When rock and roll first came through the radio airwaves in Presho, SD in the mid fifties, there were four high school students who were very impressed. The year was 1956 when brother Terry and Travis Hutchison ordered a Silvertone guitar out of a Sears catalog, Austin Kotz borrowed an old guitar, and Dick Dolly dusted off an old sax. The music had such an effect on them that they even gave up athletics. This was the beginning of the "Cats" and for the next two years htey would play at dances and special events throughout the area, including the well known Vivian Dance Hall.
In 1958 the Hutchisons continued their education at S.D. State in Brookings where they met Don Hanson and Jay Webster. Soon a new band materialized, DJ and the Cats. It didn't take long for their popularity to grow and this led them to t the recording studio. They wrote several songs which were recorded i the Twin Cities on the Kay Bank label. Two 45rpm records were cut and contained their songs "Jeanie 16, The Lightning Strikes, Rocking Guitars, and Sitting In School". Jay Webster moved back East and Don Hanson became the main vocalist. Terry played lead guitar and piano, Travis was on bass, Jim Ralins on sax, and Pat Rahilley on drums, to be replaced later by Dave Geisinger. The Cats could be found at dance halls and clubs all over the Upper Midwest, including the Club Cabana and Varsity in Sioux Falls, Dell Rapids, Rest Haven, the Hollyhock, and many more. They always played before large crowds of adoring fans.
It is believed the Cats were the first rock band from Brookings. They also played a "Battle of the Bands" squaring off against a big swing band. One of their favorite stories was the time they played in Vivian. After having a "few" liquid refreshments they pulled into a service station with a need to use the restroom. Terry rolled down the window and asked the elderly attendant "say big bopper, where's the sandbox, this cat has got to go". The old man was so confused by the rock lingo that he just asked to check the oil!
After graduation the band members all went different directions with some of them continuing in music and others choosing a different course. Their music ended but not the memories and their two 45 records were exceptional. The Cats were one of the very first rock bands in South Dakota and also one of the best.