Archive for May 2009

Linda And I Have Been Stimulated

Posted: Thursday, May 28, 2009 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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Like manna falling from heaven kept the desert-roving Israelites from starving to death in the old testament, Linda and I have just received a blessing from on high too; a pair of Social Security bonus checks totaling 500 dollars for…well, I guess I don’t know why. Perhaps it’s just a little something from Barack and Michelle as a way of saying thanks for all those FICA dollars we’ve paid-in all those years and will likely never see returned in full.
But, just like most married couples fight over money..we’re already arguing about how to spend our windfall.
“I think the president wants us to just blow it on stuff rather than tuck it away for a rainy day,” I said.
“Well,” she replied, “after paying for groceries, house paint and the cost of renewing our passports so we can go to Canada, consider our windfall blown.”
“Can we at least go to the Brandon Steak House for dinner ?”
“That does sound nice and I think that’s the sort of thing the president wants us to do but we only have about 50 dollars left.”
“That should just about cover it if we order off the geezer menu.”
“Did you remember to fill my car up ? It’s running on fumes”
“No, I forgot. Mine is sitting on empty too…and, I see that, for some reason, gas is close to three bucks a gallon again.”
“Maybe we should just stay home.”
“I’ll light the grill.”
“Did you remember to get propane?”
“Soup..I’ll make some soup.”

Oh, What A Night!

Posted: Monday, May 25, 2009 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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To be honest, I wasn’t sure how many would actually show up at the Shrine Mosque in Sioux Falls Sunday evening for the very first South Dakota Rock and Roll Music Association hall of fame induction ceremony and dance. (whew, such a long title..gotta do something about that)
After all, it was Memorial Day lots of graduations and other diversions that could easily keep people away in droves.
I’ve been saying for months that if we could fill the place, all of the hard work, expense and promotion would be worthwhile..but as of two  weeks ago, only a couple hundred of the thousand tickets we had printed were sold.
Then Saturday night, association board member, Dave Rowe, said “I can’t believe this but most of the tickets for sale at Lewis Southgate are gone!”
Don Fritz, the Sioux Falls music historian who dreamed up the hall of fame idea, has been saying all along that there are still a lot of folks like him who are crazy about old  time rock and roll.
Turns out he was spot on because when Linda and I arrived at the Mosque (The old Arkota Ballroom) around 4:40..the place was nearly full already even though the induction ceremony wasn’t until 6. But the time flew by thanks to some great old rock and roll performed by The Cavaliers out of Lake Preston.
After the hall of fame plaques were passed out, the concert and dance began..leading off with Sherwin Linton and his band playing some of the rockabilly songs he did back in the mid 50’s with his band called The Rocketeers.
He was followed by Dean Byrnes..the last surviving member of the Byrnes Brothers band from Lower Brule who absolutely wowed the standing room only audience performing the old hits with a great band he put together just for the ceremony.Dean Byrnes (wearing hat) Gordie Bird (guitar) Tom Hoy (bass) Denny Gerald (sax)
After the stage was cleared..up came Bobby Vee. The dance floor filled with cheering fans as this rock and roll superstar from North Dakota and his musician sons that make up the band brought the house down performing many of his big hits like Rubber Ball, The Night Has a Thousand Eyes and Take Good Care of My Baby.  Bobby Vee accepts Hall of Fame award
After a breather, The Mystics, out of Aberdeen proved that they hadn’t lost a lick even though it’s been over 40 years since they traveled the country playing rock and roll.
I’m running out of superlatives trying to describe how good everybody sounded.
It’s now getting close to 11 pm and still a huge crowd remained to hear Spearfish native Gary Mule Deer do his comedy/music act that has led him to regular appearances on The Tonight Show, David Letterman and touring with legendary singer, Johnny Mathis. He was a huge hit bringing roars of laughter from the audience.
With the clock winding down to Midnight, Gene Carrol and the Shades took stage. Gene Carroll, who started a rock and roll band in Sisseton when he was still in high school, is better known to millions as “Mean Gene” Okerlund..who has spent forty years as a professional wrestling announcer and interviewer.  Gene hadn’t sung rock and roll for ages but when he jumped on stage..backed by a terrific band he’d put together..then put on his trademark sunglasses it was magic.
But now it’s getting really late would anybody stick around for our closing act..The Jadesmen. We needn’t have worried. This Sioux Falls group that was so popular in the sixties still has the right stuff.  Even though members of the Jadesmen are spread out all over the country now..they still get together a few times a year to play at events; often to raise money for charity..but mostly because it’s so doggone much fun. So fun that they’ve recoded two CD’s containing many of the golden oldies they..and audiences..still love.
That includes my college-age granddaughter, Allison, who was there and just had to buy one of their albums.
 Lots more pictures will be posted on our web site.
Maybe it was beginner’s luck that the ceremony and dance were such a success..but we really had a lot of help from so many folks who have believed in and helped promote this project since its inception through donations of time and money.
We also can’t say thank-you enough to all those in the media who did stories and interviews in advance of the event. TV, Radio, Newspapers, The AP, internet bloggers and magazines all gave us lots of air time and ink to make this Hall of Fame spectacular really BE spectacular.
Few caught the vision more than Grant Peterson who has a highly popular afternoon  program on KBRK radio in Brookings. For the last six weeks, he’s pretty much earmarked his entire Friday shows to the event..interviewing familiar names in South Dakota rock and roll music..including most of this years hall of fame inductees.
What about next year? Can we possibly come close to equaling the musical magic that happened at the Arkota Sunday night?
Too soon to think about that now. 
I’m just basking in the glow of one of the most memorable nights of my life.
Who says Captain 11 is the one man in each century with the power to control time?I just witnessed nearly 900 rock and roll fans transported to a golden age without even having to flip a switch on a time converter. THANKS!

It’s Time To Rock And Roll

Posted: Friday, May 22, 2009 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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After 33 years of interviewing people FOR Keloland News..I’M the one who’s being interviewed BY Keloland News this time.
My old pal and colleague, Perry Groten, has me up with the roosters Saturday morning to talk about the South Dakota Rock and Roll Music Association Hall of Fame induction ceremony at the Shrine Mosque (Formerly Arkota Ballroom) Sunday evening.
As I’ve written here before, I was asked a year ago by rock and roll music historian, Don Fritz, to be a board member of the association. I should have said no because I don’t have all that many years left and this one has raced by at supersonic speed. It seems like we were just laying the groundwork for this weekend’s big event and now it’s here!
I’ve never really been on the board of anything before and didn’t realize what a commitment it demands in time and resources. But I’m not complaining because it has been great fun helping put this ceremony together; not only getting to know all of the inductees but having the wires of my memory plugged back in to those fantastic times of the 50’s and 60’s..the very roots of Rock and Roll in South Dakota.  
I get to emcee the ceremony and don’t mind telling you that I’m going to be a bit nervous sharing the stage with the likes of Bobby Vee, Gary Mule Deer, Mean Gene Okerlund, Sherwin Linton, Myron Lee, The Mystics, The Byrnes Brothers and The Jadesmen; most of whom will be performing live..with lots of room for dancing.
I see the weather isn’t going to be all that great for activities at the lake so I hope lots of you will choose to join us for a memorable Memorial Day on Sunday at the old Arkota at 13th and Phillips in Downtown Sioux Falls.
Tickets are 20 bucks and available at the door.
For lots more information..including details of the free events at the Washington Pavilion preceding the ceremony..CLICK HERE.
Rock On!  

I’m In An Episode Of Cops

Posted: Tuesday, May 19, 2009 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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“Alright, Douglas,” said the nice policeman, (nobody calls me Douglas anymore except for Linda when she’s torqued at me about something) “just sign here and you can be on your way.”
On my way with a careless driving citation in my hand after sitting in the front seat of his Crown Vic for an hour while he filled out the necessary and excruciatingly detailed reports chronicling the three vehicle accident I caused on busy East 10th Street Monday afternoon.
I had decided to leave early, for a change, to a board meeting across town and wasn’t in any particular hurry as I approached the intersection at 10th and Cleveland. I could see the light was green and cars were moving. (Here’s where the careless part comes in)  It was sweltering in the car so I looked down to adjust the vents in hopes of getting a more direct flow of cool air. Out of the corner of my eye I could see that the car in front of me had stopped and I wasn’t going to be able to.  I hit the brakes and chirped the tires but it was clear that a collision was inevitable. Funny how many thoughts run through your mind during that split second before impact. In my case, I wasn’t going fast enough to be too concerned about any serious injuries or seeing life flash before my eyes.
No, all I could think about was how stupid I was for not paying closer late I was going to be for our I hope I put the proof of insurance card in my wallet and how embarrassing it was going to be standing in the middle of 10th street backing up traffic on a hot afternoon.
Fortunately, the cops arrived within a couple minutes and after assessing the damage (none to my car other than a broken license plate bracket. The young guy, whose Honda I banged into, had what amounted to scuff marks on his bumper..or whatever that piece of plastic where bumpers used to be is called. What I didn’t realize is that his car had lurched forward and hit the Ford Focus in front of him..which prompted the young lady driver to immediately get on her cell and call mom.) we all parked in the Pizza Hut lot and were invited to join the officer in his black and white to sort it all out.  “Are any of you injured?” the officer asked. “Nope, nope, nope,” came the three replies. Then all was silent as we sat there inside the idling patrol car with the air conditioner set on low inside and the lights still flashing outside while he made out the reports in long hand. Crown Vics like this can idle a long time with the air on low.The silence was broken momentarily when the frantic mother arrived on the scene..understandably concerned about her daughter’s well-being yet somewhat unconvinced by the officer’s assurances that the girl was fine and a mark on her rear bumper was the only damage.
Finally, after nearly an hour, I was the last to be released..even though I had a 105 dollar ticket for stupid was good to smell the fresh air of freedom again.
Or, so I thought.
I got a call from my insurance company this morning to report that the young lady..two cars ahead of now, according to her mother, experiencing some kind of injury.
So, now I’ve been instructed to bring my poor old Lincoln in for a mug shot so my company has photographic evidence as the severity of the crash.Other than a busted license plate holder, my 9 year old car doesn’t appear damaged. Maybe the dead bugs on my bumper cushioned the blow.
Non-Nordics often ask why Norwegians are so fond of using the term Uffda when they experience frustration, disbelief or anger.
I’ve been saying Uffda a lot today.

Lady Liberty From The Inside Out

Posted: Friday, May 15, 2009 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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I don’t know about you but hardly a day goes by that I’m not reminded of that September morning in 2001 when terrorists crashed 2 hijacked airliners full of passengers into the World Trade Center..causing the twin towers to come down as the world watched in horror on television.
Every time I see a program that features a vista of New York City..I can’t help but think about how the skyline was changed forever on that awful day when over three thousand people died.  We continue to feel the effects of September 11th every time we travel by air or attend large public events.  Security has gotten a lot tougher since 9-11and we’ve come to expect and accept the fact that we’re going to be searched and scanned indiscriminately by people who take their jobs very seriously.   
There was some good news, though, this week as it was announced that beginning on the 4th of July, visitors to the Statue of Liberty will once again be permitted to climb the spiral staircase to Lady Liberty’s crown for the first time in over 8 years. This is an early image of Lady Liberty with some interesting statistics.Visitors haven’t been allowed to climb up her arm to the torch formany years.
An estimated 2 ½ million people visit Liberty Island each year but even before the interior of the statue was closed, only about a third of them actually made the five story climb up..but even at that, it was awfully crowded and took a long time to complete the journey. 
Way back in July of 1980, on a visit to New York City, my two daughters and I went to the statue and, for some reason, there weren’t a lot of tourists that day so we got right in and headed up the circular stairway. I don’t remember how many steps it is to the top but I do recall being exhausted from the heat and the exercise. The view of New York Harbor, though, from the crown of Miss Liberty was both beautiful and awe inspiring. We all agreed it was an incredible experience and well worth the effort. Looking out the thick glass windows that make up Lady Liberty’s crown.And this is what they see; a spectacular view of New York Harbor
I’m so glad that now people are going to again have the same opportunity as we did to chalk up a few memories from such a  unique vantage point inside that most famous of American symbols.
Sadly, they can no longer behold those two magnificent monoliths that proudly stood across the harbor stretching 1,370 feet into the clouds.
If nothing else, the re-opening of Lady Liberty’s crown on Independence Day, demonstrates that our resolve to overcome acts of terror and hatred against us, has not diminished.
I wouldn’t mind going back to see that lovely lady with the lamp again..but I’ll just admire her from the outside and leave the climbing of all those stairs to someone younger and thinner this time.

Myron Lee and the Caddies

Posted: Tuesday, May 12, 2009 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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Whether it’s an aroma..a sight..or a sound..our senses are sometimes able to trigger a memory that’s so real it’s as if time travel was actually possible.  For many of the baby-boomer generation, all that’s needed is to hear a song from the early days of rock and roll to be transported to a ballroom somewhere.. dancing with  a pretty girl wearing a sleek black skirt who had sprayed so much Aqua Net on her hair that it stuck to your cheek on the slow ones…like Rona Baby by Myron Lee and the Caddies.
Back in the late fifties and early sixties, a lot of young guys, including me, started rock and roll bands. We had fun but none of us came remotely close to achieving the success of Myron Lee and the Caddies. (The name was chosen because they were golf caddies..not for the Cadillac automobile)Myron Lee in 1958 with his new Fender guitar. Local Rock and Roll star at just 17.
Elvis may have been the king..but in South Dakota, Myron Lee was the prince of rock and roll. He and his Caddies first took the upper Midwest by storm with their music. Then, with help of a savvy promoter and manager, wound up touring the country with the biggest rock stars of the day and coming very close to becoming big stars themselves.
Myron Wachendorf inherited the gift of music from his father, Bob who had is own band in the 30’s and 40’s. But around Christmas time 1950 when Myron was 8, Bob Wachendorf died at the age of 33. Myron had to grow up fast working odd jobs to help with money for his mom, sister and younger brother. Although he never learned to read music, Myron had his dad’s knack for playing piano by ear and often entertained his classmates at school.
After Bill Haley and the Comets hit song Rock around the Clock came out in 1955, Myron was hooked. He took up guitar, formed a band and was soon earning more money at age 17 than anyone in his family had. Musician and promoter, Jimmy Thomas convinced him to change his last name from Wachendorf to Lee and he was on his way.
 "Jimmy told me one of the first things you must do is to have everything danceable everything should be recognizable and if you get a song request more than once make sure you learn it. Above all, make sure you remember who you’re playing for. You’re not playing to satisfy yourself, you’re playing for the crowd. I never forgot that and always tried to do that 100 percent," Myron says.Myron wrote and recorded several songs many of which became regional hits but for a variety of reasons, none made it nationally. Still, he and the band had become good friends with others that had made it like Buddy Knox and Bobby Vee who hired Myron and the Caddies to be the opening act and back-up musicians on national tours in Canada and the United States, including the Dick Clark Caravan of Stars. With Dick Clark’s Caravan of Stars 1963. Clark is at the microphone the bandfrom l-r..Jerry Haacke, Joel Shapiro, Fred Scott, Myron Lee, Curt Powell.On tour in Canada 1961. (l-r) Ersel Hickey, Dion, Myron, Buddy Knox and Bobby Vee.“When we were with Dick Clark on the road there were places like Ottawa and New York City where we’d get twenty thousand people,” Myron says.
But all good things must end and that happened to American rock and roll with the British invasion in the mid sixties. All the big stars, Myron Lee and the Caddies too, were out.
Myron held the band together, though, and despite the fact that they were now performing for hundreds instead of thousands, the Caddies kept going through the seventies, eighties and up until 1992 when Myron finally packed up his beautiful old black Gretch guitar  for the final time. "Still Packin’ ‘em in" early 1990’s. (l-r) Gary Swanson, Rick BurkhardtDave Sievertson, Myron. (Kneeling) Roger Reynolds..(sound…road mgr.)
When it came to deciding who would be among the first South Dakota rock and roll pioneers to be inducted into the rock and roll Hall of Fame on May 24th  there was only one unanimous choice…Myron Lee and the Caddies.
Myron will be there for the induction ceremony as will Bobby Vee, Gary Mule Deer, Sherwin Linton, The Jadesmen, Gene Carrol and the Shades, The Byrnes Brothers and The Mystics..many of them performing their “golden oldies” on the historic Arkota Ballroom stage.
Tickets are still available by calling Don Fritz at 605-362-1223..or stop by  Lewis Drug Southgate or the Shrine Mosque Downtown Sioux Falls.
For additional information on the inductees, the ceremony and the Rock and Roll Music Association, CLICK HERE.
 Do you have a favorite Myron Lee and the Caddies memory you’d care to share? Feel free to comment below.

The Name Game

Posted: Friday, May 8, 2009 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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Just think..fifty or so years from now, a little farm girl in Kansas may get a nasty bump on her head from a flying door during a tornado and slip off into a parallel universe where her only desire will be to get back home to her Auntie Em..short for Emma or maybe Emily.  Dorothy just back from Oz. There’s no place like home.
It could very well happen because just like in Dorothy Gale’s 2059, Auntie Em’s will be everywhere.
According to a story on, the Social Security Administration says Emma is now the most popular girls name in the country..ending the reign of Emily which has topped the list for the last 12 years.
The Emma’s and Emilie’s I knew as a kid were elderly plump Norwegian women who always wore blue print dresses and sensible shoes.
I wonder if other late 19th century names will ever make a come back.
Names like, Myrtle, Esther, Gladys, Mable, Agnes, Florence, Hazel, Ethel..heck even Dorothy, were obviously once regarded with much favor and affection but have long since fallen by the wayside and would likely cause some raised eyebrows and perhaps a few snickers during the baptism.
Gosh, even names that were popular in the baby boom years..including my own..have dropped off the radar.
When’s the last time a kid was christened, Larry or Linda, Kathleen, Kenneth, George, Barbara or Gary?
Biblical names, though, seem immune to the passage of time.
For example, Jacob has been the most popular boy’s name for the past ten years.
Others that are timeless include Joshua, Daniel, Matthew, Joseph, Hannah, Sarah and Rachel.
My niece and her husband, who live in Hawaii, took what some might think was a bold leap in choosing to name their new son, Kekoa..pronounced Kay-Ko-Ah..which, in Hawaiian, means “The Bold.”  He’s a sweet boy and it’s a sweet name but it probably won’t pop up on the most popular  list anytime soon.
I never had the opportunity to name a son. I often wonder what we’d have come up with.
Scott or Ira would be out, of course, because he’d sound like a country. Could have gone with Disney Lund..just for laughs..but, like in Johnny Cash’s song “A Boy named Sue” son Disney would likely come back one day looking to kill me.
Just to be mean, I might have named a son Todd David and raised him up to be a pompous ass consumed by his own pretentiousness. A bully who occasionally creeps out from behind the statue of his beloved Buddha to cast aspersions down upon all those who aren’t as wise as he thinks he is.
Nah, we’ve already got one of those.

Railroading In The Rockies

Posted: Tuesday, May 5, 2009 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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“Mr. Lund,” said the always cheery voice of Becky Otto when she called me from KELO a few weeks ago, “ Jay was wondering if you could stop down and see him at the station when you have a chance.”
Jay is Jay Huizenga..the President and General Manager of Keloland.
My ample stomach immediately began to churn as I pondered all the possible reasons why the boss wanted a meeting. Have they decided to pull the plug on my blog..or did I write something on there that I shouldn’t have? 
So, I was a little nervous when I walked into his office the next day.
After the exchange of friendly greetings and a little talk about the upcoming golf season, Jay pulled out a brochure from his desk drawer which I recognized right away.
I’d seen similar pamphlets twice before in that very office in 1995 and 1997. They were from Holiday Vacations and it meant Linda and I were about to take the trips of a lifetime as hosts on a tour of Alaska and then to Norway two years later.
I couldn’t conceal my excitement when I figured out that, after 12 years, Linda and I were going to be invited to host another Holiday Vacations adventure..this time “Railroading through the Rockies.”
“Wanno go?” Jay said smiling.
He didn’t need to ask. The ear-to-ear grin on my face was answer enough.
Within a week, I was back in front of the Keloland cameras for the first time in a very long time recording ads for the tour..which when I last checked was really getting a lot of responses…many, I imagine from folks who have traveled with Holiday Vacations before because…as Linda and I can attest..they do things right. It’s first class all the way with everything taken care of..including air fare, baggage handling and many meals, so people can actually relax and simply enjoy the journey..with just enough free time to never feel rushed.
“Railroading through the Rockies” which runs from September 8th through the 17th, is really an experience of planes, trains and automobiles.(luxury motor coaches, actually) We fly to Seattle..take a ferry cruise to Victoria..then visit the famous Butchart Gardens..Victoria, provincial capital of B.C.Butchart Gardens, one of the most highly acclaimed horticultural exhibitions in the world.on to Vancouver..then it’s all aboard the “Rocky Mountaineer” for a two day rail adventure through the Canadian Rockies..staying overnight in hotels instead of the train. The Rocky MountaineerThe amazing Lake Louise one of just two natural blue water lakes in the world. Know what the other one is?   Yup, Lake Okoboji.We’ll spend time in the mountain town of Banff and Banff National Park..visit beautiful Lake Louise..and later take in the Columbia Ice field aboard a special vehicle that takes you right onto the glacier.Buzzing about the ice fields in the comfort of a specially designed scenic bus.
Our adventure ends in Calgary for the flight home.
Sounds kinda fun doesn’t it?
If you want to find out more, I’ll be at the Country Inn and Suites in Watertown at 10 AM
and 1 PM on Wednesday, May 6th  for a travel show in which Arlet Jorgensen from Holiday Vacations will be on hand with pictures and information about the tour. Then on Thursday, May 7th, Arlet and I will be at the Sheraton Sioux Falls & Convention Center for travel shows at 10 AM, 2 PM and 7 PM
If you can’t make it to the shows and would like more information about Railroading in the Rockies tour, call toll free, 1-800-826-2266. 
Or, to check out the Holiday Vacations website CLICK HERE.

Rock and Roll III

Posted: Saturday, May 2, 2009 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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As the weeks wind down to the South Dakota Rock and Roll Music Association’s Hall of Fame induction ceremony May 24th at the Shrine Mosque (formerly Arkota Ballroom) in Sioux Falls, here’s a closer look at two more of the groups who were selected to be included into the first group of inductees.
In the late 1950’s, Tom Lammon started a band called The Mystics while at Midland High School. He later attended college at Northern State in Aberdeen, where the band flourished. They performed at many ballrooms throughout the upper Midwest, including Tacoma Park, The Arkota, Ruskin Park and The Hollyhock. The Mystics always put their drummer on a pedistalOne of the groups they worked extensively with was the Hullaballoos of England. The Mystics cut several records in Minneapolis and also received the National Ballroom Operators Award in the mid 1960’s.
Like so many other groups of that era, The Mystics were inspired by Myron Lee and the Caddies.  Tom says they were the ultimate group in South Dakota. Although the Mystics disbanded many years ago, Tom and some of the other members are still involved in music and will be on hand to perform a few songs at the Hall of Fame ceremony on the 24th.
In 1961, Gary Miller of Spearfish, formed a band he called “The Vaqueros” while attending Black Hills College. The name came from the song made popular by a group called the Fireballs. Gary Miller and the Vaqueros. Recognize the guy with the guitar?The Vaqueros played primarily in Western South Dakota and Eastern Wyoming. Their “home” was the Spearfish Pavilion where they opened for The Champs, Ventures, The Crickets and Gary U.S. Bonds.
Gary changed his name to Mule Deer in 1970. He has since gone on to find success and fame as both a musician and a comedian. He’s a regular guest on the David Letterman Show and tours several months out of the year with pop singing icon, Johnny Mathis. Gary has released several albums and recently performed at Carnegie Hall. Not bad for a Spearfish kid.Gary (Miller) Mule Deer (on left) with pals, Steve Martin, David Letterman andComedian, George Miller.
He too will perform at the Hall of Fame ceremony at the old Arkota on Sunday May 24th. 
For ticket information and to find out more about the Rock and Roll Music Association CLICK HERE.
Next week: Myron Lee and the Caddies.
Rock On!