The Daybreakers evolved from another band on this site “The Virtues”.
The Daybreakers started out in 1965-66 as "Billy Dawn and The Daybreakers". Billy Dawn, Hank Mayberry, Bob Monday, Earl Hamilton, Gene Cornwell and Jerry Hignite. Billy Dawn (Bill Lape) worked with Billy Joe Royal in the early days and was a 5th grade science teacher. He gave his class his stage name "Billy Dawn" and asked them to choose a name to go with it for the band. The kids choose "The Daybreakers" and so the name was born. Billy Dawn was able to get them the Playboy club and a few other choice gigs until they mutually decided to go their separate ways.
In 1966 they became just….THE DAYBREAKERS. Hank Mayberry, Bob Monday, Gene Cornwell and Davy Anslow. Eventually Gene was replaced with Jon Hargis on bass. In 1967-68 Jon left the band and Wilgus Hicks joined. During this time the band was entering their most creative period. They started doing their own arrangements of other people's music and with Wil's help writing their own original songs together. In 1968 The Db's recorded a demo for Capitol records and they almost seemed to be on their way, but as happened to so many bands…they never got the record deal with Capitol nor the one with Epic either. The Daybreakers played their last gig July 26th 1969 at the Mansfield ski lodge.
Hank almost immediately joined "The Ohio Express" playing keyboards and a month later Wilgus would also join as their new bass/guitar player in 1969. Because of money-management problems that Ohio Express line up also ended during a disastrous European tour.
In 1970 Bob Monday and Hank Mayberry continued other Daybreaker bands until about 1972 when Hank's lung collapsed twice while on stage. After he recovered Bob and Hank would form a band called Samson (Also covered on this website)
In 1985 Hank would reinvent the band one last time with Tom Goens on bass, Kevin Terry (guitar), Dan Conrad,(drums) Chris Tuell (keys) and Hank fronting the group,but at that time he was the only original Daybreaker left.
There were many fine musicians that were a part of the Daybreakers during the band's years in the stage lights that I have not mentioned. Larry (the lobster) Wallbrech played drums 1970-72, Tom Hogeback played bass 1970-71. Don Hacker played bass 1971-72.
On a personal note: Sadly we lost our dear friend, brother and drummer David Anslow to cancer November 20th 2006. His illness brought the 1968 Daybreakers and many of our friends back together last May 2006 and we performed once again after 40 years. It would be the last time the four of us would ever be together on a stage again. Most of the remaining Daybreakers, from all the various renditions, continue to be close friends and still play together on occasion. Even though our lives and careers have taken separate paths, the bond of music and friendship has stood the test of time.
Daybreakers story and pictures courtesy Hank Mayberry.