PETER JOHNSON

(left to right: Tom Behm, Peter Johnson, Wayne Street, Butch Adamson)

Click here for more photos and memorabilia on the Status Seekers.

In 1966, I was playing with The Status Seekers. That was my band, but then Kevin McIlhenny the drummer of the Monocles was killed in an auto accident on his way back to his Mom's house in Greeley, Co. I went to Aurora Central High School with him. His Mom was our manager (Tinkerbell). She was the greatest, so was Kevin. Anyway, my drummer joined the Monocles, and then I eventually joined the Monocles in December of '66. Rick Hull was the leader. We got a record contract with the help of Tinkerbell, KIMN-AM radio, Frank Slay, and Liberty Records. We put out a few 45s and did well in L.A., San Francisco, Boston, and Atlanta. I loved these guys and still do.

Above and further down the page are a couple of bio pictures for the Monocles.  Do you remember these being taken?  

Oh, I'm right there.  Tinkerbell was the biggest part of our whole thing.  She was our manager and Tinkerbell was very tight with Ken Palmer.  After Kevin's death she kept going with the band and was really into us for the band.  I remember we had a party with the Beau Brummels and two of them in the band had just got drafted.  We got drunk as hell at Tinkerbell's house.  She was great.  She made things happen.  We had that party with the Beau Brummels at her house and there was a trampoline in the back yard and we were all jumpin', all drunk and falling down on this trampoline, and falling off and laughing and picking each other up. 

The Beau Brummels played one more time and then those guys went off to war.  That's the last I heard from them but they were great guys.  You felt so great to be in their company and they loved being with us.  It was a real home thing.  Tinkerbell was a beautiful woman, Kevin's mom.  She worked us into business positions that only she could have done.  That's why we called her Tinkerbell as well.  She made magic happen.  

Below is an article from a newspaper announcing the new nightclub, Hal Baby's.  This article is from the last week of March, 1967.  The club had just opened the previous week with The Astronauts performing.  The Monocles would be the third group to appear at the club.

Part of that magic was Ken Palmer and KIMN radio.  Hal and Ted were prime time DJs at  KIMN radio and they were playing our two semi-hits that were out at the time; "Crazy Bicycle" and "Here Comes Sunshine."  We used to play at Hal Baby's all the time.  That was Hal Moore's club on Montview.  It used to be a Piggly Wiggly store and it turned into Hal Moore's Teen Club.  It was a great place to play.  We opened for the Five Americans, and I remember The Buffalo Springfield played there and we opened up for them.  It was a crowded house and there was a lot of excitement.  We took those guys downtown on Larimer Street and they bought some leather stuff.  Jon and I just kind of showed them around Denver the next day and then they left.  At that time Neil Young was in the band.  That was something, and Stephen Stills; walking around with those guys in '67 at the Larimer Square.  They were cool.  I ended up at Stephen Stills' house once after that but he wasn't there.  I lived in Laurel Canyon for about 2 1/2 years and then on the other side of Laurel Canyon was Stephen Stills' house, or maybe he was Coldwater Canyon, but anyway it was up near the top and it was Stills' house and the Flying Burrito Brothers were there and they were playing in the practice room so I got to sit in with the Flying Burrito Brothers.   With Sneaky Pete you know, I'm just going, wow, this is too cool. 

(left to right: Peter Johnson, Jon Floth, Rick Hull, Tom Behm)

I love those uniforms.  It was so cool wearing these puffy sleeves.  Jon's mother was the one that sewed those for us and so did Tom Behm's, but Tom Behm left pretty much right after these pictures were taken and Bob Saunar took his place.  Jon Floth was like a big brother to me.  He was born on Halloween so for a long time it just was never the same again because I spent a lot of Halloweens with him.  The Monocles had a hearse that they put their equipment in and took to work.  I remember attending a gig before I became a member.  They opened up for The Everly Brothers in Colorado Springs at a rodeo kind of thing, and the hearse was parked in a stall and they opened up the stall and shot down the aisle in the hearse and got out of it and jumped on the stage and began to play.

The Monocles evolved into The Higher Elevation.  In those two bands I played on the songs "The Spider and the Fly," "Crazy Bicycle", "Here Comes Sunshine", "Thoughts of Lila", "Country Club Affair", and "Summer Skies".  I grew up with Bob.  He lived eight doors down from me and I was always visiting him.  We go way back to '62 up through 1967.  After I left Higher Elevation and moved to L.A. he joined the Moonrakers and played on their album.  He actually ended up working in tennis.  Rick I consider to be my big, big brother.  He is the pipemaker for the entire Indian nation.  I considered Jon my big brother too.  Tim McDonald was the singer.  Tim and Scott got kind of famous up here in this part of the state as a duo.

Click here to find out more about The Monocles and The Higher Elevation.

Click on the records above to hear clips of the songs.

After the Higher Elevation, Peter worked as a session musician in L.A. for a couple of years and did live performances with Gary Puckett and the Union Gap for about six months.  Gary was just about to go into television.  ABC was going to do a television show with him as the host back then but it never ended up happening.  To read more about this and other interesting session stories from this time, click here

Please continue on to Peter Johnson page 2 by clicking the link on the left for more pictures and stories about his career in the early seventies.

 

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