10 Questions with Mike Dugo, author of Rock & Role: American Rock Group Appearances on Scripted U.S. Television Series (1964–1970)
Q: What was the inspiration for the book?
A: I’ve been a long-time ’60s TV fan, having grown up in the 1970s when syndication played such an important role in several of the covered programs becoming popular classics. Before my interest in the music, I remember seeing some of the episodes that featured a band cameo—anybody that grew up in that era surely remembers the Wellingtons/Mosquitos on Gilligan’s Island or the Standells on The Munsters. Once I started to seriously listen to 1960’s music—and eventually collect it—I recalled seeing some of the groups I was listening to on TV. At the time—this was probably early ‘90s—I made a comment on a music mailing list asking about some of the shows I enjoyed and was shocked when I received responses mentioning numerous other appearances I was completely unaware of. That’s what started my research.
Q: What did the research consist of?
A: Thankfully, I wasn’t alone in my interest for these types of cameos. I was very fortunate to connect with other passionate ‘60s music fans. My primary interest then and now is in the local/regional groups of the era—now generally classified as “garage bands”—and once I put out feelers, a group of like-minded collectors was instrumental in sharing information and/or filling in gaps. Ben Chaput, Gary Belich, Tom Alger, and Tom Kleinschmidt were the core group that scoured old TV Guide listings or library microfilm and then reported back with their discoveries. Ben even formed an online mailing list known as RVSP (Rock Sixties Video Project). There would be no book without their input. I’ve primarily kept the research going by myself over these past several years and have added some titles that were not previously known; the lion’s share, however, was documented based on the research we completed as a team.
I also, from 2002 – 2015, had a website that documented the 1960s garage band era and, through interviews with countless band members, learned of appearances that we hadn’t tracked down, including by the Yellow Payges, Strawberry Alarm Clock, and Opus One.
Q: How long did it take to write?
A: It’s not a lengthy book by any means, so the actual writing was completed in a few months. The research part of it, however, has been ongoing for 30 years and continues to this day. Due to its topic, the book is somewhat slim, but if a U.S. rock band appeared on a scripted American television program from 1964 – 1970, it’s included.
Q: How did you view the episodes?
A: Prior to the internet and YouTube, it was very difficult to track down the episodes to view; once I did, however, my interest deepened in finding out as much as I could about the appearances I knew about, as well as wanting to uncover others that weren’t widely known. The RVSP team also helped with providing video; once I learned of a new appearance, the team was typically able to provide a VHS copy of it. Unfortunately, many episodes of some of the more obscure programs are still unavailable for viewing.
Q: Why limit coverage to American groups and television programs?
A: The simple answer is because that’s where my interest lies. But … there aren’t many known instances of a non-U.S. group appearing on 1960’s scripted television—the obvious exception being Chad & Jeremy (Batman, Dick Van Dyke Show, Laredo, and The Patty Duke Show). Being a duo, however, they would have been excluded had they been American. The Dave Clark Five appeared in a pilot titled The Happeners, which is covered due to the fact that it focused on a different group, the Happeners.
Q: It’s interesting that the book also covers appearances that were filmed but never aired, or planned but never completed.
A: I tried to be as comprehensive as possible. As an example, the Rising Sons, an L.A.-area band, filmed lengthy scenes for an unaired pilot that they both acted in and performed in. I was able to get the recollections of member Gary Marker and he provided some great detail, including the fact the pilot included one of Dustin Hoffman’s first appearances. The Lewis & Clarke Expedition were also slated for an appearance on Davy Crockett but, despite newspaper accounts providing an episode title and the song they’d perform it was apparently never filmed.
Q: How complete do you think the book is?
A: As I’ve mentioned, if a U.S. rock band appeared on a scripted American television program from 1964 – 1970, it’s included. Years ago, I published an embryonic listing of appearances on my website, and that information has been lifted—sometimes word-for-word—by other “researchers” and used in countless online articles about these cameos. Not one of these articles includes any 1960s appearances that I haven’t documented, so my assumption is that it’s very complete as for the information that’s provided. I’ve included an email address in the book’s introduction so readers that are aware of appearances that I’ve missed can contact me. I welcome all information: email@example.com
Q: What are some of the better-known groups that appeared on these types of programs?
A: As far as popularity, probably the Turtles and Paul Revere & the Raiders. It’s amazing—and it’s what attracted me to the project—the number of obscure local or regional groups that appeared, such as Paper Fortress, the Poor, the Factory, and Davie Allan & the Arrows. Some groups such as the Seeds and Strawberry Alarm Clock had national hits at the time that no doubt led to their appearances.
Q: Do you have a favorite episode?
A: It has to be the Seeds on The Mothers-In-Law. I’m a huge fan of the band in general, but seeing Sky Saxon leading the group as they rip through ‘Pushin’ Too Hard’ is a treat. The episode as a whole is incredibly corny and somewhat painful to sit through, but the Seeds more than make it worth the while.
Q: Do you have any other books planned?
A: I have ideas but none are close to becoming reality. Ideally, there would be a second printing of Rock & Role updated, hopefully, with previously undocumented appearances reported by readers, or other episodes I stumble across through my research.