Mystics / Michael’s Mystics

 

History

The Mystics / Michael’s Mystics
(and The Galaxies and Mystic Evolution)

1961: Seven students at Harding High School in St. Paul get together and form a new band.  Members of  The Galaxies are: Mike Stokes on guitar and lead vocals; his brother Butch Stokes on piano, organ and vocals; Rich Walker on bass guitar; Jack Carty on drums; Ron Williams on trumpet; Greg Hartman on saxophone; and John Colb on Trumpet.

The band plays at high school and college dances, fraternity parties, the YMCA, the Hazel Park Commercial Club and at the McDunna Community Center.

1962: Jack Carty leaves the band and Dave Steineck (from Hill High School) joins the band on drums.

1963:  The band discovers there is a local band in town called Johnny and the Galaxies.  The band decides to come up with a new name, The Mystics, to avoid any confusion with the other band.

1963/1964:  The band regroups as a 5 piece band with no trumpets.  The lineup is: Mike; Butch; Rich; Dave; and Greg.

1964:  Donald K. Martin (real name, Darwin Ekholm) from KDWB books the band at the Teen Fair (part of the State Fair) and becomes the manager of the band.  The band has a name change from The Mystics to Michael’s Mystics.

1965:  The band records four songs at Dove Recording Studio in Bloomington with Peter May.  A 45 is released with “You Ran Away” backed with “Hi Bird” released on the Bear record label.

Donald K. Martin is told by management at KDWB to stay out of the band business and ends his management job with the band.  The band is now booked by Dick Shapiro with Central Booking  Alliance and plays at the following venues: Mister Lucky’s; Bobby’s teen club; Lokates Ballroom in North St. Paul; The Cabarate on West 7th in St. Paul; The Prison in Burnsville; The Bel Rae Ballroom in Moundsview; the Purple Barn in Eden Prairie; Ryan’s Ballroom in Plymouth; Pudge’s in St. Paul; the Tom Tom Room at Minnehaha Bowl; The Whisky a Go Go in St. Paul on St. Peter Street; Bimbo’s at 7 corners in Minneapolis; More Downstairs in downtown Minneapolis; the Dayton’s 8th floor auditorium in downtown Minneapolis; and Aldrich Arena in St. Paul (where many of the popular local “Battle of the Bands” were held).

June, 1965:  Wes Hayne (playing in The Pastels at the time) is invited to join Michael’s Mystics by drummer Dave Steineck.  Wes accepts the offer and joins the band.  The first job the band plays with Wes is at the Prom Ballroom in St. Paul (sharing the bill with The Jules Herman orchestra).  The lineup is: Michael Stokes on lead guitar and lead vocals; Butch Stokes on keyboards and vocals; Rich Walker on bass guitar; David Steineck on drums; Greg Hartman on tenor, alto and baritone saxophone; and Wes Hayne on tenor saxophone and trumpet.

1966:  The band adds another horn player: Dave Hanson on trumpet and trombone.  Dave Steineck leaves the band and Dave Sherman joins the band on drums.  The band is now once again a 7 piece group with 3 horn players.  The new lineup is: Michael Stokes on lead guitar and lead vocals; Butch Stokes on keyboards and vocals; Rich Walker on bass guitar; David Sherman on drums; Greg Hartman on tenor, alto and baritone saxophone; and Wes Hayne on tenor saxophone and trumpet; and Dave Hanson on trumpet and trombone.

1967/1968: Rich Walker leaves the band and Dick Hedlund joins the band on bass guitar. Dave Sherman leaves the band and Wilbur Ducas from West High joins the band on drums.  Wilbur Ducas leaves the band and Joey Piazza (fromNew York) joins the band on drums.  The band goes back to the original name The Mystics.

Late 1968: Dick Hedlund and Joey Piazza leave the band to join Blackwood Apology.  Butch Stokes offers jobs to Willie Weeks (bass guitar) and Bill Lordan (drums) from The Amazers to join the band and they accept the offer.  Butch had been out to see the The Amazers playing at a club called the Ebony Lounge located on University Avenue and Avon in St. Paul.

1969: The band has a large fan base in the twin cities and are making good money.  The group travels to jobs in four new Eldorado’s and four new Grand Prix’s.  The band travels to Chicago and play at Rush Over, Rush Up (both are on Rush Street), Mother’s and Wine and Roses.

Mike and Wes set up Mystic Enterprises Inc. to run the band as a corporation and pay band members a salary.  Wes is the president.

The band opens up for the following national acts: Sly and The Family Stone at Aldrich Arena;  The Buckinghams at the Minneapolis Armory; Three Dog Night and Dino, Desi and Billy at the Minneapolis Auditorium; Wilson Pickett at the Minneapolis Auditorium; and The Who at the Minneapolis Auidtorium; Aretha Franklin at the Minneapolis Auditorium; and the Strawberry Alarm Clock at the Minneapolis Auditorium; and The Who at the Minneapolis Auditorium.

Spring, 1969: Ira Heilicher takes the band into Micside Recording Studio for three hours to record two songs: “Pain” by the Grassroots and “But It’s Alright” by JJ Jackson.  The session is paid for by Daytons, who want the exclusive right to sell the 45 at their weekend fashion shows.  Ira had heard the song “Pain” on the fourth Grassroots Album, “Lovin’ Things” (1969) and wanted to get a 45 out of the song before The Grassroots did.  The 45 is released on the Charlie label and hits number one in the twin cities and also in Buffalo, New York in the summer of 1969.  The song is also popular throughout the midwest and on the east and west coasts.  The song “Pain” was first recorded by the Nova’s Nine and written by band member Bob Mann.

Fall, 1969: At the Connie Awards, six members of the band win awards: Bill: best drummer; Willie: best bass player; Mike: best rhythm guitar player; Wes: best sax player; Gregg: best in other horn category; Dave: best trumpet player.

The band plays 320 jobs in 1969, most are one night jobs.  On occasion the band plays two jobs in one day and on one occasion play three jobs in one day.  Multiple jobs in one day typically start off with an early job at one of the Dayton’s fashion shows.

December 31, 1969:  Three band members play their last job with the band at a New Years Eve show at the Purple Barn in Eden Prairie: Wes Hayne, Bill Lordan and Willie Weeks depart the band as the 1960’s come to an end and a new decade begins.

1970:  The “Pain” 45 is released on Metromedia, a national record company, distributed by Heilicher Brothers.  The Grassroots never release their version of “Pain” on a 45.

Billy Franzee joins the band on bass guitar, Edgar Murphy joins the band on drums and a new saxophone player joined the band.

Wes and the horn section from the Mystics start a new band with a new rhythm section called Mystic Evolution, an 8-piece band.   The lineup is: Wes Hayne on saxophone; Gregg Hartman on tenor and bass saxophone; Dave Hanson on trumpet;  Barry (last name unknown) on lead vocals; Dewey Hunt on keyboards, trumpet and vocals; Willy Wampach on lead guitar; Larry Weldon on bass guitar; and Tom Barnick on drums.  After Barry leaves the group, Thadeus Tombs joins the band on lead vocals.  After dealing with various problems including personnel changes and expenses with the band bus (“Big  Blue”), Mystic Evolution comes to an end in the summer of 1970.

1970 – 1975:  The band goes through a number of personnel changes and Mike Stokes leaves the band.  After Mike leaves, Rocky Robbins takes over the job as lead singer.

1975 – 1977:  The band continues to go through personnel changes.  Members who are in the band during this time period are: Jack Blackett (horn player from The Flippers); Alexander O’Neal (lead vocals); Rocky Robbins (who had left the band and then returned); Melanie Rosalies (lead vocals); Carl Bradley (lead vocals); and Bob Vandell (drums).

1977:  Butch Stokes comes to the conclusion “it isn’t working anymore” and decides to bring the The Mystics to an end.

Update

The Mystics were inducted into the Minnesota Rock Country Hall of Fame on May 27, 2006, at a concert/ceremony held at The Medina Ballroom.  Former band members packed the stage and fans packed the dance floor as The Mystics took the stage once again in Minnesota.

Over the years the Mystic’s 45 of “Pain” has become a sought after 45 by record collectors and the song is considered by many musicians and music fans to be one of the best recordings by a local horn band from the 1960’s.

In November, 2011, an acetate surfaced of The Mystics with four songs recorded at Dove Recording Studio in 1965: “My Babe,” “You Ran Away,” “Hi Bird,” and “To Be Or Not To Be.”   The first and last songs on the acetate were never released.  “You Ran Away” and “Hi Bird” were on the bands first 45 on the Bear label.

In 2011 and 2012, both Wes Hayne and Butch Stokes reported they had no knowledge at the time about the “Pain” 45 coming out on the Charlie label.  There is no information known to date about this record label.  One idea is that the Charlie label 45 may have been pressed exclusively for Dayton’s, who paid for the recording session.

In 2012, recent reports are that “Pain” by the Mystics has been a featured song at dance clubs in the UK.

 

Photos  (Click a photo to see it full-screen, then click the arrows to see the next one.)

 

Recordings

My  Babe – Dove  Acetate

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To  Be  Or  Not  To  Be – Dove  Acetate

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You  Ran  Away – 1st  45  Record – A Side

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Hi  Bird – 1st  45  Record – B Side

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Pain – 2nd  45  Record – A Side

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But  It’s  Alright  2nd  45  Record – B Side

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Bandtree

(to be posted)

Where are they now?

  • (to be posted)

Interview

Interview PART ONE

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Interview PART TWO

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