Antonio was like a Texas American Band Stand. Not quite as popular. Mel Adcock wanted us have a record out since we were one of her featured bands.

Q: Do you recall how many copies were pressed and how you distributed it?

A: I guess around 250 copies (pressed) and recorded at Alamo Audio studio.

"Something Else"

"Just A Little"

Q: Did the record get any local radio airplay?

A: KTSA played our record.

Q: When did the band decide to change its name to The Band Ayd and why?

A: When Terrell O'Neil became our lead singer andwe opened for the Eric Burden & The Animals show. The guys in the band wanted a new name. For what reason I didn't have a clue.

Cool double exposure photo of The Band Ayd circa 1967

Q: What were some notable shows you guys played?

A: Two shows. Eric Burden And The Animals, The Playboys of Edinburg.

Original ticket for the Animals concert. With The Band Ayd, The Kaleidoscope, Neal Ford & The Fanatics, and The Moving Sidewalks! What a line up! October 11, 1967 at Municipal Auditorium.

Q: When and why did Teen Town close?

A: Western Music was becoming the big thing and people were going to the western dances out (in the country outside San Antonio) at St Hedwig, TX.

Q: When did The Band Ayd call it quits?

A: End of 1969, we went off to college.

Q: What were some of the musical projects you pursued after these bands?

A: Played in The Wheat Straw Band, Ricky Jones (keyboard), Bobby Laxson (guitar), Lewis "Bunky" Yates (drums), David Martin (vocals), and Steve Caroll (lead guitar). It lasted one year.

Started up the Old Aggressors again around 1980 (as an oldies cover band).

Started The Road Closed Band in 1985, which lasted for 5 years. We opened for Brooks & Dunn at the Western Gala, performed several times at the Budweiser tent at the San Antonio rodeo. Played weddings, dances, and corporate events.

Cool Band Ayds photo that the boys named their later band after...
Many thanks to Steve Caroll for all his help and sharing his memories and wonderful memorabilia!