Cleveland, 1965-8

The Saxons were one of the five local bands that played the 1966 Public Hall show with Paul Reverve and the Raiders, Tommy Roe, and Chad and Jeremy. At the time, the band included Jim Davenport (lead vocals), Bud Allison (lead guitar), Ray Schartman (bass guitar), Tom Pullin (rhythm guitar), and Butch Van Niel (drums).

Prior to the Public Hall show, the Cleveland Press newspaper had run a poll asking for people to vote for their favorite local band. An official winner was never announced, but the 5 top bands were asked to play the show.

Cleveland’s legendary “Host of the North Coast” Peanuts was a friend and roadie for the Saxons – he fills in the history of the band – “There was a schism in the band between Davenport and Van Niel and both claimed the name. Van Niel had it registered with the union, so Davenport and Schartman split and started the Saxtons with the late Mickey Bruno on guitar (no relation to the Bruno Brothers), Gary Cernan on keyboards and Sid Turner (of Grasshoppers fame) on drums. They were based out of the Silver Dollar on Lorain by W. 110th St. and eventually became the Highboys.

Meanwhile, the Saxons were based at Park Lane on Brookpark Rd. with Allison, Pullin & Van Niel in the line-up along with lead vocalist Kevin Brown and, filling in on bass Mickey McCann and Bud's brother Jerry Allison, until Don Papes (formerly of the Solid Gold) became the fulltime bass player.

When Pullin & Van Niel left for the Navy, Bud Allison and Don Papes joined with guitarist Russ McLaughlin, keyboardist Jim Cominsky and drummer Jack Palush from the Sundowners. The band only had a handful of gigs with that line-up, some gigs as the Saxons, some as the Sundowners. Most notable gig for that Saxons line-up was the bowling alley on W. 25th just before it became the Smiling Dog Saloon.”

Thanks to Peanuts and Joe Kurilec