the Anchorage Music Scene?
by Michael R Dougherty
The Blue Chip Stock
Do you remember some of the bands that comprised the Anchorage, Alaska music scene back in the 1960s to 1970s?
The band in the picture above is the Blue Chip Stock. Their keyboard player, Skip Konte, also played for Anchorage's Pulsating Heartbeats, and went on to play for Three Dog Night and the Blues Image and co-write their hit song, “Ride Captain Ride”.
Other Anchorage rock bands included the Arsons, the Outlaws, the Pulsating Heartbeats and Mother's Apple Pie and Baseball Band.
When I worked at KTVA channel 11 in Anchorage, a KBYR DJ by the name of Bruce Kier brought in Johnny Collinsworth from the Buckaroo Club to do a 1/2 hour weekly television show. The “Johnny Collinsworth and the Country Capers Country Music Variety Show” was then produced during the week and broadcast on Saturday nights.
My brother Tom Dougherty and I directed the shows. Guests included Nancy Lee and a fiddle player named Shorty Ladd. The band was excellent, and the TV show was very creative.
KTVA also did another show called “Country City Music Time”. We shot the weekly show on location at Country City on the Seward Highway.
While at KYES channel 5, we did a weekly show with a country singer named Sonny Day. His steel guitar player's day job was Chief Engineer for KTVA.
The Pines Club was another popular venue for local music and well-known entertainers. The house band at the Pines was The Pacesetters.
A fellow by the name of Doug Hager became a local Anchorage, Alaska legend as Mr. White Keys.
I first met Mr. White Keys when KAKM channel 7 had him host a series of local radio DJ stories for the weekly Anchorage TV magazine show, “Southcentral”.
Mr. Whitekeys, aka, “W. Keys” and his band played regularly at Chilkoot Charlies, where they “cheat the other guy and pass the savings on to you”.
Later, Mr. White Keys opened his place in Spenard, the Fly-by-Night Club, where his band was known as Mr. White Keys and the Fabulous Spamtones.
At the club, if you ordered spam, you got a free glass of champagne. Later, Mr. White Keys put together the “Whale Fat Follies” and the rest is Anchorage, and Spenard history.
The place to go for live music for Anchorage teens, were some teen nightclubs put together by local DJ Ron Moore (the Royal Coachman) and Pacesetters.
Some bands included the Arsons, the Chandels, G Morgan S and the Jets, the Gatormen, the Pulsating Heartbeats, the Johnson Brothers, the Nomads, the Outlaws, Proof, the Prophets, and the Quarrymen to name a few.
Do you remember the Royal Pad, Cinnamon Cinder and of course the Cheetah on Government hill?
There were also weekly teen dances featuring live music at Shindig City, a Mountain View roller rink, the national guard armory and the old Sports Arena on Fireweed.
Of course this is just the tip of the iceberg.
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What are your memories of the Anchorage, Alaska music scene from the early days up through the 1970s?