1967 - Long before the internet, YouTube, GOOGLE, cell phones, and technology as we know today, four guys got together and began "jamming" in a basement (garage band), forming what would become known as " THE BOYFRIENDS".
The "original" members, Dick Webster, Paul Magnan, Gary Johnson and Paulo Scalici practiced after school, and into wee hours of the night to perfect a sound and form a bond and friendship that would last for many years! Songs and lyrics to popular songs were self taught by repeatedly listening to a 45rpm until we got it. No sheet music for us, all trial and error.
Our first lighting system - started with a color wheel from an aluminum Christmas tree (yes, aluminum). Our "trademark" the unforgettable blue heart, and the iconic phrase "I LOVE THE BOYFRIENDS" on lapel pins could be found everywhere. White sport coats, and ties set us aside as a CLASS ACT.
We were fortunate enough to have a GREAT supporter, Mr. William Webster..who not only allowed us to practice in his basement, chauffeured us everywhere, but ran our ever expanding light show as well- that developed into a significant part part of our act and something we became well known for.
Towards the end of our first year, the dynamics of the BOYFRIENDS changed drastically with the addition of Ronn Burke vocalist and guitar, and Jim Ranta on the organ, and by organ, we mean eventually a full size HAMMOND B3 !! Harmonies clicked, sound developed, and a sound like no other, became the "BOYFRIENDS"!
We played every weekend and weeks at a time in the summer, all over Michigan as well as out of state. Our equipment was transported in a station wagon, with a custom constructed trailer attached. We were our own "roadies".
Battle of the Bands, a phrase not heard today, where area bands, such as the JuJus, the Soulbenders , all playing in one spot, to "win" 1st place,and pretty much bragging rights! Without YouTube....imagine, 5 or 6 bands gathering at such places as the "Grand Rapids Civic Auditorium", "The Place", and other locations around the city and state to....battle for the best sound.The Boyfriends did not win them all, but won many of them."Battles" were decided by the audience, not with "phone ins", no texts or Twitter, just actual applause! "Social networking" -was word of mouth!
Local and area school dances, proms, homecomings, and "teen" night clubs were our first venues, all over the state, including Petoskey, Manistee, Ludington, Scottville, Harbor Springs, Traverse City, Shelby, Big Rapids, Alanson, Grand Rapids, Wyoming, Caledonia, The Note in Wayland, more cities than we can remember and many concerts, colleges, festivals and television appearances - is how we spent our summers and weekends. Loving every minute!!!!
Things were very different back then. It may have been harder to be "discovered", but with the help our manager, James Geeting, we were able to play in so many different areas in Michigan, and around the country. It really was the best of times.
As rock and roll developed, we did as well. The Beatles brought about a whole new appearance and sound for the BOYFRIENDS keeping up with the 60s "nehru" shirts as an addition to our wardrobe. Hairstyles changed, and a emerging new sound of Rock and Roll began.
The band continued to enjoy regional fame and support, performing at venues with Bob Seger, Ted Nugent, MC5, Brownsville Station, SRC, Pleasure Seekers, Iguanas, Beach Boys, Jacksons, The Frost, and more than can be recounted.
It was a time in America when after graduation from high school, one was expected to go to College, get a job, begin a family, or get DRAFTED. The Vietnam War was in full swing. Most of the band graduated High School in 1969
The music ended for the"BOYFRIENDS" when the drummer, Dick Webster, began his boot camp. The band continued for a time with a replacement drummer, but the remaining players eventually went separate ways. Ronn Burke and Paul Magnan continued music careers separately, Gary Johnson relocated to Detroit, and Jim Ranta continued his education . Dick Webster continued in the family business.
And now, all of the original members have gotten back together 45 years later, rediscovered friendships and continue to perform.
We are consistently appreciative to all of the folks and fans that support our presentation of our ERA - Late 60's, Early 70's music. We are a dance band, and enjoy seeing everyone out there shakin' it, and having a good time. Nothing makes us happier!
Our performances are nostalgic and personal. We lived the ERA. Beatles, Dave Clark Five, Foundations, Boxtops, Hollies, Sam and Dave, and so many others influenced all of us. And, we're happy to share those songs again.
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Here is some history regarding one our our band members, Ronn Burke
Here is some history regarding one of our band members, Paul Magnan
In his own words, Dick's Facebook Page
In his own words and Gary's Facebook Page
The Doctor's Facebook page