System

Rock’n’roll from 1967 to 1973

 

History

The System

1967 – 1973 

 

1967:  Jeff Parkinson along with two other musicians, Dave Rival and Peter Brynildson, decide to put a new band together called The System.  The original line-up is: Jeff Parkinson (band leader) on drums; Dave Rival on lead guitar and vocals; Peter Brynildson on lead vocals and trumpet; Mike Holm on keyboards, guitar, flute and vocals; and Jim Richards on bass guitar (Version 1).  Dave and Mike also do some lead vocals.  The band members all live in the Edina/Hopkins area.  Bruce Brantseg, an agent with David Anthony Productions, books the band. 

The band goes into Dove Recording Studio in Bloomington and records two original songs” “I Just Don’t Know” (written by Mike Holm) and “He’s In Love With Himself” (written by Dave Rival).  The two songs are pressed as an acetate only and are never released. 

May 1967:  Jim Richards leaves the band and Dick Erickson gets a phone call with a request to audition for the band.  Dick auditions for The System and also for another band, the Sound of Soul, in the same week.  Dick decides to join The System because he is familiar with the members of the band who live nearby him and he likes the variety of music that The System played.  The new lineup is: Michael Holm on keyboards, guitar, flute, vocals; Dick Erickson on bass guitar and vocals; Dave Rival on lead guitar and vocals; Jeff Parkinson on drums; Peter Brynildson on lead vocals and trumpet (Version 2). 

Summer, 1967:  Dick plays his first job with the band at the Parkway Ballroom in Foley,Minnesota.  Dick brings his Wollensack recorder to the ballroom and winds up recording the band and also the sound of smashing beer bottles, the result of a rowdy audience. 

The band plays at the following venues in town: Lokates Ballroom in North St. Paul; Magoo’s and New City Opera House in Minneapolis; the Purple Barn in Eden Prairie; the Purple Cigar in St. Louis Park; The Prison in Burnsville; Casino Royale in Fridley; Someplace Else in Robbinsdale; and The Coffman Union on the University of Minnesota campus. 

Out of town venues in Minnesota the band plays at include: The C Club in Duluth; The Blazer in Nisswa; George’s Ballroom in New Ulm; Parkway Ballroom in Foley; New Munich Ballroom; Kato Ballroom in Mankato;  Armories in Fergus Falls, Wadena, Hibbing and Virginia; The Tower in Austin; Pierz Fun House; Fox Lake Ballroom; and the University of Minnesota at Morris.  In addition, the band plays at high school events across the state. 

In Wisconsin, the band plays at The Pines Ballroom in Bloomer, Proache’s Popular Ballroom in Ellsworth; Rice Lake Ballroom; and the Beloit Teen Club.

October 6, 1967:   The band plays with The Everly Brothers at the Prom Center on University Avenue in St. Paul.   Also on the ticket is a band from Chicago called The Mob.

Spring, 1968:  Jeff Parkinson leaves the band and Gary Nelson joins the band on drums.  The new lineup is:  Michael Holm on keyboards, guitar, flute, vocals; Dick Erickson on bass guitar and vocals; David Rival on lead guitar and vocals; Peter Brynildson on lead vocals and trumpet; Gary Nelson on drums (Version 3). 

May 23, 1968:  The System opens up a show with the Left Banke (from New York City) at The Tent in Old Hayward, Wisconsin.  The Left Banke’s Baroque style pop music (Baroque style referring to the string arrangements) leaves a big  impression on the members of The System and the band learns a number of songs on the Left Banke’s first album (named after their two hit songs:  “Walk Away Renee/Pretty Ballerina”).

At this time the band adds more blues, hard edged rock and psychedelic music to its repertoire.  This is when Gary begins using his renowned fire stick routine, soaking drum mallets in lighter fluid and lighting them on fire.  This was featured on a jam song (“Imitation Situation 1”) from the first Fever Tree album, purchased by Dick. 

Late Summer, 1968:  Peter Brynildson leaves the band to join the army and Denny Teien joins the band as lead singer. The new lineup is: Michael Holm on keyboards, guitar, flute, vocals; Dick Erickson on bass guitar and vocals; David Rival on lead guitar and vocals; Gary Nelson on drums; Denny Teien on lead vocals (Version 4).

August, 1968: The band plays at the Teen Fair at the State Fair.

Spring, 1969: Bruce Brantseg begins to manage the band in addition to booking the band. 

June, 1969:  The band records two songs for a 45 at Universal Audio in Minneapolis.  Bruce Brantseg brings in Jim Golden from Chicago in to produce the record.  Jim had produced a Chicago band called the Cryin’ Shames (who scored a national hit with “Sugar and Spice”) and also worked with local band South 40/Crow.  Bob Shultz is the recording engineer. 

Two original songs are recorded, “Katheryne,” written by Mike Holm and “One in a Million,” written by Dave Rival and Dick Erickson.  Playing on Side A are: Mike Holm on keyboards, guitar, flute, and lead vocals; Dick Erickson on bass guitar and background vocals; Dave Rival on lead guitar and background vocals; Denny Teien on lead vocals; and Gary Nelson on drums and background vocals.  On Side B are: Denny Teien on vocals; Mike Holm on keyboards, guitar, and background vocals; Dick Erickson on bass guitar and background vocals; Dave Rival on lead guitar and lead vocals; and Gary Nelson on drums and background vocals.

Shortly after the recording session at Universal Audio, Bruce Brantseg leaves David Anthony Productions and Denny Simons takes over booking and managing the band.  The band takes a week off from playing when the 45 is pressed, in order for Denny Simons and Gary Nelson to drive around to various locations in order to promote the 45. 

The record gets airplay in Willmar and St Cloud and goes to number ten in Duluth and the Iron Range.  In Devil’s Lake, North Dakota, the record goes to number one.  The record is also played in Sioux Falls, South Dakota and Fargo, North Dakota.

Summer, 1969:  The band gets a steady job at Archies Bar in Somerset, Wisconsin (Sundays, 6 pm to 11 pm), that lasts through 1970.

Ralph Ortiz of Alpha Productions takes an interest in the band and begins to talk with the group about being booked through his agency.

Late Summer, 1969:  The band goes into Sound 80 in Edina and records an original song written by Mike Holm called “Smiling Eyes.”  On the song are: Mike Holm: lead vocals; Dick Erickson: bass guitar and backup vocals; Dave Rival: guitar and backup vocals; Denny Tien: lead vocals; Gary Nelson: drums.

Gary Nelson leaves the band to get married and joins the Army.   Phil Berdahl, formerly of The Stillroven, takes over on drums.  The new lineup is: Michael Holm on keyboards, guitar, flute, vocals; Dick Erickson on bass guitar and vocals; Dave Rival on lead guitar and vocals; Denny Teien on lead vocals, Phil Berdahl on drums (Version 5).

August, 1969: The band plays at the Teen Fair at the State Fair.

December 15, 1969:  The band plays with (and backs up) pop star Bobby Sherman at the Duluth Auditorium.  Band members find the stage covered with candy, flowers, letters, cookies, cakes and other items tossed up on the stage for the teen idol.  The contract calls for the band to limit their set to no more than 20 minutes. 

February, 1970: The band plays with Steppenwolf at the Minneapolis Armory.

Early 1970:  Singer Denny Teien and lead guitar player Dave Rival both leave the band, following a disagreement  over the musical direction of the band.   Mike takes over lead vocals and drops the keyboards.  Vic Campbell joins the band on keyboards.  Dick starts to share guitar and bass duties with Tom Pohling, former guitar player with the CA Quintet.  The new lineup is: Mike Holm on lead vocals; Dick Erickson on bass guitar and vocals; Phil Berdahl on drums; Vick Campbell on keyboards; Tom Pohling on guitar (Version 6).

May, 1970:  The band leaves David Anthony Productions and signs on with  Central Booking Agency. 

July, 1970:  The band travels to South Dakota to play with The Box Tops at the Sioux Falls Auditorium.

Late, 1970:  The Gathering at the Depot album is released and includes “Smiling Eyes” recorded by The System in 1969, written by Mike Holm.  Applause is added to the song at Sound 80 to make it sound like a live recording.  The album is a promo album for various bands booked by Alpha Productions. 

September, 1970:  Phil Berdahl leaves the band and is replaced by drummer Gar Johnson, formerly of Chesterfield Gathering.  The new lineup is: Michael Holm on lead vocals; Dick Erickson on bass guitar and vocals; Vick Campbell on keyboards; Tom Pohling on guitar; Gar Johnson on drums (Version 7). 

October, 1970:  Tom Pohling leaves the band and Geoff Buschier joins the band on guitar.  Geoff had worked with Gar Johnson in local band Chesterfield Gathering, one of the bands featured on the “Gathering at the Depot” album.  The new lineup is:  Michael Holm on lead vocals;  Dick Erickson on bass guitar and vocals; Vick Campbell on keyboards; Gar Johnson on drums; Geoff Buschier on guitar (Version 8). 

January 8, 1971:  The band plays with 3 Dog Night at the Met Sports Center in Bloomington.  After the concert, the band is asked to travel to the 3 Dog Night concert scheduled for the next night in Kansas Cityand play as the opening act.  The band accepts the offer and follow 3 Dog Night’s semi-truck through the night (in a snowstorm) and arrive in Kansas City at 11:00 am the following morning, check into a hotel for some rest, make it to the 3:00 pm sound check at the Kansas City Civic Auditorium, and play the show that night (January 9, 1971). 

Summer, 1971:  Gar Johnson leaves the band after accepting an offer to relocate to Colorado to play with Danny Holien who had secured a record deal and had just recorded his hit song “Colorado.”  Bernie Pershey, formerly of Lightning, joins the band on drums.  The new lineup is: Mike Holm on lead vocals;  Dick Erickson on bass guitar and vocals; Vick Campbell on keyboards; Geoff Buschier on guitar; Bernie Pershey on drums (Version 9). 

August 31, 1971:  The band plays at the Teen Fair in St. Paul. 

November, 1971:  The band plays with Neil Young’s Crazy Horse band at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa.

December, 1971: The band leaves Central Booking Agency and signs on with Alpha Productions. 

1972:  The band continues to play around town at the local hot spots as well as out-state venues. 

January 3, 4, 5 & 6, 1973:  The band plays at Vogue North in Bemidji. 

January 13, 1973:  The band plays a job at the Student Union Ballroom at Mankato State College.

January 27, 1973:  The band plays for a dance at De LaSalle High School in Minneapolis. 

May 5, 1973:  The band plays for a prom dance at Grand Meadows High School in Grand Meadows, Minnesota.  

May, 1973:   The System comes to an end.

UPDATE:

In June, 2012, Dick Peterson reported The System was scheduled to play with Janis Joplin at the Minneapolis Armory… the concert was cancelled.

In June, 2012, Mike Holm recalled that his very first band was Mike and The Invaders and they only played for private parties. 

 

 

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

Group  One

Group  Two

Group  Seven

 

Recordings

I  Just  Don’t  Know  –  Sample

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He’s  In  Love  with  Himself  –  Sample

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45 - Record

Katheryne  –  Sample

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One  In  A  Million  –  Sample

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Smiling  Eyes  –  Sample

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Beautiful  Day  –  Sample

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Bandtree

 

Where are they now?

  • name
    instruments in current band
  • name
    No longer active in music
  • name
  • Still active, jobbing with various bands

Interview

 

Interview  PART  ONE  –  Time  =  17:08  Minutes

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Interview  PART  TWO  –  Time  =  23:37  Minutes

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Interview  PART  THREE   –  Time  =  25:29  Minutes

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