The 1970s Iowa Fabulous Flippers
In 1972, after the breakup and retirement of most of the Mid-Continent bands, their agency decided to rebuild the Fabulous Flippers from the ground up, one musician at a time. The ‘70s Iowa Flippers began with co-leaders Randy Christensen of Inwood on bass and Conrad Mead of Marcus on trumpet; Randy Hoyt of Remsen on lead vocals; Tim Chipman of Glidden on guitar; Kenny Hoyne of Sutherland on trombone; Gordon Johnson of Brookings, SD, on keyboards; Bill Axelrod of White Bear Lake, MN on sax; and Bruce Jefferies of Cedar City, UT, on drums
The band spent several months in a Los Angeles studio forming their signature sound. They were booked by the William Morris Agency and played such venues as the Anaheim Grand Hotel and the Playboy Club and toured the U.S. and Canada. Personnel changes through the years included Iowans Gary Gunderson of Sioux City on guitar and Michael Berens of Kingsley on trumpet; Larry Weldon of St Paul, MN on bass, and Ken Rice of Great Bend, KS, and Mike Cantwell of Kansas City on sax. Other great musicians with the band included Steve Pankratz on bass, Gary Vajgrt on trumpet and Mark Craney on drums.
The ‘70s Iowa Flippers re-released the Flippers staples "Harlem Shuffle/Peace of Mind" and received the 1972 Entertainment Operators of America award for the top rock and dance band of the year.
South Dakota was one of the band’s favorite areas, and the members considered Taco Towne in Vermillion their home club for several years. Other South Dakota venues were Groveland Park in Tyndall, Island Park in Milltown, Mocamba Club in Sioux Falls, Blue Dog Inn in Waubay, Teen Town in De Smet, Roller Drome in Mitchell, Lane Pavilion and others, along with many fairs and street dances. The ‘70s Iowa Flippers continued to play full time until mid-1976.
The band fondly remembers their brothers who have passed away: Larry Weldon, Gary Vajgrt, Steve Pankratz, Bruce Jefferies, Bill Axelrod and Mark Craney. RIP and stay funky.