Sixth Generation CD due in OctoberPublished 6:13pm Tuesday, August 28, 2012
It’s been a busy summer for Sixth Generation. The rock band played Riverfest, Niles’ Class of 1967 reunion, of which Ron Hamrick and Fred Bachman are members, and the Berrien County Youth Fair, with three concerts Labor Day weekend.
They also found time to record an album and to perform in two new states, Virginia and Pennsylvania, joining Michigan, Indiana and Maryland.
Thursday night from 7 to 9 Sixth Generation concludes Niles Summer Concerts in Riverfront Park with songs that will be on the group’s first compact disc scheduled for an October release.
Friday night from 7:30 to 8:30, the group plays the John E.N. Howard Bandshell in St. Joseph, with a third Labor Day weekend performance on Sunday at Lake Tippecanoe.
“We’ve been much busier this year,” according to the band’s drummer, Dave Walenga.
Formed as a Niles garage band in 1966, by early spring 1967, the sextet regularly played Saturday night dances at Skyliner at Five-Mile Corner north of Dowagiac.
Sixth Generation shared bills with the Kingsmen (“Louie Louie”), the Buckinghams (“Kind of a Drag,” “Susan” and “Hey Baby”) and the Box Tops (“The Letter” and “Cry Like a Baby”).
On Sept. 9, 1967, “This is the Time” was No. 1 at the Spin-It Record Shop, where Walenga worked after Tommy James, ahead of Bobby Vee (who played Dowagiac in 1993), The Box Tops, Bobbie Gentry, The Association, Wilson Pickett, The Doors and Van Morrison.
Sixth Generation reunited after a 40-year lull for the Full Circle Tour July 16, 2011, at Buchanan American Legion Post 51, where the band played what it thought would be its final performance in December 1970.
The band was inducted into the Michigan Rock and Roll Legends hall of fame.
“The songs turned out so well,” Walenga said Tuesday of the recording session. “You can feel the band coming together.”
Boomer anthem “That was the Time” recalls the group’s hit.
On Sept. 5, the musicians return to the studio to put finishing touches on vocals for one song.
There will be a CD release party in the Niles area to be announced.
Walenga said 12 tracks include such covers as “Heat Wave,” “Runaway” and “Love Potion No. 9,” with new material rounding out the balance.
Bassist Paul “The General” Davies still lives in Niles, but his lifelong friend, Walenga, lives in Linthicum, Md., near new lead guitarist Steve Blevins, who also plays saxophone and flute, and keyboard player Ron Hamrick of Virginia. Keyboardist Fred Hulce and lead vocalist Fred Bachman live in the Grand Rapids area.
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