Outer Limits once played with Cheryl Ladd
By GAL PIFER, Contributing Reporter
Remember when you were young and danced at the Madison Elks Club to the rockin' music of the Outer Limits? You can do it again on April 13, when the local band is reunited for the 2013 South Dakota Rock and Roll Music Association Hall of Fame.|
The Outer Limits and seven other regional rock and roll powerhouses will be inducted into the Hall of Fame that night at the Ramkota in Sioux Falls.
Performing at the induction along with the Outer Limits are The Hursmen and Ma's Boys from Sioux Falls; Nickel Bag of Soul from Flandreau; Burch Ray and the Walkers from Spearfish; Lads of Sherwood from Sisseton; The Roselles Brothers from Lead; and The Seven Sons and The Velaires, both from Sioux City, Iowa.
Headlining the event will be The Trashmen of Surfin' Bird fame. Hailing from the Twin Cities, The Trashmen became world famous with the release of the 1963 song "Surfin' Bird," a medley of two songs by the Rivingtons, "Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow" and "The Bird's the Word." Most recently, the song again hit #3 in the U.K. as a Facebook promotion in December 2010.
"We're excited and proud to present The Trashmen at our ceremony in April," said SDRRMA Board Chairman Don Fritz. "I can't wait to hear this group again. They are great musicians and instrumentalists who are famous the world over."
The Outer Limits was formed in 1968 by Dave Hein and Ken Reynolds, and some of their classmates at Madison High School. Others in the group were Rob Hein, Terry Olson and Mark Reynolds. All were sophomores at the time.
Their first on-stage performance was on the auditorium stage at MHS during an East River Electric Power Cooperative convention. The band was called "Melody Sextet," although there were just five members at the time. The date was April 1.
"We changed the band's name to the Outer Limits for a dance on April 6, 1968, at an establishment called Norma's in Ramona," said Olson. Bob Mildenberg, a guitarist, was added to the group for that performance.
Because all of the band members were underage at the time and nobody had a driver's license, their mothers served as chaperons and chauffeurs.
"Our moms went along so we could play in places that served beer. We were all too young to be in those places," laughed Olson.
They played at the old Lake Madison Ballroom, Rest Haven Resort, Lake Andes, Twin Lakes Resort in Woonsocket and a host of high school homecomings and proms. Olson booked the band, ran the light show and played trumpet.
Once when the band was playing in Huron, Olson recalled, a young girl accompanied by two boys approached him as he was taking tickets and asked if she could sing a song or two with the band. Olson asked the band members what they thought and all agreed she could sing, which she did. The girl, who lived in Huron, is known today as Cheryl Ladd.
The band reorganized in 1970 after Dave and Rob Hein and Mildenberg left the band. The group now consisted of Ken Reynolds on drums, Mark Reynolds on keyboards, Mike Rieger on bass, Mark Kimmel on guitar and Gary Nyland. Dave Cecil of the Cavaliers, a band based in DeSmet, soon also joined.
As a new version of the Outer Limits, the band played at Watertown's Casino Ballroom on June 5, 1970, and followed that with a performance at the South Dakota Legion Hall in Howard.
The band's popularity spread and the group went on to play the Macamba Club in Sioux Falls, a hotbed for rock and roll bands; and the Showboat Ballroom at Lake Benton, Minn. Also on their schedule were numerous school dances, other ballrooms and even several bars throughout the area.
When Cecil left the group in 1973, Mildenberg rejoined the Outer Limits. Other musicians who came aboard included Randy Bowman and the late Dale Callies.
Olson shifted much of his time to booking the band and running the light show with John Oines. Later in 1973, the booking responsibilities were shifted to Jimmy Thomas and his booking agency. Thomas led his own big band for many years, but when rock and roll arrived, he spent most of his time booking other bands.
"We all remember Jimmy insisting that he be paid 20 percent of whatever we were booked for," laughed Olson.
In 1974, this group of musicians broke up and the third edition of the Outer Limits was formed, consisting of Ken Reynolds on drums, Gary Snow as lead guitar player and vocalist, Bruce Beyer on bass and vocals, and Larry Green on guitar and vocals. This band stayed together until 1978, playing such places as the Japanese Gardens Ballroom, Milltown Ballroom, Sherburn, Minn. Ballroom, Swan Lake, South Dakota State Fair, numerous county fairs and celebrations such as Czech Days. Clubs, taverns and school dances in South Dakota, Minnesota and Iowa were also on their schedule.
"We also played local venues such as the Grandview Ballroom on Lake Madison, known earlier as the Lake Madison Ballroom," said Reynolds, "and such places as The Tap, Dakota State University and Madison High School socials."
The band played mainly music from the 1950s, '60s and '70s.
When Green left the group, he was replaced by Bowman. Others who filled in on occasion were Darrel Skanke, Arlene Beyer and Butch Zierath. This band and the others that came before it included a very talented group of musicians. The band was always popular with dancers and was kept busy going up and down the highway to the various venues.
"It seemed like we were always playing a gig somewhere," remembered Reynolds. The band played their last performance as the Outer Limits at the Grandview Ballroom on the shores of Lake Madison in 1980.
Olson said he believes most of the musicians are still actively performing today with various groups. A month ago, they reunited for a reunion band at the Madison Veterans of Foreign Wars.
The South Dakota Rock and Roll Music Association also recognizes venues -- dance halls, popular lounges and other facilities -- that were instrumental in bringing people together to enjoy rock and roll. Inductees for 2013 include the White Eagle Ballroom of New Effington, Horatios of Brookings, Tyndall's Groveland Park and Lyal's Music Store from Lake Preston.
Individuals to be honored in 2013 are promoter Dick Matousek from Sioux City and DJ Ray Durkee from Aberdeen, with Dennis Brown a/k/a Jim Rose, Aberdeen, winning the Lifetime Achievement Award and the late Lloyd Nerland, Huron, winning the Spirit of the Music Award.
Now in its fifth year, the Hall of Fame induction ceremony annually sells out to a crowd of 1,600 fans. Initially held at the El Riad Shrine Temple, formerly the Arkota Ballroom in Sioux Falls, the event is now located at the Ramkota Exhibit hall. Tickets and VIP tables are available for reservations online at www.SDRRMA.com.