Wednesday, July 15, 2009

'Lost' star sang in U. P. band

Award-winning actor Terry O'Quinn
(formerly Quinn) sang in a Newberry-based
rock band called Hitchcock Circus.


A rock band based in the small Upper Peninsula town of Newberry spawned two well-known entertainment industry figures.

Hitchcock Circus provided some early professional experience for both an Emmy-winning actor and a top music arranger.

The quartet consisted of Terry Quinn (vocals), Paul Lavender (Farfisa organ and bass), Bob Robertson ( Gibson Les Paul Jr. guitar) and Daryl Bouchard (drums).

Quinn changed his surname to O'Quinn for his acting career which has included a role on the television series "Lost."

Paul Lavender

Lavender, meanwhile, is a prolific arranger for music publisher Hal Leonard.

While O'Quinn and Lavender have enjoyed decades of success, Hitchcock Circus was active for less than a year, Robertson said.

They played their first gig as the Roaming 5, according to Robertson. "Daryl Bouchard arranged our first job following a basketball game in the high school gym. They asked him the name of the group and we didn't have one so he just made up Roaming 5." The "5th" member of the group was nicknamed "Otto Matic," a reference to their light show, created by student Jeff Sainio.

The group came up with their memorable moniker after O'Quinn saw a track called "Hitchcock Railway" on a Jose Feliciano album and suggested the switch to Hitchcock Circus.

Bob Robertson

"We had a weekly gig at the Newberry Youth Center and also played a number of school dances, wedding receptions and such," Robertson recalled about the band's 1969 heyday.

The guitarist remembered playing a teen club in Curtis called the Silver Dome. "It was considered the big-time for us. Lots of bands from the U. P. and northern Wisconsin played there on weekends. Curtis was a rather hoppin' touristy place in the summer so the place was packed every weekend."

Robertson remembered a wedding reception Hitchcock Circus played in Paradise on July 20, 1969 when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the moon. "All of us wanted to watch the historic event so on our breaks we ran down the street to a tavern to watch it on the small TV in the bar."

Like other professional bands, Hitchcock Circus had a business card. Their card carried a three digit telephone number since Newberry was one of last areas to go to dial phones.

Robertson said Hitchcock Circus had a playlist of over 100 songs. "We played many of the hits from the mid-to-late 60s, by CCR, Beatles, Association, Rolling Stones, Classics IV and Gary Puckett." They also catered to the bubblegum crowd, playing hits by 1910 Fruitgum Co., Ohio Express and Lemon Pipers.

"The only original material we wrote were a couple of novelty-type songs. One was totally politically incorrect by today's standards. Since the Newberry High School nickname was the Indians, we did a song called "Un-Gow-A. I don't even remember how it went but I do remember it being quite silly."

Although Lavender wanted Hitchcock Circus to play on a March of Dimes Telethon on WLUC-TV6 in Marquette, "one guy didn't and a couple of us were indifferent," Robertson recalled. The disagreement apparently broke up the band.

Not long after, Lavender left to attend Central Michigan University (CMU) in Mount Pleasant and O'Quinn followed.

Lavender majored in music theory and composition at CMU where he completed his undergraduate and graduate work.

The former Newberry resident has more than 1,000 arrangements and compositions to his credit.

He is vice president of Instrumental Publications for Hal Leonard Corp., the world's largest music publisher.

Lavender and his wife Cheryl live in Brookfield, Wis. with their three children.

From left, Bob Robertson, Kirsten Gustafson
and Terry O'Quinn

O'Quinn, meanwhile, is widely-recognized for portraying John Locke on "Lost," a program broadcast by ABC television.

Born at War Memorial Hospital in Sault Ste. Marie on July 12, 1952, O'Quinn lived in Rudyard until age 7, then moved with his family to Newberry, where he lived until college.

O'Quinn's first acting experience came during plays when he was a student at Newberry High School. He was also cast as Henry IV for a play at CMU during the early 1970s.

The 56-year-old actor made his professional acting debut in a 1980 television movie called "FDR: The Last Year." He added the "O" to his surname because another actor had registered the Terry Quinn name.

He landed minor parts in films and television movies until 1996 when gained fame for playing the title role in the films "The Stepfather" and "The Stepfather II." His acting was praised by critic Roger Ebert.

O'Quinn was also cast as Peter Watts in the television series "Millenium," which ran from 1996-1999.

Best-known for his work on the hit show "Lost," O'Quinn won an Emmy award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in 2007.

During his career, O'Quinn has played in over 30 movies and television shows.

The Terry O'Quinn Fansite reports the actor enjoys playing the guitar and that his favorite artist is Neil Young.

O'Quinn and his wife Lori spend their time between Maryland and Hawaii, depending on when "Lost" is in production. They are the parents of two children.

Daryl Bouchard

A retired railroad employee, Hitchcock Circus drummer Daryl Bouchard lives in Marquette. The father of four grown children, Bouchard "hung up the sticks" in 1986.

"I remember playing the 4th of July in Newberry where after the parade the streets were blocked off and we played for the crowds. I had a blast," Bouchard said.

Today, Hitchcock Circus guitarist Bob Robertson works for the Michigan Commission for the Blind (MCB) in Lansing. A rehabilitation counselor, he is manager of Human Resources, staff development and program evaluation for MCB.

He and his wife Diane are the parents of two grown children and live in Grand Ledge.

With the days of Hitchcock Circus now forty years ago, Robertson says he still "picks up a guitar once in a while for fun."

Hitchcock Circus Rehearsing at Newberry Youth Center

Terry O'Quinn

Paul Lavender

Terry O'Quinn, Bob Robertson and Paul Lavender

Terry O'Quinn, Bob Robertson and Daryl Bouchard


Anonymous said...

Seen it for the first time guys!!!Living in Marquette Mi. Brings back good times.. Daryl Bouchard
can contact me at

Anonymous said...

Bob R tracked me down to tell me of this. I live in Milwaukee, not far from Paul Lavender.

Jeff Sainio