Lanny Roenicke - Thanks to You
Gone are the sounds from a bass guitar many fans will always remember as one of a kind, played to perfection by a shy, sandy-haired young man named Lanny Roenicke. Lanny is a Saginaw native who taught himself to play seven instruments. He, also, wrote the music and sang vocals with the well-known band "The Bossmen."
The mid-sixties were growth years for the group in which they played all around the State of Michigan. They made a tour of the East Coast and cut records for national distribution. Lanny wrote the song "Thanks to you" which is played on the website.
Today, if you're fortunate, you may find "The Bossmen" in the used record stores. They still start the body swaying, the arms pumping, and the feet tapping up and down.
An Interview of Lanny July, 2014
"I was very immature back then. But, because I was immature I was able to have a lot of fun. I finally got wisdom and the fun became harder to apprehend. With maturity comes repercussions!" Lanny.
- How did the Bossmen get started?
- Some local guys were playing in Bridgeport, Michigan as the Playboys. Their guitar player decided to leave the band at which time Lanny started looking for a new guitar player. He found Dick Wagner in Waterford, Michigan and convinced him to move to Saginaw and join their band. They played their first gig at the Village Pump (on Dixie Highway) as the Bossmen.
- They became the Bossmen the Fall of 1963.
- When did the Bossmen start to play at Daniels Den?
- April of 1964. Before that they played at the Village Pump in Bridgeport, which is now the Yacht Club.
- What was your biggest hit record?
- "Take A Look My Friend" which was a big regional Saginaw hit and made them famous locally.
- Lanny added:
- Their song "Bad Girl" got airplay all the way to the east coast. It was their next big seller.
- What was your farthest show?
- The Bossmen played a show in Cleveland.
- Who were those two women that you and Pete Woodman were standing next too in suits?
- They were part of James Brown's Band. We were performing at the Saginaw Auditorium at that time.
- Did you play at the Saginaw Auditorium regularily?
- The Bossmen played at the Saginaw Auditorium about three or Four times.
- What other teenage Nightclubs did you play at in the area?
- Band Canyon in Bay City; Daniels Den at their Houghton Lake location; Tradewinds in Bay City; And, the Fordney Hotel.
- Did you ever play around Detroit?
- A few times. One time we played at a show with Jerry Lee Lewis. We got a photograph together.
- Who were some of the groups you headlined with?
- Glenn Campbell was big when we played with him at the Y-A-GO-GO.
- Lanny added:
- We played with the Shirelles at the Y-A-GO-GO.
- Did you record your songs in the Saginaw area?
- No, we recorded in Detroit.
- Do you still have contact with Mark Farner?
- Yes, we still talk once in a while. He always sends me a birthday card.
- How did you make the flames come out of your trumpet? Some people claim that you inhaled the lighter fluid?
- I would fill the trumpet with lighter fluid until the first pipe bend and then put a match to it. Flames would blow out like a torch when you played it.
- Did you damage your trumpet doing that stunt?
- It damaged it, but never to the point where you could not play it. It just made the insides look black.
- Did you ever experience any mishaps when performed the "Flamming Trumpet?"
- One time the lighter fluid came out on to the bandstand and started the stage on fire. The bar owner wasn't to happy with that.
- One time the lighter fluid shot out and on to a woman's dress. It ruined her dress.
- Its too bad there weren't cell phone cameras back then so they we could watch it on youtube.
- Where did that happen - Daniels Den?
- Yes, I think it was Daniels Den.
- Who do you still have contact with?
- Pete Woodman, Mark Farner and Dick Wagner from time to time.
- Did you ever see Pete Woodman's new group perform?
- Yes, they are very good. They will be peforming in Freeland soon.
- What other crazy things did you do while you were a Bossman?
- At a Traverse City show - I had a regular classical bass and played it while floating in the water. That got me a lot of notority!
- One time while we were staying at a hotel, I painted myself green. Dick Wagner was asleep and I woke him up. He jumped and freaked out. He thought that was really funny years later and wrote about that incident in his book.
Email from Dick Wagner
I just want to tell you how much you mean to me. The years we spent together in the Bossmen are years that are treasured memories, in spite of our occasionally bad tempered moments. You were a tremendous musician/bass player and I always saw your sense of humor as very creative and original. I have to admit...it was your popularity with the fans that actually put us over the top. I hope you are doing well. You are in my book and always in my heart.
Thanks for the happy memories, Lanny!
We wish you all the Best!
Lanny' Page - on Facebook