Robbinsdale band connects with Peter May and score two local/regional hits

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The Stillroven   

(and the Syndicate) 

1965 – 1969

1965:  The Syndicate gets together, consisting of a group of guys from Robbinsdale High School:  Phil Berdahl on drums; his cousin Rock Peterson on bass guitar; John Howarth on guitar and Mark Moorhead on guitar.  The last member to join was Dave Dean, on keyboards.

1966: Mark Moorhead leaves The Syndicate and is replaced by Dan Kane on guitar. The band changes names to The Stillroven, with the original line up as: Phil Berdahl, drums and vocals; Rock Peterson, bass guitar, John Howarth, guitar and vocals; Dave Dean, keyboards and vocals and Danny Kane, guitar and vocals.   The band auditions for Stagefinders and meet Peter Huntington May who books and manages the band and also produces their records.  Peter May is also a DJ on KDWB.   The band is heavily influenced by the British Invasion bands.  On August 5, 1966 , the band is present at Dayton’s Auditorium in downtown Minneapolis to see The Yardbirds perform.

November, 1966: The band records their first 45, She’s My Woman (written by John and Dave, with John on lead vocals), backed with a cover of the Monkee’s (I’m Not Your) Stepping Stone (with Dave on lead vocals), in a recording studio located in the basement of George Garrett’s Nic’O’Lake Records.  The song is released on May’s record label, Falcon.

Spring, 1967: The band records their second 45, a cover version of Hey Joe (The Leaves/Love) with Dan on lead vocals and Sunny Day (written by John and Dave, with Dave and Phil on vocals) at Dove Recording Studio in Bloomington, also released on Falcon.  Hey Joe gets airplay on both KDWB and WDGY and also in Duluth, Minnesota; Fargo, North Dakota; Lacrosse, Wisconsin; Sioux Falls, South Dakota and Lincoln, Nebraska.  Peter May gets the song released on a national label, Roulette Records.  The record gets airplay outside of the Midwest, including Tucson, Arizona and Pensacola, Florida.

1967: With the success of Hey Joe, the band plays throughout Minnesota and the upper Midwest.

Summer, 1967: The band, along with The Del-Counts, opens up a show for Sonny and Cher (minus Cher due to health issues) at the Minneapolis Auditorium.  The band plays with The Castaways and The Litter at the Rochester Mayo Auditorium.

Fall, 1967: Dan Kane leaves the band and is replaced by Jim Larkin.  Rock Peterson leaves the band and is replaced by Dave Berget.  Back at Dove Studios, the band records their third 45, Little Picture Playhouse backed with Cast Thy Burden Upon the Stone on the August label, also a Peter May record label.   Jim Larkin sings the lead vocals on Little Picture Playhouse, an obscure song from a relatively unknown British band, Simon Dupree and the Big Sound.  The B-Side is a psychedelic song written by Dave. The record gets local and regional airplay. The Stillroven play a concert with the CA Quintet in Lincoln, Nebraska for 5,000 fans.

Spring, 1968: Mike O’Gara replaces Jim Larkin on vocals and also plays guitar and Mike Flaherty replaces Dave Berget on bass guitar and vocals.

The band records their fourth 45, also at Dove, also released on August, a cover version of Come in the Morning (Moby Grape) backed with Necessary Person, written by Mike O’Gara, who sings lead vocals on both songs. After the record is released, Peter May replaces the A side with a cover version of Have You Ever Seen Me (The Small Faces) with Dave Berget on lead vocals.

April, 1968: The band travels to Tucson, Arizona, where they have been booked at The Dunes (on Speedway Boulevard), through a local DJ who was a friend of Peter May.  The band’s first job at The Dunes is on Wednesday, April 17.

April 27, 1968:  The band plays a concert at Hy-Corbett Field (a minor league baseball field).  The band lineup is: The Stillroven; Brenton Wood; The Sunshine Company and The Buffalo Springfield.

May 4, 1968: The band plays their last job at The Dunes.

July, 1968: Mike Flaherty leaves the band and Dave Berget rejoins.  John Howarth leaves the band and is replaced by Dave Rivkin. The band is now booked by James Reardon and Associates and plays mainly outside of Minnesota.  The band returns to Tucson for more jobs and this leads to an audition with A & M Records.  The band travels to Los Angeles, where they audition for A & M Records and are signed to record an album.  The album is recorded at A & M, but is never released.

November, 1968: The band is based out of Denver and plays throughout the west and southwest.

April, 1969: The band travels to Norman Petty Recording Studios in Clovis, New Mexico to record a number of songs, including a cover version of Get Ready (The Temptations).  No recordings from this studio are released.  The studio is famous for recording sessions with Buddy Holly, Buddy Knox, Roy Orbison, The Fireballs and many others.

May, 1969: The band travels to Washington, DC and stay at the home of Bonnie Diamond, a friend of the bands.  The band had met Bonnie while they were playing a popular club in Aspen, Colorado called Galena Street East.  Bonnie, a jet setter, with connections to people in the music business, lines up an audition for the band with record producer Phil Ramone and record company executives (including Elektra) in New York City.  The group performs for the audition and are asked to do a cover version of a song from an off Broadway, avant-garde theatrical revue called “Oh! Calcutta!”  The band returns to Washington, DC and decide they do not like the song and have no interest in recording a version of it.  In the meantime, the group is offered a job at The Scene in Greenwich Village, however, the band turns the job down due to the early morning time slot and the pay.  The band returns to Minnesota.

July, 1969:  The band plays their last job at The Prison in Burnsville and then break up. The final lineup is: Phil Berdahl; Dave Dean; Dave Berget; Mike O’Gara and Dave Rivkin.  Phil and Dave are the only two original band members in the group.


Partial List of Band Jobs, 1967 and 1968:



01/13: Marian KC Hall, Bloomington, MN

01/14: Pines Ballroom, Bloomer, WI

01/20: Ryan’s Ballroom, Plymouth, MN

01/21: Breck Schools, Hopkins, MN / Golden Valley High School, Golden Valley, MN

01/27: Pierz Funhouse, Pierz, MN

01/28: Mankato High School, Mankato, MN


02/03: West High School, Minneapolis, MN

02/04: Dayton’s Auditorium, Minneapolis, MN / Buck Hill SAE, Burnsville, MN

02/07: Delano High School, Delano, MN

02/17: Inn Towne Motel

02/18: Anoka, MN

02/19: The Alps, Bloomington, MN

02/24: Ryan’s Ballroom, Plymouth, MN

02/25: Camelot, Edina, MN


03/03: Community Center, Albert Lea, MN

03/04: Interlaken Ballroom, Fairmont, MN

03/05: White Bear Armory, White Bear, MN

03/10: The Barn, Eden Prairie, MN

03/11: Bimbo’s, Minneapolis, MN

03/17: Luther Hall

03/18: Har Mar YMCA, Minneapolis, MN

03/23: Rochester Armory, Rochester, MN

03/27: Mayo Auditorium, Rochester, MN

03/31: Edison High School, Minneapolis, MN


04/01: Lake City High School, Lake City, MN

04/06: LaCrosse, WI

04/07: Ryan’s Ballroom, Plymouth, MN

04/08: Tower Teen Center, Austin, MN

04/14: Frederic Rec Center, Frederic, WI

04/14: Bobby’s, Mendota Heights, M

04/21: Community Center, Albert Lea, MN

04/22: Stillwater Armory (Frat Party), Stillwater, MN

04/23: Jewett’s Point, Faribault, MN

04/27: Downtown YMCA, Minneapolis, MN

04/28: Mr. Lucky’s, Minneapolis, MN

04/29: Har Mar Mall, Minneapolis, MN


05/03: Saint A. of Peace

03/05: Kato Ballroom, Mankato, MN

05/06: Tower Teen Center, Austin, MN

05/10: The Library, Lacrosse, WI

05/11: The Library, Lacrosse, WI

05/12: Crystal KC Hall, Crystal, MN

05/13: Bobby’s, Mendota Heights, MN

05/18: Little Falls High School, Little Falls, MN

05/19: Pla-Mor Ballroom, Rochester, MN

05/20: Rainbow Gardens, Rice Lake, WI

05/24: Bimbo’s, Minneapolis, MN

05/25: Bimbo’s, Minneapolis, MN

05/26: Ryan’s Ballroom, Plymouth, MN

05/29: Mayo Clinic Auditorium, Rochester, MN


08/01: Hide-Away Club

08/03: Hullabaloo, St. Louis Park, MN

08/04: Coffman Union, Minneapolis, MN

08/05: Richardson’s, Clayton, WI

08/06: Someplace Else, Robbinsdale, MN

08/07: Goodhue County Fair, Zumbrota, MN

08/08: Hullabaloo (Penney’s) / Dayton’s, Minneapolis, MN

08/09: Elk’s Lounge, Hudson, WI

08/10: Dayton’s Southdale, Edina, MN / Pla-Mor Ballroom

08/11: Townhouse / St. Paul, MN

08/12: Boy’s Club, Wyoming, MN / Dayton’s, Minneapolis, MN

08/14: Hullaballoo, St. Louis Park, MN

08/16: Big Top, Hayward, WI

08/17: Hullaballoo, St. Louis Park, MN

08/18: Palm’s Ballroom, Renville, MN

08/19: Owatonna State Fair Grounds, Owatonna, MN

08/20: Jewett’s Point, Faribault, MN

08/21: Red River Valley, Fargo, ND (North Dakota State Fair, with Freddie Cannon)

08/22: The Barn, Eden Prairie, MN

08/23: Harmony Rec Center, Harmony, MN

08/25: Wheelock Whitney Residence (16th Birthday Party for Daughter), Wayzata, MN / George’s, New Ulm, MN

08/26: State Fair (B-Sharp Booth and Teen Center), St. Paul, MN

08/28: Someplace Else, Robbinsdale, MN

08/29: Someplace Else, Robbinsdale, MN


09/01: Bowlarena, New Richmond, WI

09/02: Hullabaloo, St. Louis Park, MN

09/08: St. John’s University, Collegeville, MN

09/09: North St. Paul Teen Center, North St. Paul, MN

09/15: Rochester Armory, Rochester, MN

09/16: George’s, New Ulm, MN

09/20: Coffman Union, Minneapolis, MN

09/22: The Barn, Eden Prairie, MN

09/23: Tower Teen Center, Austin, MN

09/29: St. Louis Park High School, St. Louis Park, MN

09/30: Rainbow Gardens, Rice Lake, WI


10/06: St. Cloud Tech, St. Cloud, MN

10/07: Duluth Armory, Duluth, MN

10/11: St. Cloud State College, St. Cloud, MN

10/12: Gibbons Ballroom, Gibbons, MN

10/13: Vocational High School, Sheraton Hotel, Minneapolis, MN

10/14: Hollyhock Ballroom, Hatfield, MN

10/19: Marshall High School, Marshall, MN

10/20: Augsburg College, St. Paul, MN

10/21: Hoffman, MN

10/22: Fridley KC Hall, Fridley, MN

10/27: Hopkins House, Hopkins, MN

10/28: Interlaken Ballroom, Fairmont, MN

10/29: Kato Ballroom, Mankato, MN


11/03: Poaches Popular Ballroom, Ellsworth, WI

11/04: Richardson’s, Clayton, WI

11/05: Pla-Mor Ballroom, Rochester, MN

11/10: University of Wisconsin, Lacrosse, WI

11/11: University of Minnesota, Lacrosse, WI

11/17: Rochester Armory, Rochester, MN / Mankato State College, Mankato, MN

11/18: Fridley KC, Fridley, MN

11/21: Osseo Junior College, Osseo, MN

11/24: Civic Auditorium, Sioux Falls, SD (with The Lemon Pipers and The Cowsills), KISD Radio

11/25: St. Paul, MN


12/01: Pla-Mor Ballroom, Rochester, MN

12/02: St. Joseph’s, Rice Lake, MN

12/08: Hibbing, MN

12/09: Hollyhock Ballroom, Hatfield, MN

12/14: Bimbo’s, Minneapolis, MN

12/15: Palm’s Ballroom, Renville, MN

12/16: Its In, Mason City, Iowa

12/17: Pla-Mor Ballroom, Glencoe, MN

12/21: Tower Teen Center, Austin, MN

12/22: Proache’s Popular Ballroom, Ellsworth, WI

12/23: Bimbo’s, Minneapolis, MN Foley, MN

12/26: Bel-Rae Ballroom, Moundsview, MN

12/29: Its In, Mason City, IA

12/30: Its In Mason City, IA



01/01: New City Opera House, Minneapolis, MN

01/12: Albert Lea Community Center, Albert Lea, MN

01/13: Lincoln, Nebraska

01/19: St. Johns University, St. Joseph, MN

01/20: St. Cloud Coliseum, St. Cloud, MN

01/26: New City Opera House, Minneapolis, MN

01/27: Community Center, Pipestone High School, Pipestone,MN

01/20: Bel-Rae Ballroom, Moundsview, MN


02/02: Huron, South Dakota

02/03: Lincoln, Nebraska (with the CA Quintet who opened the show)

02/07: St. Cloud State, St. Cloud, MN

02/09: New City Opera House, Minneapolis, MN

02/10: Redwood Falls Armory, Redwood Falls, MN

02/14: Southwest State College, Marshall, MN

02/16: Rochester Armory, Rochester, MN

02/17: Fairmont, MN

02/23: Osseo High School, Osseo, MN

02/24: Tower Teen center, Austin, MN

02/28: North Hennepin Junior College, Minneapolis, MN

02/29: Eau Claire, Wisconsin


03/01: Montevideo, MN

03/02: Richardson’s, Clayton, WI / Stage House

03/08: New City Opera House, Minneapolis, MN

03/09: Hayward, Wisconsin / Telemark Ski Lodge, Hayward, WI

03/13: Bimbo’s, Minneapolis, MN

03/15: Moorhead Armory, Morehead, MN

03/16: Grand Forks, ND

03/20: Magoo’s, Minneapolis, MN

03/22: Albert Lea, MN

03/23: Palms Ballroom, Renville, MN

03/27: Magoo’s, Minneapolis, MN


04/17: Dunes, Tucson, AZ

04/19: Nogales, AZ

04/20: Sierra Vista, AZ

04/24: VFW, Tucson, AZ

04/27: Hi Corbett Field (Minor League Ball Park), Tucson, AZ

(Concert with Buffalo Springfield, Sunshine Company, Kenny O’Dell, Brenton Wood)

04/30: Dunes, Tucson, AZ


05/01: Dunes, Tucson, AZ

05/02: Dunes, Tucson, AZ

05/03: Dunes, Tucson, AZ

05/04: Dunes, Tucson, AZ

05/10: Rivers Edge, Somerset, WI

05/11: Gibson, MN (Prom Dance)

05/12: Powderhorn Park (Love –in Concert), Minneapolis, MN

05/15: Magoo’s, Minneapolis, MN

05/17: Kasson High School, Kasson, MN

05/18: North Star Ballroom, St. Cloud, MN

05/22: St. Margeret’s Academy, Golden Valley, MN

05/25: Fairmont, MN

05/30: New City Opera House, Minneapolis, MN

05/31: Rochester, MN


06/01: The Barn, Eden Prairie, MN

06/05: C Club Duluth, MN

06/07: Highland Park Graduation / New City Opera House, Minneapolis, MN

06/08: Blake Graduation, Minneapolis, MN

06/11: Pipestone Armory, Pipestone, MN

06/14: Wayzata Community Center, Wayzata, MN

06/15: Good Times Teen Center

06/16: W.

06/18: Woodhill Country Club, Wayzata, MN

06/21: The Barn, Eden Prairie, MN

06/22: Hollyhock Ballroom, Hatfield

06/25: Bel-Rae Ballroom, Moundsview, MN

06/26: Someplace Else, Robbinsdale, MN

06/27: Hutchinson Armory, Hutchinson, MN

06/28: Casino Royale, Fridley, MN

06/29: Avalon Ballroom, Remsen, IA


07/05: Zumbrota Fair, Zumbrota, MN

07/07: Hudson, WI

07/08: Grand Forks, ND

07/09: The Barn, Eden Prairie, MN

07/12: Duluth, MN

07/13: Duluth Armory, Duluth, MN



In the 1980’s, Phil Berdahl reports the band recorded a song at Dove, written by Pete Steinberg, called The Jet Set (or In The Jet Set) that was never released.  No tape of the song is known to exist.

In 1996, all of the group’s records along with unreleased material are released on an album called Cast They Burden Upon The Stillroven.

In 2005, the album recorded at A & M Records in 1969 is released for the first time, on a CD called Too Many Spaces.

In 2010, a brief video (with no audio) surfaces of the band playing live at the Mayo Civic Auditorium in Rochester in 1968.  Phil Berdahl reports The Castaways and The Litter also performed at this event.

In November, 2015, Phil Berdahl was at Sunrise Sound Studio in Rogers and shared with us a calendar that contained many of the band jobs for The Stillroven for 1967 and 1968.   The partial list of band jobs was posted on this website on December 13, 2015.


By Tom Campbell

Copyright Thomas R. Campbell 2010




She’s My Woman Side  A  45 Record

(I’m Not Your)  Stepping StoneSide  B  45 Record



Hey Joe – Side  A   45 Record

Sunny  Day – Side  B  45 Record


Little  Picture Playhouse – Side  A  45 Record

Cast  Thy  Burden  Upon  The  Stone – Side  B  45 Record


Come  In  The  Morning – Side  A  45 Record

Necessary  Person – Side  B  45 Record


(Tell Me) Have  You  Ever  Seen  Me – Side  A  45 Record







The  Stillroven                             BAND  TREE       


The  Stillroven  1966  to  1969


John  Howarth              Lead  Guitar  /  Vocals          1966  –  1968


The  Syndicate

The  Stillroven


Swift  Current 


Rock  Peterson            Bass  Guitar  /  Vocals           1966  –  1967


The  Syndicate

The  Stillroven


Phil  Berdahl               Drums  /  Vocals          1966  –  1969


The  Syndicate

The  Stillroven

The System

The  Underbeats

Swift  Current


Jobbing  in  Bands


Dave  Dean                      Keyboards  /  Vocals               1966  –  1969


The  Syndicate

The  Stillroven


Danny  Kane               Rhythm  Guitar  /  Vocals                1966  –  1967


The  Syndicate

The  Stillroven


Jim  Larkin               Rhythm  Guitar  /  Vocals              1967  –  1969


The  Gremmies

The  Rave-ons

The  High  Spirits

The  He–Too’s

The  Stillroven


Dave  Berget                   Bass  /  Vocals        1967  –  1969


The  Henchmen

The  Sir  Raleghs

The  Stillroven

Salt  and  Pepper

Johnson  Drake

Dave  and  Paul

Berget  and  Reichert

The  Rockin’  Hollywoods


Mike  O’Gara                   Rhythm  Guitar  /  Vocals                1968  –  1969

The Frenchmen

The Bad Omens

The Escapades

Seraphic  Street  Sounds

The  Stillroven

Solo  Career


Mike  Flaherty                  Bass  Guitar  /  Vocals                1968  –  1968


The  Bad  Omens

The Escapades

Seraphic  Street  Sounds

The  Stillroven


Swift  Current

Mike and the Meteorites (CA)


Dave  Rivkin                   Lead  Guitar  /  Vocals                1968  –  1969


The  Chancellors

The  High  Spirits

The  Stillroven


Where are they now?


The  Stillroven           Where  Are  They  Now  ?       


The  Stillroven  1966  to  1969                                    


John  Howarth                                                    Active  in  Music

Lead  Guitar  /  Vocals                                                    No

Doing  What  ?………………………………..    Living  in  Minnesota


Danny  Kane                                                        Active  in  Music

Rhythm  Guitar  /  Vocals                                                No

Doing  What  ?…………………………………  Living  in  Minnesota



Rock  Peterson                                                    Active  in  Music

Bass  Guitar                                                                   No

Doing  What  ?…………………………………  Living  in  Minnesota


Phil  Berdahl                                                       Active  in  Music

Drums                                                                             Yes

Doing  What  ?………………………  Jobbing  with  bands, living in Minnesota


Dave  Dean                                                          Active  in  Music

Keyboards  /  Vocals                                                    No

Doing  What  ?……………………..  Passed  away at age 60 on August 5,  2007


Dave  Berget                                                       Active  in  Music

Bass  Guitar                                                                   Yes

Doing  What  ?………………………  Jobbing  with  bands, living in Minnesota



Jim  Larkin                                                          Active  in  Music

Rhythm  Guitar  /  Vocals                                             No

Doing  What  ?………………………………..   Living  in  Arizona


Mike  O’Gara                                                     Active  in  Music

Rhythm  Guitar  /  Vocals                                             No

Doing  What  ?………………..  Passed away at age 69 in December, 2015


Mike  Flaherty                                                    Active  in  Music

Bass  /  Vocals                                                               No

Doing  What  ?………………..  Playing in Mike and the Meteors, living  in  California


Dave  Rivkin                                                        Active  in  Music

Lead  Guitar  /  Vocals                                                    Yes

Doing  What  ?…………………..  Recording engineer, producer, living in California




Interview PART ONE


Interview PART TWO


Interview PART THREE


Interview PART FOUR