The Cyrkle | Interview | From Brian Epstein to a New Era with ‘Revival’

Uncategorized May 21, 2024

The Cyrkle | Interview | From Brian Epstein to a New Era with ‘Revival’

Big Stir Records brings forth the resurrection of The Cyrkle, the band that once graced stages with none other than The Beatles, with their first album in over half a century: ‘Revival.’


It’s a kaleidoscopic journey through 13 tracks, showcasing the band’s classic sunshine pop, helmed by original members Don Dannemann and Mike Losekamp. The album sparkles with indie radio gems like ‘We Thought We Could Fly’ and ‘Dance With Me Tonight,’ alongside fresh renditions of their ’60s hits ‘Red Rubber Ball’ and ‘Turn-Down Day.’ Dannemann and Losekamp, accompanied by Ohio’s finest musicians, summon the vintage Cyrkle magic both on stage and in the studio, delivering the long-awaited third act of a band that once shared the spotlight with the Fab Four. ‘Revival’ isn’t merely a trip down memory lane; it’s a heartfelt homage to enduring melodies and the timeless allure of genuine pop craftsmanship.

 

 

The Cyrkle | Top left: Mary Fried, Top Right: Tom Dawes: Bottom left: Don Dannemann, Bottom Right: Mike Losekamp

“Our mindset was influenced by the Beatles and Beach Boys, and we loved harmony”

Where and when did you grow up? Was music a big part of your family life? Did the local music scene influence or inspire you to play music?

Don Dannemann: I grew up in Brooklyn, NY, and my mom shared with me sometime in my adult life that when I was ten months old and she was diapering me, she was humming ‘Little Brown Jug,’ and I hummed it back to her. Obviously, my head was musical from the beginning.

In terms of being a kid and growing up with music, mom listened to classical music. She just had it on all day. Although I don’t consider myself a classical person, I really grew up hearing that, all through my childhood. It was a little later on, let’s call it older childhood, and young teenagehood where I found myself getting into rock & roll and pop music.

In 1955, I had gotten for my birthday a new transistor radio. Sitting on our back porch in Brooklyn, just flipping the rail, I came across Alan Freed’s show on WINS, from New York. The first song that I heard was ‘Story Untold’ by The Nutmegs. That blew me away. I still remember going, “What is this?” You have to be coming from that time period to realize what a deal it was to hear your standard kind of music, and all of a sudden, you hear ‘Story Untold’ by The Nutmegs, which was a typical doo-wop song. I was mesmerized by it, and listened to that show into the evening, and missed a couple of my favorite television shows, because I couldn’t get away from it. That really got my head into, “Wow, I really want to do this.”

Pat McLoughlin: I grew up in Columbus, Ohio. I have spent my entire life in this Central Ohio community. It is one of the best, most affordable cities in the United States. I have never seen any reason to ever relocate.

I would say that my musical childhood home was only moderately a part of my parents’ lifestyle. My father was really a fan of the Big Band Music that he grew up with in the 1940s. His favorite band was the Glenn Miller Orchestra. I can recall (and I do cherish) coming home from my morning paper route and he would be up making breakfast. He would always have his favorite Big Band radio station (hosted by someone called “The Early Worm” on WBNS-AM) and we would eat together with that playing in the background.

My mother was nine years younger than my father. She did have an appreciation for Big Band, as well as European Waltzes, but her youthful taste also led her to the newly forming rock and roll scene that was just surfacing. So, when Dad was not home, she would listen to artists such as Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, Elvis Presley, and some of the country artists whose songs crossed over to pop stations.

It was her music that laid the pathway for me to appreciate music. As a young teen, I would come home from school, go straight to my room, and listen to the Top 40 count down every day (on WCOL-AM). I started listening to the great bands from England and eventually from the USA. I could not get enough of it. I would play air guitar and pretend to be performing to an audience in my room singing my heart out, just as I had seen them do on television.

As an influence in my teen years, I have to say that the national music contributors were by far the greater influencers on my development. I studied their harmonies and vocal approaches. That proved to be of great benefit for my adult life as a band member.

Around 1967, our local station started adding local bands into their rotation. These bands inspired me. If a band from Columbus, Ohio, was able to make it onto the radio, there was no reason for me to set a goal to one day hear myself and my band on the radio as well.

I might add that as a young adult, the local music scene did start to impact me to a far greater extent. I studied the music scene in Central Ohio and set my sights on getting into a band and start performing in clubs where I knew I was going to blow them away with my music and performance (That took a goodly amount of time for that to come to fruition).

No question, I was absolutely influenced by the bands of the 1960s. From my perspective, the facts of life musically for me involved The Byrds and The Beatles (did you like my playful play on words, haha). Those two bands to this very day appear in my thoughts daily.

But other bands were right behind those two self-contained units. The Rolling Stones, The Dave Clark Five, The Hollies, The Kinks, Herman’s Hermits and perhaps another one hundred others were flooding my head.

Not only did I like bands and their music, but I was attracted to the camaraderie these bands presented. They worked as a team, sang harmonies, often wrote together, and performed live to adoring fans.

When did you start playing music? What was your first instrument? Who were your major influences?

Don Dannemann: My first instrument was the piano. I had piano lessons, and I can still play a little today. I don’t consider myself a real keyboard player, but for instance, if I’m doing recording in my own studio in the basement, and I need keyboard stuff, I can do it. Some of the stuff I have to slow down to get what I want it to do. But yes, I can play keyboards, and if you’re going to add brass or strings, or anything else that comes from samples from the computer, you do it through keys, and I can do that.

It was probably 7th or 8th grade that I started taking guitar lessons. I was really turned on by looking at Elvis holding that guitar. I thought, “How cool is that?” It was a really neat thing to hold a guitar and be a Rocker.

Pat McLoughlin: Here is where my story takes on a strange twist, a far different path than almost 100% of my peers.

My parents were adamantly against allowing me to go into any aspect of music. They saw a musical career as a dead-end job. They would not even consider allowing me to take lessons on my instrument of interest (the guitar) and would at times even mock my visions to be a rock and roll artist.

My father had a firm vision for his oldest son. I was to graduate from my Catholic high school (which BTW he made me pay for by working part-time), enroll at The Ohio State University (which BTW he made me pay for as well), major in accounting, and graduate as an accountant. His opinion was that if the business I worked for would downsize, the last people to be let go were the accountants.

I can share that in my Junior year at OSU, I switched my major from Accounting to Marketing. He was so angry at me. Really disappointed in me for a while. But I was the one paying for the education, and I basically said that I would spend my educational money the way I thought was best for me. That was a tough one for him to argue.

I did graduate from OSU in December of 1974, and I started my full-time professional career as a salesperson in February of 1975. A year and one-half later, I married my first wife and together we had our first child in March of 1978. For all practical purposes, I had followed my father’s plan to near perfection. But I did one more accomplishment that he had never considered or had accomplished himself.

I applied and was accepted into graduate school (Xavier University; Cincinnati, Ohio) and began going to school again at night. That was in the fall of 1978 (I graduated with my MBA in marketing in 1984, and yes, I paid every cent of that too). It was that same fall when my wife bought me my first guitar for Christmas. I was 26-and one-half years old. But I finally got my first instrument.

Some have asked me what my father said when he learned that I was now teaching myself to play guitar. He was not pleased. But I respectfully explained that I was nearly 27 years old, married, with a child, had a full-time job (in business), and was doing something he had not ever accomplished, going to grad school. That was a tough one for him to argue.

But I must share that to this day, musically, I regret not having lessons or an instrument to practice on in my formative years. I lost valuable time that could have impacted my skills as a guitarist. Having to teach myself to play via music books has, in my opinion, made me a mediocre player. I know with proper training I could have been far better than I am today.

Now one surprise you did not see coming. My father was absolutely right.

Thanks to his parenting, guidance, and leadership, I had a very successful career in the business world. I spent 8 years in the Office Supply Industry, and then 27 years in the telecommunications industry. I retired from AT&T with the title of an Executive Director, a pension, and a company contributed IRA account.

I brought up four top-notch kids, all raised in a great home, in a safe neighborhood, sent them to college (I paid this time, haha), and now I sit back with pride watching how well they are all raising their own families.

None of this would have happened had I not followed Dad’s coaching. Additionally, I have seen so many fellow artists who did not take my same path. They did not have the lifestyle that I had. They struggled to make ends meet financially, particularly when they needed medical attention.

Additionally, my business skillsets have differentially separated me from almost all but a few of my fellow musicians. I understand contracts, marketing, advertising, employee motivation, people management, branding, and most importantly, focusing on customers (i.e., audience and promoters’) satisfaction. No question this knowledge has aided my career path in the music industry and certainly the revival of The Cyrkle would not have happened without it.

I have had a blessed life and I owe that to my father.

Were you a member of any bands before forming The Rhondells?

Don Dannemann: Yeah. I’m not sure we even had a name. Here I was, I had a guitar and amp. My parents allowed me to buy an amp, so I had an amp and a guitar, and I would just play at home. A friend of mine, a next-door neighbor who was in a band, he came over one day and asked me, “Hey Don, we’re playing at this High School dance, and our guitar player’s amp broke. Would you mind lending him your amp?”

I remember feeling a little funny about it, and my mom happened to be there, and heard that conversation, and she came over and said, “Hey Don, why don’t you lend him your amp, but tell him that you want to play when they take a break.” And I thought, “Oh yeah, that would be cool.” I could play a lot of stuff by myself. So he said, “Yeah, okay.”

I must have sat next to the band, and watched them play, and when they took their first break, I picked my guitar, plugged it into the amp and started playing. I had a real picture in my mind of the reaction from all my high school friends, and non-friends. A good chunk of the school was at this dance, and I remember them sitting at tables, and them kind of looking like, “What is this?” All of a sudden, they got up and started dancing. It was a huge success, and it felt like, “Wow, I can really play for people. How cool is that?”

Somehow, I met two guys that were not in my school. One was a guitar player, and one was a standup bass player. They asked me, “Can we play together?” So we did. We had two guitars, and a standup bass. The one particular memory that I have of that is that we were playing one night at Scarsdale High School. We lived in Eastchester, and Scarsdale was a suburb of suburban New York. I still remember a magic moment where I had the guitar plugged in, and I wanted to make sure that I had sound, so I played an E chord, and it reverberated through the gym, and there was this cheer. “Yay!!! Wow!” They heard a Rock & Roll guitar play a chord. It was really well received. Another positive reinforcement of the whole thing.

What about you, Pat?

Pat McLoughlin: Unlike most individuals who have been in bands, I have had a long career in just three bands, and all of them have a direct connection to the others.

My goal as that teenager in my bedroom, singing and playing with my air guitar, was to not only be in a band, but to be in a successful well-known band. But not just a well-known band in my hometown or my home state. I wanted to be in a band that would be known from coast to coast, and in the international markets as well. That goal never went away. For forty plus years, I would envision this one day happening, even if I was working in my day jobs.

In 1982, I had been teaching myself to play guitar for four years. Along the way, I had experimented with songwriting and felt that a few of them were pretty good. I saw that the companies of Wrangler Jeans and Skoal Smokeless Tobacco, combined to offer a national battle of bands. The bands were to submit an original song to be considered. I entered one of my earliest compositions called ‘Boise, Idaho.’

You can imagine the variety of emotions I had when I learned that my song was selected as one of the four finalists for the Central Ohio region for the contest. My band and I were expected to perform in a competitive battle of the bands in Marysville, Ohio on July 7th, 1982. Now I needed to form a band, and quickly, if I was going to compete. That is exactly what I was able to do.

Networking with friends, I pieced together a band, which we called that day, “The Best Cellar”. From the back end of a flatbed 18-wheeler, we played six songs to a sizable crowd, including my original song. It should not have worked, but everyone really gave it a great effort and we went over with the audience in a very big way. We were the runners-up to an established band with a great reputation. BTW: It was the first time in my life that I played my guitar standing up.

I really got a “high” from this first show. Playing live to an appreciative audience was exactly what I thought it would be. I wanted to do more of the same. Fortunately for me, the other band members really enjoyed the experience as well. Two of the four thought we should continue working as a band, focusing on the burgeoning new phase at the time in Country music (led by the band Alabama). We recruited new players and changed our name to the more country-sounding name of “Cimarron”.

A big step in my long-term vision had come to fruition.

Cimarron had a wonderful long-term run. The band performed from that first show until 2001, doing over 700 performances and even receiving an invitation to come to Nashville to record an album in 1997.

All of the band members with original material were asked to submit their songs and we sent a total of 20 songs for the powers that be to consider. In the end, ten were selected to be on the album, of which 8 of the songs picked were either songs I wrote or co-wrote. The selected songs included ‘Boise, Idaho,’ the same song that kick-started my opportunity to be in a band. Another song: ‘I Believe, She Believes’ years later was selected to be on The Cyrkle’s newest album called ‘Revival.’

When we finished the album, it was really very good. I was pleased and thought that I was on the path for getting national and international attention. The good news was, that of those two paths, we succeeded on the International front. The album tanked in the USA. But overseas, our first release, my compositions titled ‘My Green Eyes’ charted on the International Country Music Top Forty Chart (covering all of Europe and Australia), peaking at #11. The good folks behind the album felt a second album release was a necessity. ‘I Believe, She Believes’ was a follow-up hit. It spent twelve weeks on the same Top Forty chart, peaking at #21.

But in the United States, nothing remotely close occurred. We did not have the funds to tour England or Europe. The success we felt was short-lived and nothing occurred in our home country. By the turn of the century, I personally had come to a crossroads as to what I needed to do to obtain my vision.

In 2001, I made a very hard and personally draining, emotional decision to leave behind the Cimarron brand, along with two other members and change the format to be an oldies cover band. It would open us up to regional fairs and festivals (better money) and bigger audiences.

Thus, a change of name occurred, and the same band became known as “The Gas Pump Jockeys.” Donning a vintage image as gas attendants, we changed our target audience and successfully established the band regionally. One band member has been with me all the way for what has now been over 23 years (and counting) of a career as a performing entity. The current lineup, except for three members who sadly passed away, has remained intact for now ten years.

The Gas Pump Jockeys business model then becomes the foundation for the revival of The Cyrkle.

Can you elaborate on the formation of The Cyrkle?

Don Dannemann: This was in the fall of ’61, and there was a freshman mixer. This is the beginning of the song [on the new album, ‘We Thought We Could Fly’]. The lyrics are, “Carry that heavy amp down the stairs, 1961. A couple of guys were singing and playing, looked like they were having fun. I asked, and they said I could join them, so I plugged in and started to strum. Now we were ready to give it a try. We really thought we could fly.”

That’s pretty much what happened. Those lyrics were pretty exact. It was a booked band at this freshman mixer, and a couple of guys during a break picked up the instruments and started playing. I was with one of my freshman friends, who knew I’d played guitar because I’d showed him my stuff, and he said, “Oh Don, you should go play with them. I carried the heavy amp down the stairs; my room was in this building where it was. He helped me with the guitar and I walked up, “Hey guys, can I play?” “Yeah yeah, let’s play,” and that was the beginning of the Rhondells.

As far as the name, we knew we needed a name, and I still remember Tommy at one point walking up and saying, “Don, our name is the Rhondells.” Nobody asked me, and I didn’t have anything better, so I said sure.

That’s what we were all through college, and this now is the second verse of [‘We Thought We Could Fly’]. “We became the real hot band on campus, 1964, playing those frat parties all around, opening every door. We nailed all the Beatles and Beach Boys sounds; we never let a chord go by, we were ready to give it a try. We really thought we could fly.” And that’s exactly what happened.

Pat McLoughlin: In 2014, the band added Mike Losekamp to the Gas Pump Jockey lineup. He was one of the five original members associated with The Cyrkle in the mid ‘60s. Mike was a hugely talented addition to the band. We added The Cyrkle’s two biggest hit songs to the band’s set list. They both went over like aces with the audience each night.

It gave me the idea that perhaps we could consider investigating whether we could coax surviving members from The original Cyrkle lineup to come out of retirement and join my existing band to form a new version of The Cyrkle.

Here is another example of where my business education would pay off. I first needed to find out if The Cyrkle’s trademark was still in use. To my welcomed surprise, the trademark had been abandoned. I immediately went to the efforts of securing the trademark in the spring of 2016. This was a very important piece of the puzzle that I needed to have, and I was able to obtain it.

Next step: See if I can locate surviving members and hope to convince them to talk to a stranger they never have met, and consider joining his band. This was a tough assignment. My research showed that at the time there were three survivors, and all had impressive professional careers after the disbanding of The Cyrkle.

I eventually found drummer Marty Fried in Southfield, Michigan. He was a renowned and respected tax lawyer working at a major law firm. I found his law firm and left many messages asking if I could have a business conversation about uniting The Cyrkle. Eventually, in response to one of my emails, he shared that he was still actively working, had no interest in going on the road with a band, and admitted that he had not played his drums in over 30 years. I crossed him off my list of three.

I finally found the keyboard player, Earl Pickens, in Gainesville, Florida. He was a significantly successful surgeon in northern FLA, and as it turned out, he would continue doing so until his retirement in 2022. To my way of thinking, too many people depended on Earl for their health concerns, and in some cases, their lives. Without reaching out to him, I crossed him off my list of three as well.

That left me with one remaining founding band member, Don Dannemann, the vocalist and lead guitarist of The Cyrkle back in the 1960s. Where finding the first two band members in a rather short amount of time (less than one month) finding Don D. was significantly more challenging.

He had operated an enterprise in New York City. He had a jingle writing business for decades, with major success. He had closed his operation in 2008. That was the only lead I had to work on.

I eventually purchased a software package that supposedly had everyone’s telephone numbers, not only in the present, but all the telephone numbers assigned to a person’s lifetime. Narrowing my search area to all states east of the Mississippi River, I used this database to search for age-appropriate men named Don Dannemann. I bothered a number of gentlemen with the same name, spending a goodly amount of time on each possibility trying to reach them, only to find out it was not the right Dannemann. I was truly getting disheartened.

One Sunday afternoon, I was at Mike Losekamp’s home, and I was peppering him about Don. Asking if he had relatives, a wife, or any other detail that could open a new pathway to finding him. Mike could not recall any details of this nature, understandably, given the two ex-bandmates had not spoken in nearly 50 years.

It was then that I recalled from my research that Don and his wife had written a song after the death of John Lennon. As a co-writer, his wife’s name became available to me. Using the aforementioned software, I looked her up, and to my joy, found her. She had had six telephone numbers throughout her lifetime. I started dialing.

The first five attempts failed. They had been disconnected or reassigned. But with the last phone call I made, lady luck found me. The woman answering was, in fact, Don Dannemann’s ex-wife! It took some time (understandably) for her to feel comfortable with the voice on the other end of the call, but she eventually gave me the mobile telephone number to their son.

I sent a text message to their adult offspring, explaining that Mike and I were trying to reach his father to have a business discussion. The next morning, he responded to me with a single comment via text, which read “Please Give Me Mike Losekamp’s telephone number.”

Not only did I provide Mike’s landline and mobile telephone numbers, but also his email addresses, home address, his wife’s email, and telephone numbers as well. I might have included his blood type and her shoe size (just kidding, I didn’t), just to make sure he was comfortable being the conduit to the request I was making.

The following Thursday, Mike called to tell me that he and Don had spoken for the first time in five decades. Mike told him what we were trying to accomplish, and Don said that he was interested. We arranged for a pair of 90-minute conference calls with the band, with almost all of the conversation focusing on the business side of reuniting the band. At the end of the second call, Don agreed to come to Columbus to meet and practice with the band.

I flew Don to Columbus ten days later at my expense and put him into a very nice Hilton Hotel to show we were trying to impress him. We arranged a “meet and greet” get-together the first day so that he could see Mike again, and get to know the other band members. That was very successful.

The next day we arranged for new band photos and had lunch with our manager at the time, who was heading to Nashville to see if he could shop the band around to various agencies. That meeting was also a success.

The last task was to play music together and see if we could jive as a band. During this session, we had a magic moment. Don asked if we could play Paul Simon’s ’59th Street Bridge Song’ (‘Feelin’ Groovy’). In that moment, the Gas Pump Jockeys with Don Dannemann and Mike Losekamp suddenly became The Cyrkle. It was in that moment that Don knew this would work for him. He joined our band, and with the trademark in our back pocket, reformed The Cyrkle.

How did you get discovered by Brian Epstein?

Don Dannemann: In the spring of 1964, at the inter-fraternity weekend, where the whole school was there, we announced that we were doing a Beatles show. We bought long hair wigs, and we did the show. This show was so successful.

We bought long hair Beatle wigs, and that started a chain reaction that got us to Atlantic City, that got us to the Alibi Bar, got us heard by Nat Weiss, partner of Beatle manager Brian Epstein. Got us to New York, got me to meet Brian, got us our Columbia Records contract, got us ‘Red Rubber Ball,’ got us our name, and got us on the Beatles tour in 1966.

We were the Rock band alternating with the orchestra, which they always hired for these weekends. And it was Warren Covington and the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra. They were really good, and they were a real orchestra. They were the real deal. At this Beatles show, everyone went bananas. The chain reaction started when Warren Covington came up to us, and said, “Hey, I am really impressed with what you guys did. Would you consider be interested in being a part of my orchestra, and stepping out and doing your Rock thing?” We never analyzed it, but we said, “Yeah, let’s give it a try.”

He had an engagement on the Steel Pier in Atlantic City, NJ, which got us to Atlantic City, and we played with his orchestra. What happened was we we played, and stepped out and did some of our stuff. But when we played with the orchestra, it was so not our kind of music. It really didn’t work.

Tommy was playing stand up bass, which he could do. He started out as a standup bass player. But he couldn’t read the music, and hit was sort or complicated stuff. Standard jazz music, and I still remember one of the band members told him, “Look, if you don’t get the right note, don’t worry. Just keep thumping.” From my guitar lessons, I could kind of keep up. I could play more than regular beach chords, and I was almost kind of able to keep up, but it wasn’t us. So we did that way, and we went our separate ways, and that was that.

So now it’s spring, and Earle was going off to do something that helped him get into medical school. So he was not available, so Tom and Marty and I thought, “Hey, we’re in Atlantic City. Let’s see if we can get a summer job.” And that’s where we ended up, at the Alibi Bar, on South Carolina Avenue, right off the Boardwalk. We play two summers at the Alibi Bar.

The Rhondells in that second summer, we considered ourselves to the vocal jocks, because we played for 90 straight days, 9pm to 3pm, six hours a night, plus 2 to 6pm matinees on Saturday and Sunday. No days off all summer, and we made it. We got really good at pretending to shout into the mic, and sucking into the mic, and sounding louder. Trying to save our voices.

In walks Nat Weiss. He hears us, and he comes up to us and introduces himself. “My name is Nat Weiss. I’m a matrimonial lawyer,” he was very upfront about that, “but I’m good friends with Beatles manager Brian Epstein, and we’re forming a management company here in the States. I think you guys are really good. Stay in touch, and we can maybe get something going,” and he gave me a card.

After the summer, I am working with my dad at the sheet metal factory. My dad had a small manufacturing company, and he made products with sheet metal. Earle is off at the University of Chicago in medical school, Tom and Marty are at Lafayette. You could drive from Eastchester to Lafayette, around two hours to drive, so Tom and Marty would play as a trio on weekends. One evening I just thought to myself, “Well, it can’t be, but if what Nat said about Brian Epstein is true, then why not?

So I pulled out his card, and called him, and he recognized me immediately. “Yeah Don! How are you?” I was very surprised. “Why don’t you come down to the city?” And he gave me a time and an address. He said, “Come down, and I’ll introduce you to Brian.” So I thought, really? Okay.

This was one of the side streets of the upper East Side, in the early evening. I took a local friend of mine, a buddy, and we drove down, parked the car. It was one of these walk-up buildings, about four or five stories. Yes, there is a party. We’re both very shy, so we are standing in the corner, talking to ourselves. Finally, Nat shows up, and I go up to him. “Oh yeah, Don, come on. Follow me.”

I follow Nat downstairs, and son of a gun, there’s a limo parked right outside the door. And now Nat then opens the door, in a very dramatic gesture, beckons me into the car. He pulls me in, and son of a gun, I am sitting across from Brian Epstein. This was a very mind-blowing moment, where I am trying not to look mind-blown. Stay cool, you’re in front of Brian Epstein.

Now, I think that I have a good light rock voice, and given the right material, I can sound very good. Am I great? No, but I think I’m very good. As a guitar player, am I Eric Clapton? No. Am I Van Halen? No. I’m a decent guitar player.

Having said that, Nat now introduces me. “Brian, I’d like you to meet Don Dannemann, one of the finest musicians I know.” Oh my God, I’m thinking to myself.

The conversation then goes along the lines of, “Wow Brian, it’s great to meet you. We’re big Beatles fans, and it would be great if we could get something going with you guys. Brian, who in all of our relationships with him, was really a gentleman, just a very sweet guy. His conversation was along the lines of, “Oh yes Don, Nat has spoken very highly of you. It’s great to meet you, and yes, perhaps we can get something going.”

The Cyrkle in 1966 signing with Brian Epstein with Nat Weiss looking on

Tell us about signing with Columbia and the beginning of recording ‘Red Rubber Ball’. What are some recollections from the session?

Don Dannemann: We did a few demos, and I called Nat, and we set up a time to go to his apartment in the city and listen to these demos. Funnily enough, the night that I was scheduled to play him the demos, November 11, 1965, happened to be the day that the whole East Coast had a blackout. Everyone thought that the Russians were coming. It was really kind of a scary moment.

We rescheduled it for a few days later, and I went to Nat’s apartment. I lug my tape recorder up to Nat’s, and I’m trying to wire in my recorder into his stereo system. He had a decent system. I was ready to wire it in, and I’d brought a pair of stereo headphones. I thought, let me give this to him. I said, “Nat, take these headphones. You’ll hear it better, and it’ll be a nicer experience for you.” At that time, stereo headphones were comparatively new, and most people didn’t have them. I thought, apart from hoping that he liked the tunes, he’d be impressed by hearing them through the headphones.

Sure enough, I was right. When I hit play, and the first music came on, I saw his face light up and his eyes go up to the ceiling, like “Ah!” Bottom line was, Nat was really impressed, and that started getting the ball rolling for him to get into the city to start doing stuff.

Tommy had gotten friendly with a fellow named Barry Kornfeld, who had a publishing company with Paul Simon. He gave Tommy a scratchy 45 demo of Paul with a guitar singing ‘Red Rubber Ball.’ I remember that we all listened to it, and it was like, “Hmm, that’s kinda cute, let’s give that a shot.”

We recorded ‘Red Rubber Ball.’ We were trying to figure out who would do what, and we were trying to come up with a guitar riff to play. That riff goes so well with the organ. I was thumping around, and I couldn’t figure it out, so I handed the guitar to Tommy and said, “What do you think? Play something.” He played that riff almost immediately. It came right out, and then he handed the guitar back to me. I’m the one that played it on the record, and then played it whenever we played it live, but it was Tommy that came up with that riff.

When we did the recording, we were in Columbia Studios, and I remember this feeling when we were doing just the track by itself. Guitar, keyboard, bass, drums. John Simon played the keyboard, I’m quite certain of that. Earle was not around at that point. He was still in medical school. I remember the feeling as we got near the end of what sounded like to me, “Wow, this sounds like a good take, I think we got it”. Right near the end, I missed one note on the riff. It’s after the riff, at the very end of the song. But it was such a good time, and it was as if I did it on purpose. If you want to listen, near the end of ‘Red Rubber Ball,’ there is one note that’s missing, but it sounds like I meant to do that. And it was such a great take that we kept it.

How did you usually approach songwriting? Can you share insights into the creative process behind crafting your music, particularly your approach to songwriting and arranging?

Don Dannemann: For me, and I suspect others, there are many things that affect what you write. The first thing, you have to have a desire to write something. It has to be something in you. I’m recollecting, the B-side of ‘Red Rubber Ball’ was a song called, ‘How Can I Leave Her.’ If you listen to it, it’s a good song.

The subject is basically, you and I, we have such a good relationship, but all of a sudden, I’m falling for somebody else, but how can I leave her, because she’s been so good to me? That’s a subject that’s been done in songs, and I don’t remember if there was a particular song that influenced me to do that, but the subject matter came from other songs. And then you start going through it, and what am I trying to say?

I couldn’t come up with a bridge, I had a hard time, and I asked Tommy, “What do you think?” Tommy came up with a bridge almost immediately. “Oh yeah, here it is.” Tommy and I made a deal that we were going to be the Lennon/McCartney of the Cyrkle. Anything that anybody writes will be credited, so we won’t have a competition.

In terms of writing, let me share with you ‘We Thought We Could Fly.’ I was presented by Daniel Coston a song that was recorded by Andrew Sandoval. It turns out that Andrew was a good friend of Tommy Dawes, who sadly died in 2007. Andrew had a song that was recorded in 2002 called ‘He Can Fly.’

I listened to the song, and it was pleasant, I didn’t know anything about it. And then I was told by Daniel that all of the background vocals were done by Tommy Dawes. This was a major deal for me because I thought, how cool would it be to sing with him again. I’d thought about this for a long time, actually.

Here was this really nice background vocal, and I was able to take his vocal, separate it out, and revise it somewhat and write a new song. The concept was, as I said earlier, I want to write a song. Where’s this song going to come through? Well now, I had this impetus, with Tom Dawes’ background vocals. How can I organize it? I remember that I spent a lot of time on the computer, moving his vocals around, and this was before I even wrote the song. I moved his vocals around in such a way that I thought, “Okay, if I move this here, and repeat it for another verse there, it looks like it could make a song.”

Once I had that, it was a combination of melody and lyric. I’m not really that spiritual or religious, but in this case, it was like God gave me a lyric. It just came through, and I found myself as I wrote it tearing up, thinking, “Oh my god, I’m going to get to sing with Tommy again.” Gradually, I laid down a track. I had to speed up or slow down the vocal, move things around. I had to change one note in one place to make the harmony right.

It was a combination of what will inspire me to do what, what will work with the vocal. What will I want to say? You can’t put it in an exact formula, but in this case, there was a huge inspiration to want to do what I just said. To write a meaningful song that will honor our history. The melody was helped by what will work with these kinds of chords and this kind of vocal, and lyrically honored our history. So I ended up with this song. There’s always a slightly different story for every song that gets written, but there is at least one.

Pat McLoughlin: I will answer only from my perspective. I typically start out with a phrase that I think might be a good title or song hook. Once I have that, I write a scratch set of lyrics and chorus to serve as a foundation.

I then go about building chords and a melody around the lyrics and try to write a catchy hook. If this works for me, I then go back to the lyrics and fine-tune the story and the wording to work in tandem with the music. Once that is finished, and I believe it will be a good song, I will eventually present it to the other bandmates in the hopes they will like it. That does not always go the way you had hoped it would be. I have had songs not get their approval.

If the results are not positive, I put the song into my catalog for possible consideration and move on to what will eventually be the next song.

The single ‘Red Rubber Ball’ became a hit. What was it like hearing it for the first time on the airwaves? It became an anthem for many during the 1960s. What inspired the song, and how do you think it resonated with audiences at the time?

Don Dannemann: Mindblowing. Oh my gosh, how cool is that? In February of 1966, before ‘Red Rubber Ball’ was released, I went into the Coast Guard for six months of active duty. So I didn’t get to hear anything. Marty was still at Lafayette, and Tommy had finished his semester, he played bass with Simon & Garfunkel.

I was able to get some outside communication while I was in Cape May. At some point, Nat Weiss was able to get in touch with me, and he said, “Hey Don, if you can get a pass, we have the opportunity to present ‘Red Rubber Ball’ on Hulabaloo.” So I kind of begged and pleaded, and I have wonderful things to say about the Coast Guard. A couple of times that really helped.

They gave me a three-day pass. So I got on a bus and went up to the city. We taped the show in Brooklyn. We did ‘Red Rubber Ball,’ and if you go on YouTube, there it is. Us doing ‘Red Rubber Ball’ on Hulabaloo. It was really cool. Paul Anka was the host, so we got to meet him. Lesley Gore was on the show, and Peter and Gordon was on the show, and they were all very nice.

For the last day of taping, my parents came to the studio. My dad then drove me back to Cape May, and we basically got there just in time for me to check in. I got no sleep, but there I was, back at Cape May.

You asked me, when was the first time I heard the song on the air, it was on Hulabaloo. It was going to air the next week, and everybody in the Cape May boot camp knew that one of the guys was going to be on Hulabaloo. It was like this major deal. Everybody is now crowded into the dining room, and I remember sitting there, thinking, “Oh my God, please let us come in. I hope that we didn’t get cut.”

It was a real out of body experience when it came on. We’re in the dining room now, on a little black & white TV, and the whole dining room cheering, whooping, and hollering.

Pat McLoughlin: Let me share with you a personal story regarding ‘Red Rubber Ball’ and how it resonates with listeners.

I have a great friend named John Tennant. I met him in grade school in 1964. He is a friend to this very day. When we graduated from High School, we would get into his Pink Ford T-Bird and drive around, in hopes of finding a couple of girls, which ended in failure each and every time.

He had a copy of ‘Red Rubber Ball.’ When any effort we made to meet our objective would end up with a failure, John would put on ‘Red Rubber Ball,’ and we would sing together that song of hope. It was a signature song for these endeavors.

But who could have possibly envisioned that a guy that summer, who could not play a guitar, and had never been in a band, would one day be a member of the same band that performed ‘Red Rubber Ball.’ It defies logic.

What are some of the strongest memories from recording ‘Neon’ in late 1966?

Don Dannemann: We were now more professional in terms of recording artists. ‘Red Rubber Ball’ was a little bit raw. Young, nubile guys, and now we had a whole album under our belt. Our mindset was influenced by the Beatles and Beach Boys, and we loved harmony. We had a kind of intellect about us.

One thing that I feel bad about that we didn’t do as the Cyrkle, which I think would have benefited us, we should have had a three-chord rock ‘n’ roll song [on ‘Neon’]. Just a fun, happy song.

There was still wonderful stuff. There was ‘I Wish You Could Be Here,’ which was a Paul Simon song. Very beautiful. ‘Please Don’t Ever Leave Me,’ which is a fun song. Lots of harmony on both of those. ‘The Visit’ still gets more airplay than some of the others.

‘I’m Happy Just To Dance With You,’ we did lots of these weird key changes, and they are kind of interesting. It was that intellectual sense of what we did.

‘Don’t Cry No Tears,’ Tom and I wrote that. It was a nice rock song. ‘Weight Of Your Words,’ which was an interesting one. A little bit heavy, Tom and I wrote that. ‘Two Rooms’ was a nice sensitive song, and Marty wrote it. It was the only song that Marty wrote and sang. I remember writing ‘Our Love Affair’s In Question’; I thought it had a nice scan to it. ‘Problem Child’ was a little silly, cute thing.

How did your work for the movie soundtrack, ‘The Minx,’ in 1967 (not released until 1970) come about?

Don Dannemann: The group was essentially broken up. I don’t remember if we had officially broken up. This was the very end of us being together. Nat Weiss, a friend, Ray Jacobs, was a producer on the movie with Herb Jaffe, and Nat said, “Maybe you would want to do the music for this movie?”

The movie was originally called Squeeze Play, and it turned out to be what people thought was a really bad movie, so in order to save it, or help it make some more money, I’m not sure of the details, after the fact, they shot a series of semi-pornographic sequences that they threw in there and changed the title to The Minx.

We are in two scenes. We are the band in the disco in the afternoon getting set up, and then we are playing in the disco that night, where the main characters are dancing to our music. We were in the process of breaking up, and Nat and I had talked about, “Well, Tommy is leaving, maybe I’ll keep the band going.” What you see in the disco scene is some of the vocal where you see me doing it is actually Tommy singing, but they wanted to have me in there more, since I was going to keep the band going. It’s a neat song, called ‘Murray The Y,’ which was sort of a spoof on Murray The K, who was a New York disc jockey.

As the 1960s progressed, many bands embraced the psychedelic movement. How did The Cyrkle navigate the changing musical landscape, particularly as psychedelic rock gained popularity?

Don Dannemann: My best recollection is that we had a sense that we weren’t a psychedelic band, and so recording-wise, we didn’t really go there. We did get a little heavier. The Minx had its interesting stuff to it, but the one thing that we did do was at the end of our show, we would announce, “Ladies and gentlemen, the show is over, and if you want to leave, it’s fine, but we were going to do something that’s a little bit fun for us, and you might enjoy it.” And we essentially did a raucous psychedelic rocker instrumental only. Loud noise, loud guitar, Marty banging on drums, and of course, everybody loved it.

So we did do that, but at least on a recording level, we didn’t think that we were that. My guess is, if we had stayed together, we might have gone that route, but that was kind of it.

I was just thinking about ‘We Had A Good Thing Going,’ which was a Neil Sedaka song. On it, there’s a funny sort of track. Oboes doing this thing, and that was this intellectual experimenting in the studio. Did it work for us in the studio? I would say, listen to it and see what you think. But we did experiment around.

The Cyrkle toured extensively during the 1960s. Did your experiences on the road or interactions with other bands shape your understanding or appreciation of psychedelic rock and its culture?

Don Dannemann: We understood that we were not a psychedelic band, though we did do that last song in our show. But we did appreciate psychedelia.

The Cyrkle

What are some venues you played? What are some bands you shared stages with?

Don Dannemann: I remember that we were booked at a Rock concert in Alabama. We got picked up in a private Learjet, and we had a nice ride down from New York. When we walked in, it had already started, and I was blown away that onstage at the moment was Jerry Lee Lewis. We didn’t know who else was on the bill, and I couldn’t believe that he was one of the show openers. How were we going to follow Jerry Lee Lewis? It seemed impossible. I think that the Animals were also on that show, as well as a bunch of others.

I can remember playing with the Lovin’ Spoonful in Nashville. We said hello. I remember playing a stadium where we opened for Dino Desi & Billy.

We were playing at a club in Houston, Texas in January of 1967, and at the same time, there was a big fight coming up me with Muhammad Ali and Ernie Terrell, and we have a picture of me and Tommy with our fists up to Muhammad Ali, which is cool.

Various singles followed, and then you disbanded in mid-1968. Could you tell us the circumstances surrounding your end?

Don Dannemann: The last single, ‘Reading Her Paper,’ that was me and Charlie Calello. The way I look at it is, when Andy Warhol’s fifteen minutes of fame was over, even though we got better in the studio, and more sophisticated, there was a magic to ‘Red Rubber Ball’ and ‘Turn-Down Day,’ and there was a slow downturn. Every record sold less than the one before, and it was gradually down, down down. There was no incentive to keep going because things were slowing down. As simple as that. Reading Her Paper was a great song, but sales were down, bookings were down, and it just felt like it was over. And the big man, Brian, was no longer there.

What occupied your life later on in the late 1960s and onwards?

Don Dannemann: The first commercial that we had anything to do with was as the Cyrkle. They booked the Cyrkle to do a Great Shakes commercial, which you would mix up, and get a malted shake out of it.

We have this thing in our show where we say, what did you do after the Cyrkle broke up? And we start with the Great Shakes commercial. Pat always wanted to hear it, and nobody could find it, and just by accident, I happened to come across it. I actually had it.

I will give Tommy credit for getting into commercial work. As the group broke up, Nat gave Tommy the assignment. I think because of Great Shakes, Tom thought that he might like to try this. Tommy got the chance to write the Uncola commercial for 7Up, and we the band recorded it. I’m the first voice in the commercial.

Tommy was getting started with that, and I was back and forth with keeping the band going. I started thinking that this commercial thing sounded good, if you can do it. You don’t have to worry about hit records. So I started, and knock on wood, we both had really good careers.

What inspired the decision to reunite as The Cyrkle after all these years, and how does it feel to be playing together again?

Don Dannemann: I was retired, and was sitting around watching TV with my wife Deb, and got a call from Mike Lose-kamp. It was really cool to talk to Mike; I can’t remember how many years it had been since I talked to him. He tells me that he’s in a band in Columbus, Ohio called the Gas Pump Jockeys, and one of his bandmates has this idea that we should revive the Cyrkle. When Pat found out that Mike was a member of the Cyrkle, he actually went bananas. He didn’t know it at first. So Pat had this recurring thought. Why can’t we revive the Cyrkle?

Pat McLoughlin: Well certainly I have addressed the inspiration in my text above. But I can tell you a couple of feelings I have with the revival of The Cyrkle.

I am so very happy for Don and Mike. They are both so deserving of recognition and until the band revival occurred, that recognition had come to a halt. They are getting that recognition once again. It is a wonderful thing to see these two gentlemen back in the limelight.

On a personal level, I take a great deal of personal pride that I was able to never forget the goal that I set in 1964, and that I actually did everything that I needed to do to make my dream come true. I learned about self-actualization in grad school as it can be a very strong motivator for people. I can say that it is a really satisfying feeling when you finally obtain an impossible dream. It gives you a new level of confidence and self-esteem.

The Cyrkle

Can you tell us about the process of reconnecting and rekindling the musical chemistry that made The Cyrkle special during your initial run?

Don Dannemann: Pat gave me his spiel, and they flew me out to Columbus. They treated me very nicely. I took a cab to the hotel, and they met me at the hotel, starting off with coffee in the lobby. They were really nice, Pat and his wife Sandy. So far, so good.

Then they had it set up to meet the band at lead guitarist Don White’s house, which is where they rehearse. This is kind of funny because it was set up like a major rock star was coming to Don White’s house. So I walk in. They were all gathered at the front, and they were all worried about, “What is he gonna do when he sees Mike?” When I saw him, I gave Mike a hug.

We had dinner there; I think it was pizza. Then we went downstairs to play to see if we could make anything work. We played ‘Red Rubber Ball’ and ‘Turn-Down Day,’ the band knew it. That went very smoothly. One thing that we did that cemented the idea of playing together, I told them the “Feelin’ Groovy” story.

We’re back in Columbia Studios, somewhere in late ’66 or early 1967, and Simon & Garfunkel are recording. Everybody knows everybody, how are you, blah blah blah. Paul comes up, and he says, “Hey Don, we’re recording this album, and one of the songs on it I think would be really good for you guys.” Great, well, let’s hear it.

They play it, and everybody bops around, and it sounds like it could actually be a good song. For some reason, we didn’t do it. The biggest brain freeze of the 20th century set in, and we didn’t do the song.

I told them this and said, “This would be a good thing to play.” Spontaneously, out of the blue, we played ‘Feelin Groovy,’ and it worked. It really worked, with almost no rehearsal. Drummer Scott Langley put his head down on the drum head and said, “That really sounds like the Cyrkle, and if we don’t do anything else, I’m a happy guy.”

That got us started to say, Let’s see what we could do. Pat then set up a concert where he booked a theater, and he invited people. No charge, just invited people, and booked a video crew, and we did a show. His booking agent said, “Yes, you can do it, but you’ve got to have a promo video, and don’t do it on your cellphones.” We put it out as a Cyrkle live album, and that is what got us started.

It must feel amazing to have a new album out March 22 via Big Stir Records. How did that come about?

Don Dannemann: We were playing an outdoor concert in Van Wert, Ohio in the summer of 2018, and a fellow came up to us and said, “I’m a photographer, would you mind if I took some photos?” This fellow turned out to be a really good photographer, and he really knew his music, and had a lot of connections in the music business. His name is Daniel Coston, and he said that we could use the photos any way we wanted, and his photos were awesome. Over time, he’s almost become a part of the band.

Daniel really wanted to get us to a Beatles festival in Charlotte, NC, where he lives. He was instrumental in getting us there. Sitting around at the hotel with Daniel, and a few of us, Daniel now springs upon us the concept. “Hey guys, I want you to do a new album. I think that the album should be, what would have happened if you had done another album after you broke up?”

We had a lot of discussion back and forth about it. Some of the guys were really up for it. I personally was totally against it because I thought, There’s no money to be made in music by old bands. Even if it’s good, it’s not going to make much money.

Daniel said that he would be willing to pay the recording studio costs if we did it. I still remember asking, “Daniel, are you a trust fund baby?” No, but he does have the ability to do it. “Does your wife know?” Yes, it’s all okay. Over time, we decided that this is what we were going to do.

We did some new recordings of ‘Red Rubber Ball’ and ‘Turn-Down Day.’ We redid ‘The Visit.’ People were still hanging on to that song from the 60s. We did our version of ‘Feelin’ Groovy,’ and then we recorded a couple of Mike Losekamp songs, which he had written in the Green Lyte Sunday days.

I also had a bunch of songs that I had recorded that I could contribute. Then we did the song where I got to sing again with Tommy Dawes, honoring our history. One other new song that I get a particularly good feeling about is called ‘We Were There,’ and it was honoring our time with the Beatles, and being a band in that time period. Holy cow, in this amazing time period of music changes, of Beatles and other stuff, we were there.

We had one song that bandmate Pat McLoughlin had written, and it was a country bar song, ‘[I Believe She Believes’] and the band didn’t want to do it. And I wanted it on the album, and I said, “I can Cyrklelize it, and make it a good rock song. And I did. It’s still in the bar. It’s about a gal at a bar that wants to pick him up, and he can’t because of other ties.

As we speak now, the current single release is called ‘Dance With Me Tonight.’ Just a good fun dance song, and Pat sings lead on that, and does a great job. This album is a really fun album. I get a really kick out of a song that I wrote when I was sixteen, called ‘Goin’ Steady With You.’ My mom with her piano teacher took me into New York in 1959 to make a guitar/voice recording of the songs, along with several others. I thought that the recording was gone, and I found it. I digitized the record. I re-recorded the song, and I thought about Bobby Rydell or Bobby Darin singing the song. A rock song with big band horns. And the song starts with my original demo, and it bangs into the new version, and it’s a cool thing to have done.

There’s a lot of stuff on this new album that, if you know the stories, it’s really cool. It’s good music and good listening.

Even the title of the album, Revival, honors that we are reviving the band.

Pat McLoughlin: It is truly great to have something of this nature come to fruition. Selfishly, I am particularly proud that one of my compositions was recorded for the album (‘I Believe, She Believes’) sung by Don Dannemann, and to hear my own solo vocals on ‘Dance With Me Tonight.’

The latter goes over like gangbusters when we perform it live. And now it is the band’s second release from the new album. Who would have ever thought that the only American band to even be managed by Brian Epstein would release a new single, and it would be me singing the lead vocals?

How did the new album come about?

This was not on our radar initially. We had put out a live album of our very first “revival” show that occurred in Worthington, Ohio in November of 2016. I thought that perhaps other live albums might come out over time, but a new studio album was not on our long-term agenda.

The reason was business related. Not only is there a marked expense to make a new album, but there are rehearsals that must occur, plus vocal practices as well. We also did not have the resources financially or logistically to market a new album. Finally, and assuming we could overcome the items just noted, the business model for rewarding a band/artist to get a return on their investment is nothing short of impossible. The streaming model and the money associated with a song being streamed is so low that ending up in the black seemed very unlikely.

Enter Daniel Coston. Daniel and I are cut from similar cloths, as we are both dreamers willing to do whatever it might take to make that dream come to fruition.

Don, Mike, and I first met Daniel in Charlotte, North Carolina in June of 2019. Daniel and I had spoken over the telephone a month or so earlier. To his credit, he had the moxie to call me at my home for the purposes of trying to convince us to record a new album. I am pretty sure that I did not encourage his hopes, but neither did I try to discourage his suggestion. I did agree to discuss it with him at a future time.

He then worked to get the Cyrkle to participate in a Beatles Convention, where he lived (Charlotte). This meant that he could sit down with the three of us to share his vision in his hometown. When the convention ended, we sat down with him at our hotel pool, and he shared what he had in his mind about The Cyrkle and a new recording.

He caught us off guard when he said that he was willing to use his own funds to pay for the album, in exchange for an equal share of the band’s profits from the project. Mike was all in. I was leaning in the same direction. Don Dannemann, however, was not convinced this was a sound project from both his time involved, as well as the financial loss Daniel would likely suffer.

No matter what negatives Don, and eventually me, shared with Daniel, he was undeterred. I can remember, after many other legitimate business objections to take this project on, we went as far as to ask him if his wife knew what he was proposing. When he said that she did know, and that she was behind his vision, we knew then that we were going to make an album.

Sure enough, on the first weekend of March 2020, we were in the studio cutting our first six tracks. But by the following Thursday, the world shut down due to the Coronavirus outbreak. The band members did not come together for 13 months whatsoever.

The project did re-boot in late 2022 and was finally completed in the following year.

Through all of this, never once did Daniel falter in his dream of The Cyrkle making one more studio album become a reality. To his credit, his dream became a reality against remarkable and near-impossible odds.

The world could use more Daniel Costons.

What role did nostalgia play in the creation of ‘Revival’, and how did you balance honoring The Cyrkle’s classic sound with introducing new elements to keep the music fresh?

Don Dannemann: Think about what we did. We re-recorded ‘Red Rubber Ball’ and ‘Turn-Down Day.’ Keeping it very close to the way it was originally, but now it’s newly recorded by the band. It still has my voice on it, so it sounds like The Cyrkle. We did ‘Feelin’ Groovy,’ which is the one that we should have done back then, and we redid ‘The Visit,’ which we did back then. So there’s your nostalgia, and then we said, “What else can we do?” And we started from there.

Pat McLoughlin: Speaking for myself, I am very pleased to address the vintage sound of the band with a fresh new approach to a new collection of songs. This album reflects the spirit of the band’s acclaimed ‘Neon’ album.

But there is a styling that still exists from the original days. Losekamp and certainly Dannemann provide the conduit from 1966/67 to 2024. Hopefully, the listeners will sense a certain nostalgic flavor along with an enhancement of the band’s musical skillsets.

Looking back, what were some of the defining moments or experiences that shaped your journey as musicians during the 1960s era?

Don Dannemann: I can sum it up with two bands. The Beatles and the Beach Boys. Their music was mind-blowing. The harmonies, especially the Beach Boys’ harmonies, were mind-blowing to us. That’s the answer.

The Cyrkle (2024) | Photo by Marlyn Kauffman

Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions. The last word is yours.

Don Dannemann: I’m going to say how awesome it is to be 80 years old and still be able to do this. There was a history. It was up, then it was down. Then we got back together, and we’re doing this. The mind-blowing awesome experience of getting up on stage again, and doing this record and having people come and like it.

It is also mind-blowing that we meet people at meet-and-greets. A few examples. People will come up and say, “Here’s my original 45. Can you sign it?” The next is, a guy comes up and says, “Thank you.” Okay, you’re welcome, why are you thanking me? “I just want you to know that ‘Red Rubber Ball’ got me through my divorce. It was such an up-feeling song. Thank you.”

The most poignant one was a guy who comes up, wearing a vet hat, and he says to me, “I have to tell you. We had ‘Red Rubber Ball’ on a little portable tape recorder, and I can’t tell you how many battles that the song got us through. It was uplifting.” We teared up and hugged.

What I get from this, and what I’d like to leave you with, besides the awesomeness of getting up on stage and being able to do this, is the realization of how much ‘Red Rubber Ball’ meant to so many people, and the fact that I had the honor to be the voice that influenced thousands and thousands of people, most of whom I’ll never meet, but some of whom I do get to meet, and share the stories when we meet people, it’s an amazing experience and feeling. Once again, I am blessed.

Pat McLoughlin: Hey! Thank you for asking for my input. I hope you will be able to share this unique chapter of the Cyrkle’s ongoing story.

We are grateful that you are willing to continue to promote the Cyrkle and its new added legacy chapters we are making in the present.

Klemen Breznikar


The Cyrkle Official Website / Facebook / Instagram / Twitter / YouTube
Big Stir Records Official Website / Facebook / Instagram / Twitter / Bandcamp / YouTube

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *