2008 - Band

The Coachmen formed in early 1964 in Lincoln, NE with Rick Bell, George “Red” Freeman, Craig Perkins, Jeff Travis and Bruce Watson. With a powerful sound, they quickly built a large following around Lincoln. In January of 1965, they played for the first time as complete unknowns in Omaha--at the Civic Auditorium--and won the 1965 KOIL Battle of The Bands. This immediately resulted in what turned out to be multiple appearances monthly at Sandy’s Escape and several other Omaha nightclubs plus frequent shows throughout Western Iowa. As a result, the band relocated to Omaha as a home base in June of 1965.

The Coachmen then signed a management and recording contract with Omaha based CBC Entertainment. This began a process of recording and performing to a wider Midwest audience--predominantly throughout Nebraska, Iowa and Minnesota. Between 1964 and early 1969, this encompassed nearly 900 shows in 20 states.

During this time, Freeman and Bell respectively left in late 1965 and late 1966 and were replaced by Frank Elia and Kelly Kotera. The Band spent 1968 releasing two more charted records—as Alexander’s Rock Time Band and Professor Morrison’s Lollipop--while never fully vacating their Coachmen identity as they toured.

“Mr. Moon”, the first of four Coachmen releases, became the first #1 record for a Nebraska band. It reached #1 within three weeks of release at all major Nebraska rock stations and was Top 20 at many stations throughout the United States during the first half of 1966. It reached #4 at KIOA in January of 1966. The three subsequent releases—“Linda Lou”, “My Generation” and “Tyme Won’t Change”—all charted throughout the Midwest, including most Iowa stations. “Tyme Won’t Change” outsold the two middle 45s and charted well beyond the Midwest.

The Coachmen reunited in 1997 for induction into the Nebraska Music Hall of Fame and its first performance in 29 years. This was followed with the 1999 recording and release of a 20 tract CD, “Still Rockin’.”

With the upcoming Labor Day 2008 induction into the Iowa Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame and performance at the Roof Garden, the Coachmen will reunite for the first time since playing five shows in Nebraska in March of 2000. Five of the seven inducted members will be joined by well known HOF musician Mike Semrad (representing the deceased Craig Perkins) on bass to again recreate the powerful, hard driving sound that made The Coachmen one of the Midwest’s top rock bands throughout the last half of the 1960s.

The Iowa Rock 'n Roll Music Association Hall of Fame & Museum exists to preserve the legacy of rock and roll music in Iowa by honoring achievements, educating youth and inspiring artists. Established in 1997, we are a501(c)(3) non-profit statewide organization with many areas of service.

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