The top local dance band with vocal harmonies like no other! One of the most successful 1960s Minnesota groups.


1962 – 1969

1962:  The band gets together with members from North Minneapolis and Brooklyn Center.  The lineup is:  Jim Johnson on guitar, Russ Hagen on guitar and lead vocals, Doni Larson on bass guitar and Bob “Duke” Duane on drums.  The band practices in Doni Larson’s basement in Brooklyn Center and they learn to play Chuck Berry songs and also more obscure Blues and R & B songs.

1963: Russ Hagen leaves the band to enter the military service and Ray Berg joins on guitar, with Jim taking over the lead vocals.  The band plays their first job at Chisago City Civic Center, with Russ who is home on leave.     Bob also leaves the band for military service after the first job and Rod Eaton becomes the new drummer.   This version of the band plays their first job at Bill’s Roller Rink in Anoka.  The band starts playing the local teen clubs, ballrooms and roller rinks (including the Bloomington Rink) and quickly build a strong fan base.

1964: The band meets George Garrett, who records numerous 45’s with the band for his labels, Garrett, Bangar and Twin Town.   The bands first 45, “Foot Stompin’” becomes a big hit on the local radio stations.  “Foot Stompin” was originally recorded by a Los Angeles R and B group called The Flares.

1965:  Tommy Nystrom, from The Accents, replaces Rod Eaton on drums and also does vocals.

1966: Ray Berg leaves the band to get married and is replaced by Enrico Rosenbaum, from The Escapades, recruited by Jim Johnson.  The Underbeats become one of the top local dance bands and have numerous songs on the local radio stations.

1966: Jim Johnson is drafted and serves in Vietnam.  Prior to leaving for the army, Johnson hires Wally Walstead (from Wilmar) to play guitar and James Walsh (from The Hot Half Dozen) for vocals.  Walsh also plays keyboards.  The line-up now is Doni Larson, Enrico Rosenbaum, Tom Nystrom, James Walsh and Wally Walstead.  The band continues to gain popularity.   This version of the band is together until Jim Johnson returns from the service in September, 1968.

1967: Jim Johnson comes home on leave and the band records another 45: “Footsteps” written by Jim Johnson and “Find This Woman” written by Pete Steinberg.  The record is produced by Pete Steinberg and released on the Stature label.  For this recording the band is called Calvin James and The Haymarket Riot.

The group records a 45 for the local Metrobeat label: “It’s Gonna Rain Today”, written by Enrico Rosenbaum, with James Walsh on lead vocals.  The B side is a cover version of “The Sweetest Girl in the World.”  Jim Johnson is not on this 45.

1968: Jim Johnson rejoins the band and Wally Walstead leaves.  Now the band has four of the top lead singers in town and become known for their vocal harmonies.  The band is considered by many to be the top local dance band in the twin cities area.

The band’s final 45 is released: Darkness and You’re Losing Me, both songs written by Jim Johnson and Enrico Rosenbaum.   This 45 is on the local Pip label, run by Ira Heilicher.

November, 1968: The band decides to relocate to Los Angeles, California.  With Steve Freeman (a friend of Enricos from high school) as manager, the band gets a steady job at Gezzarris, a popular dance club on the Sunset Strip in Hollywood.  The band is given an official new name by the club owners and local fans, The Groovy People.

1969: Tommy Nystrom leaves the band to return to Minnesota and is replaced by Jay Epstein, a drummer from Winona.   The Underbeats change their name and become Gyspy.  Doni Larson is credited with the name change, based on the bands lifestyle (“look at us, we are living like gypsies”).  After much success over the bands eight years, The Underbeats era comes to an end and the Gypsy era begins.


A number of unreleased songs by the band, including live performances surface over the years.  Four songs were released as part of a compilation album that features local bands that recorded at Dove Recording Studio: “Love to You”; “Don’t You Lie to Me”; “Wishes Don’t Come True” and “Fate of a Fool”.

In 2004 The Underbeats were inducted into the Rock Country Hall of Fame at the Medina Ballroom.

Photos  (Click a photo to see it full-screen, then click the arrows to see the next one.)



Big Hits of Mid-America Volume 1


Best of Metrobeat

Free Flight

Top Teen Bands Volumes 1, 2, 3

The SOMA Story

Footstompin’ / Route 66

Foot Stompin’– From the All the Singles CD

Route 66 – From the All the Singles CD


Annie Do The Dog / Sweet Words of Love

Annie Do The Dog – From the All the Singles CD

Sweet Words of Love – From the All the Singles CD


Little Romance / Broken Arrow

Little  Romance – From the All the Singles CD

Broken  Arrow – From the All the Singles CD


Our Love / Jo Jo Gunne

Our  Love– From the All the Singles CD

Jo Jo Gunne– From the All the Singles CD


Book of Love / Darling Lorraine

Book  of  Love – From the All the Singles CD

Darling  Lorraine – From the All the Singles CD


I Can’t Stand It / Shake It For Me

I  Can’t  Stand  It – From the All the Singles CD

Shake  It  For  Me – From the All the Singles CD


It’s Gonna Rain Today / Sweetest  Girl  in  The  World

It’s  Gonna  Rain  Today– From the All the Singles CD

Sweetest  Girl  in  The  World – From the All the Singles CD


Footsteps / Find This Woman

Footsteps – From the All the Singles CD

Find  This  Woman – From the All the Singles CD


You’re Losing Me / Darkness

You’re  Losing  Me – From the All the Singles CD

Darkness – From the All the Singles CD


Bobby’s Volume One

My Girl – From Bobby’s Vol. One

Gypsy Woman – From Bobby’s Vol. One

Hello Stranger – From Bobby’s Vol. One

I’ll Be There – From Bobby’s Vol. One

It’s  Alright  –  From  Bobby’s  Vol.  One



Bobby’s Volume Two

It’s Not Unusual – From Bobby’s Vol. Two

Sweet Soul Music – From Bobby’s Vol. Two

Beauty’s Only Skin Deep – From Bobby’s Vol. Two

Lonely Too Long – From Bobby’s Vol. Two

 Just  One  Look  –  From  Bobby’s  Vol.  Two



Tonights The Night – From Collectables


All The Singles

Footstompin’ – From  All  The  Singles


Sweet Words of Love – From  All  The  Singles 


It’s Gonna Rain Today – From  All  The  Singles



Jim Johnson
Lead  Guitar  /  Vocals
The Underbeats
The Steamers
Calvin James
Russ Hagen
Rhythm Guitar / Vocals
The Underbeats
Dave Brady & The Stars
Willie (Murphy) & The Bees
Doni Larson
Bass Guitar / Vocals
The Underbeats
DJ Rogers
Blue Gil’s
Calvin James
Bob “Duke” Duane
The Underbeats
Ray Berg
Rhythm Guitar / Vocals
The Del Gardo’s
The Underbeats
Rod Eaton
Drums / Vocals
The Young Lords Jazz Group
The Underbeats
The Lancers
TC Atlantic
Choir Crystal
Dave Mark Syndicate
M.G. Ruppert
Rock Club Trio
Tom Nystrom
Drums / Vocals
The Accents
The Underbeats
F Troop
The Hi Tops
Alfalpha Males
Enrico “Rico” Rosenbaum
Rhythm Guitar / Vocals
The Escapades
The Underbeats
Loren “Wally” Walstad
Lead Guitar
The Defiant’s
The Underbeats
The Chicagoans
John Stafford & The Entertainers
Los Tres Bossmen
Five O Nine Zoo
Allison Bristow
Norm Stratton (‘Stormin’ Norman)
Ron Lee and The Expressions
Dom and the Domino’s
James Walsh
Keyboards / Vocals
The Hot Half Dozen
The Underbeats
Free and Easy
James Walsh Gypsy Band
Killer Hayseeds


Where are they now?

  • Jim Johnson
  • Jim passed away at age 76 on September 26, 2019.
  • Russ Hagen
    No longer active in music, Russ lives in Florida.
  • Doni Larson
  • Retired.  Living in Minnesota.
  • Bob Duane
    No longer active in music, otherwise unknown.
  • Ray Berg
    No longer active in music, Ray lives in Minnesota.
  • Rod Eaton
    No longer active in music, Rod lives in Minnesota.
  • Tom Nystrom
    Tom passed away at age 60 on May 22, 2004.
  • Enrico “Rico” Rosenbaum
    Rico passed away in 1979.
  • Loren “Wally” Walstad
    Passed away at age 67 on September 3, 2014
  • James Walsh
    Keyboards / Vocals with Gypsy and Midas Touch.


Listen PART ONE    Time  =  19:58


Listen  PART TWO   Time  =  20:14


Listen  PART THREE  –  Time  =  19:25


Listen  Part  FOUR  –  Time  =  24:32