Friday, September 28, 2018



Promoter Gene Smiltnick designed posters for dozens of acts signed to his Bands Unlimited booking agency, based in Escanaba.

These eye-catching broadsheets usually contained pictures of the group, taken in studio or at local sites, and information about their latest show, or dance.

Generating word-of-mouth advertising, posters were a main format to publicize appearances by local rock outfits.

They used to decorate store windows and school bulletin boards. Common back in the day, these posters are hard to find collector items now.

Outdated ones quickly hit the refuse bin, although a few survived, posted proudly on teenage bedroom walls.

Take the Riot Squad, for example. Active from 1965-1973, they were featured on a number of placards, including the one shown here.

Measuring 17 by 22 inches, this early poster promoted the young quintet's gig at the Gladstone Legion Hall on Sunday, March 10, 1968. It urged "casual dress" and noted a $1 admission charge to the 2-5 p. m. event.

Peninsula Records, printed prominently on the poster, released a Riot Squad 45 rpm record "Come On, Let's Go"/ "Ferry 'Cross the Mersey."

This collection displays the various graphics and textual messages used in Smiltneck's posters, circa 1969-1970.

They now serve as a storehouse of memories.


 photo squad 1.jpg

Pictured are Bob Anzalone, bass; Greg Curran, lead vocals; Jim Joque, rhythm guitar; Dan Curran, percussion; Brendan Williams, lead guitar. With numerous personnel changes through the years, the group played a reunion show for Escanaba's sesquicentennial in 2013.


 photo infinite blue best.jpg Pictured from left are John Smith, guitar; Steve Toohill, bass; Jim Bardowski, drums; Sam Steffke, keyboards. All members of the Menominee group also sang. They released a single "Black Train"/"Lies" on the Tevar imprint and held a reunion show in 2013.


 photo them best.jpg

Pictured from left are Loreene Zeno, Jane Brkopac, Larry Willette, Bob Derouin, Greg Swank. This group lasted just a short time as members were recruited by other bands, including Riot Squad.


 photo upstairs best 2.jpg

Pictured clockwise from top: Kim Erickson, Dennis Combs, Dick Peterson, Dave Berndt. An earlier version included Mick Van Effen. The location of the bathroom in a band member's home inspired the moniker.


 photo flood best_1.jpg

Pictured clockwise from top: Tom Vardigan, Terry Steede, John Adams, Mark Olivares. Also known as Johnstown Flood after an 1889 tragedy claiming 2,000 lives. Flood won an "amateur" Battle of the Bands contest at the U. P. State Fair organized by John Chown. An "all aged" 14 version of the band included Joel Coplan.


 photo porridge.jpg Pictured from top: Brendan Williams, Mitch Jensen, Dan Curran, Tom McGovern, Dale Stannard. Also pictured in the oval photo is roadie Gary Buckley, referred to by the group as "our slave." Another incarnation of the band comprised Jensen, Williams, Loreene Zeno and Bob Derouin.


 photo lectric.jpg Pictured from left are Tim Brostrom, Ron Faccio, Marc Maga, Dave Cass. Late bluesman Jim "Smiley" Lewis was also a member at one time.


 photo chocklit best.jpg

Pictured are Mike Buckley, Jim Shomin, Duane Slagstad, Dan McDonald. Escanaba's Greg Tolman was also a one time member of the band with the uniquely spelled name.


 photo phrophets best.jpg

Pictured are Dave Watchorn, Larry Olivares, Jay Olivares, and Larry Williams. Mike Steede was not in the group at this time. Jim Nelson was another founding member. The original 45 record "Baba-Do-Wah"/ "I Told You" is credited to the group. Sadly, Jay Olivares, Steede and Watchorn have passed away.


 photo insanity.jpg

Pictured are Doug Sjoquist, drums; Matt Gadnis, keyboards; Mitch Jensen, bass; Brendan Williams, lead guitar; Phyllis Sexton, vocals. The poster features hand drawn artwork. The group's name is included in the lyrics of the song "I Can't See Your Face" by the Doors. ###

No comments: