Left to right, in back: Doug Heydt, Richard Perkins, Mike Stewart, Woody Hoyle, Chris Davis, Dick Kowal.
In front: Larry Rice and James Brown (of the Royal Primes)
Name: Woody Hoyle
Band: The Shaydz
High School: Lee Edwards High School (now Asheville High School)
Band Members: Richard Perkins (guitar) — Class of ‘69
Blair Miller (guitar) — Class of ‘69
Woody Hoyle (drums) — Class of ‘69
Mike Stewart (bass/vocals) — Class of ‘68
Doug Heydt (keyboards) — Class of ‘68
Dick Kowal (trumpet) — Class of ‘69
Richard Abbott (horns) — Class of ‘68
Chris Davis (saxophone) — Class of ‘68
Years Active: 1964-1967
Recordings: Yes. They recorded one 45” as the backup band for Eddie Holland (aka George “Butch” Hatcher).
Current band(s): None
Meet The Shaydz
Woody Hoyle: We first started when I was 13, in 1964. I was in the 7th grade, and I met a guy who had just moved to Asheville named Richard Perkins. He lived nearby. I got some drums for Christmas and he eventually got a little guitar and came over. You know, pretty much how everyone gets started. Just having fun.
And then another friend of ours named Blair Miller, he got a guitar at Sears. [Laughs.] You’re probably too young to remember the guitars you could buy at Sears. Basically, you got a guitar, and you got the case. And the case had the amplifier in it with a little speaker. So all you’d do is set the speaker upright and plug your guitar in it, and there you go. And boy, was it a piece of you know what. [Laughs.]
Nobody could really sing, so we didn’t have a singer for the first five, six months. It was just an instrumental band. The very first song we ever played would have been “(Ghost) Riders In The Sky.” We did that instrumental. Then we did a song called “Blue Moon.” We played “Pipeline” by the Ventures, you know, a lot of the Ventures songs. Just songs of the day. But the big thing was when “Wipe Out” came. That was my claim to fame, was playing “Wipe Out.” And I have to admit, I did it pretty well.
Our first engagement was at a local party there at Beaver Lake. Blair and I and Richard, we probably knew two songs. And all the girls thought we were the greatest. And we sucked. [Laughs.] It was not good. And they thought, “Oh God, they’re better than the Beatles.” As I recall, we got paid a dollar and 36 cents. So the very first time I ever played an engagement with that band, we got paid. Which I think is remarkable, actually. [Laughs.]
The Shaydz name came almost immediately. I’ll never forget where we were. We started kicking around names. Back then, it was like, “OK, what are we going to call ourselves, The Surfers or something like that?” Because that was back during Jan and Dean and the Beach Boys, you know. It was that era. And then, all of the sudden we thought, Well, why don’t we put sunglasses on and call ourselves the Shaydz? So that’s how that got started. And I can’t remember who decided on the spelling, S-H-A-Y-D-Z. Don’t ask me why.
Bruce [McTaggart from the Wunz] is crazy if he thought we copied them [with the “z” spelling]. We did not. [Laughs.] He’s losing it. As a matter of fact, I didn’t even know Bruce when I was 13. I didn’t meet Bruce until I was in high school. You tell him that’s absolutely not true. [Laughs.]
Eventually we got to where we thought we were good, so we figured we needed a bass player. So we had another friend that was little older named Mike Stewart, who lived in the area, we used him as the bass player. He had an old Rickenbacker guitar, and he’d just play on the lower strings to play it as a bass. And he could sing a little bit, too.
How we got somewhat popular was because, for some reason, the school would allow us to bring our equipment in and play in the auditorium in the mornings, prior to school starting. That was a real cool deal. So we would do that a lot. And it would get to be a big crowd in there, ‘cause everybody wanted to come. Bee Bumble and the Stingers might have played those, too.
And that was sort of the era when the soul bands were coming in. So we started to evolve. We thought, Well, why don’t we add some horn players? And we did. We ended up adding Dick Kowal — he now works at WCQS — and another guy named Richard Abbott. So now we’ve got two horn players, and it starts to be a pretty good band. We start to get a bigger sound.
Then we get contacted by a guy named Larry Phillips, who owned a place called Talent Attractions in the Northwestern Bank building. He booked bands. So he started booking us a little bit, started getting us a few jobs here and there.
But we still didn’t really have a singer. So Larry Phillips, he knew this kid from Shelby who — at that time — was named George “Butch” Hatcher. Have you ever heard of the George Hatcher Band? That was in the ‘70s. Before that he was the main singer in the [local ‘70s rock band] Flat Rock. But back in ‘65, ‘66, he was a young guy, and he had the stage name of Eddie Holland, though we all called him Butch. Really, really good singer.
We went down and made a record deal with a place in Atlanta, and cut a record. There were two songs on it. They were soul songs. One was “I Don’t Want To Cry” by Chuck Jackson. The other was “But It’s Alright” by J.J. Jackson. They were great versions of those songs. And damn do I wish I still had it. ‘Cause it was really, really good.
That’s around when we changed the name to Eddie Holland and the Dutchmen. It was the same band, it was the same people in the band besides Eddie. Then Eddie Holland goes to play with, lo and behold, Johnny House’s band, the Centurions. But there were three black guys that played with Johnny called the Royal Primes. So we hired Larry Rice and James Brown, two of the three Primes, to come and play with us. So then it became the Shaydz and the Royal Primes. We played all over regionally. All soul music. That was a really good band. That’s around when the picture was taken.
So anyway, that’s how that band evolved. And it played while we were in high school, and then we broke up. Very similar to every other band around then, it didn’t last.
The ‘60s Scene
Bobby Garner [from the Wunz], he was a great drummer. And Perry Hines [from the Centurions], he maybe was the best drummer that ever came out of this area back then. Perry was just a little short guy, could barely reach the pedals, but he was fantastic.
David Plemmons [from the Royal Spades] was also a really good drummer. I’ll never forget, there was a Battle of the Bands at UNCA, and they played and our band played and some other bands. And at the end, David Plemmons and this other guy named David Yandel started running their mouths about how good they were. And so what they did is they brought both drum kits out, and they put them in the lobby of the UNCA library, and damn if they didn’t have a drum battle. I’ll never forget that. It was really cool. And David Plemmons won.
The Wunz, they were really good. We looked up to the them. Coleman Ramsey — he’s deceased now — was my second cousin. And live, they were way better than their record. They really were. And god darn they could sound like the Beatles. Like you couldn’t believe.
And the Satrys — we called them “The Satires” — they were great, too. I remember that record with “Blue Blue World.” What was the name of the other song on it? Yeah, “Don’t Be Surprised.”
I tell you what, I just wish I could get a hold of the record we cut down in Atlanta. It was great. And damn if I don’t have that and it just irritates me beyond belief. I’m jealous that all those guys had those records and we didn’t keep crap.
But we’ve all remained friends. I didn’t keep playing. I quit years ago. But most of these guys kept playing, and damn if they’re still not good.
A lot of it was high school dances. And every once in a while the radio station, WISE, would have a live band. So we got to do that. We also played at a club called the Brown Derby, which was very popular. We played at the Orange Peel, which was originally called the Jade Club.
This is all when I’m 15-years-old. And most of the other guys were underage, too. We took off one summer, and went down to Charleston, went down to Florida and played in Jacksonville with Lonnie Mac — I don’t know if you know that name, but there’s an old song called “Memphis” that he wrote. Then the owner found out we were too young and we got kicked out of the place. [Laughs.]
Think about it a second. Think about what it’s like now, and think about your parents not having any problem with us getting in the car — we don’t have our licenses, but Eddie Holland has his, he’s probably 20 at that point — and we’re travelling all over. [Laughs.]
We played in a place in Charleston, South Carolina, for a week. It was called the Hook and Horns Steakhouse. We started at 11 o’clock at night, and we quit at seven in the morning. The only people that came in there were men, and they’d be fighting every single night. [Laughs.] You talk about a lesson in life.
I tell you an interesting story. Every year, regionally — and that year it was in Charlotte — the big colleges would get together to sort of check out bands so they could hire them for their proms and all that kind of stuff. Apparently, Larry Phillips, this guy at Talent Attractions, they had called him and asked if there were any bands that he wanted to send down to Charlotte. And he picked us.
So we go with the impression that there’s going to be a bunch of local bands down there, and we’re going to go and play and we’re going to be really good. [Laughs.] So we go down to — I think it was called the White House Inn — in Charlotte. We get to the lobby, and we get in the elevator, and Dick Clark is in the elevator. And he’s talking to a guy named Mitch Rider [from the Detroit Wheels]. That’s who was on the elevator.
Well, we start to get a little nervous. [Laughs.] Because we’re a little band from Asheville with nothing. So we get dressed and go down into the main auditorium where all the bands are playing. And Paul Anka was playing. Do you know who Paul Anka is? Does that name ring a bell? People my age would be going, “You got to be kidding me!” And then the Platters came next. Then Booker T. & the M.G.’s. These are the top bands of the era. Then Mitch Ryder plays, and — damn! — then we’re next. And that was the scariest time of my life. Because we had no idea this was going to happen. We’re just a local bunch of guys. So we played, and I think we got a modicum of applause. [Laughs.] They were like, “What’s the big damn deal?”
So we came back home that night. The next afternoon, we were practicing at Mike Stewart’s house, and we got a phone call — and you’re not going to believe this — it was Mitch Ryder. And the call was because he thought that we stole one of his amplifiers. [Laughs.] That’s the god’s truth. Obviously we did not do that, but here’s this local band, they’ve lost an amplifier and thought, Well, these kids have picked it up and they’ve hocked it. So that’s the only thing that happened when I got to talk to somebody famous!
I remember there was one summer where we were sitting around at my house, this was before the horn players, and we get a call from Larry Phillips. He says, “I need you guys to go play at a club called the Casa Loma.” We’re 15 years old. And he says, “I want you to play with this new guy that people are talking about. He’s a white guy, but he’s blind, and he’s a really good blues singer.” It was Ronnie Milsap! And we didn’t go. With my parents, there wasn’t going to be any way in hell they were going to let us go down there and play. ‘Cause Casa Loma was down in Biltmore, and it was … it was rough. [Laughs.] I never did set foot in the Casa Loma.
Battle of the Bands
Most of the stuff we did in town, since there weren’t a whole lot of nightclubs, where the big crowds were were these things called shindigs or the Battle of the Bands. That was very popular back then. All the bands we’ve been talking about played in those, and you’d compete to win. I’ll never forget, at William Randolph School we played and the Satyrs played, and they picked us to win. [Laughs.] I guarantee you it’s because some of the people’s parents knew the parents, you know, that kind of thing. I remember Bee Bumble and the Stingers winning one time. I don’t remember the Centurions winning, but they should have. They were really good.
Back then, on TV, there was a thing called Shindig! It was a place where there was live music on TV where all the top bands in the country would play. So the high schools started doing it. So we played at a lot of those. They’d have five or six bands. And the Asheville Civic Center, which was where the Thomas Wolfe Auditorium is now when we were growing up, they had several Battle of the Bands back then. And the place would be packed. I mean, ‘cause, hell, there wasn’t any place to go that would allow younger people that couldn’t get into clubs to come. And all those bands played in it.
I do remember auditioning for one of those, and the audition was at Lee Edwards High School. And they would not let us play, because they thought Eddie Holland, the singer, was too professional. And that’s the absolute truth. He was that good. Very professional.
[Laughs.] Man, this has been a lot of fun to rehash this stuff. Because everyday was fun. I mean, playing in a band is really special, especially if your band is good. It’s just a lot of fun.
But a lot of wild times, I’m telling you that. It was pretty crazy.