Whether known as the Invaders, the Incredible Invaders or Lyn and the Invaders, they are a great Grand Rapids rock band that originated in the 1960s. All of the original members of the group reunited in 2000, and also performed at the We Do Care Charity Extravaganza on May 5, 2013.
They recorded again recently at River City Studio. The results of this studio work are captured on a fine new CD called Then and Now! by The Invaders. As the title discloses, this exciting release includes their original singles, remakes of these songs, as well as two new original songs written by The Invaders.
The Invaders are so excited about their new CD that they have decided to have a contest. There will be 25 winners, and each one will win a copy of their new CD!
Here’s how it works: During the next two weeks, we want you to write to us with your recollections of your most memorable 1960s experience, pertaining to the local (West Michigan) music scene.
Please forward your recollections to this email address:
Recently, we have been experiencing some problems with our Comments section’s functionality, and have decided to receive your contest entries at the above email address instead of using our website’s Comment section. We hope that using email to send us your recollections will prove to be much easier.
Those contributing the 25 most interesting and informative recollections will be sent the new Invaders CD!!!!! We may give extra credit to those who provide photos and memorabilia. You cannot leave photos and memorabilia in the comment section, so please submit these items to: WMMusicHystericalSociety@yahoo.com Please put “Invaders Contest” in the subject box.
The contest deadline in October 3, 2014.
Listen to The Invaders new song “Nothing Quite Like You” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RZ9trh3m2z4
We look forward to hearing from you soon!
We also figured it would be a perfect time to supply some Invaders band history. These accounts reflect three totally different perspectives. The first band history was written recently by members of the Invader’s. The second offering is a newspaper article written in 1966 for the South Kent News by a reporter named Sheryl Havens. Finally, Lin’ Otherlin (singer for the Invaders) shares her recollections concerning how she joined the Invaders and also provides details about the band’s career.
From The Invaders:
Bob Phillips, Fred Munch and David Bergsma met in 1959 while attending Burton Junior High School in Grand Rapids, Michigan. By the time they met, Bob had been playing drums in school bands.
Fred had become an accomplished pianist and David was a guitar student at the Honolulu Conservatory of Music in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
As they got to know each other they also got together to make music at Fred’s house. Fred’s mother was a school principal in Grand Rapids. After hearing the boys play in her home she asked if they would like to play at the school’s carnival. Over time, the boys played for this event multiple times and began to collaborate with other musicians from their school.
For the sake of experimentation, they combined their group with other orchestral instrument players and played with other instrumental groups who were performing at several locations around the Grand Rapids area. These groups were using names like The Manhattans and The Star Dusters.
Once the band members started attending South High School they acquired another guitar player named Denny DeCook. At this point Fred was pursuing other nonmusical interests.
Left to right: David Bergsma, Lin’ (Nowicki) Otherlyn, Bob Phillips, and Denny DeCook (Lee Lyons collection)
Our two guitar and drum combination focused on learning the music of The Ventures, a popular instrumental group of the 1960s. We then called ourselves The Invaders. We performed at some of the early rock and roll venues that developed in Grand Rapids. Our first appearance was at the Guest House on Stocking. The dances there were associated with the well-known D.J. named Lee Lyons. Lee booked many appearances for The Invaders in the Grand Rapids area.
During the early 1960s, the rock music scene in Grand Rapids was evolving rapidly. As The Invaders improved and gained confidence we began to consider bringing a vocalist into the group. As was common at that time, musicians would listen to other groups and recruit musicians from those groups. Bob, Denny and David were present at the performance of another local group when we met Lyn Nowicki and Mary Rudolph, who were also there to hear this local band. After learning that Lyn and Mary were singers, they were invited to come to an Invaders rehearsal to see how they sounded with our group.
The band soon recognized that Lyn, who attended West Catholic High School, presented the best match for the group and asked her if she would consider joining. She agreed and Lyn and The Invaders were born. Once the group was well rehearsed we traveled to Alpena, Michigan to participate in a Battle of the Bands and enjoy our first paid gig. The group’s popularity grew rapidly as we performed at numerous venues across Michigan. During the following year differences over artistic direction emerged and Denny left the group. By this time the group was enjoying a good following.
Seeking a replacement for Denny reminded Bob and David of their former musical associate, Fred Munch. Though he played piano with them originally, their intent was to bring Fred into the group to play organ and to look for a bass player, as well. Fred agreed to join the band and the search for a bass player began.
Again, while attending early 1964 performances of local musicians, we were attracted to the talents of a bass player named Doug Pollok. He was a student at Central High School. At that time he was playing with a group called The Kimberlites. We approached Doug and he agreed to give it a shot. This collaboration between Bob Phillips, David Bergsma, Lyn Nowicki, Fred Munch and Doug Pollok lasted until the fall of 1968.
Left to right: David Bergsma, Doug Pollok, Bob Phillips, Lin’ (Nowicki) Otherlyn and Fred Munch
The Invaders performed at virtually every venue in Michigan from 1964 to 1968, including Grand Rapids area club dates at The Shamrock, The Elbow Room and Parkway Tropics. In the summer of 1966 the group won?the Michigan State Battle of the Bands held in the Tri-Cities area. Our bookings were handled by the Sparks Agency in Saginaw Michigan while personal management was handled by Charles Bowbeer of Wolverine Management, Inc. in Grand Rapids. Equipment management was conducted by Ron Korsky.
Our first recording was entitled Boy Is Gone. This single made local top ten radio play and was recorded at the now famous “Fenton” Great Lakes Studio. It was included in the CD compilation called “Scream Loud!” which includes various recordings originally made for Dave Kalmbach’s Fenton Records label. Following the release of our second single, This Time, recorded at Prophonic Studios (on the Prophonic label) the group traveled and played at St. Catherine’s Ontario, Canada and Niagara Falls, Canada before venturing into performances at upstate New York, and eventually Massachusetts. One of the highlights of our tour was an opportunity to perform on the now famous television program “Twist-A-Rama USA” from Utica, New York.
The group added guitarist and vocalist Roger Harcourt to the lineup prior to this tour. Roger Harcourt, a well-known Michigan musician who continued to perform until 2012, added the extra dynamic of a male lead vocalist to the group’s presentation.
Our tastes in music were diverse. Audiences in clubs were particularly attracted to the group’s choreography, engagement with the audience and the performance of rhythm and blues songs not often heard on the radio during those days. Our shows often included a “Stump The Band” segment where audience members were challenged to request a song they expected the band would not know and the band would respond. Often the band would just make up a song to cover the request on-the-fly. The band was also inclined to add costumes to their performances for such songs as “Long Tall Texan.”
Partially due to increasing public interest in 1960s ‘garage band’ rock music, their two most popular recordings titled “Boy is Gone” and “This Time,” as well as the “B” side of “Boy is Gone” which was titled “Secretly,” have in recent years enjoyed radio and YouTube play.
In October, 2013 the band recorded a new CD titled Then and Now that includes digitized versions of their original 1960s recordings, new versions of Boy is Gone and This Time, as well as two new original songs titled Nothing Quite Like You and San Carlos Bay.
By clicking on this You Tube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RZ9trh3m2z4 one can hear Nothing Quite Like You, as well as see a wide array of photos of the band from the 1960s. Also included are photographs from the recording sessions for the new CD.
Copies of the CD are available for purchase. Contact Fred Munch at firstname.lastname@example.org for information.
The Invaders are available for guest appearances (contact Fred Munch at email@example.com) and plan to continue write music and record.
The band consists of all the original members; Lin’ (Nowicki) Otherlyn – Vocals, David Bergsma – Guitar, Fred Munch – Keyboards, Doug Pollok – Bass, Bob Phillips – Drums.
Left to right: Fred Munch, Bob Phillips, David Bergsma (top), Lin’ (Nowicki) Otherlyn, Doug Pollok
- Musical Combo, Lynn and the Invaders by Sheryl Havens
(This article is from Section 1, Page 8 of the Thursday, July 7, 1966; The South Kent News and the Wyoming Advocate, Wyoming Michigan) Photographs and ads were not included with the original article.
Most of you have probably heard of Lynn and the invaders by now. They’re a group that has got to make it big! When I interviewed them last Friday night before they played at the Grand Valley Armory, I couldn’t help but feel that they knew exactly what this business is all about.
While they were practicing before the interview I noted some things about their playing. Lynn put me much in mind of Brenda Lee when Brenda Lee first started out. So small yet possessing such a fantastic voice. It’s hard to realize that terrific sound is coming from such a petite girl. Yet I can’t really say that Lynn sings like Brenda Lee. She is more of a combination of Brenda Lee, Leslie Gore, Nancy Sinatra and most important, Lynn Dennis. The same goes for the rest of the group, they have the fine qualities of many of the Fab groups today yet their sound is actually their own. This sound is hard to describe. You would just have to hear it to believe it. You’re missing something Boss if you don’t.
Lynn Dennis, who is really Lynda Nowicki, is 17 years old. She graduated from West Catholic High School. Lynn stands 5’ 1” tall, has brown hair, hazel colored eyes and weighs in at 105 lbs. Lynn is the group’s lead singer. She took three years of voice lessons from Eric Weaver.
Lynn helped arrange the songs they recorded, Boy is Gone and Secretly. Boy is Gone came out last April, and was a fair size hit locally.
(Editor’s note): Here is a You Tube example of this song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U1pJ7r9ViPY
In the fall, Lynn would like to go to Parsens College in Iowa to be a English or Art teacher when she graduates.
Lynn joined the group in October. One of the guys picked up her girl friend at a dance. At the time Lynn and her girl friend were singing together. So they joined the group and after a while both were fired. Eventually Lynn was hired back and has stayed thus far. Lynn was in four other groups before becoming a part of Lynn and the invaders.
Dave Bergess alias Dave Edwards, is the tall guy of the group and I mean tall. He is said to be the tallest lead guitarist playing at the present time. Well, just how tall is he? 6’7” tall.
Dave is 19, and he graduated from South High School. He has light blonde hair, blue eyes and weighs in at 195 lbs. This fall Dave will be a sophomore at JC.
Dave was one of the original Invaders. Besides being able to play the lead guitar he can also play the bass and banjo, sax and ukulele. Dave teaches guitar lessons at Grinnell’s.
As a hobby he likes to play pool, golf, and his newest hobby is water skiing. He also likes to write songs.
Even though the whole group arranged Boy is Gone, Dave likes to claim it as his own work.
John Utler’s real name is Fred Munch. He is 19 years old, 6’2” brown eyed organist. He has brown hair and weighs in at 190 lbs. John is also a graduate of South High School. Next fall John plans on going to JC where he will be a sophomore. He is taking up Psychology.
Besides playing the organ, he plays the piano. He played the piano for six years, and he used to teach piano. He also plays the trumpet, drums, and the bass guitar.
John replaced another member of the group last fall. He had the experience of being in five other groups before this. As a hobby John likes to play pool, and he likes cars.
Bottom row, left to right : Lin’ (Nowicki) Otherlyn, Doug Pollok. Top row, left to right are Fred Munch, David Bergsma and Bob Phillips
Doug Polleck calls himself Gunther Rutt. Gunther is the youngest of the invaders at the age of 16. He is 6’2” tall, has brown hair, blue eyes and weighs in at 200 lbs.
Gunther lives in Orlando, Florida. He will be a senior at Boon High School this fall. Gunther is the bass guitarist for the Invaders. He comes up in his father’s plane whenever he needs to be with the band.
The guys all seemed to try and out do each other on who could play the most instruments and Gunther topped them all. Besides bass, he can play the accordion, cord-o-vox, the organ, the trumpet, the E flat alto horn, the sousaphone, the baritone, the tuba and the drums. He’ll give you a performance on any of these instruments if you don’t believe that he can play them.
Gunther will attend JC after he graduates to take a music course. His hobbies range from music and cycling to water skiing. He joined the group last September. He was in other groups before he joined the Invaders.
Last, but far from the least is Bob Phillips alias Bob Bogle. Bob is 19, 5’9” tall and weighs 118 lbs, has brown hair and green eyes. Bob graduated from South High School with Dave and Fred.
Bob will be a sophomore at JC this fall where he will study to be a marine biologist.
Bob struck me as the group’s cut up, but the rest of the group says that he is usually rather moody. He just was in a joking mood that night. They said that they are all that way, that all are cut ups at one time or another. Is that what they meant?
Bob is the drummer of the group, and a real fab one at that. Bob taught himself how to play the drums.
Bob is one of the original member of the Invaders along with Dave. Before and Dave started the group along with a friend, he was in four other bands.
Among Bob’s hobbies are skiing and motorcycling. He kept mentioning Carol but I gather that this is more or less one of his possessions. Isn’t that right, Bob?
Bob describes himself as a syncopate (look that up).
One thing that the Invaders are rather disturbed about is that the kids in the area do not realize how much hard work is put into the group. They don’t seem to appreciate a group like the kids in other areas do. It is hard for a group to get any breaks around here. This is true as I’ve heard many people say about the kids around here. We complain because we don’t have the live entertainment that we feel that we should around here, but when it does show up we show no enthusiasm. Pretty soon groups will probably start to leave this town alone completely and it’s our entire fault. Already groups like the Invaders are going other places to play rather than here. If you don’t believe it ask the Quests and the Invaders. Just don’t stand there and look dead. This could be a hip place if kids in general would do something about it.
Lynn and the Invaders won the battle of the bands here in Grand Rapids. On July 12 they will compete in the state battle of the bands at the Bay City Rolaire.
On the group as a whole Dave says there is no better group in the world. Now you have to live up to that statement, Dave.
The Invaders feel that The Excels are the group that is really going to make it big out of the groups in Michigan. The groups that have helped the Invaders are EJ and the Echoes from Saginaw, the Chessmen, Me and Them Guys, and the Mojo Men.
By the time you read this The Invaders will have played with Paul Revere and the Raiders at the Civic. I hope you went. When I asked them Friday how they felt about playing with the Raiders they replied, of any group in the world that we would like to play with it’s Paul Revere and the Raiders.” By the way, they were also asked to play with the Dave Clark Five when they come to Cadillac, but they aren’t going to for various reasons.
Lynn and the Invaders played with Paul Revere and Raiders at the Grand Rapids Civic Auditorium
Invaders road manager, Edward Charles is now in Texas doing his part in the Army. They now have a manager named Richard O’Dell.
You might notice that other than for long bangs the Invaders don’t wear long hair. They feel that “it looks ridiculous. You get put down if your hair is too long.”
When it comes to signing autographs, Lynn and Dave like it. The rest of the group don’t mind it at all if all they have to do is sign their names, but not when they have to write a little paragraph when they don’t even know the person they can’t see it. I can see their point.
If you ever think you see a monkey when you see the Invaders, have no fear you aren’t cracking up there IS one. It’s their 19 month old chimpanzee mascot named Jugernot Jones. Unique isn’t he?
The invaders will have two records out this month so don’t you miss them and be sure to run down to your favorite record shop and get yourself a copy or two of each of them.
The Invaders are on the road at the present but if we’re lucky they may soon be playing around here again soon. Right now they like Saginaw and Bay City the best.
(This article is originally appeared in Section 1, Page 8 on Thursday, July 7, 1966; The South Kent News and the Wyoming Advocate, Wyoming, Michigan)
- From Lin’ Otherlyn:
What I consider to be my FIRST real band was The Invaders. In summer of ’65, Mary Rudolph and I went to a dance at The Guest House. This was one of the dances that was hosted by Lee Lyons, a DJ from one of the local Top 40 Stations. I’m pretty sure that there was a band playing that night, but, I can’t remember who they were. For Mary and me, it was a chance to wear our new mu-mu tops with white Levis, show off our dance moves, and to meet boys. As I recall, it was Mary who met Denny DeCook that night. He was there with Bob Phillips, and Dave Bergsma, (all three were South High boys). They were there to hear the band, and Denny’s alter-agenda was also to meet girls. I don’t remember much about the meeting…..details are hazy. All I do know is that Denny told Mary that he and the other two boys played in a band, and that Mary had the presence of mind to say that she and her friend were singers. Phone numbers were exchanged, and a couple of weeks later, we all met in Denny’s basement and sang a few tunes. Denny was the lead guitar player. Dave played rhythm-guitar, and Bob played drums. (There was no bass in the band). I remember being very impressed by their proficiency at playing Ventures tunes, (for Russ Selby, with “The Sessions” had also played Ventures), and I was also impressed with the gory Invaders eyeball logo that was painted on Bob’s bass drum. As it turned out, they asked me to join their band.
At that time, Michigan was enjoying a plethora of teen clubs which were sprinkled all over the state. We played at The Guest House, school dances for their school and mine, (South and West Catholic), also college dances, The Platters, Shelby Pavilion, The Place, The Tans Haus, The Plantation, Band Canyon, Daniels Den, The Blue Light, Gun Lake Pavillion, and many others. It wasn’t long before posters were beginning to be made by proprietors of places where we repeatedly played that billed us as “Lynn & The Invaders.” So, the guys agreed that it was a good commercial move to go with that. As our popularity and music was evolving, it was evident that we should add a bass player instead of another guitar, as Denny had quit the band. The guys found an Ottawa Hills boy named Randy Bear who joined the band. Soon after, came another change. Fred Munch was a piano player who also went to South High. Dave and Bob decided to ask him to play with us. Fred bought a new Farfisa organ and amp so he had something to play at the first rehearsal at Bob’s house.
Lynn & The Invaders enjoyed a lot of success in those early years. Randy was with the band for only a short time. However, once again, Dave and Bob found another player. Doug Pollock, a kid from Central High, joined the band. He soon sported the stage-name-moniker of “Gunter Rut.”
Soon after Gunther joined the band, we recorded an original song. It was a song that Dave wrote, called “Boy Is Gone.” The flip side was a song that I wrote, called “Secretly,” for by that time, Fred and I were “secretly” seeing each other, unbeknownst to the other band members. I remember that the recording process was great fun. We recorded another song, not long after ‘Boy Is Gone.’ It was a Jay & The American’s flip-side tune called Chio Ragassi Chio. We even entertained the idea of changing the name of the band to Gunter’s Group, or Robin & The Merry Men, but soon lost interest in a name change. It’s a shame that, as far as anyone knows, all of our recordings of “Chio Ragasi Chio” have been lost.
Lynn & The Invaders kept going strong. We were booked all over the state all year, and solidly through the summer of 1965. Another change was to come. We briefly hired Lee Lyons as our manager, and recorded another original song…a tune called “This Time.” A faster version of “Boy Is Gone” was the flip-side. At Lee’s suggestion, another member was added to the group.
He was a very talented kid from Traverse City, named Roger Harcourt. He added his guitar playing, a fabulous lead voice, and harmonies. This gave the band another layer of fullness and afforded room for Fred and Gunter to double on horns. We loved the sound…and so did the audiences. We hired a different manager (Chuck Bobier) and began to tour out of state. One particularly excellent adventure was our trip to New York, by way of Niagara Falls, where we taped our first TV appearance. It was for some pool-side local Niagara Falls, New York, “Bandstand”-type show that turned out to be a big event at that time. I remember deciding to be daring…and to begin to wear MICRO-mini skirts (even though the more modest regular mini-skirts were then the current style.
FS ~ 9/10/2014