(and the Fortunes)
1963 – 1968
1963: On the east side of St. Paul, two brothers get together with two of their friends and put together a new band called the Fortunes. The lineup is: Tom Behr on guitar and vocals; Bob Behr on drums and vocals; Tom Mulkern on guitar and vocals; and Tony Tuccitto on bass guitar and vocals. The band starts off playing instrumentals by The Ventures, Dick Dale and the Deltones, Duane Eddy, Lonnie Mack and other popular bands. The band plays concerts in a garage on 3rd St and Maple in St Paul (the Tuccitto residence), drawing a crowd that would grow up to 100 people, resulting in the police showing up to divert traffic and also to enjoy the music. In addition to the garage concerts, the band plays at school dances, private parties and family events.
Summer, 1965: The band auditions for David Anthony Productions at The Ritz Theater in Northeast Minneapolis. David Anthony informs the band they will need to add vocals to their sound in order to be more “bookable.” All four members begin doing vocals and learn how to sing four-part harmonies. The band decides they will focus on vocal harmonies as their signature sound. After a successful second audition with David Anthony Productions, the band is signed to the agency. One of the band’s first vocal songs is the hit car song “409” by The Beach Boys. Other songs covered by the band are: “Needles and Pins” (The Searchers); “Lies” (The Knickerbockers); “You’ve Got Your Troubles, I’ve Got Mine” and “5:00 World” (The Vogues); “Nowhere Man” and “She Loves You” (The Beatles); “Baby It’s You” (The Shirelles); “Look Through Any Window” (The Hollies); “Do You Believe in Magic” and “Summer in the City” (The Lovin’ Spoonful); “Words of Love” (Buddy Holly); and “Splish, Splash” (Bobby Darin).
September, 1965: The Fortunes become The He-Too’s, the new name provided by David Anthony, who had used the name with another band who was originally called The Aardvarks. The band plays the five-state ballroom circuit and develops a following. Some of the Minnesota venues the band performs at are: the Fairmont Ballroom; George’s Ballroom in New Ulm; the Kimball Ballroom; the Parkway Ballroom in Foley; the Tower Teen Scene in Austin; The Funhouse in Little falls; The Blazer in Nisswa; Teen Town in Jordan; the Airway Bar in Marshfield; and in Wisconsin: Proache’s Popular Ballroom in Ellsworth; the Bloomer Ballroom; the London Inn in Eau Claire; and Richardson’s Pavilion in Clayton.
1966: Tom Mulkern departs for the service and is replaced by Jim Larkin on guitar and vocals. The bands vocals really began to develop as they perform tunes by The Hollies, Buffalo Springfield and The Beatles. Shortly thereafter in the same year, Dick Shrier, (former lead singer/guitarist for The Marauders) joins the band and injects an R&B influence that moves the He-Too’s into the world of Smokey Robinson, Little Anthony and The Imperials, and The Temptations . This was the first time the band grew to five pieces and is considered by many people to be the best version of the band. Dick Shrier stays in the band for about 6 months and then leaves to join a band from the Stillwater area, The Morticians (another band booked by David Anthony). Dick is replaced by Kevin Heinz, a guitar player and tenor vocalist. Vocals continue to flourish as the band begins to move more from the out state ballroom circuit to the local Twin Cities teen clubs, including: The Lion’s Den in St. Paul; Club Kaposia in South St. Paul; the New City Opera House in Minneapolis; and Someplace Else in Robbinsdale. The band also plays the Prom Ballroom in St. Paul.
1966/1967: Jim Larkin leaves the band to join The Stillroven and the band goes back to a quartet and start playing the Wisconsin bar circuit during the summers, playing 5 to 6 nights a week.
1967: The band records a cover version of “Romeo and Juliet” (The Reflections) at a studio in downtown Chicago. At Universal Audio, Studio B (Minneapolis), the band records a cover version of “I am Alive” (The Hollies). The band members do not play instruments at this session, so they can focus on the vocals, and record the songs live, with no overdubbing. Dick Wiegand plays guitar, his brother Larry Wiegand plays bass guitar and Chico Perez plays drums. Both recordings are pressed as acetates only and are never released.
May 12, 1967: The band plays a concert featuring The New Colony Six (from Chicago) at Aldrich Arena. Also playing on the ticket are local bands T.C. Atlantic and South 40. Emcees for the concert are two DJ’s from KDWB, Tac Hammer and Jimmy Reed.
1968: Tom Mulkern returns from the service and rejoins the band, Kevin Heinz departs.
Summer, 1968: The band decides to go in a new musical direction and add two horn players, Dave Vigoren on trumpet and trombone and Rich Mueller on trumpet. With a new sound, the band decides it is time for a new band name: The Fortunes and The He-Too’s era comes to an end and the Free and Easy era begins.
(image of Bandtree)
Interview Part One The Fortunes
Interview Part TWO The He-Too’s