Please Help Freddie Dennis! (singer w/ Sonics, Kingsmen) – LOUIE of Week

A few months ago Freddie Dennis suffered a medical setback with two strokes and now needs some help with his bills as he continues to recover.

A fundraising campaign for Freddie has been set up at

if you can help Freddie, that would be wonderful!

Screamer Freddie Dennis will Rock the House again!

Let’s all help to bring back one of the Pacific Northwest’s Rock Legend, Freddie Dennis. Formerly of the Liverpool Five, Kingsmen, Freddie and the Screamers and currently Lead Vocalist/Bass Player for The Sonics. In July, Freddie had two strokes. These affected his communication center, leaving him with two conditions, aphasia and apraxia. We have been working hard to bring back his memory, speaking, listening and understanding. He has therapy sessions 4 to 5 times a week. Freddie’s progress has been remarkable. This is all because of the talent of all of the wonderful providers, specialists and therapists that have helped us. The copays have been high and continue to grow which is why we are reaching out in this way.

Whatever funds you can donate for Freddie’s medical bills would be WONDERFUL!

. . . .

Here’s a rare clip of Freddie with his band Freddie and the Screamers, featuring some Kingsmen and Sonics alumni Barry Curtis and and Andy Parypa.

While we’re at it, here’s a clip of Freddie singing “Psycho” with the Sonics!


In Search of 1983 Tacoma Dome show footage!

I thought I’d throw out yet another public request as I continue my search for media coverage of the 1983 Tacoma Dome event that featured the only time Richard Berry ever appeared with the Fabulous Wailers.

The date was Wednesday, December 28, 1983, just a few months after KFJC Radio had their legendary 63 hour Maximum LOUIE LOUIE Marathon that broadcast over 800 unique versions of the song, and marked the very first time Richard Berry, author of the song, met Jack Ely, the original lead singer of the Kingsmen. The event was billed as “The Best of Louie Louie” and it took place after a soccer game between the Tacoma Stars and the Kansas City Comets. KISW-FM radio in conjunction with the Tacoma Stars produced this event. On the official poster for this event, the Wailers, the Kingsmen, Little Bill Engelhart, and Gail Harris were listed as the primary performers, but Richard Berry was added as a last-minute special guest.

I’ve got an interview with Richard Berry where it discusses what it was like to play at this event. Dennis Flannigan, who was the main organizer of this event, also shared his stories on that very special day.

Thousands of people attended this event. In addition to Richard Berry, Ron Holden was also a special guest that wasn’t listed on the poster. Ron was often credited with being one of the first musicians to perform this song in the Pacific Northwest, playing with the Playboys, then the Thunderbirds. Richard and Ron were old friends, and Peter Blecha wrote about meeting up with both of those guys backstage.

Video footage was shot at this event, but nobody I’ve talked to seems to know where it is. I still have yet to see any actual photographs. I was sent some Xeroxes of photos, but no actual photographs.

In fact, here’s one of those Xeroxes. It’s Richard and Ron. Richard’s wearing a KFJC t-shirt. I have no idea who took this photos, but i’d LOVE to contact the photographer, get a better copy, and see whatever other images exist from that special day.

If you have any leads on tracking down any media coverage of this event, please contact LOUIE at!!

Peter Blecha on Richard Berry (Northwest Music Archives)

The Buck Ormsby Tribute and the Lost Video

From the reports I received, the tribute concert for Buck Ormsby in Tacoma on Sunday was a big success. There were long lines wrapped around the Temple Theatre before it opened, and when the show started, every seat was occupied.

If not for family commitments, I would have been there. In lieu of attending, I made plans to assemble a special video for Buck that would be shown at this event.

I spent a few days assembling it, and on Friday afternoon I shared a rough cut to Buck’s longtime lady friend Pam, and Jimmy, who was in charge of the AV elements for the event. Both of them loved it, and on Saturday, I spent most of the day fine-tuning the edit, adding some extra interviews, color-correcting some elements, and then tacking an extra bonus clip of Buck after the original ending. By 9 pm, I felt I had finished with this clip, so I set up my computer to render the final edit, and then sent a text message to Jimmy, who replied that he was also doing a last-minute render of the slide show. When the render was finally complete at 2:30 am, I immediately sent it to Jimmy and Pam….

Unfortunately, this clip was not able to be shown at the event. Apparently, it arrived too late for being included in the event, and I didn’t find out exactly what happened until the very next day.

Oh well, such is life, eh?

Anyways here’s the video I created for this event. Be sure to watch the whole thing, as there is a bonus clip of Buck that appears after what appears to be the end…

Thanks to updates from my friends Lori Morisette and Mike Hintze, I was able to enjoy some of what I missed….

Here’s some of Mike’s photos…

Jim Valley!

The Fab Wailers!

.. and those Kingsmen guys!

Thanks to Facebook, I discovered some truly incredible photos of the event by Dan Hill. Check out this enhanced image of Little Bill Engelhart and the Blue Notes!

Right on the top of this post, you can see Dan’s photo of the audience which I thought was incredible. To see more of Dan’s work you can visit his Flickr page or make friends with him on Facebook!


Reminder of Buck Ormsby tribute concert tomorrow – March 26

I just want to remind folks that tomorrow (Sunday, March 26) will be the big day for the tribute concert in Tacoma for our friend Buck Ormsby of the Fabulous Wailers.

I wish I could attend this event, but I can’t due to family commitments.

I will be sharing a special video for the event, which will shown exclusively for the attendees.

Here’s the basic on the event, shared by Tacoma Weekly:

Details have emerged for a tribute concert for fallen Tacoma rock icon John “Buck” Ormsby. “Buck’s House Party” will be held from 1 to 6 p.m. March 26 at the Temple Theatre with a lineup that will include Little Bill & The Bluenotes; the Fab Wailers, featuring members of the Fabulous Wailers‘ most recent lineup and Gail Harris, who sang with the band in the 1960s; “Angel in the Morning” singer Merrilee Rush; The Ad Ventures, featuring Don Wilson and Nokie Edwards of Tacoma’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducted Ventures; The Kingsmen; City Zu; Jim Valley; The Daily Flash; Billy Mac; The Galaxies; and Tacoma guitar hero Jerry Miller, of Moby Grape fame.

Promoter Mike Mitchell said there will be no cover charge for the event, but there will be an auction of signed rock memorabilia, and donations will be accepted to help cover costs.

RIP: Larry Coryell, jazz guitarist from Pacific Northwest

Jazz guitarist Larry Coryell passed away earlier this week on Sunday, February 19th. The NY Times carried a cool headline for his obituary – “Larry Coryell, Guitarist of Fusion Before It Had a Name, Dies at 73.” As this obit pointed out, he was “a virtuoso guitarist who in the 1960s was among the first musicians to bring a rock sound and sensibility to jazz, and who continued to blur the lines between genres throughout his career.”

The LOUIE documentary team behind this webpage was fortunate to work with Larry when he brought his Bombay Jazz project to San Francisco in 2010. We assembled a multi-camera production of this performance, and were fortunate to conduct an interview with him.

Larry was very proud of his Pacific Northwest heritage. He graduated from Richland High School, in Richland, Washington, where he played in handful of local bands (the Jailers, the Rumblers, the Royals, and the Flames), as well as the Checkers from nearby Yakima. While his main interest was jazz music, he also enjoyed playing rock music, which gave me more opportunities as a professional musician. Sometime around 1961, he moved to Seattle to attend the University of Washington, and joined a popular teenage R&B band know as the Dynamics, participating in the recording of a few singles for the Seafair-Bolo record label.

Larry enjoyed the comradery of the Pacific Northwest music community, and talked how exciting it was to see the Fabulous Wailers perform in the TriCity area. Here’s a little snippet where he talks about that experience.

Here’s a photo of Larry playing with the Dynamics at the Spanish Castle – the legendary nightclub located between Seattle and Tacoma.

Larry became best friends with Rich Dangel of the Fabulous Wailers, and they wound up renting a houseboat together before Larry eventually moved to New York, where his career as a jazz musician took off in a big way.

Larry Coryell released more than 60 albums under his name. He recorded with lot of fellow jazz legends including Charles Mingus, Chico Hamilton, Gary Burton, Chet Baker, Stéphane Grappelli, Miles Davis,John McLaughlin, Paco de Lucía, Al DiMeola and Charlie Byrd.

His final performances took place on Friday and Saturday in New York City at the Iridium, the same nightclub where guitar pioneer Les Paul performed every Monday night for many years.

Rest in peace, Larry.

BONUS NOTE: Some of you may recognize the cartoon illustration of Larry from the out-of-print book “Dance Halls and Teen Fairs” by Don Rogers. My friend Dennis Loren drew that image based on a Dynamics group photo. You can order an original 1st edition copy of that book, or a CD-ROM copy direct from Don by visiting this link.

NY Times obituary on Larry Coryell
Wikipedia on Larry Coryell
Pacific Northwest Bands page on The Dynamics
Northwest Music Archive article on The Dynamics (Peter Blecha)

Buck Ormsby memorial = March 26 in Tacoma

A date has been announced for the Buck Ormsby memorial – Sunday, March 26, 2017 at the Temple Theatre in Tacoma, Washington.

Tacoma Weekly shared some specifics:

Details have emerged for a tribute concert for fallen Tacoma rock icon John “Buck” Ormsby. “Buck’s House Party” will be held from 1 to 6 p.m. March 26 at the Temple Theatre with a lineup that will include Little Bill & The Bluenotes; the Fab Wailers, featuring members of the Fabulous Wailers‘ most recent lineup and Gail Harris, who sang with the band in the 1960s; “Angel in the Morning” singer Merrilee Rush; The Ad Ventures, featuring Don Wilson and Nokie Edwards of Tacoma’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducted Ventures; The Kingsmen; City Zu; Jim Valley; The Daily Flash; Billy Mac; The Galaxies; and Tacoma guitar hero Jerry Miller, of Moby Grape fame.

Promoter Mike Mitchell said there will be no cover charge for the event, but there will be an auction of signed rock memorabilia, and donations will be accepted to help cover costs.

For more information on Buck Ormsby, click HERE.

More on Buck Ormsby + Song of the Week


As promised, here’s more on Buck Ormsby, who passed away recently…

My friend Alec Palao wrote an excellent tribute to Buck that was shared at the Ace Records website.

Here’s the first paragraph…

BUCK ORMSBY defined the term “rocker” better than anyone I have ever met in the music business. Not in the clichéd sense of an extrovert who struts the stage and lives life with abandon; rather, Buck was a clear champion for, and a willing slave to, the cause that unites us all. Unlike others in a similar position, he was never overbearing or proprietary; eschewing the spotlight, Buck Ormsby proffered no agenda other than to keep the faith for what he felt need nurturing and preserving: real rock’n’roll.

My friend Merri Sutton shared a wonderful memories of Buck on her Facebook page:

He heard our son, Peter (11 years old at the time, 2004), playing guitar one Wednesday night in the Guitar Center store in Tacoma. We had been amp shopping for what seemed like months. While I wandered around, memorizing all of the guitars on the wall, Peter was playing “San-Ho-Zay.” A fellow walked up to him and said, “Hey, kid, where’d you learn that song?” Peter said, “From Jho Blenis, my guitar teacher.” “Well, my band recorded that song. You play it pretty good. Would you like to come play with my band next week at the Silver Dollar? We do a radio show there.” “Sure, but I’ll have to ask my mom.” The mom was standing behind Buck by the time…. Buck turned around, smiled, extended his hand, and said, “Hi. I’m Buck Ormsby (like he needed to introduce himself). Your boy here is pretty good. I’d like him to come out and play with The Fabulous Wailers, if that’s okay.” I nodded like a drunken seal. “Yes, that would be fine….” And so it began. By the summer of the next year, Peter was on the poster for Louiefest, a huge music festival of which I had become an organizer, playing on the Main Stage with some of the top guitar players in the PNW. He played with The Fabulous Wailers at their gigs all summer – at 12 years old. I was asked by Buck and Kent Morrill to be on the board of the Wailers Performing Arts Foundation, and then I found myself in the position of photographer for The Fabulous Wailers and The Sonics… being mentored by the legendary Jini Dellaccio. I still pinch myself because it’s so surreal.

I’ve learned so much from Buck over the years. He has been so giving of his knowledge, encouragement, mentoring and, most of all, friendship. We’ve done a lot of work together and had even more fun. He’s helped me connect with many amazing people, and because of him I will hopefully be able do a lot more with and for the PNW music community – and help finish some of the projects he has left undone. I will miss him so much. He was my buddy.

Merri Sutton shot this photo of Buck (right) with Kent Morrill and Jini Dellaccio, as well as the lead photograph of this blog post.

Tacoma Weekly did a nice write-up on Buck, featuring some wonderful words from his long-time friend and former bandmate Bill Engelhart.

“Of all of us, that kind of started the ball rolling in Tacoma, if any of us really tried to keep the history of that going it was Buck,” Engelhart said. “That was a focus that he seemed to have all the time. He wanted people to remember. He would give us light, and it was really important to him.”

Today, I’m sharing a video I shot of Buck performing “Willie and the Hand Jive” live at the Kent Morrill tribute concert that took place on May 4, 2011 in Tacoma, Washington.

This was the first and only time I’d ever heard Buck sing lead vocals!!

Rest in peace, my friend.


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Reference Links:
Ace Records – Alec Palao on Buck Ormsby
Merri Sutton Photography page
Merri Sutton Facebook Page
Tacoma Weekly – Wailer legacy: Buck Ormsby championed Tacoma rock

Dave Marsh on Buck Ormsby

My friend Dave Marsh on the passing of Buck Ormsby:

My first response is about what I figure Buck’s woulda been: Aww fuck

Dave dedicated a special edition of Rock & Rap Confidential to Buck:

RRC Extra No. 58: Buck Ormsby

SPANISH CASTLE WIZARD…. Dave Marsh writes: Buck Ormsby was the guitar player in the Wailers of “Tall Cool One” and the leader of all the madhouse rock that came after him and his great band that rescued “Louie Louie” from a trash-heap.

Now, this won’t mean a damned thing to anyone not fully steeped — soaked to the DNA — in Pacific Northwest rock’n’roll lore. But without Buck, and the shows he did with the Wailers and other bands he was in, at the Spanish Castle (not a figment of Jimi Hendrix’s imagination but a true crazoid rocker hatchery) and elsewhere in Seattle and Tacoma and Portland, that whole area, there would not have been the Kingsmen doing “Louie Louie” (because they were only doing it ‘cause they’d seen the Wailers do it), there would not have been any of the Sonics, etc. powerhouse garage punk music, there wouldn’t be any memory of “Louie” at all.

He was a pioneer in having a band own its masters (and for that matter, its record company), he was a champion of the lost memory of Rockin’ Robin Roberts, of the blues and R&B musicians they copped all their licks from before warping them into teenage overdrive. He was one of the toughest guys I ever met and although I usually couldn’t deliver, I’m proud of the fact that he always at least tried to include me in all his over-ambitious projects. He had a vision, more vision than pretty much anybody out there, certainly more vision than anybody in his area until the grunge gangs evolved (and that wouldn’t have happened without the foundations he laid, and there’s nobody part of it I can think of it who was as visionary as Buck was on a bad day). And nobody outside of Seattle-Tacoma-Portland will remember him in a half inch of obituary.

But I can’t forget. He was my shepherd when I wrote the “Louie” book. But it wasn’t just that. He was a throwback to every indomitable rock’n’roll impresario I’ve known from Jeep Holland to Frank Barsalona. He was even in his own merciless way a prefiguration of Little Steven. I own no higher praise.

I told Eric Predoehl, the “Louie” archivist who’s been close to finishing a Louie Louie documentary for the past 25 years that my reaction to the news was “Aw fuck” because I figured that was what Buck would have said. They tore down the Castle to widen the highway, or something equally useless. They will never tear down Buck Ormsby because they can’t even reach that high.

Take it from Jimi, who was there, up front copping licks from all those heroes, and didn’t neglect them as he became one:

Hang on, My Darling, Yeah
Hang on if you want to go
It puts everything else on the shelf
With just a little bit of Spanish Castle Magic
Just a little bit of daydream here and there.

You can subscribe for FREE to Rock & Rap Confidential by emailing [email protected]

RIP: Buck Ormsby of Fabulous Wailers + Etiquette Records


Today, Saturday October 29th, I was saddened to learn that my friend Buck Ormsby died early this morning on his birthday.

Here’s the message I saw on Buck’s Facebook wall:

Thank you to everyone who is sending birthday wishes to my father. He died early this morning. As many of you know he was down in Mexico for alternative cancer treatment, though cancer was not the cause of death. It was an unfortunate accident. Please know that his last months have been transformative in so many ways, and he was in a special place. Please give us time to adjust to our new reality. We will post information regarding services as plans form. Thank you everyone for all of your love and support.

Buck has been a great ally for the LOUIE documentary project, providing multiple interviews over the years. In the Pacific Northwest, Buck was a genuine legend in the music community, performing with the Fabulous Wailers, creating one of the very first artist-owned record labels- Etiquette Records, and was directly responsible for discovering + producing the Sonics, one of the earliest bands to perform in the ragged style of rock music that would eventually be labeled as “pre-punk.”

Buck was one of the major architects within the LOUIE LOUIE universe, recording his friend Robin Roberts doing “that song” with the Wailers for the first record ever released by the newly-founded Etiquette Records in 1961. That particular recording, which used a very different arrangement than Richard Berry‘s original 1957 version, established an archetype that was followed closely by the Kingsmen, as well as Paul Revere & the Raiders, who both wound up with hit recordings of that song in 1963.


One of the earlier bands Buck ever joined was the Blue Notes, group of teenagers from Tacoma (Washington), featuring Buck’s good friend Bill Engelhart, who would eventually be given of the stage name as “Little Bill” of the band that would eventually be re-named as Little Bill and the Blue Notes. Early in their careers, Buck and Bill decided to visit the Puyallup Fair, where they found one of their high school classmates, Robin Roberts, singing rhythm and blues songs to a captivated crowd that was clearly enjoying this impromptu performance. It was at this point that both Buck and Bill thought Robin would be a perfect addition to The Blue Notes, and Robin soon became a full-fledged member of the band

For a couple of years, these three guys performed together (along with various other members) for what turned out to be one of the earliest rock bands ever created in Tacoma. Eventually, this collaboration drifted apart with Bill focusing his efforts as a solo artist, while Buck and Robin (now known as “Rockin Robin Roberts“) both teamed up with the Fabulous Wailers, who had just finished an east coast tour that included an appearance on Dick Clark‘s American Bandstand TV show.

Not long after Buck and Robin joined up with the Wailers, a recording was made of Robin singing LOUIE LOUIE with the band… and the rest was history, so to speak…


Here’s a photo I took of Buck with Kent Morrill, his musical partner with the Wailers and Etiquette Records, back when they visited KFJC Radio (Los Altos Hills, CA) in December 2001. As you may remember, KFJC was the place that produced the MAXIMUM LOUIE LOUIE marathon that played over 800 versions of the song for 63 hours.

When Buck and Kent did this radio appearance, they were in the middle of a road trip, and had driven down from Tacoma in a beautifully restored vintage Cadillac. They had just released their new album “Cadillac to Mexico,” and this was one of their stops.

As fate would have it, Bill returned to Mexico for what turned out to be his final roadtrip.

There’s so much more that could said about Buck, but we’ll save that for another time.

My thoughts are the family and friends of John Buck Ormsby.

Rest in peace, my friend.