Eric and the Norsemen

News


Rest in Peace - Roger "Eric" Johnson - 1945-2015 (5/26/15)


Eric and the Norsemen Celebrate 50th Anniversary (2/5/15)


Eric and the Norsemen reunite for farewell performance (8/29/09)


A magical night at Marty's (11/03/07)


The Norsemen rock the Hall of Fame! (3/18/06)


Eric and the Norsemen featured in Perfect Sound Forever online music magazine (6/05/13)


Norsemen bass player Kenny Kramer passes away (1/25/13)


In memory of Dennis Frans (1951-2012) (9/21/12)

  

Rest in Peace - Roger "Eric" Johnson - 1945-2015   05.26.15

We have lost our dear friend, our leader, our mentor, Roger Johnson. We are heartbroken.

Roger was the heart and soul of Eric and the Norsemen. As we wrote on our bio page ...

Although there was no "Eric" when the band started, audiences kept asking who he was. Roger assumed the role. A natural showman, he never stopped moving - singing, shouting, dancing, jumping, doing the "duckwalk," playing guitar over his head, behind his back and just about every other way imaginable. His performances of "Surfin' Bird" were legendary.

Roger was a giant figure in the Midwest music scene, liked and respected by everyone who knew him. Roger was full of life, full of fun, immensely talented, playful, and entertaining. Mike posted a moving tribute on Facebook which drew many, many comments from those who knew Roger.

This year we celebrated the band's 50th Anniversary. Shortly before Roger's death, Mike, Tree, Frank and Jimmy traveled to Dallas, Texas to spend two days with Roger, sharing stories and memories and listening to old recordings. We will forever have a place in our hearts for Roger, and he will always be with us in spirit.

It was such a privilege to know Roger, to have shared the stage with him and to have been his friends for 50 wonderful years. We miss you, Roger.

OBITUARY - Roger Lee Johnson

 

     Click to enlarge

Mike posted the following on Facebook on 10.20.15 ...

  

Eric and the Norsemen Celebrate 50th Anniversary   02.02.15

Happy 50th Anniversary to
"The Wildest Show in the MIdwest!"

Firty years ago, on February 5, 1965, Eric and the Norsemen played their first show at Municipal Auditorium in Liberty, Missouri. When the original group, Roger, Mike, Jimmy and Kenny, took the stage for the first time, they weren't, by their own estimation, very good, but the small crowd acted like they were The Beatles, the girls giving them kisses and asking for autographs.

From the very beginning, the guys had a notion that it would be a lot of fun to be a band.. They never imagined that their notion would become a dream that would have them entertaining enthusiastic audiences across nine states from 1965 to 1968, on a road trip that would eventually lead to the Kansas Music Hall of Fame in 2006.

Along the way, the four would become seven; and then nine. They would make lifelong friends and fans who came out to join them when they reunited in 2007 and 2009. But most importantly, they would forge personal friendships that would last a lifetime.

To commemorate the 50th anniversary, the band created this special cover of Rolling Stone. Though the cover is not real, the memories are.

The Norsemen also designed T-shirts and hoodies to commemorate the band's 50th Anniversary. There are two sets of photos of Roger, Mike, JImmy, Tree and Frank (the lineup for the Kansas Music Hall of Fame induction) on the back of the shirts surrounding the Norsemen's 45 rpm record of "Get It On." Old photos from the 1960s are displayed around the top of the record. New photos from the band's farewell performance in 2009 are displayed around the bottom of the record. The logo of the Kansas Music Hall of Fame is on the front.

The shirts are available in many colors and styles.

Click to view details, colors, styles and prices.

 

Norsemen Holiday Greetings   12.07.14

 

 

Eric and the Norsemen featured in Perfect Sound Forever online music magazine    04.12.14

Over 45 years after they played their last show (other than their reunions in 2006, 2007 and 2009), Eric and the Norsemen continue to draw attention from music fans. In a copyrighted profile by Jack Partain in Perfect Sound Forever online music magazine, the story of the Norsemen unfolds from its beginnings, capturing the excitement that the band brought to Midwest audiences:

For a few years in the mid-1960s, in cities and towns throughout the Midwest, the words "From the wind blown hills of the icy north..." sent chills vibrating through the spines of thousands of bored teenagers and college kids. Whether broadcast late at night over the airwaves of Oklahoma City's KOMA radio or intoned over a loud speaker in a small concert hall, VFW, or National Guard Armory in a sleepy, otherwise silent Kansas town, those words promised the most important thing of all - a night of fun.

Through interviews with band members, the article presents the unlikely story of how a group of college kids in Lawrence, Kansas became one of the most-loved bands of their time. The Norsemen presented a magical blend of great music, fun and excitement that audiences loved and that led to the band's induction into the second class of the Kansas Music Hall of Fame in 2006.

READ "Eric and the Norsemen" by Jack Partain, Perfect Sound Forever

 

Eric and the Norsemen reunite for farewell performance   09.10.09

Eric and the Norsemen played to a packed crowd of old and new friends and fans and family at RC's Back Door Bar and Grill on August 29. The band announced that this would likely be their last public performance. The Norsemen played throughout the Midwest from 1965 to 1969 but did not perform again for 37 years until they were inducted into the Kansas Music Hall of Fame in 2006.

 

MORE PHOTOS from the Norsemen's last performance at RC's -- Photos by John Caulfield

 

Eric and the Norsemen announce details for August 29 show   07.06.09

Eric and The Norsemen have announced more details for their "Norsemen Reunion and Fan Appreciation Night" on August 29. The show will be from 7:30 p.m. until 12:00 midnight at RC's Backdoor Bar and Grill, 330 E. 135th, Kansas City, MO. Admission will be free. Seating will be limited, so plan to arrive early.

Not only is this a rare opportunity to see the group - this is only their third performance in the last 40 years - but it a chance for fans to see six of the seven original Norsemen together for the first time.

Join original band members Roger Johnson, Frank Berrier, Mitch Bible, Forrest "Tree" Cloud, Jim Kocher, Mike Willman and special guest Dennis Frans of King Midas and the Muflers for a evening filled with memories and great 60s music.

 

Norsemen release new video of "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band"   06.26.09

In anticipation of their August 29 reunion show, Eric and the Norsemen have released a new video of "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" and "With a Little Help from My Friends."

The music was recorded live at the Red Dog Inn in 1968 and is accompanied by videos from the band's 1965-1968 home movies. The lead vocals are by Roger Johnson (Sgt. Pepper's) and Frank Berrier (Little Help).

The video is available in large-format on the Norsemen website and on the Norsemen YouTube page for slow internet connections.

    
 

The Norsemen announce reunion show and fan night on August 29, 2009    06.10.09

Eric and The Norsemen will reunite when they hold a "Norsemen Reunion and Fan Appreciation Night" on August 29. The show will be at RC's Back Door Bar and Grill in Martin City, on the south side of Kansas City, MO. More details will follow in the next few weeks.

Not only is this a rare opportunity to see the group - this is only their third performance in the last 40 years - but it a chance for fans to see six of the seven original Norsemen together for the first time.

 

Roger Johnson, Mike Willman, Jim Kocher, Tree Cloud, Frank Berrier, and Mitch Bible have all committed to the show and will be joined by 2006 Norseman Dennis Frans on keyboards.

Prior to their 2006 induction into the Kansas Music Hall of Fame, the Norsemen had not performed since 1968.

Start making your plans to be at RC's on August 29 for what promises to be a special night.

 

"Live at the Red Dog Inn" CD now available      06.03.08

The newest Eric and the Norsemen CD is a live recording from 1968 at the legendary Red Dog Inn in Lawrence, Kansas. This show was by the band's final line-up, with Frank Berrier (bass, guitar and vocals) and Mitch Bible (Hammond organ, guitar and vocals), joining Roger, Mike and Jim. The CD is priced at $15.00 and contains 24 songs, including "Purple Haze" and "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band." It was released by Amber Waves in November 2007 and has just been made available for purchase on our website. Proceeds from sales of the CD go to the Kansas Music Hall of Fame.

click for tracklist and ordering info

Click here for a complete list of tracks and ordering information.

 

A magical night at Marty's     11.08.07

The party at Marty's!

Wow!

November 3 was a magical night as Eric and the Norsemen reunited to play a benefit concert for KKFI community radio at Marty's Blues Cafe. It was only the second public performance by the band in the last 40 years (the other was 2 years ago when they were inducted into the Kansas Music Hall of Fame). With several newspaper articles and radio spots leading up to the show, the club was packed shoulder to shoulder and butt to butt. Marty brought in extra tables and chairs, but it was still standing room only, and even more people were turned away at the door.

Roger, Mike, Frank, Tree and Jimmy were joined by special guests Dennis Frans from King Midas on keyboards and Kansas City's sensational Allen Blasco (during the last set) on lead guitar. If you were there, you know how much fun it was. It was hard to believe that these guys have only played twice in the last 40 years! They rocked the house!

MORE PHOTOS from the Norsemen's reunion and benefit performance at Marty's Blues Cafe -- Photos by John Caulfield

COMMENTS from the crowd ... What a terrific show last night!" "I just sent Marty's an e-mail asking them to have you back there." "Please keep playing together ..." "... definitely brought back wonderful memories" "I hope you guys had as much fun as your audience did." "... absolutely outstanding" "... more fun than we've had in decades"

COMMENTS from the band ... (Mike) "It's amazing that so many still remember, care and get excited about us and our music." -- (Jimmy) "We were blown away by the crowd -- some had heard us forty-some years ago, some were hearing us for the first time. They clapped, cheered, screamed and danced their butts off! It really brought back the memories from so many years ago. Thanks to everyone who was there - it was amazing!"

Newspaper articles ...

Kansas City Star article - "It's a small, small world"

Kansas City Star article - "Veteran bands will play KKFI benefit"

 

Norsemen announce special benefit performance     10.16.07

Norsemen Set to Reunite Once Again!

2006 Kansas Music Hall of Fame Inductees Eric and the Norsemen are getting back together for one very special evening.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

8 p.m. until 1 a.m.

Marty's Blues Café

5240 Merriam Drive

Merriam, KS

A Benefit for KKFI Community Radio

Join friends, fans and family when the "Ship Hits the Sand" for an evening of 60s rock 'n roll, classic rock and blues. Original band members will recreate what was once called "The Wildest Show in the Midwest."

Roger Johnson - Vocals, Guitar

Forrest "Tree" Cloud - Bass Guitar, Vocals

Mike Willman - Lead Guitar, Vocals

Frank Berrier - Rhythm Guitar, Vocals

Jim Kocher - Drums

Special Guest: Dennis Frans of King Midas & the Mufflers
on keyboards and vocals.

Also performing will be The Blackouts , a new local group also featuring Mike Willman on guitar that serve up hard-driving, danceable rock and blues.

Admission will be just $5.00 at the door and all proceeds will benefit KKFI 90.1 FM, Kansas City's Community Radio. Seating is limited so come early. You won't want to miss what may be Eric and the Norsemen's final Midwest appearance. 

 

New videos added to our site     05.01.06

We've added two new videos to our website!

"Shake a Tail Feather" was recorded live at the Kansas Music Hall of Fame on March 18, 2006.

Click to view video

"Road to the Hall of Fame" has excerpts from the band's 1965-68 home movies and clips from the Kansas Music Hall of Fame induction ceremony accompanied by the band's 1967 recording of "Get It On."

Click to view video

 

The Norsemen rock the Hall of Fame!     03.22.06

In a triumphant return to the stage for the first time since 1968, Eric and the Norsemen blew the roof off the Kansas Music Hall of Fame at the 2006 Induction Ceremony on March 18. When the ship hit the sand at Liberty Hall, the Hall of Fame rocked on like never before.

Playing before a packed audience which included Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius and her husband, Gary Sebelius, the band known as "The Wildest Show in the Midwest" made people jump from their seats and run to the dance floor. "You couldn't sit down...Everybody was left wanting more," said honorary Norseman Dennis Frans.

Roger "Eric" Johnson, Mike Willman, Forrest "Tree" Cloud, Frank Berrier and Jim Kocher were joined by honorary Norsemen Frans and Allen Blasco for the induction ceremony performance. "It was really fun to see the governor dance," Tree said afterward.

The crowd included scores of family and friends wearing Norsemen t-shirts and plastic horned helmets. While the band performed, videos of their 1965-1968 home movies were projected onto a huge screen beside the stage.

"They put on a good show the other night," said Bill Lee, president of the Kansas Music Hall of Fame. "They filled the dance floor and did what they used to do in the old days."

Prior to their performance, the Norsemen were inducted to the Hall of Fame, and each band member received an engraved cd case. Roger thanked the fans for making it all possible.

After the ceremony, Jim talked about the induction. "We are so grateful to the Hall of Fame for this honor and for giving us an opportunity to get together one more time. We never dreamed of anything like this, and it was thrilling to be on stage with so many wonderful musicians."

The entire ceremony lasted over five hours, with great performances by Kai Clark in honor of his late father Gene Clark, members of the Jerms, King Midas & the Muflers and Spider & the Crabs. The show closed with a fabulous set by Rhythm and Blues star Kelley Hunt.

Related Story -- "Their Place in Fame," by Ling Mei-Wong of the Kansas City Star

Related Story -- "Deck the Hall"

Related Story -- "Musicians honored at Liberty Hall event"

Photos -- Eric and the Norsemen at the Kansas Music Hall of Fame

MORE PHOTOS from the Hall of Fame

 

Spider & the Crabs join the list of performers for March 18     02.28.06

The 2006 Induction Ceremony of the Kansas Music Hall of Fame will begin at 7:00 p.m. on March 18, 2006 at Liberty Hall in Lawrence, Kansas. The line-up of inductees who will be performing at the ceremony on March 18 looks like this:

  • sons of the late Gene Clark
  • Eric and the Norsemen
  • Kelley Hunt
  • King Midas & the Muflers
  • Spider & the Crabs

Tickets are still available at Liberty Hall in Lawrence or from any Ticketmaster outlet.

 

General admission tickets are still available     02.04.06

All of the tickets for reserved table seating have sold out in just one week. General admission tickets are still available. Ticketmaster is now selling general admission.

 

Tickets are on sale now for the March 18 Hall of Fame ceremony and performance

Tickets went on sale Saturday, January 28. Reserved table seating on the floor is $40 per ticket. General admission seating in the balcony is $30 per ticket. Tickets may be purchased at Liberty Hall in Lawrence or from any Ticketmaster outlet.

Ticketmaster is only selling reserved $40 tickets at this time. Tickets purchased at the Liberty Hall box office must be paid for with cash.

We hope to see you all there:

Sat, Mar 18, 2006 07:00 PM
Liberty Hall
644 Mass. Street
Lawrence, KS
785-749-1972

 

Eric and the Norsemen to perform at the 2006 Kansas Music Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony

Eric & The Norsemen have announced that they will perform at the March 18 ceremony, which will be held at Liberty Hall, Lawrence, Kansas. To date, fellow inductees Kelley Hunt, and King Midas & the Muflers have also agreed to perform. The sons of the late Gene Clark will also play. It is not yet known whether any of the other inductees will perform.

The last public performance by the Norsemen was in August, 1968. Since then, the band members have gone their separate ways. Roger lives in Garland, Texas, Mike in Lone Jack, Missouri, Jimmy in Eugene, Oregon. Tree in Olathe, Kansas, Kenny in Waterloo, Iowa, Frank in Chesterfield, Missouri, and Mitch in Wichita.

Tickets will be available soon at Liberty Hall (785-749-1972) and through all Ticketmaster outlets.

 

Eric and the Norsemen to be inducted into the Kansas Music Hall of Fame

Tickets will go on sale soon for the 2006 Induction Ceremony of the Kansas Music Hall of Fame. This year's inductees are:

  • Gene Clark (of The Byrds)
  • Eric & The Norsemen
  • Melissa Etheridge
  • Jerry Hahn
  • Kelley Hunt
  • The Jerms
  • King Midas & the Muflers
  • Spider & the Crabs

This years induction ceremony will be held:

This is the 2nd class to be inducted into the Kansas Music Hall of Fame. Last year's inaugural class included The Blue Things, Brewer & Shipley, The Chesmann Square, The Fabulous Flippers, Mike Finnigan, Kansas, The Red Dogs, Rodney & The Blazers and Big Joe Turner.

Tickets for the March 2006 induction ceremony will go on sale in late January, and will be available from Liberty Hall (785-749-1972) or through any Ticketmaster outlet.