The Chevelles

2012 - Band

Band Members:  Dennis Kintzi, Dennis Story, John Senn, Harvey Nerness, Paul Hansen,
Duane Rehborg

In 1963, the first Chevelle automobile was manufactured. It was also in the fall of 1963 that two four-piece bands, The Rhythm Aces from Spirit Lake, IA and The Roulettes from Worthington, MN, merged to form The Chevelles. The two groups had each lost one member, bringing the three remaining members of each group together to form this six-piece band.

The band was unique in that it featured six, instead of four, musicians with lead guitar, rhythm guitar, keyboards, bass, drums, trumpet and sax. The musicians doubled on these instruments. Many considered this band to be ahead of its time and unprecedented in that horn rock and roll groups were not the norm, as later with groups such as Chicago, The Flippers, and others.

Also unprecedented was the fact this group primarily used a set of drums known at that time as "Flatjacks." These Flatjack drums looked quite similar in nature to what today is known as "Electronic" drums, only these were actually an acoustic set, no sound modules.

All six members sang, enabling much creative backup and intricate harmony. To add to the show, the members had very creative in-unison choreographed arrangements for most of the songs. They also changed apparel halfway into each performance to add variety in appearance. The band wore bold blue and white striped sport coats, black cardigan sport coats, white shirts, 6" black ties, black pants and black patent leather shoes. Fender music equipment was predominately used. With only fourteen months of rehearsals, the band excelled.

Excellence was evident in the arrangements, vocals, instrumentation and overall professionalism.

The members were Paul Hanson and Denny Kintzi of St. James, MN; Harvey Nerness of Windom, MN; Duane Rehborg of Harris, IA; John Senn of Spirit Lake, IA and Denny Story of Dickens, IA. The group performed mostly in the Southern Minnesota, Northern Iowa and Eastern South Dakota regions.

During 1964, the group traveled to Minneapolis on two occasions to record some original tunes at Kaybank Studios. The Trashmen, "The Bird is the Word," were hauling their equipment out as The Chevelles were setting up to record.

From those sessions first came "Blue Chevelle" (John Senn) and "Mala Boo" (Harvey Nerness-John Senn) on the Bangar label. Both sides received an abundance of radio play, but failed to make it onto any larger charts. This record's cover has virtually become a major collector's item and even made its way into the book written by Paul Grushkin, titled "Rockin' Down the Highway." Their second release towards the end of the summer included "Dear Sue" (John Senn-Marlin Kness) and "Chevelle Stomp" (Harvey Nerness-John Senn), but didn't fare as well as their initial record did.

The Vietnam War took its toll on this group and in 1964, after fourteen strong months together, three of the members, Harvey, Paul and Dennis, left the group to train with the Estherville National Guard. Duane decided to go off to college, which left Denny Story and John Senn. Denny (Dee) and John (Jay) then formed Dee Jay & the Runaways.

An interesting piece of information for trivia buffs out there: The Chevelles played November 22, 1963 at Slayton, MN, the day President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. Only sixteen people showed up!

For blazing the trail for other Rock and Roll horn bands, for setting a high standard of professionalism for all musicians, and for making great music for everyone to enjoy, The Chevelles take their rightful place in the Hall of Fame Class of 2012.

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