Mike Semrad, Stan Johnson, Quinn Kulhanek and Ed Heine
(all future Bumbles) formed Fremont, Nebraska's first rock band in
1962 (along with Larry Fiehn and Jay Davis)...initially called The
Nomads. The Fremont High School graduates migrated to The University
of Nebraska in Lincoln in 1963. Changing their name to J. Harrison B.
& The Bumbles, they were campus favorites through the 1960's
and toured Nebraska, Colorado, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri and Kansas
from 1963-68. (The name "Bumbles" was dropped about
1967 - changing the name to "J. Harrison B.") Other members of
J. Harrison B. during the '60's included Mike Klingner, George Bryan,
Jack Hagerman, Barry Hanson, Liz Williams (McHargue), Steve Forcier,
Bill Childs, Ron McClure, Dennis Kohout, Brad Timm, Mike Dorsey
and Tom Schultz.
While in Lincoln, they played such
venues as Pla-Mor Ballroom,
Robbie's Happy Corner, Pershing Auditorium, The University of
Nebraska Union, Jazz & Java, Keen-Time and 9-High Parties,
The Lincoln and Cornhusker Hotel Ballrooms, Der Loaf & Stein,
& The Red Ram.
They were regular performers in Colorado during
frequently playing lounges such as Shad's Lounge in Sterling, Jax Snax
in Estes Park, The Merry-Ax in Loveland, The Buff Room in Boulder,
Galena St. East in Aspen, and The Krazy-Katt in Colorado Springs.
Changing from a pure rock band (guitar-sax-drums), the
to an 8-piece Rhythm & Blues Band in the late 60's. The band
frequently featured a 3-piece horn section, Hammond M-3 organ, and
a wild choreographed stage show, fronted by soul singer, Liz
Williams. Band members left the stage regularly to prance around the
dance floor, bopping dancers with a "Whiffle-ball" Bat, wearing "Captain Crunch Hats", and riding on the shoulders of Stan Johnson, while still
playing their horns.
Unfortunately, no commercial recordings were ever released
band. However, 45-RPM acetates of The Nomads exist in EP
form, recorded at ROTO Records in 1963. The band also recorded
three excellent sides at BraveRecords in Harvey, Illinois in 1967.
These progressive self-penned tunes combined the funk of an RB band;
a touch of psychedelia, and jazz overtones mixed with excellent vocals
and are still fresh some 33 years later. Unfortunately these masters were
J. Harrison B. performed for a private party for movie
Otto Preminger and also performed for the cast of the then popular
television show "Desert Fox" in Aspen, CO.
Mostly due to graduation from college and military obligations,
original group disbanded in late 1968. However, Stan Johnson has
kept the J. Harrison B. tradition going for over 38 years by forming
versions of the band throughout the world - literally.
During his military career and later moving to several
locations as a high school music instructor, Johnson carried the
J. Harrison B. flag and formed new versions of the group in
England, Germany, Japan, Montana, Wisconsin and California.
While in Wisconsin (Fond du Lac) he formed a version of J. Harrison
B. that is still performing in that area over 20 years later.
Several versions of J. Harrison B. have surfaced in eastern
over recent years led by Semrad, Bryan and Hagerman. Johnson has
also kept the flame alive by playing frequently in California as
J. Harrison B.
Over the last 38 years - more than 150 musicians have
Harrison B. & The Bumbles" their band.
While in Wisconsin, Johnson recorded and released an LP
Harrison B. called "You Can't Get There From Here". He played most
of the instruments heard on the album.
The Wisconsin version of the band has also released several
over the years - including the local cult favorite "Walleye Weekend" -
played for weeks prior to an annual civic event.
The band has reunited on two occasions since originally
in 1968. The Wisconsin version of J. Harrison B. has made the
600-mile trip after late gigs to attend both sessions. In 1999 Johnson,
Semrad and Hagerman attended the Wisconsin J. Harrison B. Reunion
in Fond du Lac.
Drummer in The Nomads and later J. Harrison B. & The
(from 1963 through 1966) was Mike Klingner, a native of McCook, NE.
Mike was an Air Force fighter pilot and was shot down over Laos in
1970. Initially declared MIA, he was declared Killed in Action a year
later. Wreckage of his plane was found in Laos in 1995 - but no
evidence of his body or gear was found. A Memorial Service was
held in McCook, NE on July 3, 2000 to honor Mike & a room at The
McCook City Library was dedicated to his memory, along with a
showcase of memorabilia from his life.