Aaron Baron was formed in 1978 by South Dakotans Jeff Marso (guitar/vocals), Joe Ravenscroft (keyboards), Scott Miller (bass/vocals), all of Miller, and Dave Reck (drums/vocals) of Hazel. Brian Detmers (guitar/vocals) of Canton was added later that year. In early 1979, Dick Bartling (drums) of Brookings replaced Reck, who later became the sound man.
Aaron Baron’s popularity grew quickly. Based in Brookings, the band played weekends at bars, ballrooms, high schools, and colleges in eastern South Dakota, southwest Minnesota, and northwest Iowa. The band’s mix of covers and originals included a dose of songs by the late Sioux City guitar legend Tommy Bolin. Vocalist Dawn Sorlien of Huron performed with the band throughout 1980. All members attended South Dakota State or the University of South Dakota, but playing full-time in pursuit of a record deal became their goal.
After signing with Chris Buren of Full Tilt Management in early 1981 and becoming Sioux Falls-based, Jeff, Joe, Scott, Brian, and Dick toured a 10-state area and played 200-250 nights a year for the next two and a half years. Aaron Baron was the top drawing band at Dakota Territory in Sioux Falls and arguably SDSU’s favorite band at Friday’s in Brookings. They also drew big crowds at The
Barbarian in Rapid City and The Zoo in Aberdeen and packed ballrooms and state basketball tournament dances.
Aaron Baron’s song “Love Has Changed My Mind” was one of four finalists in the 1982 Miller Brewing Co./KKRC Radio “Rock to Riches” songwriting contest. Their 1983 South Dakota Public TV performance was the most watched “No Cover, No Minimum” show of the ‘80s, and viewers voted the band into the SDPTV Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame.
Aaron Baron also influenced younger musicians who went on to regional success. The powerful, tight ensemble sound allowed them to cover a wide range of ‘70s and ‘80s rock artists authentically.
Band members gratefully acknowledge the significant roles that friends, teachers, and influential musicians, living and passed, have played in their lives and musical journeys. Special thanks to the road crew over the years: Kendal Haug, Marty Strasburg, Mark Beranek, Rick Ayres, Dwight Jorgenson, Dave Reck, Dean Hartman, Dan Picht, and Maylo Everhart and to substitute vocalist Steve Knorr.
Thanks to the fans for choosing Aaron Baron to provide the live music soundtrack of your youth. On the fun meter and Marshall amps, it went to 11.