THE SOUND OF FATE

 

2004 Nebraska Music Hall of Fame inductees, The Sound of Fate, span a period from early 1965 to 1972. The band was formed in 1965 by Don Coenen, in Plainview, Nebraska. Coenen remembers, "I put a little duo together in junior high, with a friend, Max (Carl) Groenenthal, called 'MaxiDon', get it, Max and Don. We were both singers and neither of us played anything at the time except tambourine. Max moved to Norfolk but we both continued in music."

Still having the "music bug", Coenen formed a band in high school with friends he knew from the area, including Bob Frank and his wife, Mike Vondercek, Glen Rosman, Kenny Scheerger and later adding Dennis Lewchuk. "The Fate" as they were known, started out rehearsing at the Plainview Roller Rink, owned by Coenen's father. "My dad even made us pay him rent, just to make sure we were serious. We finally played our first gig at the roller rink,and drew such a good crowd, that we wanted to play more."

The Fate played Nebraska and South Dakota till 1968 when a musical power struggle prompted the band to shift gears, adding and subtracting members over the next two years, in addition to a name change. From 1968 to 1970,The Sound of Fate rotated Dennis Kopetjka, Don Petersen, Bob Martin, Dave Filsinger, Jack Fisher, Jim Waugh, Bob Schleppenbach, Bill Behmer, Pete Kaiser, Fred Long, Sam Newton, Jim Kincil, Glenn Rassman, Brian Loewer Jack Pritchard,Mike Boyers, Dana Elniff, Ron Ruegge, and Rocke Grace.

In early 1969 the band spent the summer as the house band at The Rock Inn, in Estes park, under the name "The Sound of Fate." During this year, The Sound of Fate, won the Nebraska State Fair, "Battle of the Bands", in Lincoln. Their success in Nebraska and Colorado brought them more bookings and a recording session in Omaha at Sears Recording, where they cut several songs, among them, a rockin' cover of the Ides of March's, "Vehicle".

While the Estes Park bookings were rolling in, several members of the band prepared to return to their home for bookings in Nebraska. Among those who stayed behind were Don Coenen and Bob Martin, who became permanent residents of Colorado.

The Sound of Fate continued to perform and rotate, till 1970, when the band decided to disband and put the final nail in the coffin that held, "The Sound of Fate." Many members of The Sound of Fate have continued in music and made their mark on the music world. Among them are Jack Fisher, currently the head of The Norfolk Senior High School Band program, and a long time musician and supporter of marching band competitions. Don Petersen went on to play with The Smoke Ring, The Notorious Bandits, and Hitchcock, touring The Northwest and Canada, opening concerts for such luminaries as The Amboy Dukes, Ted Nugent, and Badfinger. In 1976, Don returned to Nebraska, joining old friend, Jim Casey in The Lightnin' Band, later joining Redeye. He is currently Manager of The Johnny Carson Theater in Norfolk, and is a cornerstone of the Northeast Nebraska music scene. Rocke Grace left Nebraska to play in a number of Kansas groups, including The Fabulous Flipper and The Blue Things, before moving to Colorado to join ex-James Gang leader Joe Walsh, forming Barnstorm. Barnstorm's first LP (entitled "Joe Walsh - The Smoker You Drink - The Player You Get" saw "Rocky Mountain Way" soar to #1 on the Billboard Record Charts). Dennis Lewchuck and Ken Scheerger continued to play in bands, Scheerger as a bassist and Lewchuck as an elusive singer and guitarist. Jim Waugh toured with other bands including The Smoke Ring, Patchwork and Hitchcock, and has stayed up to date with his drumming talent. Don "Cannonball" Coenen toured and recorded with Abacus, recording for producer Mike Pinera of Iron Butterfly fame. Coenen later joined Steppenwolf as their lead singer, replacing a retired John Kay. He has been a member of Colorado's Nightwolf, for almost 20 years and has recorded 2 CDs with them. His solo album, "Never Too Late," was released in 2003 and is getting national airplay. Sax player, Bill Behmer, in addition to being the Operations Manager for The Nebraska Student Union, in Lincoln, continues to perform on dobro, dulcimer, and steel guitar, performing American Folk Music with his wife Gwen throughout the states. He is one of the founders of The Lincoln Association for Traditional Arts, and has been recognized for his accomplishments with the 1998 Mayors Arts Award , in Lincoln. Dave Filsinger went on to a career in Music Educattion and performance, teaching and sharing music for 27 years as an instructor in Colorado. His accomplishments include teaching music in Australia, and directing the Victorian Boys Choir in Melbourne. His vocal jazz group at Air Academy High School, in Colorado Springs, has won top state honors for 20 years in a row.

The Sound of Fate, from 1965 to 1970, rode the changing times in music, from roller skating and matching suits, through the free spirited, free-wheeling drug cultured music of the early seventies. They will be remembered as one of the most entertaining bands to come out of Northeast Nebraska, spanning musical styes from standard rock and psychedelia to R&B and Funk.

 

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