feel the music
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, festivales 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 "neru" shirts as an addition to our wardrobe. Hairstyles changed, and a emerging new sound of Rock and Roll began.
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 "died" 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 ...........More information within our "About the Band"
The Boyfriends - The best in Sixties Rock n Roll