Benders

So...In 1965, you've started college and, after forming a band, eventually go on to record what is rightly recognized as a true classic garage band song of the era.  What's after graduation and the disbanding of your group?  Well--if you're Gerry Cain--you start another band and record another legendary song.  As a member of  bothThe Benders and The Why Four, Cain had a hand in creating both 'You Can't Tame Me' and 'Hard Life,' two songs that are highly regarded by collectors of '60s garage rock. 


The Benders
An Interview With Gerry Cain

60sgaragebands.com (60s): How did you first get interested in music?
Gerry Cain (GC): By listening to the radio and hearing Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly, Elvis, Chet Atkins, etc.

60s: Was The Benders your first band?
GC: No, the first band was The Rebels in the 8th grade. You can tell by the name that I was also a fan of Duane Eddy.

60s: Where was when The Benders formed?
GC: I was at college at Stout State in Menominie, Wisconson, and was looking to get a band together in 1965.  The band was: Gerry Cain, lead guitar; Paul Berry, vocals and drums; Geno Jansen, bass; and Tom Nofke, rhythm guitar.

60s: How would you describe the band's sound?
GC: It was a hard driving rock and roll sound.  We were influenced by Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly, The Stones, etc.
 

60s: What was the local rock and roll scene like in the '60s?
GC: It was great, as Wisconsin had the 18 drinking age law for beer, so there was an abundance of what were called teen bars.

60s: Where did the band typically play?
GC: The local college bar scene, and many at frat parties.  

60s: How far was the band's "touring" territory?
GC: The general college area--about 25 miles.

60s: What other local groups of the era do you especially recall?
GC: Bobby Lee and The Showman from Eau Claire, Wisconsin.

60s: Did The Benders have a manager?
GC: No, but we claimed we did on the record jacket to make us appear cool (That was Paul's idea)!

60s: How popular locally did The Benders become?
GC:We were the first real rock band at school, so we were very popular.
 

'Can't Tame Me' on Big Sound
60s: What were the circumstances leading to the recording of the Big Sound 45?
GC: We thought it would be a good idea to make a record, and maybe become stars!

60s: Where did The Benders record?
GC: At The Duke Wright Studios in Wausau, Wisconsin. It was kind of overwhelming seeing all of the mics and recording equipment for the first time. 

60s: Did The Benders write many original songs?
GC: We had several original  tunes.  Geno, Paul, and I would jam together and Paul was real good with making up words on the spot.

60s: Do any other '60s Benders recordings exist?
GC: Nope. 'Can't Tame Me' is all there is.

The Benders
60s: Did the band make any local TV appearances?
GC: No.

60s: After you left college and The Benders, you formed The Why Four.  Did The Benders continue on without you?
GC: No, it ended at the same time.


60s: Where did you locate the members of The Why Four?
GC: My college roommate was from Marinette, Wisconsin and I had gone home with him a few times. I met a few of his friends and we had the same taste and attitude about music.

60s: Were they an existing band when you joined?
GC: No....we put it all together when I arrived in town. The band was based in Marinette, which is across the river from Menominee, Michigan. We played almost all of the gigs in Wisconsin due to the teen bar scene, which allowed a drinking age of 18.
 
The Why Four were Gerry Cain, guitar; Drew Lund, vocals; Ken Stone, bass; and Terry Lehto, drums. We all did background vocals.

The Why Four
'Hard Life' on Rampro
60s: How was the band provided the opportunity to record the Rampro 45?
GC: Our booking agency was Target Productions (Applerton, Wisconsin) and they worked with Ken Adamny out of Janesville, Wisconsin. We got a lot of support from the very beginning and they wanted us to record right away. For a while we were being billed as "Wisconsin's Rolling Stones."

60s: Where did The Why Four record?
GC: In Saulk City, Wisconsin at Cuca Studios.  It was a great time. Steve Sperry helped us in the studio and that's him on the one note B3 organ. It was the golden age of rock in Wisconsin.

60s: Who wrote 'Hard Life'?
GC: Drew, Ken and I were just kicking things around and it became 'Hard Life.' We were just having fun.

60s: How long was The Why Four together?
GC: A little over one year.

60s: Why and when did The Why Four break up?
GC: In 1967. Ken Adamny hooked me up with a talent scout from Hollywood (wow!). I call that episode "My first brush with greatness." I was flown out to California. Nothing really happened but it was a world of experiences. IIt was the "Summer Of Love."  I met a lot of great people and saw some great musicians. I was back in Wisconsin about a year later and we got back together under a different name (Raw Meat) for a short time. Drew and I have been playing together off and on since that time. It was truly a unique time in the history of rock music and I loved it!

The Why Four