The British Invasion inspires a St. Paul band
1965 – 1966
Summer, 1965: Timothy D. Kehr, Bill Strandlof and Preston Bowen are all graduates from Alexander Ramsey Senior High School (Class of 64) in Roseville, Minnesota. With Timothy D. Kehr acting as manager, Bill (guitar) and Preston (bass guitar) start to form a new band to be called The TaBS (Timothy and Bill Strandlof). The inspiration to start a new band comes from the British Invasion.
Bill Strandlof asks Rick Johnson (drums) to join the new band and Rick signs on. Rick had just graduated from North St. Paul High School. Bill and Rick had met each other at The Lion’s Den in St. Paul when Bill played with Keith Zeller and the Starliners and Rick played with The Sandmen, both bands played at the club.
The group now needs to locate a rhythm guitar player.
Timothy D. Kehr and Bill Strandlof decide to go out and see a band performing at The Marian KC Hall in Bloomington (South of 494 and West of Lyndale Avenue). In the audience is Dan Rinaldi, also to check out the band (it may have been The Chancellors). Timothy D. Kehr spots Dan Rinaldi (with long hair) in the crowd and decides to ask him if he knows how to play guitar. Dan informs him that he does have a guitar and can play a few chords. Timothy D. Kehr informs Dan to go in the men’s restroom wait there, as he finds Bill and brings him to the restroom to meet Dan. Dan agrees to join the band.
The TaBS start to rehearse in the basements of the Strandlof, Bowen or Rinaldi residences. The lineup is: Bill Strandlof on lead guitar and vocals; Dan Rinaldi on rhythm guitar and vocals; Preston Bowen on bass guitar and vocals; and Rick Johnson on drums and vocals. The band learns to play some of the popular songs of the time including covers of The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Yardbirds, The Rascals, The Righteous Brothers, Dale Hawkins, Lonnie Mack, The Kingsmen, Chuck Berry, The Kinks, The Byrds, and Sam the Sham and the Pharoahs.
Bill Strandlof sings lead on songs by The Beatles, The Byrds, The Yardbirds and The Kinks; Preston Bowen sings lead on songs by The Rolling Stones; Rick Johnson sings lead on the blues songs; and Dan Rinaldi sings lead on songs by Paul Revere and The Raiders and “These Boots Are Made for Walking” (a hit song by Nancy Sinatra) among others.
The band’s very first job is at a bar with one customer, who departs the bar after hearing the band.
The band is approached by Dick Blonegon and another agent with The Blonegon Agency and they begin to book the band. After some time, Timothy D. Kehr takes over the booking, and eventually the band signs on with David Anthony Productions.
1965: Now booked by David Anthony Productions, the band is on the road quite a bit, traveling to ballrooms, armories and other venues, in out-state Minnesota including Hibbing, Brainerd, Bemidji, and Nisswa. Rick Johnson’s VW microbus serves as the band vehicle, which tops out at 55 miles per hour. Eventually, a pickup truck replaces the VW.
The band members are very much influenced by the British Invasion and are one of the first bands in town with members who have long hair. This generates some flak from various people the band runs into, but the band deals with it. Dan makes up his mind to “get in the face” of anyone who decides to criticize his hair.
1966: Bill Strandlof’s mother decides to help the band out and purchases a new 1966 Ford Econoline van for the group to use as their band vehicle.
Spring, 1966: Preston Bowen and Rick Johnson exit the band and two new members join, Terry Bellows and Rory Lee. The new lineup is: Bill Strandlof on lead guitar and vocals; Dan Rinaldi on rhythm guitar and vocals; Terry Bellows on bass guitar and vocals; and Rory Lee on drums.
August, 1966: The band is rehearsing in the basement of the Strandlof home and Bill gets a phone call from Bruce Madison of Gregory Dee and the Avanties. Bruce wants to know if Bill is aware of any bass guitar players who may want to join the Avanties. Bill informs Terry that Gregory Dee and the Avanties are looking for a bass guitar player. Terry decides to leave The TaBS in order to join Gregory Dee and the Avanties. Rory Lee also decides to leave the band.
August 20, 1966: The band plays their final job. The TaBS come to an end.
The TaBS Song List
Bill Strandlof on lead vocals:
“Till There Was You”
“I Need You”
“I’ll be Back”
“You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away”
“Baby it’s You”
“I’ll Get You”
“You Can’t Do That”
“Roll Over Beethoven”
“The Night Before”
“Well Respected Man”
Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels:
“Come See About Me”
“I’m Not Talkin”
“Ain’t Got You”
“Shapes of Things”
“I’m a Man”
“Over Under Sideways Down”
“I Can Only Give You Everything”
Shadows of Knight:
“I Just Want to Make Love to You”
“I Ain’t Gonna Eat Out my Heart Anymore”
“It’s My Life”
“House of the Rising Son”
The Everly Brothers:
“That’s Old Fashioned”
“So Sad Since You Broke my Heart”
The Moody Blues:
The Walker Brothers:
“The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore”
“Like a Rolling Stone”
“Mister Tamborine Man”
Gerry and the Pacemakers:
“Don’t Let the Sun Catch You Crying”
Dave Clark Five:
“Keep Your Hands off My Baby”
“Little Latin Lupe Lu” (with Preston Bowen)
Lead Vocals by Preston Bowen:
The Rolling Stones:
“It’s All Over Now”
“It’s Not Easy”
“Under My Thumb”
“How Strong My Love Is”
“Down the Road Apiece”
“Playin’ with Fire”
“Paint it Black”
“The Last Time”
“Round and Round”
“Little Latin Lupe Lu” (with Bill Strandlof)
Lead Vocals by Dan Rinaldi:
“These Boots are made for Walkin’”
Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels:
“Jenny Take a Ride”
Paul Revere and the Raiders:
“Just Like Me”
Lead Vocals by Rick Johnson:
“Big Boss Man”
“You’ll Be Mine”
“Comin” Home Baby”
- Dan Rinaldi: Passed away at age 70 on June 5, 2015. Dan was living in St. Paul.
- Bill Strandlof: Passed away at age 49 on March 4, 1995. Bill was living in Roseville.
- Preston Bowen: No longer active in music, living in Wisconsin.
- Rick Johnson: Jobbing with bands, living in Minnesota.
- Terry Bellows: No longer active in music, living in Cottage Grove.
- Rory Lee: Unknown.
Interview Part ONE – Time = 30:36
Interview Part TWO – Time = 28:15