St. Cloud dance band with a mix of Rock, R&B and Blues 




(and  Zarathustra)

1965 – 1974


Fall, 1965:  Four musicians in their freshmen year at St. Cloud State College get together and start to practice: Bob Coates (from the Nightmen); Pat Curto (from The Renegades and Men from Uncle); Neal Judkins (from The Trolls and The Pendletons) and Doug Swanson.  The band practices in the basement of the Coates residence in St. Cloud.

January, 1966:  Canoise play their first job at Eastman Hall on the college campus. Bob plays guitar, Pat plays drums, Neal plays bass guitar and Doug plays 12-string guitar.  All four members sing lead and backup vocals.

July, 1966:  The band records their first 45, at Iowa Great Lakes Recording Company in Milford, Iowa (known as IGL).  The A side is an original song written by Doug called “Something I Could Do” and the B side is a cover version of “Born inChicago” (Paul Butterfield).  The 45 is released on the IGL label and receives airplay in the Fargo/Moorhead area.  All 45’s recorded at IGL are pressed on either the IGL label or the Sonic label (basically depending on the quantity of the two label stickers on hand at the studio at the time).

September, 1966:  Canoise wins The Herbst Battle of the Bands competition inFargo, North Dakota (Herbst is the name of a local department store inFargo). One of the bands at the competition is aFargo band called The Churchkeys.  The band meets Grant Gullickson, a vocalist with The Churchkeys and offers him a job with Canoise.  Grant leaves The Churchkeys and joins Canoise.

Fall, 1966:  The band relocates from St. Cloud to Minneapolis.

January, 1967:  Neal leaves the band and Larry Suess (from Mort Plank lV) joins the band on guitar and vocals.  Since Larry is a guitar player, Doug switches from guitar to bass guitar.

March, 1967:  The band returns to IGL Recording Company in Milford, Iowa to record their second 45, “Oh No, Not My Baby” (Maxine Brown/Manfred Mann) backed with “There’s Something About You Baby” (The Four Tops), released on the Sonic label.  The record label has the song title of the Four Tops song listed incorrectly.  The actual song title for the Motown band’s 1965 hit song is “Something About You.”

June, 1967:  Canoise opens up for The Dave Clark Five at the Fargo Civic Auditorium in Fargo, North Dakota.

June, 1967:  The band records three songs at Dove Recording Studio in Bloomington, with Dale Menten.  No record is pressed from this session.

November, 1967:  The band makes a third trip to IGL Recording Company in Milford, Iowa and record three more songs.

January, 1968:  The band records four more songs at IGL.  A third 45 is released: “You’re No Good” (Betty Everett) and “Right Track” (Billy Butler), released on the Sonic label.  Billy Butler is the brother of singer Jerry Butler.

April, 1968:  The band ties for first place at a battle of the bands held at The Roof Garden in Arnolds Park, Iowa.  The band is awarded an appearance on the television show “Happening ’68,” a popular music show.  The band records a short version (90 seconds) of “You’ve Got Your Troubles” (The Fortunes) at IGL Recording Company, the time restriction imposed on the band from the television producers.  The Roof Garden is a short drive north of the IGL recording studio in Milford, located on the shore of West Lake Okoboji (adjacent to an amusement park) and is a popular venue for local, regional and national bands.

April, 1968:  Pat Curto leaves the band to pursue theatrical productions in the St. Cloud area and various drummers are used after his departure including Mark Wroe, fromFargo, North Dakota.

June, 1968:  Doug Swanson leaves the band and various bass guitar players are used after his departure.

July, 1968:  Larry Suess leaves the band.

September, 1968:  Canoise transforms into Zarathustra with the following lineup: Bob Coates (guitar and vocals), Grant Gullickson (vocals); John Howarth (guitar and vocals); Dave Berget (bass guitar and vocals); and Rick Johnson (drums).

October, 1968:  Dave Berget leaves Zarathustra and Mike Flaherty joins the band on bass guitar and vocals.

December, 1968:  Zarathustra performs on the television show “Happenin’ ’68,” lip-syncing their short version of “You’ve Got Your Troubles,” recorded by Canoise in April.  Bob and Grant are the only two band members who appear on the show who are playing on the original recording.  The show is hosted by Paul Revere and Mark Lindsay from Paul Revere and the Raiders, who had hosted another popular television show (prior to “Happenin’ ’68”) called “Where the Action Is.”

September, 1969:  The first version of Zarathustra disbands.

December, 1969:  Canoise reforms in St. Cloud with: Pat Curto; Neal Judkins; Doug Swanson; and Gary Gilbertson (keyboards and vocals).  The band begins rehearsals.

January, 1970:  Canoise begins playing live at the Press Bar in St. Cloud.  Larry Suess, currently playing with The Del-Counts in Minneapolis, travels to St Cloud over the next few months and sits in with the band on numerous occasions.

January, 1970:  A second version of Zarathustra is formed with: Bob Coates on guitar and vocals; John Howarth on guitar and vocals; Rich Dworsky on the Hammond B-3 organ; Mike Flaherty on bass guitar and vocals; and Scott Sansby on drums.

Spring, 1970:  A third version of Zarathustra is formed with Bob Coates, Rich Dworski; Scott Sansby; Mike Flaherty leaving the bass guitar and moving to vocals only; Dick Hedlund on bass guitar; Doug Maynard on vocals; and Sue (Huble) Newton on vocals.  The band gets a steady job playing at the Scotch Mist in downtown Minneapolis.

A fourth version of  Zarathustra comes about as Bob Coates leaves the band to attend medical school and Bobby “Kinky” Schnitzer joins the band on guitar.  In June, 1970, Zarathustra comes to an end.

April, 1970:  At a Canoise band meeting, Doug informs the band he is leaving the group in order to pursue graduate school in Honolulu, Hawaii.  The band decides to relocate to Hawaii with Doug.  Larry Suess is asked to rejoin the band and he accepts the offer and leaves The Del-Counts.  Bob Coates is asked to rejoin the band but declines the offer to focus on medical school.

July, 1970:  The “Hawaii version” of Canoise relocates to Hawaii: Pat Curto; Neal Judkins; Doug Swanson; Larry Suess and Gary Gillbertson.  The band has no connections in Hawaii, outside of some friends of Doug’s father (who all work for 3M).   The band auditions for a job at a club called J.B.’s at the Colony Surf Hotel, located on Waikiki Beach (Honolulu).  The band is hired to play one night a week (Sunday).  The one night a week job lasts for four to five months.  At that point, the house band at the club decides to return to their home state, California, and Canoise takes over the job as the full-time house band.

July, 1970 – February, 1972:  The band plays two New Years Day concerts (1971 and 1972) at the Diamond Head Crater (an extinct volcanic crater). Footage of the 1971 concert makes the CBS News with Walter Conkrite.  The 1972 concert includes Santana and Buddy Miles.

Pat, Neal and Gary back up Chuck Berry at a concert held at the Honolulu International Convention Center (known as the HIC).

Canoise plays with a number of recording artists at the HIC including Elton John, Yvonne Elliman and Minnesota band Gypsy.

The band records a 45 in Hawaii that is released on the Trim label.  The songs are “Look Inside” (written by Tom Suess, brother of Larry) and “Too Many Mornings” (Dylan). .  The record gets airplay inHawaii.

February, 1972:  The house band job at J.B’s come to an end and the band plays jobs at  different venues and looking for a change.

March, 1972:  The band is offered a job by a promoter to play in Japan.  The offer has two conditions: the band must hire a blonde female singer; and the band must first play at a club in Anchorage, Alaska.  The group accepts the offer.  Doug and Gary leave trhe band and guitar player Rob Steyer and singer Paula Elsnore join the band.  The band relocates to Alaska and plays at the club in Anchorage for two months.  The band plays 8 hour sets at the club.  The band then learns that the promised job in Japan has been postponed and then cancelled.   Through a connection with a friend of Paula, the band moves to Detroit to play at a club.

August, 1972:  The band is not happy with the job in Detroit and returns to St. Cloud.   The band plays at the Press Bar in St. Cloud for three months.

November, 1972:  Pat Curto leaves the band and is replaced by Bob Miles on drums.   Through a friend of Pat Curto, the band makes a connection with a booking agent in Denver, Colorado and the band relocates to Denver and plays in Denver and other areas of Colordao and the Southwest United States.  Paula Elsnore leaves the band to return to Hawaii and Lance Gullickson (younger brother of Grant) joins the band on vocals.  During a period of Lance having surgery (tonsils removed), Pat moves out front on vocals and Bob Miles is hired to play drums.

Late, 1973:  Canoise returns to St. Cloud and become the house band at The Hombre Demundo (known as The Hombre).

Late, 1974:  Canoise comes to an end.  The final version of the band is: Pat Curto; Lance Gullickson; Neal Judkins; Larry Suess; Rob Styer; and Bob Miles.


In 1981, Canoise got together for a reunion concert (Bob, Pat, Larry and Neal) and the band began playing live once again.  Sue (Huble) Newton joined the group in the 1990’s.

Canoise has released three CD’s consisting of their prior 45’s, unreleased studio songs and live performances.  The three CD’s are: Now and Then (1993); Plugged In (1995); and The True Story (1997).

In 2005, Canoise was inducted into the Minnesota Rock Country Hall of Fame.  Bob Coates, Pat Curto, Neal (Judkins) Dunning, Larry Suess, Doug Swanson, Grant Gullickson, Mike Flaherty, Sue (Huble) Newton and Rob Styer performed at the event.  A highlight of the band’s performance was their version of “White Bird” (It’s a Beautiful Day).

In 2005, Mile Flaherty reported that the band’s 45 of “Right Track” was being played in the UK by DJ’s at dance parties and featured as a mystery dance record, delivered to the DJ in a black velvet bag.

In 2008, Larry Suess wrote a book that chronicles his various musical journeys over the years called “Still A Minstrel – Searching For The Soul of Music.”

As of 2012, Canoise continues to play live in the twin cities area and St. Cloud.  The band plays primarily for private parties, weddings and various charitable events and fund raisers.






Something I Could Do – 1st Single

Born  In  Chicago  –  B  –  Side


Oh No Not My Baby – 2nd Single

There’s Something About You – B Side


Your No Good – 3rd Single

Right Track – B- Side


One  Too  Many  Mornings  –   A- Side

Look  Inside  –  B- Side





Bob Coates          Guitar          1966 – 1968

Pleebs (North Dakota)





Pat Curto          Drums  /  Vocals          1967 – 1968


Men from Uncle


Newman and Curto


Maiden America


Neal Judkins – Dunning          Bass Guitar          1966 – 1967





F  Troop

Danny’s Reasons


Doug Swanson          Guitar  /  Bass  /  Vocals          1965 – 1968




Gant Gullickson          Vocals / Tamborine          1966 – 1968

Churchkeys (Fargo)



Ivory (Los Angeles)

Bobbidazzler (Los Angeles)


Larry Suess          Guitar / Vocals          1967 – 1968



Mort Plank IV





Solo Artist





Where are they now?


Bob Coates    Guitar                                                             

Active  in  Music  ?          Yes

Doing  What  ?  –  Playing with Canoise


Pat Curto  –  Drums  /  Vocals  

Active  in  Music  ?          Yes

Doing  What  ?  –  Playing with Canoise


Neal Judkins – Dunning   –  Bass Guitar                                                                 

Active  in  Music  ?             No

Doing  What  ?  –  Living in Colorado


Doug Swanson  –  Guitar  / Bass  / Vocals                                                              

Active  in  Music  ?          No

Doing  What  ?  –  Passed away on December 20, 2009


Larry Suess  –  Guitar / Vocals

Active  in  Music  ?        Yes

Doing  What  ?  –  Playing with Canoise and jobbing




Interview  PART ONE


Interview  PART TWO


Interview  PART THREE


Interview  PART FOUR