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Memories of ‘60s rock band shine brightly for an ex-Raider

SHARE Memories of ‘60s rock band shine brightly for an ex-Raider

When Robert Lee White of Roy recalls the days when he played for the Raiders, he's not talking about Al Davis and those ornery silver-and-black-clad guys at the Oakland Coliseum.

Try Paul Revere and the Raiders, an Idaho rock band that became one of the most popular groups of the '60s and, at one point, even had its own TV show.His playing uniform consisted of a bright yellow blazer with black slacks and combed-back hair.

And the tools of White's trade were a Fender Jazz-master guitar and an amplifier.

The first version of the band broke up in 1960 while group keyboardist Paul Revere Dick, a conscientious objector, spent two years working in a Portland hospital in lieu of military service.

The band would be reformed about 1963 and explode onto the national music scene later that decade sporting Minuteman costumes and ponytails, but White had long since decided to quit "The Road" and settle down.

His memories of those formative band years are still vivid, and White plans to have a good seat Saturday night in Layton when former Paul Revere vocalist Mark Lindsay cuts loose with a few memorable Raider oldies like "Kicks" or "Cherokee Nation."

The show begins at 8 p.m. at the Kenley Amphitheater in Layton. Tickets are available at the gate or by calling 546-3524.

White, now 59, played guitar on the group's first five single releases and its debut album, "Like Long Hair." But he rarely picks up an instrument these days.

A surveyor, he's more at home with an auto-cad drafting computer than a lead riff, and he's traded in the music scene for a comfortable work-space in the Weber County Surveyor's Office.

White's old Jazzmaster was stolen out of his truck not long after he moved to Utah in 1975, and he's long since given his last two guitars away to his children.

But he still hoards a few keepsakes from the days when the Raiders were the hottest young band in the Boise Valley.

The first edition of the band consisted of White, his brother Richard, Lindsay, Revere and a drummer named Jerry Labrum.

He was nicknamed "Moonie" then because of his white-blonde hair, and he shared the guitar work with his brother.

The group's initial popularity came from playing dances and clubs during 1959 and 1960, mostly in Boise and Caldwell.

"Finally, we went over the the IMN Recording Studios in Boise and made the master tapes" that led to the Raider's first four singles and an album. "We even used a female singer in those days."

You won't find any of that early work on a Raiders' "Greatest Hits" tape in some supermarket cut-out bin, but White said he recently turned over a number of those old master tapes to Lindsay.

"After we put out those records, we were the hottest thing in the Boise Valley," White recalled. "But these days, people don't remember our original stuff.

"They mainly remember the television show" called "What's Happening" that featured the Raiders in the '60s, he said.

But by the time the band made its debut on national TV, White already was Raider history.

When Revere reformed the band in 1963 and began preparing for a national exposure, "Moonie" said, "I had made up up my mind back then that I didn't want to get involved in it that heavily.

"Life on the road is hard . . . then it's not fun any more."

Instead, he married Revere's ex-wife and went to work for the Idaho Department of Highways in a materials laboratory. He also helped his wife run a drive-in restaurant for a number of years.

White, now single, has been a surveyor for 11 years and rarely thinks about what might have been had he stayed with the band.

Nevertheless, he's impressed that Lindsay has stayed with his music and has been successfully playing fairs and the "Golden Oldies" festivals like the recent show in Salt Lake City.

"Mark was just 14 or 15 years old when we started the band, and he ended up the main singer and even taught himself to play the saxophone," White added. "He's done really well."