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Boyfriends

Grand Rapids – Ronn Burke, Paul Magnan, Gary Johnson, Dick Webster, Jim Ranta

THIS LOCAL ROCK BAND HAS RETURNED TO THE STAGE AFTER A 40-YEAR HIATUS

For five gentlemen from West Michigan, their encore story is literally just that – an encore more than four decades in the making.

And chances are – if you were a teeny-bopper during the mid-to late-1960s – you’re a part of their narrative.

That’s when a rock ‘n roll group know as “The Boyfriends” took to stages throughout Michigan, playing covers at high schools, college campuses, dance clubs and classic “battle-of-the-band” competitions.

As they neared the age of 20, The Boyfriends broke up. But in 2013, they decided to resurrect themselves, men now all older than 60, motivated in part by a request to play at the 45th Catholic Central High School reunion of the Class of 1969.

“It’s something that to me is deeply satisfying,” related keyboardist Jim Ranta, D.O., who joined the others in the band when they were juniors and he was just a freshman. “It’s not the frenetic pace now that it was back then and not all-consuming like it was back then, when we played four or five nights a week.”

The band originated when bass player Paul Magnan and drummer Dick Webster joined forces, but only after Paul talked Dick into losing an accordion player who threatened to be a part of their original entourage.

Both men were already playing in bands – Dick in “The Attitudes” and Paul in “The Revolution Kind” and “Cupid and the Intrepids.” Paul was successful in convincing Dick to go the rock route rather than leaning in a polka direction.

The rest, as they say, is history, with The Boyfriends becoming wildly successful for the three years they stayed together, playing the same clubs that hosted the Beach Boys, Bob Seeger, MC5 and Brownsville Station.

The Boyfriends dissolved when Dick and guitarist Gary Johnson went into the armed forces. Dick returned to work in commercial painting. Gary was employed as a technician for Xerox. Jim eventually became a doctor. Ron Burke retired from a career at Steelcase Inc. and Paul worked in the electronics field before entering manufacturing; he now serves as a manager for DTE Energy.

Paul and Ron found other ways to keep entertaining. Ron signed on with the band Natchez Trace, and Paul hitting the road for 13 years as a bass player and keyboardist for hire, sitting in on gigs with the Mandrell Sisters, Johnny Rodriguez, Jerry Lee Lewis, Hank Williams Jr., Mickey Gilley and David Allen Coe.

He roamed the U.S., and laughs now to consider that “I lived on the kindness of women.”

Jim says it’s “fun to be back with old friends and play the music we love and entertain people who enjoyed us then and now. Like most old memories, we self-edit and might think we’re better now than what we really are and that’s fine.

“So we’re enjoying it now and then, just in different ways.”

Boyfriends Website: http://www.theboyfriendsband.com/

Club Ponytail Reunion Party

Club Ponytail Reunion Party

The Boyfriends, 1965-1970

Home » Boyfriends » Boyfriends
The Boyfriends 1
The Boyfriends 1
The Boyfriends 2
The Boyfriends 2
The Boyfriends 3
The Boyfriends 3
The Boyfriends 4
The Boyfriends 4
“The Boyfriends” Band now 5
“The Boyfriends” Band now 5
The Boyfriends - Promo Photo 6
The Boyfriends - Promo Photo 6
Dick was always the showman 7
Dick was always the showman 7
The original foursome, Paul Magnan, Gary Johnson. Dick Webster and Paul Scalici 8
The original foursome, Paul Magnan, Gary Johnson. Dick Webster and Paul Scalici 8
The Boyfriends 9
The Boyfriends 9
Gary Johnson 10
Gary Johnson 10
Hair is getting longer 11
Hair is getting longer 11
Having a coke between sets 12
Having a coke between sets 12
Paul Magnan 13
Paul Magnan 13
Ronn Burke 14
Ronn Burke 14
Ronn working on the sound 15
Ronn working on the sound 15
Rare photo with six band members 16
Rare photo with six band members 16
Dick's brother Jim had some photos of the Band at the recording studio..Forgot all about this..kinda cool....
Dick's brother Jim had some photos of the Band at the recording studio..Forgot all about this..kinda cool....
Another early Boyfriends publicity shot.jpg
Another early Boyfriends publicity shot.jpg
Boyfriends (L-R) Paul Scalici, Paul Magnan, Dick Webster, Gary Johnson.  19
Boyfriends (L-R) Paul Scalici, Paul Magnan, Dick Webster, Gary Johnson. 19
Boyfriends (L-R) Paul Scalici, Paul Magnan, Gary Johnson.  20
Boyfriends (L-R) Paul Scalici, Paul Magnan, Gary Johnson. 20
Ronn at our last rehearsal.  21
Ronn at our last rehearsal. 21
The Boyfriends at one of their gigs.  22
The Boyfriends at one of their gigs. 22
The Boyfriends  23
The Boyfriends 23
The Boyfriends  24
The Boyfriends 24
The Boyfriends at one of their gigs.  25
The Boyfriends at one of their gigs. 25
The Boyfriends  26
The Boyfriends 26
This is a picture of the pin that the Boyfriends would pass out at their concerts!  27
This is a picture of the pin that the Boyfriends would pass out at their concerts! 27
The Boyfriends - James Ranta  28
The Boyfriends - James Ranta 28
The Boyfriends Cover Photo  29
The Boyfriends Cover Photo 29
Boyfriends reunion concert 5-31-2014
Boyfriends reunion concert 5-31-2014
Boyfriends 2014 (L-R) Ronn Burke, Paul Magnan, Gary Johnson, James Ranta, Dick Webster
Boyfriends 2014 (L-R) Ronn Burke, Paul Magnan, Gary Johnson, James Ranta, Dick Webster
Boyfriends - Reunion Concert 2014
Boyfriends - Reunion Concert 2014
Boyfriends - Reunion Concert 1967 - 2014
Boyfriends - Reunion Concert 1967 - 2014
Boyfriends - Awesome set up for an awesome show!!!!!
Boyfriends - Awesome set up for an awesome show!!!!!
Boyfriends - 1967 - 2014
Boyfriends - 1967 - 2014
Boyfriends - Reunion 2014
Boyfriends - Reunion 2014
Boyfriends - Paul and Gary rockin out!
Boyfriends - Paul and Gary rockin out!
Boyfriends (L-R) Gary Johnson, Dick Webster, Ronn Burke Paul Magnan, James Ranta.....pre Hammond B3
Boyfriends (L-R) Gary Johnson, Dick Webster, Ronn Burke Paul Magnan, James Ranta.....pre Hammond B3

 

From the Boyfriends FaceBook Page on September 16, 2013:

Well it’s somewhat official..The Original Boyfriends plan on reuniting and performing at the next Catholic Central Class of ’69 Reunion. Going to post this on the class reunion page and hope for some support..

This is the start of The Boyfriends page. A remembrance of a very popular group over West Michigan, that performed in the late sixties. The intent is to share photo’s, comments, and reach out to all of the fans we had back in the day – and let them know that we remember them as well.

The Boyfriends/Facebook Page

Boyfriends on The Spirit of Douglas 1979

Boyfriends on The Spirit of Douglas 1979

Boyfriends (L-R) Gary Johnson, Dick Webster, Ronn Burke Paul Magnan, James Ranta..pre Hammond B3

Boyfriends (L-R) Gary Johnson, Dick Webster, Ronn Burke Paul Magnan, James Ranta..pre Hammond B3

 

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