Bedlam Four / Echomen
Local group records a song about nuclear war that turns into a Psychedelic classic
Browse [Artist] Details:
The Bedlam Four
(and The Echomen)
1965 – 1968
1965: The Echomen form with the following lineup: Bob Derrickson on lead guitar; Rick Baem on drums; Gregg Huppert on keyboards, guitar and vocals; Randy Reymer on bass guitar; Gary Orling on rhythm guitar. The group forms around Bob and Rick (both 16 years old) who play surf instrumentals in Rick’s basement. All of the members live in Hastings, except Gregg, who is from River Falls, Wisconsin. The band plays teen dances and bars in the Hastings/River Falls area and also at Proaches Popular Ballroon in Ellsworth, Wisconsin.
1966: The group goes through a personnel change. Randy Reymer dies in a motorcycle accident at age 18. The new lineup is: Bob Derrickson on lead guitar and vocals; Gregg Huppert on guitar and vocals; Scott Cass on drums; Jack Taylor on bass guitar; and Bob Rasmussen on keyboards.
Bob begins singing, along with Gregg and the group becomes more Top-40 orientated, doing mainly Chuck Berry cover songs. Peter May hears the band and takes them into Dove Recording Studio to record a 45 of “Long Green” (The Kingsmen) and “Chocolate Chip” (an instrumental written by Bob). Pete Steinberg engineers the session and the 45 is released on the Fox label.
Spring, 1966: Jack Taylor meets Rich Pogue at a B.B. King concert . Pogue starts jamming with Jack, as they are both into the blues. Eventually, Pogue replaces Scott Cass on the drums and Bob Rasmussen leaves the band. Taylor and Pogue shift the musical direction of the band to a more blues sound, adding cover songs by Muddy Waters, The Olympics and Ike and Tina Turner to the song list. Rich Pogue takes over on lead vocals. Bob and Gregg are influenced by The Beatles and all of the band members consider The Yardbirds as their favorite band. The final version of The Echomen consists of Bob Derrickson, Jack Taylor, Gregg Huppert and Rich Pogue.
Late, 1966: The Echomen become The Bedlam Four, at the suggestion of Pogue, who takes the name of an insane asylum from the Shakespeare play King Lear. The Bedlam Four are: Bob Derrickson on lead guitar and vocals; Gregg Huppert on guitar, vocals and keyboards; Jack Taylor on bass guitar; Rich Pogue on drums and vocals.
1967: The band plays the local club circuit including The New City Opera House, Magoo’s, Someplace Else, Bobby’s and The Alps. The band also plays various outstate venues including Mankota, Brainerd, St. Cloud and Taylors Falls. In addition, the band travels out of Minnesota to play in Wisconsin (Ellsworth, Fix Hute, Spooner, River Falls, Chisago City, Bloomer, Menomonie, Amory, Richardson and Rice Lake) and also in Michigan (Ironwood and Hayward). At Proaches Popular Ballroom, the owner, Dick Proach, takes an interest in the band and funds a recording session at Dove. The band records four songs: “I Just Want To Make Love To You” (Willie Dixon); Blue, “Blue Feeling” (Chuck Berry); “Born in Chicago” (Paul Butterfield) and “Watch it Baby” (Rich Pogue). Pogue sings lead on all songs, with the exception of “Blue, Blue Feeling,” which is sung by Gregg. On “Watch it Baby”, Pogue is joined on vocals by a local female singer (name unknown). A local saxophone player (name unknown) also plays on the song. Rod Eaton engineers the session.
1967: “Watch it Baby” backed with “Blue, Blue Feeling” is released on LeJac Records and gets some airplay on local radio station KUXL.
The band opens up for several popular bands at Proaches, including The Yardbirds, Peter and Gordon, Tommy James and The Shondells and Sam the Sham and The Pharaohs. The band becomes heavily influenced by the new Psychedelic music and their show becomes more theatrical with the band wearing costumes and the use of a light show, sound effects and lighting the drum cymbals on fire. The group plays numerous battle of the bands concerts with local bands, including The Litter, The Del-Counts and Danny’s Reasons.
After making a connection with Ron Gjerde, the owner of the LeJac record company, the group records at his home basement studio (in Golden Valley) and records six songs over three Sunday afternoon sessions including an orignal song that started out as poem written by Rich Pogue, “Hydrogen Atom.” The origin of the song goes back to a trip to the mall Rich Pogue made at a young age with his parents, where a variety of bomb shelters were on display for sale.
“Hydrogen Atom” is released on Armada Records with “Watch it Baby” on the flipside. The song is about nuclear war and Pogue sings lead vocals. Gary Jollymore, a friend of the bands, plays harp, does the “WC Fields” spoken part in the middle of the song and ad-libs the talking part at the very end of the song.
“Hydrogen Atom” wins a weekly “battle of the records” on KDWB and also gets airplay in Madison, Milwaukee, Duluth and Winnipeg, Canada. Jack Taylor leaves the band and is replaced by Billy Behr on bass guitar. The band travels to Winnipeg to play with The Purple Plum and are interviewed on a local radio station.
Spring, 1968: The band breaks up.
Late 1960’s: “Hydrogen Atom” is included on an album called Money Music, a compilation album released by Peter May, consisting of the numerous local bands he was involved with.
In the late 1970’s and early 1980’s record collectors began to seek out “Hydrogen Atom” and due to the very small pressing, the price of the record skyrocketed, with reported sales of $750, an unheard of price for a local 45 at that time period. The song was rereleased in the 1980’s in Europe on a flex-disc. “Hydrogen Atom” is now considered by many music critics to be one of the best psychedelic songs from the 1960’s and is known nationally and internationally and is included on numerous compilation albums and CD’s. The Money Music album, a local compilation album that includes “Hydrogen Atom” has also become highly sought after by record collectors.
In the summer of 2011, minniepaulmusic.com was contacted by Rick Clark of Rick Clark Productions, who was looking to contact Rich Pogue. Rick was working on the music soundtrack for a new movie and wanted to include “Hydrogen Atom” in the movie. Rick informed us he had listened to over 1,000 songs before deciding on “Hydrogen Atom.” We were more than happy to get Rick Clark in touch with Rich Pogue.
In Jaunuary, 2012, a fanzine called Savage Damage Digest, based out of Oakland, California, published a 1981 interview that Tom Campbell did with Jack Taylor. On the back cover of the fanzine is a photo of The Echomen.
On February 13, 2012, a new film debuted at the Berlin Film Festival in Germany called “Jayne Mansfield’s Car” directed, co-written and co-starring Billy Bob Thornton. The movie is a family drama set in the southern United States during the late 1960’s. Included in the soundtrack is “Hydrogen Atom” by the Bedlam Four.
Long Green – 45 Record – The Echomen
Chocolate Chip – 45 Record – The Echomen
Blue Blue Feeling – 45 Record
Watch It Baby – 45 Record – Bedlam Four
Hydrogen Atom – 45 Record – Bedlam Four
No One Left To Love – 45 Record – Bedlam Four
Psychedelic Mantra – Side B
(image of Bandtree)