Children of Darkness

Newark, 1966-8

This teen combo was not from Oblong, Ill as previously thought. They were in fact from Newark, Ohio! Formed by 2 former members of the local band King James and his Royal Pheasants, Mike Hopper (Organ) and Howard Bartram (Bass) recruited James Ford (Rhythm Guitar), John Hull (Lead Guitar) and Terry Lanning (Drums) and they choose the name the Poets. After a few local dances they found out about the national band the Poets so they decided to change their name. Much to the chagrin of their parents The Children of Darkness were born.

In mid 1966 they were playing a lot of the local teen clubs like Castaways, The National Guard Armory, and the Sugar Shack. The owner of the Sugar Shack, Curley Hankins, was looking for a house band and liked their style. He became their manager and made arrangements for them to record the "Theme Song" of the Sugar Shack.

Curly Hankins wrote the song "Sugar Shack A Go Go" and John Hull wrote the flip "She's Mine". The first recording was done in Mike Hopper's basement. Curley sent the tape off to Rite in Cincinnati, and had them pressed. Curley and the band did not like the sound of the recording so they went and recorded it again in the studio at the local radio station WCLT. This time Curley sent the tape off to Nashville to be remastered and it was pressed again this time by Columbia and released on the Royce Label again. It is unclear how they got in contact with the Royce label based in Illinois, but it was most likely a contact through Curley.

With records in hand they had a record release dance at the Sugar Shack on Dec 2nd, 1966. In early 1967 Curly landed them a spots on the Jerry Rasor Show on channel 4 out of Columbus. They played at least 3 dates - 11/5/66, 11/21/66, and 1/7/67. The played their 2 songs live along with a few covers and received a whopping $60 per show. The remainder of 1967 the continued to play the Sugar Shack, the newly opened Alcatraz Teen club and several colleges. They played their last show together on April 12, 1968 at Alcatraz.

Story and research by Matt Baker