By the mid to late sixties, people were finally beginning to take rock & roll music seriously and nationally, groups such as the Beach Boys, Paul Revere & the Raiders, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and the Ohio Express were selling 45's and LP's by the millions, along with tickets to sold-out concerts and shows across America.

In suburban neighborhoods and garages thoughout the United States, bands were forming on every city block that would soon bring the latest rock & roll music to every high school, teen center, ballroom, VFW, and nightclub in the country. Many such bands would soon be forgotten; but in the Midwest, one band stood out from all the rest - and they were known as "The Caretakers".

1968 - 1969
The Caretakers

Rock & roll did not really become popular in the Midwest until the late 60's, when a group called "The Caretakers" created a unique blend of California surf music, British rock, Motown rhythm & blues, and San Francisco psychadelic sounds, combining it with snappy choreography and exciting stage costumes.

This was the Minnesota band that set the standard for quality entertainment and great rock & roll music for many years to come, originally featuring Twin Cities musicians Steve Kenet on bass, Dick Hiebler guitar, Mark Orlusky on guitar, and Dave Weiking on drums.

As their reputation grew, they added Bob Burtis on the Wurlitzer electric piano, and later went on to regional fame and fortune when Lauren McArthur and Rich Wieser joined Bob in the horn section as the seven piece "Caretakers" band who went on to take first place in the statewide "Battle of the Bands" competition held at the now infamous "Purple Barn".

The next year featured another award and trophy for the Caretakers as they took First Place in another "Battle of the Bands" competition, this one sponsored by "Len's Guitar City". Top bands throughout the Twin Cities and the Upper Midwest gave it their best shot, but they were no match for the hard-edged rock sounds and the sensational seven piece sax-powered R&B energy and soul of "The Caretakers".

The first place prize was a trophy and a state-of-the-art stereo reel-to-reel tape recorder! Unfortunately, no one knows where the trophy ended up, and the stereo tape deck was lost forever when an unscrupulous booking agent pawned it off behind our backs. And that was just one of the many lessons these perspiring young musicians would have to learn on their road to rock & roll fame!


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