Dave Jason, Terry (Tates) Hayden, Jim Hayes, Ron Mosson, Ken Storie

Brandon in 1967 was a busy place for "Garage" bands. There was plenty of work in the surrounding rural area - with each high school hosting several dances a year. They wanted variety and were willing to give new bands a try. Within Brandon there were the community centres, notably Park, East End, Valleyview and West End, which hosted regular teen dances on weekends.

Having just completed High School in Baldur, I moved to Brandon in early July of 1966 and found work at the Safeway store, then located at 6th & Rosser. My circle of friends started with co-workers and quickly expanded. A typical weekend activity was
to attend these community club dances. I became familiar with bands such as the Cavaliers with Russ Shellard on vocals, John Menzies on bass and Norm Gamble on organ.

The Bitter End in the early days featured Gaye Hannay on drums, John Webber and Dave Melcosky and Jim Down. They evolved adding Don Sullivan on drums, Ken Smith on guitar and Russ Shellard on vocals. Good guitar players were everywhere. I remember seeing Tom Cornett in the Lords of Leisure and Brian Minnaker in the Beathoven.

At work, co-worker Brian McMillan and I found that we had a mutual interest in Rock n’ Roll, that went beyond just attending the dances.

I had been playing guitar for a few years and Brian (Buck) fancied himself a singer. He knew a drummer, Terry (Tates) Hayden, and the idea of putting a band together started there. Through Tates we found guitar players Jim Hayes, and Johnny LaPointe. I don’t think Jim had played bass – but as happens so often, someone had to and Jim expressed an interest. He purchased a no-name second-hand bass and we had a workable lineup. 

I remember an early rehearsal in Brian’s basement. I still had my Sears guitar and a tiny amp. My expertise at that point was mainly that I knew the chord changes to a variety of standards of the day : Just Like Me, Louie Louie, Gloria – and a whole basketful of Stones numbers. Johnny knew chords but hadn’t mastered the art of the picking out the solo parts so I was nominated as the lead guitarist. I was quite comfortable playing simple melodies like the leads to Ventures instrumentals and could pick out a tune by ear. To be a real lead guitarist however in those times meant being able to play improvised leads on the basic pentatonic scale. (Think George Harrison on the guitar solo in “She Was Just Seventeen”) Fortunately that was something that I had just learned from an accomplished player who lived in my college dorm. (Thank you Dennis Rondeau).

I also remember practicing at Johnny LaPointe’s.

We rehearsed through the winter of 1967 and called ourselves "The Common Lot. I bought a cheap Stratocaster – style guitar at Ted Good's and a locally made Johnson amp. It was hardly professional gear, but workable.

I think we played a noon-hour sock hop or two a local schools, but our first real gig was in Cypress River, where we rented the hall, charged a buck, and made a tidy profit.  That was in May of 1967, and we did the same thing in Baldur a few weeks later.  I think out first "paying" gig was at Oak River in June, where we played to quite a crowd in the arena. They had weekly dances, sponsored by a Community Club, and they paid $100. Keeping in mind that the minimum wage was about a dollar per hour, the equivalent today would be over $1000.

Brian's family moved to B.C. that summer and Jim took over the singing. We added Dave Jason on keyboards. He was another east end guy. We decided that Johnny's rhythm guitar playing was not necessary. He understood, and it was for the best. But I'm sure we all missed the adventures we had in his 57 Chevy Wagon. About that time Ron Mosson (Moose) became our unofficial road crew and general helper.

Hard at it in Jim Hayes's basement. Over the two years we rehearsed at the East End Hall or at Jim's,  at least once a week.

Along the way we became the Eighth Street Bridge – inspired by recent efforts to rebuild that structure. I purchased a “real guitar” – a second hand Hagstrom that actually sounded pretty good and was more playable. I also upgraded to a second hand Fender Bandmaster.

We worked hard – practicing at least once week and developed a pretty solid repertoire of pop standards.

Clip from a Brandon Sun article...

As I recall that fall of 67 was busy. I remember playing the East End Hall - sort of our Brandon debut, and it went well. We started getting High School Dances in the surrounding areas.  Places like Plumas - run by a guy named Joe who paid $90, Newdale where we played a High School dance or two.  Other places that come to mind included Gladstone, Forrest, Neepawa, Amaranth, Birtle, Carberry  and Kelwood. We traveled as far as Swan River and I know we did a dance in Churchbridge Saskatchewan.

Gainsborough had regular community dances and it was always an adventure going there. There were places where long haired musicians tended to draw some harassement.

I remember a May Long Weekend Midnight Dance at the pavilion at Killarney Lake, a trip to Reston when the car broke down but thanks to the kindness of strangers we made it. 

I suppose we developed as musicians. We certainly became comfortable with playing and with experimenting and trying new approaches. I was reminded of this recently while listenning to a CD by the Blues Magoos. We not only played their big radio hit, "We Ain't Got Nothing Yet", as did every other band in town, but we also attempted their extended jam version of "Tobacco Road" and a slow spacy song called "Love is Doomed". While others may have played Canned Heat's big hit, "On the Road Again" we found "Amphetamine Annie."

Summer excursions to Clear Lake and Y-Point, while not directly on band business, were part of that whole time. Johnny's girlfriend was from Glenboro, and through her we met some other girls whose parents had a cabin at Y-Point. We ended up there for weekend parties a few times.  Some of us went to Clear Lake to see Them, perhaps our first chance to see a big name locally. On other occasions we went to "The Lake" just to party.

Other Band-related trips included a few trips to Winnipeg where we would go to Garnet Amplifiers to check out equipment. I bought my Fender Bandmaster there. I added Johnny's 2-12 Garnet Cabinet - just to make it look bigger! I later replaced it with a Traynor from Ted Good's.

Transportation is always an issue with bands. We used whatever car we could borrow. Jim had a 53 Pontiac but didn't feel it was up to road trips. For a while we were lucky to get Terry's brother's 59 Pontiac Convertible. We used U Haul trailers, except for a short period when we had our own home-made trailer, complete with psychedelic paint job. In the later days we bought a panel van.

Bev and I  moved to Winnipeg in the summer of 1969. It was the first of many "retirements".  In anticipation of my leaving we added Brian Minaker (a good guitar player formerly with the Beethoven) on guitar. But he didn't stay long, and 15 year old Del Krauchi was recruited. He turned out to be a great guitar player and I replaced him when he left Blind Justice a few years later.

I lost touch with most of the band members. Terry and Jason moved west. I'd see Jim from time to time for a few years then he moved west as well, but it was great to speak to him recently. I was happy to hear that Jim and Cathy's daughter Brittney's band, Unleash the Archers,  just won the 2021 Juno for best Metal / Hard Music Album. I also found Terry on Facebook. 

Other changes followed...

Terry (Tates) Hayden, Del Krauchi, Dave Jason, Tom Davidson. Jim Hayes

At Jimmy Bass's Teen Club on 10th St.

The Eighth Street Bridge started in 1967 and went through many changes.

The Lineup ca. 1972..the name lived on with Jim as the only original member.

Ian Haslen (Drums), Ken Smith (Lead Guitar), Dave Meighen (Keyboards), Tom Davidson, (Guitar)
Jim Hayes (seated), Bass

Manitoba Music Museum Page

Jim, Ken and Dave moved to Winnipeg as Wet Pants...

Some YouTube links...


Midnight Rider