Early rock band from Anoka with a hard-driving beat that’s fun to listen to and easy to dance to.
(1959 – 1965)
Summer, 1959: Four students at Anoka Junior High School get together and form a new band called the Corals (marine animals that inhabit tropical oceans). The original lineup is: Steve DeMarais on lead guitar; Jack Richardson on lead and rhythm guitar; Butch Maness on bass guitar; and Jim Cudd on drums.
The band plays mainly instrumental songs including covers of The Ventures songs. Steve and Jack play Silvertone guitars and Butch plays a Dan Electro bass guitar, all guitars purchased from Sears and Roebuck. The band plays at private parties and picks up a steady job on Tuesday evenings at the Anoka Recreation Room.
After the band’s name is mispronounced over the school intercom (chorales), the band comes up with a new name, The Trespassers, the name inspired by a Ventures song the band was playing at the time called “No Trespassing.”
The first job with the new band name is playing for the grand opening of a new Shell Gas Station in Coon Rapids, with the band playing on a flatbed truck in the parking lot. For one week of work the band is paid $45.00.
1960/1961: The band begins to play at Bill’s Roller Rink in Anoka (East Lake Road and Queens Way). Bill Barrett, the owner of the roller rink, had been holding “sock hops” on weekend nights. Butch Maness has a talk with Bill Barrett and tells Bill about his band and suggests that Bill try booking the band at the roller rink. Bill takes the suggestion from Butch and The Trespassers become the first band to play live at Bill’s Roller Rink. The band goes over well, drawing around 100 people, and Bill decides to start booking rock’n’roll bands on Friday and Saturday nights. The move to live rock music on weekend nights results in good sized crowds showing up to hear the local bands. A small stage is built in one of the corners of the buildings for the bands to play on. The Trespassers play live with guitars, amps and a drum set, with no PA system and no microphones. Jim French sings with the band for a few months at the roller rink and he sings from inside the announcer booth using the microphone in the booth and hears the band playing through a small open window space in the booth that overlooks the roller rink. One night of work at the roller rink brings the band $40.00.
The band plays at school dances in Anoka, Coon Rapids and St. Michaels. The band members join the Musicians Union and this brings them additional venues to play including Mister Lucky’s, the Marigold Ballroom, Ryan’s Bass Lake Ballroom, Rogers Ballroom; Medina Ballroom, Prom Center and Chubb’s Ballroom. Steve and Butch do most of the bookings. With longer jobs to play, the band needs to expand their song list beyond instrumentals and Steve takes on the job of singing lead vocals, with Jack and Butch doing backup vocals. Songs by Elvis, Chuck Berry and Jerry Lee Lewis are added to the set list.
The band buys matching clothes for the stage: black dress pants; white shirts (short sleeves); black vests; small black “ascot style” ties; and black suit coats. With a hard driving beat, the band draws in the crowds who find their music fun to listen to and easy to dance to.
Some jobs outside the Twin Cities are booked, including at Lake City, Ann Lake Pavilion, Saint Cloud Armory and across the border in Amery, Wisconsin at Woodley’s Country Dam. In Saint Paul, the band plays at the Como Park Pool.
Summer, 1961: Jim Cudd exits the band and joins the military service. A new drummer is located, Steve Wahrer, from Jim Thaxter and the Travelers. With Jim Thaxter and guitar player Tony Andreason both off to military service, Steve is available to join The Tresspassers.
Spring, 1962: Steve Wahrer leaves the band to rejoin Jim Thaxter and the Travelers who reform after Jim Thaxtor and Tony Andreason return from military service. Jerry Paulsen, a student from Anoka High and friends with the band members, becomes the new drummer.
Steve DeMarais adds keyboards to his guitar playing and singing duties.
1962: The band continues to play around town and draws large crowds. The band now draws up to (and over) 300 people a night when they play at Bill’s Roller Rink and their pay goes up to $100.00 a night. On one weekend night, Butch is informed by the owner that the crowd count is 340 people.
1963: The guys upgrade their musical equipment. Steve DeMarais picks up a Fender Jaguar guitar (and later a Gretch). Jack picks up a new Fender Telecaster. Butch switches to a Gibson bass guitar (and later an Epiphone).
Butch Maness leaves the band and joins Mike Waggoner and the Bops, one of the very first local bands he had seen play live (at the Crystal Coliseum).
The band recruits Tom Dorholt to play bass guitar.
1964: Steve DeMarais has a job transfer and relocates to St. Cloud, working for Musicland (a chain of music stores). The band becomes a three piece group after Jack leaves the band.
1965: The Trespassers, Steve DeMarais, Tom Dorholt and Jerry Paulsen, play a number of jobs at The Blue Blazer in Nisswa, a popular teen club located North of Brainerd.
Fall, 1965: The Trespassers come to an end.
In 1983, The Trespassers (Steve, Jack, Butch and Jerry) got together for a reunion concert at the Anoka Holiday Inn. Warned by staff at the Holiday Inn that “Monday nights were dead” at the venue, over 300 people showed up for the event. The band started playing Monday night jobs at the Holiday Inn, with Keith Johnson joining them (Monday being his off night with his band, Stagebrush). The success of the reunion concert inspired the band to play on a regular basis, mostly in the Northwest suburban area, up until 1995.
Written by Tom Campbell
Version 1: September 17, 2012
Version 2: January 9, 2013
Copyright by Thomas R. Campbell, 2013
Photos (Click a photo to see it full-screen, then click the arrows to see the next one.)
Trespassers 1959 to 1965
Steve DeMarais Guitar / Keyboards / Lead Vocals
1959 to 1965
Jack Richardson Guitar / Vocals
1959 to 1963
Butch Maness Bass Guitar / Vocals
1959 to 1963
Mike Waggoner and The Bops
Jim Cudd Drums
1959 to 1961
Steve Wahrer Drums / Lead Vocals
1961 to 1961
Jim Thaxter and The Travelers
Jim Paulsen Drums
1961 to 1965
Tom Dorholt Bass Guitar
1963 to 1963
Steve DeMarais – Living in Minnesota
Jack Richardson – Living in Minnesota
Butch Maness – Living in Minnesota
Jim Cudd – Unknown
Steve Wahrer – Passed away on January 21, 1989
Jerry Paulsen – Living in Minnesota
Tom Dorholt – Passed away on May 21, 2010
Interview PART ONE – Time 17:38
Interview PART TWO – Time 22:32