by Bob Ogilvie

Editor’s Note: I remember Band X before they became Band X. In June 1965, they –then known as the Fendermen—played for my high school graduation party. Yes, I had a live band. My parents let me invite the entire class—over 200—and 150 showed up. Neighbors were notified—and invited of course—and across the street there was just the golf course and Lake Michigan. So we partied—food was simple—little triangle peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and egg salad sandwiches my mom made, the Italian secret recipe meatballs, M & M’s, potato chips, cake and Pomeroy’s bottled pop. And we danced and sang and shouted to all those great songs that are now the oldies. Dad paid $25 to the band for the night, which was a bonus since they usually only received $20. One thing about our generation’s music—it has lasted. Think: the Beatles, Supremes, the Beach Boys, Rolling Stones, the Four Tops, Simon and Garfunkle, Marvin Gaye, Aretha Franklin, The Temptations, Paul Anka, The Miracles, Roy Orbison, Dion and the Belmonts, Three Dog Night, Bob Dylan-.-the list goes on. All I know for sure is that the young men of that band gave me one of my fondest memories with the music they played.

It all started with a group of classmates who graduated from Manistee schools in 1973. They were planning a reunion but had a desire to do something that would benefit the entire Manistee community. One memory led to another and now a reunion of some band members—no easy task—has led to a musical event that will benefit the 5th Avenue North Pier Lighthouse.

Headlining an all-star cast, Bo White and the Bluezers welcome back local rock legends Band X and Red Apple Road for an evening of musical memories.

Band X was formed during the 60’s and played local dances and concerts, As with most groups, Band X underwent a variety of personnel changes but they were always a staple of the northern Michigan music scene. In fact, Band X was inducted into the Michigan Rock and Roll Legends Hall of Fame in 2012. (Go to www.michiganrockandrolllegends.com) The original Band X members include Jim Toczynski, Jay Fortier, Bob Doleys, Al Swanson and the late Danny Hansen. Joining Band X will be Kevin Murphy.

Red Apple Road was the premier Northern Michigan Rock and Roll band during the early to mid-1970’s. With a vast repertoire covering everything from funk to blues and pop and rock in between, Red Apple Road was the band in Northern Michigan during their heyday. Members of Red Apple Road include Bo Jessup, Al Blick, Bob Bowne, Phil Tarczon and Roger Tarczon.

Bo White and the Bluezers, a rhythm and blues band also hailing from west Michigan will be the headliners for the Salt City Rock n Blues reunion. Tracing its roots from both Band X and Red Apple Road, the Bluezers are a definite crowd pleaser. Band members include Bo White, Howie Wilson, Jay Fortier, Larry Foster, Monte Klein, Rod DeWitt, Sandy Jessup, Linda Kolnierz and honorary member Billy Hall.

Jay Fortier, one of the founding members of Band X and a member now of several bands, including Bo White and the Bluezers says: “We are so glad to have the opportunity to do this reunion concert…and we are honored and proud to represent Manistee and all of west Michigan. We want to dedicate this performance to the memory of our dear friend Dan Hansen, an extremely talented guy.”

As of this writing, Little River Casino is the premier sponsor of the event with Manistee Inn & Marina, MS Creative and JackPine Printing being Silver sponsors.

Bronze sponsors include Sports Ink & Screenprinting, Port City Organics, Hungry Howies, Boyer Insurance Agency, Feliczak Electric, Martin Marietta, Blarney Castle Oil, RDM Storage, Linke’s Auto Body, Holme’s Verizon, Olson Lumber Company, T.J.’s Pub A thank you to Manistee Chamber of Commerce for all their help and many other local businesses who have contributed to this event.

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