If you were in a rock band in KC, circa 1966, you knew (and envied) the Dimmel brothers…
Drew Dimmel and his brother Doug were the core of The Classmen— the only group any of us knew who actually had a song playing on WHB, back when it was THE Top 40 station in town.
Their song “Graduation Good-Bye” was a solid hit– good hook, well-produced (that is until “Sergeant Pepper” showed up) and you could see the band at dances and clubs around town.
The Classmen were a clean cut band; no surprise, hailing as they did from Independence.
The other major rock band in town, The Chessmen, were the scruffier crew– like the Beatles and Stones. That band, from South KC, had a family connection, too– brothers Ron, Steve and Gary Hodgden and their cousin (or maybe friend– I’m hazy on that fact) Dave Huffines made up the group. Both the Classmen and Chessmen had a similar gimmick– the cute baby brother played drums.
My Dimmel moment came at the Boom Boom Room.
I was in a group called the Changin’ Times.
Our lead guitar player’s father befriended Mrs Hodgden, so we’d get the gigs the Chessmen couldn’t play because they were already booked. Call us the baby Chessmen– I worked hard to sound like Ron Hodgden and learned to play keyboards and rhythm guitar and sing, like he did.
I heard the Dimmels were trying to do something similar– start a second string Classmen, so that they could make money on the dates they were turning down.
I don’t know how I got on the list, but there came Drew one night, sitting at a table, checking out the band. That’s as close as I ever got to a Troubadour/Whiskey moment.
Drew was nice; he complimented my playing. Seemed much more mature than my bandmates and me– for him, music was a business, not a place to meet girls.
I never heard back from him, but I admired him and his work from that day forward.
Or course, most Kansas Citians remember Drew from his stint as a weatherman and other TV appearances.
However, for me, he’ll allways be the Classmen— and a classy guy.