Claremore Daily Progress


September 5, 2009

<b>HOMETOWN SOUND - </b> Claremore band reunites after 40 years for performance at Bluegrass & Chili Festival

Sept. 7, 2009 — Rock ‘n roll is here to stay,

It will never die

It was meant to be that way,

Though I don’t know why*

Rock and roll lives on in the musical hearts and souls of eight Claremore High School alums. Occupations, hobbies, and interests may differ but their individual devotions to Rock ‘n Roll is endless.

They will always be Rock ‘n Rollers!

Friends, neighbors, and a large number of guests at this week’s annual Bluegrass & Chili Festival can see for themselves. The Vikings, Claremore’s own, will perform on the RCB Bank Stage Friday night.

This will be the group’s first outdoor performance in front of a large crowd.

“I know the knees of a couple of us will be shaking at the start,” said band member Larry Melton, “but not after we kick things off.”

Band members are David McElwain (Class of 1971) on trumpet; Terry Miller (‘69), saxophone and flute; Danny Widener (‘69), vocals; Bill Jones (‘69), guitar; Gary Driver (‘73); Mike Jennings (‘69), rhythm guitar; Darryl Reed (‘70), drums; and Melton (‘69), bass guitar.

Each one still lives in or near Claremore.

Labeled as a garage rock band when they started, the Claremore teenagers were just one of countless thousands across the United States and Canada during the 1960s.

What begin as a garage band more than 40 years ago is still banging out the long ago hits. There was a 30-year gap, however. To explain the history of The Vikings we will turn it over to Melton’s memory:

“It all started upstairs at Doc Jennings’ house. We were 14-15 years old and we had two guitars and drums,” Melton said, “It wasn’t long before we had to move to various garages in the neighborhood to have adequate space. I guess we terrorized 10th Street for a few years.

“Most of us were in the school band. Back then if you had a guitar and amp (amplifier), or a set of drums, or a keyboard and amp, you were a musician. If you had a business card with your band’s name on it, you were a band.

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