Years: 1964 - 1967
Styles: Beat, Garage Rock, Pop Rock, Psychedelic Rock
Dick Wagner - Guitar, Vocals (in band: 1964 - 1967)
Lanny Roenicke - Bass Guitar, Vocals (in band: 1964 - 1967)
Pete Woodman - Drums (in band: 1964 - 1967)
Warren Keith - Keyboards, Vocals (in band: 1964 - 1967)
Mark Farner - Bass Guitar, Guitar, Vocals (in band: 1966)
Dick Wagner and Warren Keith left the Eldorados and moved to Saginaw, Michigan. There, they joined forces with drummer Pete Woodman and bassist Lanny Roenicke and formed a new band called the Playboys. Covering the hits of the day, the Playboys quickly became Saginaw’s hottest band with their regular gigs at a popular club on the Saginaw River called the Village Pump.
After changing the band name to The Bossmen, the group recorded and distributed their first single, “Take A Look (My Friend)” on their own record label. The catchy Beatles-inspired song was played regularly on Saginaw-area stations like WSAM and WKNX, and became a local hit.
As a result of their recording and appearances on the emerging teen club circuit, the Bossmen began to rapidly develop a fan base around the state. Dick did most of the songwriting for the Bossmen, and he produced a batch of popular radio-friendly singles including, “Here’s Congratulations”, “Help Me Baby”, “Bad Girl” “Wait And See”, and “On The Road” during the next three years on a variety of self-owned labels including Soft, Dicto and M & L.
Wagner pioneered do-it-yourself techniques in other areas as well. He commonly booked the Bossmen in local Armory Halls around the state, renting the halls for an evening and then charging admission at the door. The Bossmen also became adept at promoting themselves at local radio stations by doing on-air interviews and participating in skits with the local deejays, especially Bob Dyer and Dick Fabian at WKNX radio in Saginaw, Michigan.
In the late summer of 1966, the Bossmen became a quintet with the addition of Mark Farner. Farner, who had recently left Terry Knight & The Pack, played rhythm guitar and sang backing vocals on the biggest Bossmen single, “Baby Boy”. Farner also developed his guitar-playing skills and songwriting talents in his brief stint under Wagner’s wing. Mark wrote and performed his first song, “Heartbreaker”, while in the Bossmen, and he learned some lead guitar techniques from Dick Wagner that he put to good use when he returned to the Pack in 1967, and later with Grand Funk Railroad.
According to Wagner in the Review Magazine interview, the Bossmen broke up early in 1967 over a scandal involving drummer Pete Woodman being busted for smoking marijuana. At the time it seemed like a big deal, and the band got a lot of negative publicity that resulted in Wagner dismissing the popular drummer from the band. Things fell apart quickly after that, and Wagner looked to form a new group by joining forces with a band hailing from Alpena, Michigan, called Bobby Riggs & The Chevelles.
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