The Sound of the 60's


Q: Where was The WAYDS formed, what year, and by whom?

A : I (Dick Schalk) formed the first version of The WAYDS in 1965. The first version was made up of Tom Hopkins on bass (he had a Harmony 6 string guitar that he converted to a bass by removing the guitar strings and restringing it with four bass strings); Jim Hopkins (Tom's younger brother) on bass; John Weiler on rhythm guitar; and myself on lead guitar.

Q: Could you list the names of each member of The WAYDS, as well as the instruments each played?
A: In the order that they came and went, the original members of The WAYDS are/were :
Dick Schalk ~ Guitar
John Weiler ~ Guitar
Jim Hopkins ~ Drums
Ben Fritchie III ~ Drums
Tom Hopkins ~ Bass
Alan Rondeau ~ Bass
Ray Shipley ~ Vocals
Steve Hov ~ Vocals
Larry Linnum ~ Vocals
Terry Read ~ Vocals
Mike Woods ~ Vocals
Denny Seely ~ Organ (Farfisa)
John Richardson ~ organ (Farfisa)

And beginning at our 2003 reunion, Becky Wasburn, AKA "Shaker Babe" has been singing and shaking with us too.

Q: There appeared to be many personnel changes throughout the years. Why?

A: Some of the guys couldn't dedicate enough time to the band and moved on; some of the guys moved away or changed schools; one guy got fired because he was so undependable, and all the usual reasons. Towards the end of 1968 (part of the Viet Nam era), some of us either got drafted or enlisted, or went to college.

Q: Who named the band? Is there any special significance?

I (Dick) named the band The WAYDS. I remember my dad bought a new naugahide couch, and I decided to lay down on it and take  on the new couch. I woke up with the name still running through my head, and decided to us it as a name our new band. True story.

Q: The band wore matching outfits. Where did you find those matching tops? They're GREAT.

A: Thanks! Nehru jackets were big in the late 60's, and we thought they'd go well with our musical direction at the time, but we couldn't find five, super cool, matching ones. So, I bought a sort of generic brown-colored one and took it to my best friend's mom, Evelyn Washburn, who, among other talents, was an excellent seamstress, and asked her if she would make five matching jackets, custom-tailored, for each of us, if we bought the material. She said she would, IF we would come to their house, scrub, strip and wax (paste wax) their hardwood floors. Seeming like this was a great deal, we shook hands, bought the fabric (green and purple silk brocade, and purple velvet), and started on the floors. It was tons of work for her (and us), but it was definitely worth it! They turned out to be the best-looking outfits we ever had. Some of the jackets still exist.

Q: Where did the band typically practice?

A: In the early days, we practiced in the basement of Tom and Jim Hopkins family house. After I moved and rebuilt the band, we practiced at Ben Fritchie's (drummer) family house. We also practiced in the basement of Al Rondeau's (bass) house. There were plenty of garages, patios and sun porches along the way too.

Q: Where did the band typically play (schools, parties, teen clubs, etc.)?

A: We played at lots of school sock-hops, "battle of the bands", private parties, church teen clubs, JC functions at various armories and any other gigs we could find. Since we were all underage, we weren't allowed to play in night clubs or bars.

Q: How would you describe the band's sound? What band's influenced you?

A: Our "sound" changed quite a bit over time, although we definitely had a "west coast" vibe, since we cut our teeth on Paul Revere and The Raiders, Eric Burden and the Animals, The Ventures, the Beatles, The Beach Boys, Rolling Stones and the Yardbirds. We all loved the bands coming out of Philly, and the Motown R&B bands had a big influence on us too.

Q: Did you play any of the local Oregon teen clubs? Were there many?

A: There were a few teen clubs in the Portland area, but the bigger bands like the Raiders, Wailers, Sonics and Kingsmen had them pretty much tied up. We mostly did high school dances, house parties and armory gigs.

Q: Did The WAYDS have a manager?

A: Our first manager was my dad, until he became ill. Then, we all acted as "agents", digging up gigs. I signed most of the contracts for the band.

Q: How popular locally did The WAYDS become?
A: We became very popular in '67-68 in our region, after "paying our dues" in '65-66. Our growth was steady, as was our popularity.

Q: What other local groups of the era do you especially recall?

A: We competed with other local bands like The Stags, The Vandals, The Rising Sons, The Fire, The Sound and The Fury, The Redcoats, The Off Set, The Cobras, Burgandy Grass, Loves Children and lots of others. We had fairly good relationships with the other guys, but it wasn't unusual for wires to mysteriously "unplug themselves" during battle of the bands and such.

Q: Did The WAYDS ever record? If not, why not?

A: Yes, we recorded a few songs at Oregon's largest battle of the bands, called "The Teen Fair", which was held at the Portland Memorial Coliseum. Sunn amplifier company sponsored the recordings, as long as we used their amps!

Q: Who wrote "Hey Dan"? Who was Dan? 

A: Terry Read wrote "Hey Dan"; Terry was a great lead singer and still is a good friend. I think he chose the name "Dan" because it rhymed with the appropriate word… I don't believe there really was a "Dan" per se.

Q: Did The WAYDS write many original songs?

A: Actually, it was pretty unusual for most bands from the '60s to write original music, but we did write a few. My most favorite original was named "Mr. Foster loves us all", which is kind of a sugary-sweet sounding name, but it was really about a ghost in a "haunted" house in our area. I can remember all of us sneaking up to the house one evening, peering through the windows, looking for the ghost of Mr. Foster. We were all scared to death! We didn't see any ghosts, but it left an indelible impression on us… to the extent of writing a song about it! I think this was the first song we ever wrote. We literally wrote the song too (notes on a treble and bass clef); after we finished it, my dad took it to the post office and mailed it to our house by certified mail. We were told by an old country western musician that if we did this and didn't open it, it was "as good" as copyrighting it. I've still got the unopened letter at home.

Q: Do any '60's WAYDS recordings exist? Are there any vintage live recordings?

A: The only remaining WAYDS recordings from the 60's that I know of are from our infamous "The WAYDS Movie", a 10 minute 16mm black and white sound film that Sherm Washburn, a Portland TV and radio personality, made of us in 1966. We were really green and sounded pretty nervous, but we were pretty typical of most of the neighborhood garage bands of that time. A later version of The WAYDS (1967 or 1968) recorded some songs as a "prize" at a huge battle of the bands in Portland Oregon at the Portland Memorial Coliseum during the "Teen Fair". I'm not sure whatever happened to the tapes, but I'd love to find them.

Q: The WAYDS participated in many Battle Of The Bands? How did the band typically fare? What do you consider the most memorable appearance?

A: Yes, we were in more "battle of the bands" than most of us can remember! Quite a few were sponsored by local JC organizations, as well as schools, and rock promoters. We actually did quite well; we won some of them, and came in 2nd and 3rd more times than not. The battles usually had at least 6 bands, and as many as 50-60 bands! They were usually held in armories or gymnasiums, which were basically big concrete boxes. The acoustics were usually terrible, but we sure had fun shaking the walls! Hundreds of kids came to these things, to dance, to "be seen", and to support their favorite band. Most of them charged $1.00 "stag", $1.50 "drag" (per couple) to get in. What a blast!

Q: How far was the band's "touring" territory?

A: It was primarily the Portland Oregon/Vancouver Washington area, including the neighboring towns. I bought an old white Chrysler hearse when I turned 16 to haul our gear around. It was HUGE, and I can remember having all five band members and our girlfriends in it one afternoon. We were going to rehearsal after school, and we were late, so I floored it. I'll never forget looking at the speedometer and seeing it pinned at 100mph! It had bald tires and worn-out shocks too! It's a miracle that we lived to tell about it!

Q: Why did the band break up in the '60's?

A: It was in late '68, and some of us were either going on to college, or being drafted, or enlisting to avoid being drafted because the Viet Nam "conflict" was in full swing. Some of the guys were squabbling over girlfriends too, or moving on to other bands. 

Q: What was the impetus for the WAYDS reunion of August 2003? Where do you plan on performing/playing? I think it's great that the band is planning to play together again!

A: Thanks.  The idea for the reunion came up a few years ago, but at that time, the original members were living outside Oregon or the U.S., or I just couldn't find them. The internet has been very helpful locating the members, or friends who knew how to contact the members. The reason for putting together The WAYDS reunion was to see some great friends again and catch up on what everyone's been doing for the last 35-38 years. All of the members parents that are still with us, as well as spouses, "significant others" and kids are attending too. Since we're videotaping the reunion and creating a DVD of it (including the original 1966 "The WAYDS Movie") we'll have a wonderful keepsake for our families. Most of us are lucky to have a few old photos of our grandparents and great grandparents; we're hoping that we can pass on our DVD to our families so that future generations will get to see us, as well as hear us.

Tom, Jim, Terry, John, Mike, myself, and our great friend Becky Washburn have been playing lots of benefits, reunions, parties and other gigs since the reunion in 2003, and are always looking forward to our next concert.  Phil Washburn (AKA "Lens Cap")has been our audio/video guy since the 2003 reunion too.

Q: How do you best summarize your experiences with The WAYDS?

A: The WAYDS happened during an tumultuous time in history, as well as during our lives. We were the children of world war II parents; our dads had "jobs", our moms were "homemakers". We were transitioning from kids to teenagers; we were trying to figure
out who we were. All this was happening during the "Flower Power" and Viet Nam war era years. The military draft was on all of our minds. Telephone numbers had just changed from 4 or 6 digits to 7 digits. Some cars still had "fins" and most were still built in the U.S. and had V-8 engines capable of "burning rubber". Radio stations were still AM stations, broadcasting the latest hits in mono. Hamburgers cost 19 cents at the local burger joints, and were served by pretty girls wearing short skirts and roller skates. Gas cost 24 cents a gallon. A good after school wage was $1.00 an hour, and movies cost 75 cents to get in. Candy bars cost 5 cents each or six for a quarter. "Long hair" was perceived as anything longer that a crew cut. Rock and roll music was "only a passing fad", and "we'd grow out of it soon". There have been many changes since then, some better than others. The band taught us about working together as a team; we learned about and accepted new responsibilities; we gained confidence in ourselves and learned how to deal with victory as well as defeat. And we had a wonderful time! As we look back at it, the years we spent playing music in The WAYDS was one of the best times of our lives.

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