When it comes to dads, mine is pretty tops. On Father’s Day, we had a lovely conversation about our regular topic of choice: music. A lover of music and a man of eclectic tastes, my dad has a great ability to introduce me to new sounds. In our conversation a few days ago he spun a story of a powerful garage band that rode a wave, or perhaps a snow drift, of uncertain success. Recalling the force fueled by distortion, fluid melodies, and classic garage sounds, my dad spoke of one of his favorite local bands. The Kinetics, as they were known to fans, are a true testament to the talent and creativity of U.P. musicians. Based out of Houghton, the band formed as The Kinetic Energy in 1963. The main lineup for the band was Frank Gallis (vocals), Chuck Roberts (drums), George Tiggis (keyboards), Mike Krenitsky (lead guitar) and C.J. Lindecamp (bass). According to family legend, my mother’s teenage boyfriend, a Labine, was also a temporary stand in at various shows. The group had many various lineups over its history.
The Kinetics gigged throughout the 1960’s and had many legendary performances. I could hear the pride in my dad’s voice when he recalled the shows he attended. I knew he was proud to have witnessed something special. Despite pressing a few singles, an LP, gaining airplay throughout the Midwest, and even sessioning with Dee Robb of the Robbs, a major contract evaded the group. They played their last live show in 1969 at a venue in Green Bay, WI. There is a great write-up on the band available at Rock and Roll Graffiti. You can also crank up the volume and enjoy quite a few of the band’s hits and covers while you read about their short-lived journey. As the call with my dad ended he pondered what could have been if the band’s Amy Records 45 had gotten more airplay…”they could have dominated coast to coast. I know it.” I can’t help but wonder the same thing. Although I wasn’t there to experience the energy of the U.P. psych and garage rock scene of the 60’s, I feel close to the music thanks to my dad’s ample music collection and his energetic storytelling. And of course, I am always thankful for generous record sellers and collectors on GEMM for offering me the musical fruits of a moment in the Copper Country 60’s. Time long gone, but legends never forgotten.