The Rising Suns/Young Raiders/Southern Flavor 1962-1978        Postscript- 2009               

On Sat. Jan 13, 2007 The Rising Suns were inducted into the Kansas Music Hall of         Fame.  Members of the first  Topeka band, Greg Thompson, John Neal, Dave Newman,     Donnie Wierman, Steve Dahl, Ron Mikkelson  etc/ along with Steve Clark and Ken             Weidenbach of the "combo- Rising Sun/Young Raider " bands were inducted.   In March 2009 The Young Raiders were inducted  in the Kansas Music Hall of Fame and 21 members who played in the band from 1967 to l971 were inducted.  "......everybody played in the Young Raiders....." has been said many times but the musicians who came and went in the band were not your every day players.   The following postscript may surprise you.                                                                             

 

John Neal,  vocalist, band leader.    Several Rising Sun and Young Raider bands were      built around his voice.   John is still playing in Calif.  He has  a   new (2006)blues CD  out.  After  leaving the Young Raiders also played with The Germs and was inducted into the     Kansas Music Hall of Fame with them in 2006.    Johnny Neal  stays busy                            performing with his band, Johnny Neal  and Bluesprint.                                                        

Steve Clark,  trpt. trombone, sax, leader.  Took over after Neal. "Kept band together"        until late 1977.  Young Raiders became Southern Flavor who toured all 50 states, toured with   Ike and Tina, Righteous Bros. in Canada and Hawaii.   Clark still plays  60 gigs      a   year with Mr. Cabbagehead and the Screaming Radishes, a successful 9 piece R&B   show  band.   Clark has also toured and recorded with Okla. and Ark. Country bands. 
Greg Thompson     The original band  member lives and plays in Topeka and continues to try and keep all the  "boys"  connected from the Dantes, Rising Suns,Young Raiders/ Southern Flavor.   Responsible for successful Rising Suns induction at KMHOF.  Who knows what's next?  Rock and Roll,..........                                                                       

Ken Weidenbach, bass, vocals, co- leader with Clark until 1970.   Later played with The Smoke Ring,  did recording in Calif. and was called on to do a few emergency gigs with  America.                                                                                                                               

Marlin Butcher, bass, vocals, leader.  Took over after Clark.    Later played with Ray      Wylie Hubbard,  The Sensational Shoes.   Continues to play with "Harvey and the           Wallbangers, a successfull Oklahoma City, party band.                                                    

Steve Dahl,  trpt. vocals,   Left Suns to be front man/vocalist  for the Red Dogs for years. Made them one of the premier bands in the mid-west.  Later fronted The Smoke Ring.     Currently manages Monteray Entertainment in Nashville, one of the most sucessful         booking agencies in the entertainment business.                                                                 

Larry Lingle, guitar, vocals, left  Young Raiders/Risings Suns to join Dennis Loewen's The Fabulous Flippers, the top show band in the mid-west.  Later played guiter and sang in the Four Seasons with Frankie Vallee.   Currently a guitar rep.                                                   

Mike Lingle, drums, vocals, left Young Raiders/Rising Suns for the Germs.   Continued to play for many years in Calif.                                                                                                   

Bill Leacox. drums.  Came from the Germs,   After two years with  The Young Raiders,       joined the band "America" who he has toured with for the past 30 years and recorded with   on several million selling hits such as "Horse with no name"  etc.  Elected into the the Iowa Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.                                                                                                    

Roche Grace.  organ, vocals,   A major part of the l 970 Young Raiders and composer of many of the songs on their l970 album.   After leaving The Young Raiders, Rocky  put  a  new Blue Things band together, then played with Denny Loewen's Sanctuary.  Co-           wrote, million selling "Rocky Mountain Way with Joe  Walsh.                                             

Tom Stephenson, organ vocals,   Young Raider organist before Grace in l969.  Tom  also later played with Joe Walsh and Tommy Bolin.   Later recorded with  Glen Frey of the         Eagles and Poco.                                                                                                                    
Kenny "Ajax" McKenna continued to play on the road  after Southern Flavor and today    his a successful western artist and gallery owner living in Oklahoma but he still plays        when he is not painting and can sometimes be found backing up singers in casinos and     clubstheOklahoma City area.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

Jeff Severson, guitar, vocals. After leaving The  1970 Young Raiders Jeff moved to the       Washington D.C area where he runs a very successful  recording studio.    He also played four tours with  Hall and Oates and did two solo albums for C.B.S. Records.                        

Greg "Grog" Ayers, trombone.  After leaving The Young Raiders he toured for several       years with Kent Leopold's "Central Standard Time," "Calliope" and finally Danny Hein's        "Heinsight"    Grog has written several musicals, and church anthems.                                

Mitch Bible, guitar, vocals. Played with Eric and the Norseman before joining "The Young  Raiders in l969.    Mitch left The  Young Raiders to play with Central  Standard TIme.         Mitch was  inducted into the Kansas Music Hall of Fame as a member of  Eric and the         Norseman                                                                                                                                

Steve "Klondike" Solmonson, guitar, vocals    Klondike was the first musician hired         by Clark for the l971 Young Raider band and stayed at Mid-Continent when the band          moved   to Chicago.   Klondike later was a major part of the Daisy Dillard band of                 Minnesota which he still records and tours.                                                                    
Tom Taylor,vocals.  After fronting both The Young Raiders and Southern Flavor, Tom returned to Nebraska where he still continues to sing with his own band.  He also owns Taylor's Steak                                                                                                                           House.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Cleve Warren, drums.   Played in both The Young Raiders and Southern Flavor with Clark, touring most of the U.S.   Later played  with   Gary P. Nunn, composer of the Austin City      Limits theme.       Currently is the first call  drummer in Oklahoma City in           everybody's                                                                                                                        book.                                                                                                                                         

Butch Neese, vocals,    Joined Southern Flavor on the east coast after many years with      The Red Dogs,  In 2005 was inducted into the Kansas Music Hall of Fame with the Red      Dogs.  He also continues to sing with the Coffeyville Rising                                                  Suns.                                                                                                                                                                                      

Bruce Dunlap, bass, guitar  vocals,   Played  bass in the l971 Young Raiders, left to           join  Leopold's "Calliope" and  later returned to play guitar  with  Southern Flavor.                Inbetween, he played with "Little Anthony and the Imperials."   Bruce is still on the road       somewhere.                                                                                                                              

Steve Schmitz, drums.   Played nearly every state in the union with  Southern Flavor.         Came  off the road in  Houston, Tex. in the late l970's  and continues to play regularly in     the Houston club  scene.                                                                                                  
Donnie Weirman,  after leaving The Rising Suns, "Gorilla" played with Spider and the Crabs and the Soul Express.   Today, he is a factory guitar rep. and still plays and records in Minnesota.   He has a new CD out in 2007.                                                                    
Dave Sisson, organist/vocalist in last Southern Flavor band,  toured for several years as organist, musical director for numerous vocalists,  eventually put himself  through law school as piano bar performer.   Today, successful attorney  in Norman, Okla. but  can't stop playing keyboards.   Key member of  successful Southern Flavor recording  and  concert reunion in June, 2006.                                                                                       
Fletcher Buckley    Fletcher was the last member hired into Southern Flavor, replacing longtime member Steve Clark in late l977.  Fletcher still continures to play his sax  today in New York City and has performed and recorded in recent years primarily in Florida and New York.  Fletcher also spent time on the road with the Talking Heads.                            
Gary Michaels "Muck" was almost killed in the wreck that ended the Topeka Rising Suns, being saved by Greg Thompson.  Gary moved back to South Dakota before moving to Southern Calif. where he has worked as a record producer for many years.  His current project is with Lou Marini and he sometimes records old friend Mike Finnigan .

Al Trollman.   Long time trumpet player "Alphonso" , "Curtain Legs" or whatever handle you want to call Al finally retired from the band for the third time in l972.   In less than a year he was leading the Emporia State University Marching Band down Pennsylvania Ave. in Washington D.,C as Drum Major  for President Nixon's Inaugural Parade.   Al next moved to Montana where he taught music for many years and retired a second time from teaching in Cedarvale, Kansas.   Today, Al is the only band member who has returned to Lawrence, Kansas, "home of the Red Dog Inn"{ and Mid-Continent  Entertainment where he and his wife Joy reside.

More updates to come.