Warren Kendrick turns The Victors into The Scotsmen for one 45
1964 – 1966
Spring, 1964: Two graduates of Minnetonka High School, Jim Kane and Ron Daily, decide to start a new band with current students at Minnetonka High. Minnetonka is a West suburb of Minneapolis. The original lineup is: Terry Knutson on keyboards and lead vocals; Jim Crill on rhythm guitar and lead vocals; Ron Daily on lead guitar and backup vocals; Jim Kane on bass guitar and backup vocals; and Gary Leech on drums.
The band practices at the Kane residence or the Leech residence, both in Excelsior.
Summer, 1964: The band plays their first live job at the Air Force Reserve located adjacent to the Minneapolis–St. Paul International Airport. The group plays mainly surf songs and top 40 cover songs. Jim Crill, a California native, provides the influence for the surf music and has a large surf board that the band uses as a stage prop. It was Jim Crill who came up with the band name, the title of a Dick Dale song. The band has two roadies, Joe Abernathy and Jim Broholm.
The band plays for Minnetonka High sock hops and parties including a prom dance at the Lafayette Club. The group also plays for private parties on the Tonka Belle, a private rental yacht on Lake Minnetonka.
Booking agent Dick Shapiro (a partner with Ira Heilicher in Path Musical Productions) pays a visit to the Kane residence to check out the new band and begins to book The Victors.
The band plays at numerous in town and out of town venues including: Danceland in Excelsior; Mister Lucky’s; Dayton’s (Minneapolis and St. Paul); the Playmor in Glencoe; Jordan Teen Town; The Blazer in Nisswa; Pierz Fun House; and various clubs in Western Wisconsin.
Jim Crill and Jim Kane co-write some original songs.
January, 1965: Ron Daily, Terry Knutson, Gary Leech and Jim Kane record a song written by a professor at Macalester College, to be used in a St. Paul theatrical play. The recording takes place at a music studio on the Macalester campus.
Early 1965: The band gets a call from local record producer, songwriter and guitar player Warren Kendrick, who asks the guys to record a song he had written called “Beer Bust Blues.” The session takes place at Dove Recording Studio in Bloomington. Playing on the song are: Pete Lokken on lead vocals; Terry Knutson on keyboards and talking part; Ron Daily on guitar and backup vocals; Jim Kane on bass guitar; Gary Leech on drums and backup vocals; and Warren Kendrick on lead guitar and high spoken part. Pete Lokken is a friend of the bands from Minnetonka High who has a rough, gravely style voice (similar to Bobby Nolan of The Nova’s who had a local hit with “The Crusher”). Gary also adds sound effects to the song by tapping beer bottles together and pouring beer from a bottle into a glass.
A second song is recorded with the group for Kendrick, this time in the basement of the Kane residence. The song, written by Kendrick, is an instrumental called “Scotch Mist.”
Warren Kendrick releases “Beer Bust Blues” backed with “Scotch Mist” on his Scotty Records label and calls the group The Scotsmen. “Beer Bust Blues” becomes a very popular song by the band at Fraternity parties at the University of Minnesota. The Victors sell the 45 at their band jobs at Minnetonka High School.
Late summer, 1965: Jim Crill and the band part ways and the group searches for a new singer.
Jim Kane meets Denny Waite (from St. Paul) at the Teen Fair and Denny is invited to try out with the band on lead vocals. Denny auditions and is hired.
January, 1966: The first job with Denny in the band is at an armory in Bismarck, North Dakota. The temperature that night is 39 degrees below zero. Taking the stage for the first time in front of a large audience, Denny gets a bad case of stage fright and is unable to sing but stays on stage and plays tambourine. The other guys cover for him on vocals. Making $250 for the show, this turns out to be the highest paying job for the group.
Jim Kane has a friend in London who ships over albums by British bands. The group learns songs by Them, the Zombies, the Kinks and the Animals. The group gains in popularity and are booked on most weekends.
A local radio station (either WDGY or KDWB) offers local bands a chance to record at Dove Recording Studio in Bloomington and have their songs played on the air. Two days before The Victors are scheduled to record, they learn to play a new song for the session, “Gloria” by Them (covered by The Shadows of Knight). In the studio, Denny Waite gets the lyrics wrong on the chorus and “Gloria” comes out as “Gloora.” Disappointed in their recording the band informs the radio station to not play their song.
May 21, 1966: The Victors play a Battle of the Bands at Danceland in Excelsior with The Accents.
July 4, 1966: The Victors play at The Blazer in Nisswa and set the crowd record for the club. The Blazer is a popular venue for teens on summer vacation with their families.
July 23, 1966: The band plays their final job for a street dance in Belle Plaine, Minnesota. Gary departs Minnesota for California due to his father’s job transfer. Terry and Ron decide to leave the band.
After a two year run, The Victors come to an end.
In 1993, an album was released called “The Best of The Electras and The Scotsmen and The Victors.” The album contains “Beer Bust Blues” and “Scotch Mist” from The Scotsmen 45 and five songs by The Victors. The Electras were another band (from Ely, Minnesota) produced by Warren Kendrick.
In 2006, a CD was released called “The Victors Victorious.” The CD features thirty-one songs by the band including studio songs, live recordings and practice sessions.
Beer Bust Blues – 45 Record – Side A
Scotch Mist – 45 Record – Side B
I Ain’t Gonna Eat Out My Heart Anymore
Mister You’re A Better Man Than I
Baby What You Want Me To Do
I Don’t Know
She Gives Me Lovin’
Jim Kane Bass Guitar / Vocals 1964 to 1966
Ron Daily Lead Guitar / Vocals 1964 to 1966
Terry Knutson Keyboards / Vocals 1964 to 1966
Gary Leech Drums 1964 to 1966
Jim Crill Rhythm Guitar / Vocals 1964 to 1965
Denny Waite Lead Vocals 1965 to 1966
Where are they now?
Jim Kane – unknown.
Ron Daily – passed away on November 20, 2009.
Terry Knutson – living in Minnesota, no longer active in music.
Gary Leech – living in Minnesota, no longer active in music.
Jim Crill – unknown.
Denny Waite – living in Minnesota, playing with The Litter on reunion concerts (keyboards, harp and lead vocals).
Interview PART ONE – Time = 23:03
Interview PART TWO – Time = 23:14