For those who know Shepherds Heard only through their incredible contribution to garage band recordings, "I Know", might be wondering what kind of teens were behind such an almighty force. The answer would be a quintet of high school students who were normal in most every way except for 2 1/2 minutes of true greatness - indeed, a primary exhibit for why the 60s garage band scene has endurded and fascinated the world.
Shepherds Heard was founded and led by a Shepherd - Kim Shepherd, a student at Shelby High School. After performing in a short lived folk trio called the Tradewinds, Kim hooked up with three more Shelby high students and the Vultures were flying in short order. A keyboard player was needed so they placed an ad in a Mansfield paper. Sid Foltz, a student at St. Peters High School, answered the call. Sid already had some combo experience, having hung out with Mansfield's Kings English. With the combo in place they changed their name to Shepherds Heard - a name that earned approval from bassist Mike McKean's mom for its unintended religious significance.
As group namesake, Kim was the leader, a drummer who also sang lead vocals and wrote songs (he had played guitar in the Tradewinds). The group's Stones/Rascals influenced sound was an immediate hit with the local teens. The group played Friday night school dances from 7-midnight with only a couple breaks. Over the summers, they played the Note in Sandusky a few times, and the famed Mansfield teen clubs like the Balloon Farm. Shepherds Heard's largest noteriety came from their success in the local Battle of the Bands competition, where they won just about every one they entered, and of which Sid claims to still own most of the trophies! Being one of the few groups that had the drummer as lead singer, and having five instruments making racket pushed them ahead of most of the local pack.
The platter of legend was recorded in May or June of 1966 just before summer break and graduation for Kim. One night while practicing at the Foltz house, they got a knock on the door from someone who claimed he could get them to the big time. It's believed, but not confirmed, that this was Bob Porter (or if not, someone who knew him) and a recording date was arranged at Porter's garage 'studio'. Sid Foltz and Kim Shepherd collaborated on "But That's Life", with Sid providing the basic chord progression and the two worked on the words - "We worked hard on that" notes Sid. On the flip side Kim wrote "I Know". The sides were done live with one mike, and the group paid $300 for the session and 500 copies of the record. According to the group and their fans, both sides of the 45 got some airplay on local stations. The teen response to the intense emotions in "I Know" - particular the line "I don't mean to cause any disgrace, but honey you've got an ugly face!" was mixed and a few fans were taken aback by the anger expressed by what was really a group of relatively clean cut teens. The record was self-distributed.
Upon Kim's and other member's graduation in 1966, the group continued to play while Kim attended college, but after 1967 the group had started to lose some of the original members, as Mike McKean moved out of town and Sid Foltz decided to leave. The group was never particularly close knit and it was primarity Kim's determination to keep it going. Shepherds Heard officially disbanded in early '68. Kim has continued to play music in groups, mostly cover bands and oldies acts. Unfortunately no pictures of the group have been found yet...we hope that can be corrected soon!