West Minst'r

2002 - Band

Members: Frank Wiewel, Kirk Kaufman, Rusty Bell, Terry Dillon, Chuck Henderson, Dean Davis, Arnie Bode, and Keith Brown


West Minist’r, formed in 1968 by a group of friends from Fort Dodge and Gowrie, became one of the most successful Iowa rock groups of their day.

Members consisted of Frank Wiewel (bass and lead vocals), Kirk Kaufman (guitar and vocals), Rusty Bell (guitar and vocals), Terry Dillon (keyboard and vocals – 1968-69), Chuck Henderson (keyboards and bass – 1969-72), and Dean Davis (drums). While Davis and Bell left the group in ’71, the band remained together until 1974 with other musicians such as Rick Schaeffer, Arnie Bode and Keith Brown replacing departing members.

The band has fond memories of many highlights. Several newspaper articles in “The Des Moines Register” and “Fort Dodge Messenger” were written about West Minist’r.

The band was the opening act for such groups as: The Box Tops, Sly and the Family Stone, Doc Severenson, James Gang, The Buckinghams, Occasions, Frijid Pink and Mason Profit.

During their travels throughout the Midwest, they also met celebrities like The Guess Who, Dick Clark and Mike Bloomfield.

Their recordings included “Bright Lights Windy City”, “Mr. Fingers”, “Carnival” and “My Life.” West Minist’r recorded at Chess Records in Chicago, Ill., as well as studios in Omaha, Neb., and Ames.

This dynamic group was known for performing “Top 40” music and gained notoriety for great Beatles medleys. The band started playing at high schools and then advanced to colleges and universities, prominent ballrooms and clubs, and large venue concerts throughout the Midwest.

They were known to hold their practice sessions in a converted chicken coop on the Kaufman farm, which now has become a famous Central Iowa recording studio.

West Minist’r will long be remembered for its great musicianship and ability to capture the quality music of its time from the Beatles to Led Zeppelin.

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