Days Gone By: 1965
By: Pat Hunter, archivist, River Falls Journal
The sixth grade classes taught by Tom Gunderson, Mrs. Helen Halberg, and Mrs. Ethel Gettinger staged a talent show Wednesday, Jan. 27, 1965, in the auditorium at the Junior High School, under the direction of Roger Tweiten, elementary school music teacher.
First place was awarded to David Bergstrom’s group in which Jeffrey Brenna and Jackie Cudd sang two numbers accompanied by David on his electric guitar.
“The Alley Cats,” a group of girls, placed second. The “Cats” were Torrey Alexander, Sharon Gettinger, Margaret Hammer and Julie Dahlen. They sang “Alley Cat.” And third place went to an instrumental group from the Cadet Band: Betty McKahan, Debbie Larsen, Cheryl Cudd, Linda White, Ann Palmer, David Black, David Christianson and Carey Wiger.
Editor’s Note: Dave Bergstrom, River Falls High School class of 1971, came back to River Falls for Jimi Hansen’s funeral (died Sept. 30, 2012) and hooked up with Pauly Cudd, Jeff Brenna, and Gary Larrabee, former teenage rock & roll band mates in high school.
He scheduled a reunion recording session in a Minneapolis studio. The following are memories of his school years in River Falls playing music with his friends.
“My family moved to River Falls from Minnesota in 1964, and dad bought Stewart’s Tire Service and it became Bergstrom Tire. My pals and I called it “The Rubber Mines.” and many of them worked there recapping tires. It was hot work.
“In Junior High Jeff Brenna was my best friend, and we started a rock & roll band. I had started playing guitar in the fall of 1962, and that Christmas I got a shiny new Fender Musicmaster electric guitar and 5-watt Kay amplifier... the same one in the photo from 1965, so this fall is my 50th anniversary playing guitar. I’m celebrating that with a stroll down memory lane.
“Jeff and I recruited our pal Gary Enloe (who now is a fine wine expert in Chicago) to play drums, and our buddy Pauly Cudd (today a supremely talented glassblower) on bass guitar and backup vocals. Jeff (now a successful real estate agent) sang and played a bit of guitar, and I played lead guitar.
“We were all just learning the rudiments of rock & roll of course, but what we lacked in talent we more than made up for with attitude and hormones — which, as far as rock & roll is concerned, is far more important than talent. That’s just how it works.
“We played junior high school dances, in a Battle of The Bands at the Catholic School (St. Bridget’s), and even a few rural roadhouse bars that my parents had to chaperone because we were under age, 14-15 years old (which was surprising because neither of my parents drank alcohol and heartily disapproved of bars, but they loved our music).
“What I recall most about those juke joints was the unfortunate young boys soon heading off for Vietnam getting drunk to drown their sorrows. Amidst the party atmosphere was a lingering sense of sadness and fear. We saw the sacrifices our older brothers were about to make in their eyes. It was tragic.
“The name of our band was “The Luvn’ Kynd.” We practiced in our parents’ basements, and we all got real close during these formative years. I think we got paid $35 a night. Music was a mutual bond against the typical teenage angst. We all had a lot of fun. After all, a fella’s gotta learn to deal with angst, and rock & roll music is the perfect medicine for that ... at any age.
“Around 10th grade I left “The Luvn’ Kynd” and joined a band (86 Proof, later morphed into Husky Wood & Hue) with Jimi Hansen and Gary Larrabee (Gary now owns a painting business and is a big time art collector), Steve Huppert, Jean Ouimette, and a couple others I can’t recall. Jeff, Pauly, and Gary got interested in other activities (and of course sports and girls... like we all did!)
“After high school (1971) I left River Falls for college, got married and had three sons and a 25-year career in catalog and television infomercial marketing. After a divorce in 1991, I raised my boys on my own. They are extremely musically talented of course! We always had a family rock band from the time they were five or six.
“My parents and brothers moved to Scandia, Minn., in 1974 and bought Eko Backen Golf Course, so I never went back to River Falls much.
“Over the years I lived in San Francisco, Baltimore, Chicago, and Trabuco Canyon, Calif. In 1998 I resigned as president of MSI, Int’l in Orange County, Calif., and returned to Eagan, Minn., and retired.
“My boys and I started a blues/rock & roll band (The Blues Bandits 2002-2006); and I went back to grad school at the U of M (English Lit and Creative Writing) and I now focus on music, writing, video, golf, and painting... and live a much quieter lifestyle. Gosh, I could tell you stories! And as a writer and lyricist I often do. I gotta say it was the best decision I ever made.
“When I heard that Jimi Hansen had passed away I felt bad that I never got back together with him to play some music — so scheduling a reunion with Jeff Brenna, Pauly Cudd, Gary Enloe and a few other musicians from the past and reuniting “The Blues Bandits” with my boys seemed the natural and right thing to do.
“On Saturday, Nov. 24, I booked a day in the recording studio (Silver Ant Studios in Minneapolis) to see what would happen if we all got together again. We did not rehearse at all. We came in cold, but I had sent out lyric sheets for the songs I chose to record. That was all to fill the almost 40 year gap from when we had last played together and surprisingly it was enough.
The whole thing was magical... it was like the years melted away, and we all fell back into the groove again on the first take. It was a deeply moving experience to be transported back to the mid-60s through playing those songs — “Gloria,” “Turn On Your Lovelight,” “My Girl,” “Stand By Me,” and “Twist & Shout,” among others.
“We were terribly lucky and blessed to have that rock & roll experience as young boys ... and now even more graced by the opportunity to do it again as “old coots” who will all turn 60 next year!”
Note: if anyone is interested in hearing songs from “The Blues Bandits” and “The Luvn’ Kynd” reunion session, songs will be posted on David’s Facebook page Dave Bergstrom.