Spokane, the Monkees, and April Fool’s Day 1967

Early on a Saturday morning in 1967, a KJRB radio disc jockey made a surprise announcement popular television personalities and recording artists, The Monkees, would make a five-minute appearance at the Memorial Coliseum that afternoon1.

In no time the staff at the Coliseum were deluged with phone calls from teenagers wanting to confirm that it was true. It was the first of April, and few of the teenagers, girls mostly, were skeptical of the news. In a short time the Coliseum entrance way filled up with hundreds of teens hoping to see the Monkees in person.

The crowd of about 1,000 teens attracted the attention of a Spokane Police officer driving past in his squad car, and who questioned the authenticity of the news, seeing that it was April Fool’s Day, but he could do little better as the Coliseum’s staff at trying to confirm or deny the validity of the information.

Finally before the Monkees were alleged to appear the “police finally disbanded the fans, but had to call the radio station that perpetuated the joke and have them broadcast a retraction before they could convince the youngsters that the Monkees were not going to appear.2

At that time The Monkees second album, More of the Monkees, was Number one after nine weeks on the Billboard Top LPs chart.3 The band from Los Angeles was followed on the Billboard Chart by the Rolling Stones’ Between The Buttons which in turn was followed by The Monkees’ first album, The Monkees, which had by now been on the list for 26 weeks.

The created-for-television pop musical act was at the height of their popularity throughout 1967.

Although The Monkees were not invited to play at the Monterey Pop Festival set to open in June, Peter Tork, one of the members of the band and a musician known in the New York and Los Angeles music scene in 1965, was at the Pop Festival on stage as an MC to introduce his favorite bands.

It was during the previous summer that the four actors and musicians, Tork, Mike Nesmith, Davy Jones, and Micky Dolenz were hired by Los Angeles film producers Bob Rafelson and Bert Schneider to play the parts of musicians in a fictitious Rock ‘n’ Roll band and appear in a television situation comedy show for teen-agers. Episodes were filmed and an album was recorded with the help of music producer Don Kirshner.

The first album was released a month after the television show debated in September. It was the number one album on the Billboard Magazine charts by December, and a single from the album The Last Train To Clarksville was the number one Top 40 song by December.

A tour was organized to showcase the band and their music by Dick Clark Productions.

By mid-July it was announced in Spokane that for real the Monkees would be appearing at the Memorial Coliseum in August, tickets went on sale at the Coliseum box office on July 28.4

As it turned out the Spokane appearance was the final show of the hugely successful 1967 national tour. The Los Angeles producers arranged to record the live shows for possible release as a live record album.

The Monkees released the recordings in 1987 as The Monkees Live 1967 (Rhino 70139) made up of recordings from the final three shows performed in Portland, Seattle, and Spokane.5


1 “Prank Ignites Chaos.” Spokesman-Review. 2 April, 1967.

2 “The Monkees are Coming.” Spokesman-Review. 16 July, 1967: 20.

3 “Top LP’s.” Billboard Magazine, 1 April, 1967. http://www.billboard.com/archive#/archive. 19 June 2011: 37.

4 “In Concert: The Monkees.” Advertisement. Spokesman-Review. 16 July, 1967: 14f.

5 “Minutes of the 181st Coliseum-Stadium Advisory Committee.” 30 March, 1967.


A Steppenwolf Riot

Image found on Internet

Steppenwolf circa 1969. Image found on Internet.

With a string of hit singles and an album in 1968, two of which, The Pusher, and Born To Be Wild, were to soon be featured in the soon to be released movie Easy Rider starring Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper, the band Steppenwolf scheduled a concert in Spokane’s Memorial Coliseum for February 5, 1969 advertising the concert in the Spokane Natural’s late January edition. Tickets were available at P.M. Jacoy’s, Speedy’s Record Rack, and the Bon Marche. Seating was available in three areas of the Coliseum with ticket prices at $3, $4, and the top price of $5 if you wanted to sit in one of the front rows. The show started at 7 p.m.The two warm-up bands were Spokane’s Liverpool Five and an unheard of band from California, Three Dog Night, who had a recently released album and a new single Try A Little Tenderness  that soon reached #29 on the Billboard Hot 100. The producer for their album, Gabriel Meckler, had also worked with Steppenwolf on their album. Lights were provided by Retinal Circus.

The Natural sent staff writer Val Hughes, an inhabitant of the new bohemian Peaceful Valley, to review the concert. Hughes noted that the Liverpool Five were once a headliner in Spokane. The band had reduced their number of musicians to four and they had replaced members with a local musician, Fred Dennis, on bass and another musician she did not recognize.KJRB radio station personality Gary Taylor, the events promoter, served as MC for the concert. Hughes thought that Three Dog Night was the best band of the evening while Steppenwolf’s performance proved to be languid. Steppenwolf’s bass player was the exception, Hughes said, in that he was animated throughout the set. He was also wearing what appeared to be a dress. It was a dress. Nick St. Nicholas was Steppenwolf’s bass player. He had a reputation for being eccentric and for upstaging Steppenwolf’s vocalist John Kay. He was fired a year later from the band mostly for not bothering to tune his guitar and for that upstaging Kay thing. Hughes, impressed by St. Nicholas’ style and manner separate from the rest of the band said, “the bassist seemed to be in his own world.”

At the end of the show, Kay, wearing his signature dark sunglasses on stage, made an attempt at provoking the crowd into acting out some rock ’n’ roll rage at the authorities. He encouraged the opposite of crowd control. Kay invited anyone in the audience to come up and join him and the band onstage, which they did crowding together on the Coliseum’s voluminous stage. This did get a reaction from the police in that they pulled the plug on the bands amplifiers and the PA. They were shutting it down. Kay was the only one of the band left on stage. In some cities this may have accomplished what Kay wanted, a chair throwing, brawling, riot of epic proportions. But Kay overestimated what a Spokane crowd is capable of doing. There was no encore.Eyewitness Hughes described it as very underwhelming. “Now this being Spokane, nothing serious happened. The audience just went home, thinking bad things about cops, adults, and the establishment in general.”

That is, the sound went off, the lights came up and everyone politely filed out of the Coliseum. Many of the $3 ticket holders quietly came down from the second level seating on those circular ramps up in the front of the venue, passing through the front doors to catch rides with friends, or went home with a parent driving the station wagon back to Country Homes, or Hillyard, or to the Valley, or they caught the Manito Park bus for the South Hill.

Hughes talked to a musician’s agent after the show and he said that Steppenwolf was through in this town. Interviewing someone from Three Dog Night Hughes said they were “happy to be liked and ready to like back.” Hughes concluded that the show proved “we’re starting to evaluate not on a name, but on a performance . . . and maybe then the name bands will realize that you’ve got to do a bit more than just be there to turn on Spokane.”

Steppenwolf was, of course, not finished in Spokane. They would be back. Maybe it was the band reacting to the crowd that resulted in a shallow performance that night. Spokane’s audiences had a reputation among performers who appeared here as being a bit languid themselves. A year earlier Joe Felice opened up the Eagles Ballroom for rock ’n’ roll music and it folded after only a few weeks from lack of support by the public. At the August 1968 Summer Funfest held at the Spokane Fairgrounds, Grassroots guitarist Warren Entner was disappointed with the Spokane teens at their concert. He told the Natural that the whole atmosphere was bad. He said it wasn’t like a dance or concert he was accustomed to performing. He described the audience as “A lot of kids (who) didn’t come to groove on the music—they came to fuck around. Maybe it’s the lack of dilated pupils . . . there’s no communication, no love.”

However, to the Spokane audience’s credit maybe it was the music itself that needed adjustment. Also at the Funfest and appearing the next day was Canned Heat, a popular blues boogie band. This band, it was noted, did get the crowd up and on their feet. So in the end, maybe it’s not the audience that was the problem, it was what style of music Spokane wanted to hear, what got them jumping and singing and dancing. In the end, what Spokane wanted was to boogie down. That’s all.

“Steppenwolf.” Advertisement. Spokane Natural. Vol. 3, No. 3. January 31 – February 13, 1969: 16.
“Nick’s ouster and the bunny ears.” GoldyMcJohn.com.
Hughes, Val. “One Dog Night.” Spokane Natural. Vol. 3, No. 4. February 27, 1969: 9.
“Eagles Turns On” Spokane Natural Vol. 2, No. 20 Sept. 27 – Oct. 10 1968: 4.
“All Kinds of Heat.” article. Spokane Natural, Vol. 2, No. 16, Aug. 2-15, 1968: 7.

According to Steppenwolf keyboardist Goldy McJohn, St. Nicholas was dismissed for a number of reasons: “The führer (Kay) fired him [for] wearing dresses in Steppenwolf with that bleached blonde hair, being out of tune at gigs … lots of reasons. I liked the bunny ears, but John made such a stink about it at the Fillmore East, you’d think he was in charge. Everyone else was on acid in the audience and this great big guy got up and told Kay to let Nick tune up and everybody cheered. Stealing John Kay’s limelight has and always will be his modus operandi, in other words.”

© Copyright Robert Schoenberg 2014

Celebrate Russ Nobbs’ Life This Saturday

Russ Nobbs

Russ Nobbs

The celebration of Russ Nobbs’ life is this Saturday, August 9 at Grant Park in the Perry District from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. The music of Joe Carr, Sales Wagon, and David Bragman starts at 5 p.m. Stories about Russ’s life and adventures starts at 6 p.m. It is well known that Russ made a major contribution to the enjoyment of music in Spokane as he promoted musicians in his underground newspaper, the Spokane Natural from 1967 to 1969, and his efforts promoting live music in the parks with his High Bridge Park concerts. Musicians are encouraged to bring their instrument to play at this event. Donations are being accepted to help 2nd Harvest Food Bank, Spokane Public Radio, and Tolstoy Farms. Grant Park is located at 10th Avenue and Perry, the South Hill. Counter-culture attire is encouraged, or don’t wear anything at all, whatever works for you. For more information call 509-252-2900.

Russ Nobbs guided counter-culture in Spokane

Russ Nobbs  Photo from Facebook.

Russ Nobbs
Photo from Facebook.

Russ Nobbs died today. He will be missed. Nobbs is noted for a number of things he accomplished in Spokane. Including what he did for the music scene promoting free rock ‘n’ roll music Sunday’s at High Bridge Park. But that was not all that he did. His intention in 1967 was to bring counter-culture, as observed in San Francisco, to Spokane. He not only accomplished this, he also helped change journalism in Spokane by bringing to the public’s attention its de facto segregation of African-Americans, the protests against the war in Viet Nam, sub-standard low income housing, unabated pollution in the Spokane River, and First Amendment issues regarding the publication of underground newspapers. For those people that published, edited and wrote underground newspapers in the sixties, Russ Nobbs was legendary.

The Spokane Natural, the counter-culture underground newspaper started by Russ Nobbs, Ormos Otvos, and George Maloney in May of 1967 printing at first on a mimeograph machine, had in 1968 switched to printing a tabloid size paper on newsprint , which gave them increased credentials as a legitimate newspaper. They followed this up with better reporting and an increasing urgency to challenge the establishment.

It was their newspaper’s subject matter in 1968 that led to a magnification of their newspaper’s money troubles eventually leading to holding a benefit dance for themselves at the Grotto in January of 1969. The dance, it turns out, was a milestone event for Spokane Rock ‘n’ Roll music as it heralded the beginning of the ability of counter-cultural organizations to actually make money with one of their music schemes.  The Grotto benefit dances that winter and spring in 1969 were hippie extravaganzas never before seen in Spokane, and will go down in Spokane’s music history as an event that more people claim to have been there then who were actually there.

While Nobbs and Maloney were busy publishing their underground newspaper taking on social issues in Spokane such as segregation, racism, insufficient housing codes, the war in Vietnam, and the culture wars at home, they were charged with obscenity by the Spokane Police. The obscenity charges began with a Buzz Vinyard poem published in 1967, and the use of these kinds of words continued throughout the next year of publication until Nobbs and Maloney, hearing rumors that Spokane’s establishment wanted the paper closed for good, decided to confront authority head on.

In addition, Maloney was in court charged that spring with vagrancy for selling his underground newspapers on school grounds without permission from the administration at Spokane Community College’s Fort Wright campus.

The writers, editors, and activists were pushing the red hot buttons of Spokane’s establishment with stories about race relations, housing for lower income families, the war in Vietnam, and first amendment rights.


America seemed to be at war with itself in 1968. It was the year that Martin Luther King was assassinated. His murder resulted in unrest of Black youth populations in numerous cities across the U.S. Previous to King’s murder, in February, Spokane students from various college and universities in the area, organized under the Black Student Union banner to address issues of race in Spokane. The Natural staff wrote stories of the new organization and their quest for equal relations with the huge majority of white population in Spokane. After King’s murder Nobbs and Maloney continued to write about Black issues in East Spokane which took on new emphasis. This was rather new to many citizens in Spokane that didn’t think that there was a problem with racism. The stories gave the underground newspaper street cred with journalist of the leading media in Spokane. Though not as professionally polished, the Natural was reporting on stories that the other media tended to overlook.

In February Nobbs attended as a reporter a Washington State Legislative Committee hearing on segregation and racial imbalance to hear testimony from authorities in the area. Included were remarks from Carl Maxey, a Spokane lawyer, Don Johnson and Don Phelps from the Washington Education Association, and Glenn Minard from School District 81.

Exhibiting behavior that was taboo for a professional journalist employed at establishment newspapers, Nobbs himself got up at the hearing to testify saying that “The local schools have tried to cope with the problems of racial imbalance, but the public, seeing only their white middle class neighbors, do not admit the existence of the problem and thus hold the school administration back.”

Nobbs went on to say that racial tension and violence are hidden from the public and that the committee was not dealing with the urgent need to take action, or face more violent outbreaks in the coming summer.

In another story Nobbs followed Tom O’Neal the head of Spokane’s Student Coordinating Committee for Positive Action, another organization consisting of students from all the area’s colleges and universities. O’Neal organized a tour for Spokane’s Mayor David Rodgers to see what the East Side really looked like.

“Even though he’s the mayor . . . ” said O”Neal, “I’ll bet we can show him homes, conditions, and whole blocks that he has never seen before. We’ll tell him something he hasn’t heard before: how the Black people of Spokane think and feel about the conditions.”

After King’s murder there was a story that week in the establishment media that a dozen or so windows were broken out at businesses centered along the commercial area of East Sprague. In the Natural it was reported that the response of the Spokane Police and the Sheriff’s Department was to beef up the graveyard shift, including bringing in a number of reserve officers, as well as civil defense volunteers armed with baseball bats riding with sworn officers on patrol. In addition, the National Guard headquartered at the Spokane Armory called in all of the Guard troops they could muster, with the rest of the units on call in case of trouble.

Maloney walked around the campus selling newspapers at Eastern Washington State College as often as he could, and at Spokane Community College (SCC), Fort Wright. One day at SCC he was asked to accompany the Dean of students, a Mr. Erling J. Hjortedal, to the office of President Dr. Howard Johnson. Sargent Dick Byrnes from the Spokane Police Department arrived and tried to talk Maloney into leaving.

At Eastern Bill Winkler of the Esquire Veteran’s Club publicly took offense at the selling of a hippie paper on the campus. An editor of the Easterner, the campus’ newspaper, Ralph Cady, took exception to Winkler’s remarks. In an editorial Cady stated that the Natural was a legitimate newspaper and deserved Constitutional protections.

Meanwhile, at SCC, the administration took a recommendation to ban the Natural from the campus for reasons that it was obscene and made it into school policy. Maloney would challenge that policy by going to the campus again to sell the Natural to students.

The Spokane Daily Chronicle’s article of the Board’s meeting where the new policy was discussed noted were a number of issues taken up by the trustees including the construction of a fence that was objected to, a statement of revenue, and the price of a parking lot at the Fort Wright campus. Nobbs and Maloney tape recorded the meeting, as well as standing up to say they objected to the policy. The board accepted the wording of the policy relating to sale and distribution of materials on the campus to “commercial solicitation may be subject to reasonable rules and regulations.” The policy as amended attempted to specifically keep the selling of the Natural off campus. Neither the Spokesman-Review or the Chronicle made any mention of the suppression of First Amendment rights.

So on April 16, after the board of trustees approved of the new regulation concerning the selling of the Natural on campus, Maloney, along with Richard L. Arnold, went to SCC to sell papers again to the students. They were approached again by Hjortedal who confiscated Arnold’s stack of papers, but because Maloney was taller by far, he kept the papers out of Hjortedal’s reach holding the papers above his head. It most definitely was a Marx Brothers moment in Spokane counterculture.

Nobbs and Maloney were forcing the administration at the campus to act on their recently revised policy. The Dean of Students, Hjortedal said the administration has a duty to control the behavior of visitors to the campus.

In the ensuing tug of war over the newspapers, a visitor to the campus, a 25-year-old black man, bought a newspaper from Maloney. The student responded to Hjortedal by expressing his contempt for the school’s censorship policy. An SCC staff member told the “boy” to leave. Addressing him in a way that angered the man who then told the staff member that he was 25 years old and a military combat veteran having served in Viet Nam. He called the SCC staff members “a bunch of fascists.” as he walked away.

Arnold said he would leave, and Hjortedal accompanied him to the sidewalk giving him back his papers before Arnold crossed the street and off of the campus. Before Hjortedal returned to confront Maloney again, Tom O’Neil, an SCC student, and member of the Black Student Union, was conversing with Maloney about a future article he hoped would appear in the Natural. As O’Neil started to walk away he was told by Hjortedal to shave his goatee off, and that his appearance was not acceptable. Because of that remark, the Black male students said they will grow beards in protest the Natural later reported.

A Spokane police officer appeared on campus and Maloney was arrested soon afterwards. Another patrolman driving through the area arrested Arnold as well. Maloney was booked for vagrancy, while Arnold was booked for disorderly conduct. But, as they pair were being processed, the charge for Maloney was changed to disorderly conduct while Arnold was now charged with vagrancy. They acquired attorney Tom F. Lynch for their hearing, and were ordered to post $250 bond. Arnold’s charges were dropped after he signed a statement that he would not sue the police for false arrest.

Maloney went to court April 26 and was found guilty of loitering, apparently, and a vagrancy charge along with being disorderly. He posted $250 bond again and appealed the verdict to the Superior Court.

A note in the Natural at the end of an article about the trial stated “George was found guilty of selling the Natural on the SCC campus, not of loitering. His disorderliness consisted of his insisting that he be arrested if selling a paper on a college campus constituted a crime.” The bond came to $105 and the Natural staff entertained contributions. This helped seed the idea for the Grotto Benefit 1, as Maloney and Nobbs were not making much money publishing the paper.

Is the word DUCK three-quarters obscene?

In July Nobbs and Maloney received a call from Detective Phyllis M. Marsh assigned to the Spokane Youth Peoples Bureau. She informed them that there was a warrant issued for their arrest. They were charged that on June 12, 1968 the two editors were “lewd, disorderly, and dissolute persons” because on that afternoon they showed Marsh and Det. James R. Albright a copy of the March 29, 1968 issue of the Natural complaining about a sentence presented in a column inch on the left-hand side of page 11.

Inspecting the page there can be found a small, bordered area down in the left hand corner of the page where the words “This is our token FUCK” with the word fuck printed in a ludicrous Victorian font reminiscent of a Terry Gilliam cartoon for Monty Python’s Flying Circus.

The word was placed in the paper with the purpose of confronting the police calling them to action.

After their arrest, Nobbs and Maloney placed their own announcement in the July 19, 1968 newspaper. It asked the question “is DUCK three-fourths obscene?” asking that people who read the paper to attend their trial set for July 30, at 1:30 p.m. to face charges of lewd, disorderly and dissolute persons. It asked they “Dress Formal Freak,” to witness the one performance. It was a call for action to make a circus out of the courtroom.

In an article on the same page Maloney addressed Det. Marsh directly

An Open Letter to Mrs. Marsh.

You can go home at night and watch the battle reports from Vietnam (in dying color, if you so desire) and watch several additional homicides during the course of the eveing [sic]. You can go to any newstand and buy the NATIONAL INQUIRER, CONFIDENTIAL, or POLICE GAZETTE, and see pictures of deformed and/or mutilated children and [sic] read about the burning of witches, what really happens in an LSD Sin Club or how Tommy Smothers kissed Cynthia Casey’s belly button. You could do it, or any 12 year old [sic] kid could do it.

There is, however, a profound difference between the NATIONAL INSIDER and the NATURAL. The NATIONAL INSIDER panders to a value system that cherishes hate, fear, violence, and prejudice; the NATURAL questions it.

Maloney said that though they had published the word “fuck” in various other articles previous to this, he feels that pressure was being put on the police department to press charges on the two because the newspaper was “starting to get advertising and become solvent.”

On the given date for the trial it was announced it would be postponed to August 14, although Maloney announced in his update in the Natural that interested parties “Numerous hippies, civil libertarians, and just possibly a few Birchers,” were told that the trial would take place on August 29. They felt that it was a deliberate attempt to mislead their friends who were planning to attend the trail.

Nobbs and Maloney had obtained the services of lawyers Sam Fancher and Gordon Cornelius, who had received notice the day of the trail of the postponement without a reason given. Nobbs and Maloney were out on $500 bonds each, a considerable amount of money for the two, and hence the need to raise money.

On the day of the new trail date, a motion was filed by Maloney’s and Nobbs’ attorneys for a change in venue. No new trial date was secured.

By this time, Nobbs had published a series on housing in Spokane that did not meet city code, was inspected by the City, but was not repaired or updated to current codes, allegedly because the property was held in trust by Norman dePender, the City’s prosecuting attorney.

On October 30, Mayor David Rodgers called a news conference to denounce the Natural for being a “hippy paper, dedicated to spreading deliberate obscenities.”

The same day the defendants’ attorneys were called and told that the trial would be held in “Twenty minutes.”

An article appeared in the next Natural.

The trial was held on December 2 in Justice Court with Judge Elsworth P. Gump presiding. Witness for the prosecution Detectives James R. Albright and Richard R. Oberding testified that Maloney and Nobbs respectively had admitted authorizing the printing of  ‘THIS IS OUR TOKEN FUCK’ and that each had stated that the purpose of the act had been to affront Spokane.

The writer of the article, unnamed, but either Maloney or Nobbs, had said that it “appeared that Norman dePender, whose duties with the city include deciding which cases are to be prosecuted, had issued an order to Get the NATURAL’ in retaliation for our expose of his conflict of interest,” from the housing issues story Nobbs wrote.

Though Maloney’s and Nobb’s attorney’s argued for dismissal on grounds of the Redrupp Decision by the U.S. Supreme Court dealing with obscenity, the City argued that the Natural editors were being prosecuted for being disorderly, thus the Redrupp Decision did not apply.

Judge Gump ruled on December 6 that Nobbs and Maloney were guilty of “offending the peace and dignity of the city.” They were given six months in jail with all but 30 days suspended. Released on $250 bail for each, they appealed the judgment in Superior Court.

By January 1969 the newspaper was $2,000 in debt and the printer would not print the newspaper unless paid in advance. The issue this article was published was printed on the Gestetner Duplicating machine that they thought they had no use for since going to newsprint.

Nobbs was warning that unless they pay down the $2,000 they owe, the Natural would cease publication despite being recognized as one of the best underground newspapers in the nation by their peers. They must have found some money because the second issue of the year was back to newsprint, and in it was a notice that a benefit for the newspaper and its editors legal problems would be held at the Grotto on January 25.

On January 7 in Superior Court, Maloney was convicted of state vagrancy as a result of selling the Natural newspapers on the SCC Campus after being told to leave. An appeal to the Supreme Court was planned at the time by his lawyer Gordon Cornelius. The benefit at the Grotto would help defray the costs of this appeal. Maloney then resigned from his position at the paper. Financials improved for the newspaper that month. They received about $350 from subscriptions that month, as well as making money at the benefit. In addition they were getting favorable results from their solicitations for advertising.

At the end of the month Maloney was sentenced and fined $100. The appeal bond set at $250, then led off to county jail. Bond was raised and Maloney was released.

The night of January 25 at the Grotto, Pacific and Browne, the benefit dance featured all local bands: United States of Mind, Pearce Arrow with John Currier, Wilson McKinley, Cold Power, Legal Jesus, Jack Nixon (Blues Guitarist), Southern Comfort, folk guitarists Buzz Vinyard and John Werr, and a presentation of Underground Films by Steve Dompier. The event was MC’d by Pat Kinney. Light Show by Light Karma and Light MOHS. Produced by Ted Bellusci and sponsored by “Spokane Hip Independent Traders.

The advertisement for the event, an illustration drawn by Sharon Nobbs, said that “Dress is a mere formality.”

Nobbs, Russ. “Spokane Schools Provide Inferior Education.” Spokane Natural. Vol. 2, No. 5, 1 March 1968: 3.

“The Mayor Takes A Walk.” Spokane Natural. Vol. 2, No. 12. 7 June, 1968.

“The EWSC Cancer Spreads . . . and Spreads to SCC.” Spokane Natural. Vol. 2, No. 3, 2 Feb. 1968: 3.

“College Trustees End Controversy: Chronicle headline, Feb. 21.” Spokane Natural. Vol. 2, No. 5, 1 March 1968: 7.

“College Trustees End Controversy.” Spokane Daily Chronicle. 21 February, 1968: 9.

“2 Arrested for Selling Newspapers.” Spokesman-Review. 18 April, 1968: 6.

“Develop Your BUST, naturally.” Spokane Natural. Vol. 2, No. 9-10. 3 May, 1968: 13.

Maloney, George. “Develop your BUST, naturally.” Spokane Natural. Vol. 2, No. 15 19 July, 1968: 3.

“This is our token FUCK.” Spokane Natural. Vol. 2, No. 7. 27 March, 1968: 11.

“is a Duck . . .” The Spokane Natural. Vol. 2, No. 15. 19 July, 1968: 3.

Maloney, George D. “All My Trials, Lord.” Spokane Natural. Vol. 2, No. 16. 2 August, 1968: 3.

Spokane Natural. Vol. 3, No. 1. January 1969: 1

“The Politics of Justice or Here Comes Da Judge or **** ***** ****.” Spokane Natural. 6 December, 1968: 3.

“The Changes We’re Going Through.” Spokane Natural. Vol. 3, No. 3. 31 January 1969: 2.

“Benefit. ”Advertisement. Spokane Natural No. 3, Vol. 2. January 17, 1969: 16.

Copyright © 2014 Robert G. Schoenberg

Obscure Local Band: Red Heart

Introducing Red Heart

Introducing Red Heart

Here is an album from a Coeur d’Alene band. 1970s, though I can’t tell much from the album notes. We parsed the information out from the musician biographies on the back cover. I don’t recognize any of the musicians. The musicians are guitarist/vocals Steve Pierre from the Kalispel Reservation up by Usk, and who it is said on the album notes does a good Elvis impression. The songs he sang on, like Hank William’s Kaw liga, and a Wylon Jennings penned tune, Only Daddy That’l Walk That Line, were pure rockabilly. He did have a voice like Elvis. The other guitarists is Jim Sherman, sporting a hippie hair cut, glasses and an Amish beard. A Coeur d’Alene kid. His bio said he plays a number of instruments, learning guitar starting when he was eight. On drums is Pete Boardway from Tacoma. Armando Valasquez plays bass and who it looks like was 10 or so years older than the rest of the crew. He came to Red Heart by way of Reno, Nevada where he played clubs in a band called the Motif.

I think the album was recorded and pressed by the band. None of the songs listed had license agreements, all covers with no writers/publishers information. No record label name, no date, no nothing. However, the sonic value of the recording work is high, so whoever produced/engineered it did a good job. The album cover is nicely done too, a lot better, maybe, then that Wilson McKinley pizza-box cover, Live From Pender Auditorium in 1970, though because of the cheesy cover, and the early Christian rock songs they wrote, it is rare and sought after by collectors.

A friend of mine, record collector Jack Kendell, picked up two vinyl LP copies of Red Heart Saturday at a yard sale on the northeast side of town. Both LPs are in pristine condition, very little playing it looks like, yet the music is outstanding rockabilly and blues/rock with a Memphis twang. I say 1974, and Jack claims 1970 for its release date. I did find out they played a regular Wednesday through Saturday gig at the Flame on Sprague in the summer of 1979 billing themselves as Steve Pierre and Red Heart, and a gig at the Stockyards Inn earlier the same year.


Buzz Vineyard, musician, singer, and songwriter.

I will be recording an interview with Buzz Vineyard this afternoon. I plan to record a song on video if he is so inclined. Stay tuned.


Buzz Vineyard

Met with Buzz this morning over coffee to talk about my doing an interview of him. We made an appointment to meet Sunday afternoon. He said he would “warm up his shop” where I can set up my recording equipment, and where we can have a conversation about his years as a musician in Spokane. Buzz is new to Facebook. Recently he has been posting videos of himself playing his guitars, guitars that he makes in his shop, and singing songs he has written. Be sure to go to his page and see what he has posted. Friend him too, as he is an extraordinary musician and songwriter you will want to hear.