Prince & The Paupers

2017 - Band

Band Members:  Mike Monnahan, Joe Cuttell, Stan Bilsland, Ron Poole, Larry Halverson, John Tuttle, Ben Sorenson, Rick Gregson, Mark Moeller, Wayne Simonton, Gary Johnson, Bill Ohearn (decease)so

The founding members of The Prince and the Paupers began playing together in 1960 when Mike Monnahan and Joe Cuttell, ages 12 and 11 respectively, got their acoustic Stella flat-top guitars. Their first gig was at the 1961 Everly Community Picnic Talent Show. They played with borrowed guitars and amps. Kathee Hyndman was the drummer. Later that year they played for some local school functions and then at the YMCA in Spencer where they met Larry Halverson and Tom Arnie.

In 1962 they teamed up with  Halverson (lead guitar) and Arnie (drums) to form a group called The Trends. This group played Vacation Village that entire summer for the resort’s Sunday night Teen Dances.

Ron Poole of Milford replaced Arnie on drums and the band changed its name to The Prince and the Paupers. Band members were Monnahan (bass/vocals); Cuttell (guitar/vocals), Halverson (lead guitar/backup vocals) and Poole (drums).

After Poole’s departure Stan Bilsland of Sheldon took over the drums. Later John Tuttle of Spencer, on tenor sax and vocals, was added. His addition gave the band a totally different dimension. This version of the band broke up in 1965 when three members left for college after playing such stellar locations as The Roof Garden (Arnolds Park), Cobblestone Ballroom (Storm Lake), Laramar/Playmor (Ft. Dodge), Tower and Terp Ballrooms (Austin, MN), The Armory (Albert Lee, MN), Skyline Ballroom (Estherville), Neebles Danceland (Hartley) and Buena Vista College in Storm Lake. They also played many area high school events as well as community centers and legion halls and had a great following.

One of the band’s career highlights was participating in The Roof Garden’s inaugural Friday night Battle of the Bands in 1964. They won the battle each Friday for many weeks but had to drop out in late August when Larry, Stan and John had to leave for college. That year, the band played for private parties and bars at the University of Iowa and Iowa State where the departed members were attending school.

In 1965 the Prince and the Paupers lineup included John on tenor sax and guitar, Larry on guitar, Dennis Becker on drums, Dan Beach on bass guitar, and Angelo Dowd on guitar. They played at the Peacock Inn in Arnolds Park on May 28, 1965, as well as the 29th and 31st.  Following that was a job at The Web in Burlington which Dan Beach had previously booked as a member of The Tombstones. They were back at the Peacock for June 4th and 5th and then played in Sioux Valley, MN on the 6th. Following that they played 5 nights a week at The Peacock Inn for 6 weeks, finishing up on July 17th. Sometime in early July Angelo left the band, so the band was down to four.

July 29th found us playing at Club 78 in Minneapolis for 4 nights a week.  There were also some other dates played at the Skyway 12 in St. Paul.  Dennis left the band in mid-September to return to school, but the band continued as a group until around the end of 1965 or early 1966. 

The Prince and the Paupers (Second Edition 1969-70) was put together by Monnahan and Cuttell while both attended the U of I. The band was styled after other horn bands of that era such as the Fabulous Flippers. Band members were: Monnahan (bass/backup vocals), Cuttell (lead guitar/vocals), Ben Sorensen (keyboard/tenor sax/vocals), Mark Moeller (trumpet), Rick Gregson (alto sax/back up vocals), Wayne Simonton (trumpet), Gary Johnson (trombone), Ed Conlon (keyboard) Bill O’Hearn (drums). They experimented with a few jazz standards and received standing ovations after performing “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy.”

The band was represented by All-Star Attractions booking agency and played extensively in SE Iowa, around the state and into Illinois and Nebraska.

This band was very popular with the U of I students and faculty and played for numerous parties both on and off campus while being a regular on the local bar scene. They also played weekend gigs at RJ’s, a Cedar Rapids hot spot of the day.

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