North by Midwest, Day 4

nxmw1

We’re starting to wind down on NXMW 2009, the little festival celebrating music from our corner of America.

We’ve had new stuff and old stuff, and tonight it’s more of the old stuff. This one is special.

If you’re a regular reader of AM, Then FM, you know we occasionally champion the cause of Clicker, a much-loved rock/glam/cover/show band that played throughout Wisconsin in the ’70s.

Often requested — especially by our friend Shark, who grew up in southwestern Wisconsin around some of the guys from Clicker — is this tune from Clicker’s first album, released in 1973.

It’s a long, trippy instrumental jam, clocking in at 15:22. The first minute and 40 seconds is a spoken intro, with guitarist Bob Schmidtke explaining that it’s about “a sinister pile of masonry,” a massage parlor with “a terrible reputation,” experienced only by the band’s drummer. It’s one of those tales you file under “Good Story If True.”

“Since none of us have been there and our drummer, whose name you’ll conveniently find somewhere on the album jacket, is still too shaken up to talk about it, this tune is pure conjecture. It’s in rondo sonata allegro form and features tricky parts by all.”

Dig it, if you dare. It used to freak me out, especially if I listened to it late at night after partaking in too much … ah, never mind.

clickerlp2-copy

“Du Monde’s Back Room,” Clicker, from “Clicker,” 1973. It’s out of print. This tune was written by Schmidtke, brothers Steve and Jerry Tracy (the bass player and drummer, respectively) and guitarist Dick Wiegel.

Be sure to check out the comments, where Shark and Bill describe what it was like to see and hear “Du Monde’s Back Room” played live.

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48 Comments

Filed under March 2009, Sounds

48 responses to “North by Midwest, Day 4

  1. Shark

    I recognize the voice on the spoken intro…it’s Steve Tracy. Du Monde’s Back Room is one hell of a jam! They would usually save that one for last as part of their shows. When they would get toward the end of the song with the answer-back between the bass and drum rhythms, they would turn on the flashing strobes lights that were so intense, it made everything look like it was moving in slow-motion.

    • Wrong…. It is Bob I was in the studio when it was recorded.

    • Ron Reuter

      Hmm. I knew Bob Schmidtke really well. We were best friends for two years at UW Platteville, when he was part of the original Mendelbaum Blues Band, along with Keith Knudson, Tom Lavarda, and harp-player “Blind Joe Mendelabaum”, whose real name was “Steve” but I can’t remember his last name. While I have to give props to ‘teenage rick’ who says he was in the studio, the voice introduction on “Du Monde’s Back Room” really does not sound like Bob to me.

      Like a Cheshire Cat, all those guys are now gone, only the grin remains.

  2. Bill in Milwaukee

    Oh yeah! I remember Du Monde’s Back Room.

    Steve, Cubby and Dick trading off smoking solo rifts. They’d hit you with those strobes, and then if you we’re dumb enough to stray too close to the stage, they would set off those flash pots and you would be blinded for the next 20 minutes or so. I’m pretty sure I still have retina damage. :-)

    At one time I had a live recording of Du Monde’s on cassette tape from a show they recorded at Full Compass Sound studios and featured on WIBA-FM. I recall the live version was tighter and faster than the version on the record.

    They would immeadiately follow Du Monde’s with the Mickey Mouse Club theme song, which would build in speed with each chorus until a frentic ending.

    I recall many Clicker shows in the 1970′s at places around Madison like The Shuffle Inn or The Stone Hearth. They always left the crowd exhausted and pounding the floor for encores.

    *Bill in Milwaukee

  3. Mark Everist

    Actually, it was Bob Schmidtke who gave the spoken intro in “Du Monde’s Back Room”

  4. Shark

    Of all the people who would know, Mark…you certainly would know…you were a member of the band during what years?

  5. Mark Everist

    I was in the Natives from Galena Il, ’67-’68. The Tracy boys used to see us play and were impressed with Kenny Heim, who could, and I’m sure still can, really hit the high notes. Kenny joined up with them when the Natives broke up in ’69. I was still in high school and moved to Moline when my mother remarried. In 1970 Kenny was ready to move on so the T bros. called me to join the Bowery Boys. I was thrilled, I didn’t even go to my commencement. The last day of class I hopped a bus to Madison. I played with them off and on from 1970 to 1974 .

  6. Mark, weren’t you in a band called Punch after you left Clicker?

  7. Mark Everist

    Yes, ’74 – ’76.

  8. If memory serves me correctly, the first Clicker album on Hemisphere Records had Steve Tracy playing bass, Cubby Tracy on drums, Dick Wiegel and Bob Schmidtke on guitars and Mark Everist was on vocals only. Wiegel and Schmidtke left to form the band, Beans, sometime in 1973-74ish. Clicker then consisted of Steve Tracy on bass and Cubby on drums and Mark Everist both sang and played guitar and Memphis Johnny Briggs came on board as the other guitar player reducing Clicker from a 5-piece band down to a 4-piece band. The first version of “Tennessee Tailspin” b/w “So Sharp” featured this second version of Clicker. I remember them selling this single (still have my original!) at their dances. Is that correct, Mark?

    • Greg

      I wonder if anyone has the capability of ripping me an MP3 of the single version? It totally rocked and mine is worn out completely.

      Thanks

  9. Mark Everist

    Gary, you are right on!

  10. Mark, I have two questions to ask you:

    Question #1: I know you were in the 2 different versions of Clicker. Did you ever play in either the Bowery Boys or Baby Grand? (I believe Jeff Amundson was the singer in both groups on such songs as the Bowery Boys’ “It’s For You” and “Nature’s Way”and Baby Grand’s “Lucy Cain.”)

    Question #2: You were the lead singer on the Clicker song, “Keep On Tryin’” which received a lot of airplay on WISM in Madison in the summer of 1974. That song had some great lyrics and an unforgettable melody. How close did that song get to breaking nationally? I know it was on many radio stations playlists in Wisconsin during that summer. I have that song on my iPod and it still is one of my all-time favorite songs by any band!

  11. Mark Everist

    I was in The Bowery Boys with Jeff, two lead singers. Jeff recorded those songs before I joined. I sang all the songs on the first Clicker album which included “Keep on Tryin”. I remember driving in my car and hearing “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me”, as that song ended the intro to “Keep on Tryin” started. What a rush!

    • Mark…ck out the most recent baby grand photo i posted on my eBay site. i remembered everyone except the horn player…i think he was Darlington and even though D is like a 2nd home to me, i just couldn’t recall his name. you still singin’
      Larry

      • Mark

        Hey Larry, Thank’s for the pic heads up. I think his name is Don Richardson, Cub Tracy knows his history. I still sing, no band and not out, just me and my guitar. Be well.

  12. Shark

    Gary or Mark—

    Do you have a copy of the Bowery’s Boys, “It’s for You?” If so, how can I get a recording of it from you?

    I met up with Richard Wiegel just last Friday in Monroe. I was great to see him again. He can sure play a guitar and sing!

    —Shark
    e-mail: sharkevenstad977@yahoo.com

  13. Mark,

    Did you become lead singer of Clicker when Jeff was singing for Super Cirkus?

    Ken Heim plays in a Madison-based band called Marcy and the Highlights. Dick (now Richard) Wiegel also plays in a Madison-based band called The Midwesterners.

    Several Wisconsin (mostly Madison) 70s bands including Tayles, Circus, Tongue, and Yancy Derringer have had their albums issued on CD. Is there any chance of that happening with Bowery Boys/Baby Grand/Clicker? A lot of people remember their music and I, for one, would love to see it happen!!

  14. I HAVE SEEN THE BAND SEVERAL TIMES AT THE COUNTRY AIRE IN APPLETON WI. GREAT BAND. WHERE CAN I FIND A COPY OF ALL THERE MUSIC? ALSO WHAT ARE THE GUYS DOING NOW? THANKS!!!

    • Country Aire hey? how about out a Lou’s Quarry.

    • Hi, I played at the Country-Aire in ’65 and I’ve been reconstructing my gig history. Can you tell me anything about the actual location of that place?

      • Hi Gary,
        I’m pretty sure this club was up in Appleton, and my friend from up there confirmed it. It was just off HWY 41 on Spencer St. In reading your earlier posts, almost everything is right except that Steve Tracy wrote Lucy Cain, and I’m pretty sure he sang it. I’d have to dig my 45s out to confirm it but I think so. You seem to know quite a bit about Wisconsin music history, are you the Gary Myers that has written the two books on it? If so I’ve read them both a few times and really enjoyed them. take care,
        Richard Wiegel Bowery Boys/Clicker

      • I guess I’m replying to myself, as I see no “reply” option with Richard’s post, but yes, I’m the guy who wrote the 2 WI books; thanks very much for your comments.
        And, as it turns out, I DO have info on the Country-Aire, however I may be wrong. I show it at F1312 County Rd P in Stratford, which is SW of Wausau.
        Gary

      • OK, I see my reply went in the right order. Also, however, I wasn’t the one who said anything about Steve Tracy, Lucy Cain, etc.; that was a different poster.

      • Hey Gary,
        I just asked Cubby Tracy about this, and neither he nor I remember any other Country Aire. The one that Clicker played at was in Appleton. Hope that helps.
        Richard

  15. John Nondorf

    Hello.

    It looks like some people who know a thing or two about 70′s Wisconsin music frequent this blog. I’m hoping you can help us out. I work at the Wisconsin Historical Society and we have a photo collection documenting the 1970 Sound Storm rock festival in Poynette. We have ID’s for a number of the bands and artists, but there are a lot of unidentified artists. I’m assuming these were the local/regional artists who performed there. Maybe you’ll recognize some faces: http://www.wisconsinhistory.org/whi/results.asp?search_type=basic&keyword1=sound+storm&submit=SUBMIT

    If you can help with identifications, please send an email to askphotos@wisconsinhistory.org

    Thank you.

    • KeanJD

      Image ID: WHi-67667
      That is Larry Roberston playing the Hammond B-3, the exact same instrument played in US Pure.
      Image ID: WHi-67694
      US Pure never had a flutist. The roadie setting up the equipment, face not visible, is “Hal”.
      Image ID: WHi-67690
      The woman in sun glasses standing near the van door is Joey Kramer; the musician in jeans next to her is band leader Tom Fadner.

      • Hello,
        I’m Richard Wiegel, I’m standing in the backround in the picture WHi-67694. I played guitar with The Bowery Boys at Sound Storm. We were friends and both were booked by North Central, a booking agency run by Larry Schumann (RIP) and JR Sitton (I think also deceased.) Larry was right, we either bought or borrowed US Pure’s amp that day. In fact, our lead singer Jeff Amundson was previously in US Pure. The person holding the flute is Don Richardson who unfortunately passed away last year. He was a muli-instrumentalist with The Bowery Boys and a big part of our history and sound. The Bowery Boys were a 7 or 8 piece horn band in it’s early days. Other players in the band that day: Steve and Cubby Tracy, Jeff Amundson, Kenny Heim, TJ Wipperman (sp), Don and myself. We used a photo from that day to make a poster that I recently donated to the Historical Society.

      • I asked Cubby if I had all the facts right about the Bowery Boys and he replied:
        Hey Richard,
        JR passed a quite a few years ago down in florida. Don Richardson also passed away a quite a few years ago. He had a heart attack while deer hunting. The Bowery Boys also had Ron Page who passed away several years ago, and George Cash who just recently passed away. We got George and Ron after the early Bowery Boys days with Torch (Tim Unterholzner) and Flame (Bob Arnot) (sp on both). . Torch played organ, and Flame played trumpet. And, damn, a lot of people we played with our dead. Damn….
        I hope all is well with you my friend, and maybe your holidays be filled with family and love!
        Kind Regards,

        Cub

  16. I think your image whi-67694 is a guy from the Bowrey Boys…in fact it looks Richard Wiegel with the guitar standing in front of those amps. Maybe they were sharing US PURE gear or might have bought some those amps from US PURE…both bands worked out of my agency. Larry

    • Hey Larry,
      got a question for you but didn’t know how to contact you. Give me a shout:

      Hope all is well.
      Richard Wiegel

      • I’m afraid I am the bearer of bad news. I just found out this morning that Larry Schumann passed away over the weekend due to a heart condition. There are still lots of musicians around who remember Larry and what a fun-loving guy he was. He managed a lot of us in our earliest bands, and was one of the few guys around with a 35mm camera back then, so he took lots of band photos too. Here is the obituary that appeared in the WI State Journal today:

        Schumann, Larry,
        PADUCAH, KY.
        Larry Schumann, age 62, of Paducah, Ky., formerly Wisconsin, passed away at 1 a.m., Saturday, December 5, 2009, at his residence. Larry was a fun loving, free spirit who was full of life and who never met a stranger. He was known as a man who “grabbed life by the horns.” He previously worked as an event promoter within the music industry and, as such, loved music in all genres. He also loved his cats, Jefferson, Gracie, Hanna, Sadie, Oscar, Maddy, Phineaus and Lucy. Larry is survived by his wife, Patricia; his mother, Mary Ann (Eggleson) Schumann; two daughters, Kari Bittner of Victor, N.Y. and Heather Schumann of Anoka, Minn.; one son, Shane Schumann and wife, Janet of Macedonia, N.Y.; two sisters, Linda Noble of New Ulm, Minn. and Vickie Schumann of Hanesville, Wash.; one brother, David Schumann and wife, Vera of Hastings, Minn.; five grandchildren, Tyler, Kacie, Jenna, Colby and Blaine; and eight nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his father, Donald LeRoy Schumann. Visitation will be held from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m., on Wednesday, December, 9, 2009, at MILNER AND ORR FUNERAL HOME of Paducah. Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m., Thursday, December 10, 2009, at MILNER AND ORR FUNERAL HOME, of Paducah. Entombment will follow in Maplelawn Cemetery. Expressions of sympathy may be made in the form of contributions to Project Hope, 1660 West 10th Street, Metropolis, Ill., 62960. You may leave a message or light a candle at http://www.milnerandorr.com

  17. Larry, Richard, Mark……..Drop a line TR

  18. Hello to y’all…

    I know a bit about the music business in Wisconsin in the 70′s having been the lead singer for Mesa (1970-72) and Daddy Whiskers (1972-74, 1979-81). I never tire of talking about the “good old days”. Though my bands operated out of Stevens Point we booked through North Central Productions (later McMillan & Clary Talent), JR Sitton was the manager of Mesa, and of course we had many dealings with Larry Schumann.
    After a 2 decade hiatus from the music biz I recently recorded a new album (check it out on myspace) and now I am working on booking some gigs as a solo. I’ve got the Steel Bridge Song Festival in Sturgeon Bay, the Riverfront Rendezvous in Stevens Point, and the Feel Good Festival in Amherst on my calendar for this summer. I just started booking in the last two weeks so I’m hoping to make my way around the state- just like the good old days. Playing acoustic guitar and banjo (folk/country-rock) in the tradition of Mesa and DW, but all originals.

    PEACE, RB

  19. I just ran across this site by Googling ” Bob Schmidtke guitarist.” I used to play with him in the Crosstown Flyers based out of Eugene Oregon along with Rick Markstrom whom Iim sure most of you remember. Rick and I still perform together frequently, last night in fact. Bob was the greatest guitarist I ever played with and one of my best friends. He is truly missed. I’m sorry to hear about Larry Schumann. He used to book my band Adrian Bach. Teenage Rick was in that band too. If any of you would like to contact me, Rick Markstrom or Scott Eakin (the Tayles, The Beans) you can find us on Facebook. We’re all Facebook friends along with Richard Wiegel and Teenage Rick. Steve Ibach

    • Hey Steve,
      great to hear from you, hope you are doing well. I just friended Rick Markstrom on facebook, but I’ll look up you and Scott. I still hear from him now and then. I have good memories of Bob too and often think of him. I have a lot of old live Beans and Clicker tapes with him on it, and one of these days, if I find the time and the money, I’ll archive them. I do have lots of old posters on my facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/TheMIdwesterners mmmmm….I’ll have to look and see if I have an old Adrian Bach poster. Glad to hear you are still playing, take care.
      Richard

      • Ray Cyr

        Dear Richard,

        You might remember me as the drummer of US Pure, Sound Street, and CIRCUS 1968-1975. Tonight, I was looking for information about Larry Schumann and found this site. I want to thank you for all the info you provided. Larry Schumann, JR Sitton, Tom Fadner and I started North Central Productions in October 1968 when I flew in from my home state of Maine. I was only 21 and put together the master file for NCP agency which took over a year to compile all the contacts we purchased from the Phil Dutcher Agency and Ken Adamady Productions. NCP later became McMillan and Cleary Talent. Our family of five, all musicians live in Florida and you may see our facebook “Studio 237 School of Music.” By the way I enjoyed your guitar work back then. I am sure it’s better now.

  20. ed nickus

    I’ve been handed a 45 by a friend who asked me to find out what I could. It’s by the Crosstown Flyers from about ’77. Contains Salty and Me, and Little River. I remember playing the thing when I was a jock in Lewiston ID…back then… But, can someone help me find some names for the members? Many thanks – ed

    • I can tell you all about that record because I’m one of the guitarists on it, along with Bob Schmitke also on guitar, Rick Markstrom on drums, Keith Cooper on piano and Don Campbell on bass. Keith sang the lead and the rest of us sang backup. Rick and I still play together frequently and we both live in Eugene, Oregon. Keith lives in Roseburg, Oregon. Don lives in Portland Oregon. Bob moved back to Madison in 1980 and unfortunately passed away a couple of years later. Bob and Rick were both in Madison’s The Tayles and The Beans. Bob also played in Clicker. That record by The Crosstown Flyers was played for Peter Asher who had just won the Grammy for best producer the year before. Asher was just about to embark on producing an album for us when the band suddenly broke up due to the fact that a couple of the members didn’t really want to become successful and quite possibly famous musicians. It just didn’t fit their laid back Oregon hippie lifestyles, unfortunately for the rest of us. That record is very rare, there were only about 1000 copies pressed. I have only one myself. Anything else you want to know about, I can probably tell you. My email is steve.ibach@gmail.com. i must say I was quite surprised to read your post since I have even thought about that band or record in years.
      Steve Ibach

      • I can tell you all about that record because I’m one of the guitarists on it, along with Bob Schmitke also on guitar, Rick Markstrom on drums, Keith Cooper on piano and Don Campbell on bass. Keith sang the lead and the rest of us sang backup. Rick and I still play together frequently and we both live in Eugene, Oregon. Keith lives in Roseburg, Oregon. Don lives in Portland Oregon. Bob moved back to Madison in 1980 and unfortunately passed away a couple of years later. Bob and Rick were both in Madison’s The Tayles and The Beans. Bob also played in Clicker. That record by The Crosstown Flyers was played for Peter Asher who had just won the Grammy for best producer the year before. Asher was just about to embark on producing an album for us when the band suddenly broke up due to the fact that a couple of the members didn’t really want to become successful and quite possibly famous musicians. It just didn’t fit their laid back Oregon hippie lifestyles, unfortunately for the rest of us. That record is very rare, there were only about 1000 copies pressed. I have only one myself. Anything else you want to know about, I can probably tell you. My email is steve.ibach@gmail.com. i must say I was quite surprised to read your post since I haven’t thought about that band or record in years.
        Steve Ibach

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