Dr. J's Blog

Rock and Roll History, News & Views

Band Canyon: Fallouts, Del Raes, and Shepherds

by Gary Johnson

Formed in the early 1960s during a period of uncertainty that gripped Michigan and the rest of the nation over the Cold War threat of a possible Russian nuclear attack; the band members would go on to weather three name changes and numerous shifts in both membership and musical direction. Being a little older than most of the bands playing in the teen music scene, they partied hard and used their unique brand of showmanship to become one of the most popular and frequently booked groups at Band Canyon and other teen clubs around the state.

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Band Canyon: Lost Bands

by Gary Johnson

The emergence of The Beatles and the other British Invasion bands prompted the formation of countless young bands in Bay City and in other communities all across the state. Band Canyon and the other teen clubs that sprouted up in Michigan around the same time provided an opportunity for these fledgling groups to play in front of large gatherings of their peers.


Forming a band and then keeping it together were two entirely different chores, however, and many of these young bands faded away almost as quickly as they had come together. The reasons were varied; and they included lack of musical ability, getting drafted, going away to college, having a full-time job, girlfriend/boyfriend relationship issues, lack of money, an unexpected pregnancy, an unwillingness to fully commit to the band lifestyle, or the often cited musical differences.

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Band Canyon: Battle of the Bangs

by Gary Johnson

Inspired by The Beatles, Bay City Central students John Hale (vocals) and Tom Smith (keyboards) started playing music together. By the start of 1965, they had put together a band called 'The Epics' and signed on with Bill Kehoe and Delta Promotions who began managing and booking the group – most often at Kehoe's Band Canyon teen club in Bay City. Hale and Smith would become figures of controversy during the fall of 1965, however, when the length of their hair became a disciplinary issue at Bay City Central High School and the subject of numerous stories in the Bay City Times.

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