Wisconsin psych-blues-rock, circa 1971

If you’ve been a regular visitor to our home blog — AM, Then FM — you know we have a particular interest in Wisconsin bands of the ’70s. After all, we were growing up there at the time.

Tonight’s side on The Midnight Tracker is from one such record.

Soup was a highly-regarded psych-blues-rock trio out of Appleton, Wisconsin, as the ’60s turned to the ’70s. It was led by Doug Yankus, a tremendous guitarist who wrote many original songs.

“Soup was an excellent band. Doug Yankus made a huge impression on me. We played their albums until they wore out!”

So says Mark Everist, who in the early ’70s was the lead singer for Clicker, another of those Wisconsin bands, and other groups.

Yankus started putting together bands when he was in high school in Appleton in the early ’60s. His first significant group was Private Property of Digil, a psych-blues-rock quartet that came together in 1965. PPOD was big regionally but only that. In 1968, it broke up.

Then came Soup. It had Yankus on guitar, PPOD drummer David Faas on bass and a new drummer, Rob Griffith. Soup was sensational.

It’s said that Jimi Hendrix checked them out. (Could be. He played a show at the Milwaukee Auditorium on May 1, 1970.) It’s said that Eric Clapton checked them out after leaving Cream and raved about Yankus’ guitar work. Could be. Soup had that kind of buzz.

“In ability alone, Soup surpasses nearly every new group on the pop scene today.”

Rock magazine offered that praise in 1970.

Yet despite their growing popularity, Soup had nothing to offer fans except their memorable live shows.

So they put together an LP that had a live side and some underproduced demos on the other side. They mimeographed an information sheet, stuck it inside, put it all in a plain brown wrapper and sold it at shows, head shops and a few record stores for $2 or $3. I’ve seen that record while digging, but usually for about $100, way beyond my price range.

In 1971, at the peak of its popularity and having played an audition night at the Fillmore East in New York, Soup released “The Album Soup.” A more polished LP, it came out on the Big Tree label.

I’d come across it while digging for records around Wisconsin but never for less than $20, and never when that fit my budget. I found it recently at a nice price.

“The Album Soup” consists of 10 songs written by Yankus. Whether it’s representative of the songs they played live, I can’t say. I never saw Soup. Maybe my friends Mark (mentioned above) or Larry (who saw them on a bill with Crow and Oz, another Wisconsin band) or Bob (who chatted up Yankus when Soup played in our hometown) or JB (who saw them at a post-prom party in 1977) would know.

In any case, enjoy this rare slice of Wisconsin psych-blues-rock.

“Dance Magic Woman,” “Don’t Be Lonely,” “Rock and Roll Lady,” “Many Lovers Dance Inside Your Head” and “To Keep Peace,” Soup, from “The Album Soup,” 1971. It’s out of print. This is Side 1. It runs 21:21. From left, that’s Rob Griffiths, David Faas and Doug Yankus on the cover.

The rest of the story

Soup never recorded another LP, but kept gigging across Wisconsin before breaking up in the late ’70s. Yankus also played with a couple of other bands and did session work, most notably with a young John Hiatt. Yankus backed Hiatt on 1974’s “Hangin’ Around The Observatory” and 1979’s “Slug Line.”

Yankus died in California in September 1982 of complications of diabetes. Seven years later, Hiatt dedicated “Y’all Caught?” (a compilation of his early songs) to Yankus’ memory. Griffith also has died. Faas lives in Madison, Wisconsin, and has played with folk singer Jim Wachtendonk.

If you want to buy some “Soup,” there’s a 2000 CD with the first LP from 1970, plus two unreleased demos, plus eight Private Property of Digil singles released on Wisconsin’s Target Records label. Here’s some of that, a 15-minute LP cut called “I’m So Sorry.”

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60 Comments on “Wisconsin psych-blues-rock, circa 1971”

  1. J.P. Spakoski Says:

    Soup played with three other bands in Marathon Park in the exhibition building in about 1971. If I recall, Tayles, U.S, Pure, and Tongue rounded out the bill. Anybody???

  2. Michael J. Martens Says:

    I went to high school in Kaukauna with Rob Griffith. In February of 1968 we drove to Madison and saw Jimi Hendrix with the Soft Machine at The Factory. Great show and Rob was a real sweet guy .

  3. will schmidt Says:

    My brother Jim schmidt played in the original private property. Jim and doug were very good friends in high school.doug was at our house all the time.jim owns kaukauna glass co 920-766-2155 he has alot of storys.

  4. chris yankus Says:

    My brother Doug died in Hollywood sept. 1982 in his place.
    Chris Yankus

  5. dmh@studiohconsulting.com Says:

    Anyone who isn’t familiar with Soup just doesn’t know what they’re missing. Listening to bootleg cuts, I’ve heard guitar-playing that no one has come close to. I am fortunate to be friends with Dave Faas, only surviving member. I told him how blown away I was by the last few minutes of; “Before You Accuse Me.” Dave smiled and said; “And don’t forget, Doug was only 19 when we recorded that.” Amazing, incredible, words just can’t explain. I hope that more of their music surfaces. Better than Clapton? Definitely – no doubt. Certainly better than Bonamassa, or John Mayer, or any of these young players who think they’re prodigies. All three members of Soup were talented, gifted and hard-working. The music industry missed its chance and as a result, millions of people will just never know.


    • This man speaks the truth folks. Back in the day, I opened for SOUP many times. Doug was a hero to me. He influenced my guitar playing more than any other musician. He was friendly, and nice to me, which was a valuable quality that I learned from him. To this day (February 2016) I have never seen a better, more expressive, rock guitarist. Trust me, I have seen literally thousands of guitarists…but NOBODY like Doug Yankus. (Glad I had this opp to recognize Doug’s music and his contributions to my life and interest in playing guitar !)
      Bill Thomas .

  6. boot hole Says:

    We were surrounded by genius. Soup, Grease. Loeffler (Peter A.). And all this in lil’ ol’ Wisconsin. USA.

  7. chris yankus Says:

    CHECK OUT ASPOONFULOFSOUP.com
    Thanks Chris Yankus

  8. John Paulson Says:

    Midnight Tracker,
    First time I’ve visited your site. Remember the band Soup but never heard their stuff. Will take a listen to the material you attached. I was familiar with Clicker. They were one my favorite local bands in my younger years, Tracy bros et al. While attending UWC-Richland in the early ’70s, I convinced our student coordinator to bring Clicker in for a school dance. Lots of fun! Some other local bands I’ve found recordings of from back in the day are Short Stuff, Sweetbottom, Oceans and Sun Blind Lion. Would be willing to share some of that material as I’ve transferred it to digital format. Will be visiting this site more often in the future. Thanks for having it, very interesting.

  9. Tim Says:

    If you like Wisconsin music check out Milwaukeerockposters.com.

  10. Steve Rankin Says:

    I had a friend that used to spend hours playing the riff from Soup’s “Black Cadillac”. I just found it on YouTube. Listen to and then try to get that riff out of your head.

  11. Matt Stary Says:

    I grew up in Appleton during the 70’s, and my brother Mitch Stary (who graduated Appleton East with Willem Dafoe, the actor) turned me on to “The Album Soup” while he was attending college in Madison. I bought my copy at a head shop in downtown Appleton — but can’t remember the name (maybe the Wooden Nickel). I played the album a thousand times and still think that it’s one of my favorites, one the best I’ve heard. To add, I think “From the Center of the Earth” is one the most beautiful songs ever. Yankus had a wonderfully unique voice. I sure wish someone would remaster it. Just dug my album out to listen to it. Planning on converting it to MP3. I miss both black cadillac and white cross, if you know what I mean.

  12. dmh@studiohconsulting.com Says:

    Four CD’s of Soup live music just surfaced. I’m working with Chris, Gill Soutwell and Dale Vig to bring some of this music to the public

  13. John Buonanno Says:

    I was their sound man and only roadie that worked with the boys in 1971 and would love to hear from Dave or any family members. I just noticed on this web site to late that there was April 2013 Celebration for Soup. Sorry I missed it. I Recently gave an Soup CD to Robert Randolph and the family band) of West Orange NJ).He wanted to hear their music. I have a lot of memories of the boys on the road. I got together with the boys when they played at Ripon College and stayed with they for quite a while. I live in New Jersey now but have the greatest memories of those times I spent in Wisconsin

    • Will schmidt Says:

      my brother Jim and Doug were good friends we shot pool in our basement a lot of winter nights back in the late 60s in Appleton

  14. Will schmidt Says:

    still waiting to here from any one on the group exchange.

  15. Trevor Says:

    My aunt was friends with these guys, and I remember listening to them all the time when I was 4 or 5 years old. I think I have her original pressing in a plain cardboard sleeve somewhere. Might try to dig that up?

  16. Doug Says:

    Growing up in Appleton, a few of us Xavier grads were friends with Fass and heard them numerous times at The Quarry and a couple of places in Neenah. Outstanding musicians – lost Doug’s hand one night had was so fast:)

    • will Says:

      I would like to get off the subject of soup and talk about other musical groups. Does any one out there remember the band The Bowery boys?

      • Heidi lane Says:

        yes I used to hear the Bowery boys at a bar in ma itowoc. they were great-loved them.

  17. Tim Johnson Says:

    Anyone have any info on Django or as they were later called US Pure.

  18. Gary Gutknecht Says:

    The “core” of the Bowery Boys were the Tracy brothers, Steve (bass) and Cubby (drums) from Belmont. The Bowery Boys evolved into Baby Grand and Baby Grand eventually evolved into Clicker. The Tracy brothers were involved in all three of these bands. Steve Tracy wrote original material which the band(s) performed at their gigs. The band(s) also performed great “covers” of the hits of the day. The first Clicker album has been released on compact disc and is available on the Cuca Records website. I would love to see the second Clicker album released plus all the singles from The Bowery Boys, Baby Grand, & Clicker. One can only hope!

  19. Tom McCarty Says:

    Guitarist Richard Wiegel was a member of all three bands. He is still playing in Madison with his own band, The Midwesterners (a working band for over 20 years), and others.

    But back to Soup. Rob Griffith was the drummer in my first band, The Fates, and then the The Blooz Phaze, 1965 and 66 respectively. We won a YMCA battle of the bands in Appleton and then merged with the runner up, The Blues Division, whose drummer, John Bayless stayed on while Rob moved from drums to lead vocals. He was always up to a challenge. Not long after that he was recruited to Soup.

    Doug was definitely a special talent. It’s a shame that both he and Rob left so soon. The late 60s was a wild and crazy time and Soup covered a lot of ground as the regional answer to the power jam trios like Hendrix, Cream, Blue Cheer, etc. I remember their wall of Sunn amps.

    I heard Dave playing a blues gig in Madison a few years back. He sounded GREAT!

    • John Bayless Says:

      Caught the Midwesterners in Madison a few months ago. Terrific clean playing, with expert musicians. What a pleasure! Saw Tom for the first time in years, and he was great then, and fabulous now. -John Bayless

      • Terrie True Says:

        John, don’t know if you remember me from so many years ago but if you do, I hope you might be able to tell me how to get in touch with Randy Fird. My husband (Steve Sewall) and I were good friends of Randy’s. You played at our wedding.

      • John Bayless Says:

        Sure, I remember! “Get your &$@/ together an’ truck on over to our weddin'”. A great time! I DO have contact info for Fird…back channel me at baylessjd@gmail.com and I can send it along!

  20. Marna Sorensen Says:

    Formerly from Fond du Lac, WI – I heard Soup at the Fond du lac fairgrounds while in high school. I bought my album at a local head shop, and have had it converted to a CD – but of course have saved the album. Great music I still listen to on a regular basis.

  21. Terrie True Says:

    Anyone remember a band called Taylor out of Appleton in 1970?…with John Bayless, Randy Fird, Phil Liethen…I wish I could remember the names of the other guys. They were so good.

    • Tom Maloney Says:

      Yes, I still remember the group Tailor. They played at my father’s ballroom Cinderella on S. Oneida St. many times. I remember seeing Tailor with MC5.

      Soup played at Cinderella many times as well. Yankus played at Cinderella many times as a member of Private Property in the mid to late 60’s and later as member of Soup. Yankus and Soup reunited in 1975, after Yankus’ recording stint in Nashville, and played at Cinderella with Siegal Schwall band.

      I wish I could find a song list for Tailor and Soup from that time period.

      • Terrie True Says:

        Bill Boya was also in Tailor. I feel bad that I can’t remember their keyboard player. He was awesome. Tailor played at my wedding Dec. 12, 1970. I have been to the Cinderella many times and it was always FUN! I saw The Siegel-Schwall Band there in the summer of 1970 and the placed literally rocked…the building shook… It was SUCH an incredible show.

      • Terrie True Says:

        Tailor played a lot of covers from The Band, Jethro Tull, Neil Young. I wish I could find a song list from them, too.

      • Brian Says:

        Keyboard’s Player was Jon Hoffman. I have an old promo photo of the group. Wish I knew how to upload it on here.

      • Terrie True Says:

        Yes! Jon Hoffman! Thanks for bringing his name back to me. I can see/hear them all like it was yesterday. I would LOVE to see that photo. Randy Fird was a dear friend of my husband and me. We got friendly with the rest of the band through him. My husband passed away very young in 1980 and I lost track of Randy after that. I have a photo of Tailor playing at my wedding and I will try to dig it out of storage. Tom Maloney’s comment is right about Jethro Tull’s Cry You a Song. They did Back to the Family off of Benefit and I think they also covered Nothing Is Easy and We Used to Know off of Stand Up. Bill Boya used to sing The Band’s Chest Fever and This Wheel’s On Fire. Phil Liethen played a kick-ass version of Tulsa Shuffle ala Elvin Bishop Group. What I wouldn’t give for a set list from back in the day. When Tailor opened for Fleetwood Mac at the bar called Wage Peace in the lower level of the Picasso Plaza Hotel in Oshkosh in 1970 a member of Fleetwood Mac (memory fails but I think it was Peter Green) admired Randy’s classic, vintage Fender Precision Bass that his deceased father had given him. He wanted to buy it. Randy declined and after Fleetwood Mac had packed up and left, Randy’s bass was mysteriously missing, too. It was never recovered.

      • Tom Maloney Says:

        Thanks for all the information on Tailor. Wow, I did not know they backed up Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac in Oshkosh. I wish I could rewind and see Tailor and Peter Green & Co. at Wage Peace. What a show that would be. Peter Green was one of the best before he went off the deep end, in my opinion. (By the way, I saw Ian Anderson play Jethro Tull a couple week’s ago at the Pabst Theater in MKE — a fantastic show. What a talent he is. He’s still dancing around with his flute like back in the day.) That is pretty low that the bass guitar was ripped off by most likely someone in FM.

      • Terrie True Says:

        Wow…seeing Ian Anderson playing Jethro Tull would be my idea of AWESOME. Sounds like you had a great time.

      • Tom Maloney Says:

        That would be great to see a promo photo. For some reason “To Cry You a Song” by Jethro Tull sticks in my mind as one of the Tull tunes they covered. I can hear it now…


    • BOB Hoffmann, keyboardist / Flutist from Tailor here. Not to be confused with JON Hoffmann, my son, who plays in a band called Sonic Intension.

      It was great fun playing in Tailor, traveling all around in our 47 passenger school bus, backing up Soup, MC5, Fleetwood Mac and Others.

      Tailor had a recording contract with Target Productions, and 5 songs were mixed and mastered but never released, as key members of the group had other aspirations during that time. I think we peaked and we knew it. The recordings were given to me by guitarist Phil Leithen, and I sent them to a studio where a CD was cut.

      I do have most of the posters, promo material, articles, set lists from Tailor. You can contact me at at:

      Rhoffmann7@wi.rr.com if you want copies or more information about Tailor.

      Check out my latest band and music projects at

      Asthmaticsonline.com

      I will post Tailor photos in the Photos section as I have time.

      It was fun to go down memory lane. Lets go for pizza at Frank & Pats.

      “LSD not LBJ”

      Bob Hoffmann
      Franklin, WI

      • Terrie True Says:

        OMG! Bob Hoffman! I curse my Swiss-cheese memory that I couldn’t recall your name. Tailor and the great times we had in those days are so dear to me. I will most definitely contact you. Thanks for popping in here. Do you remember playing at my wedding Dec. 12, 1970? Those were the days. 🙂

  22. Brian Says:

    Does anyone know if there were any t shirts that Soup made or shirts from some of the early local pop festivals in 1970? like sound storm in Poynette. I’m putting together a book of early music t shirts and am interested in shirts pre1972.

  23. Ken Says:

    Man, this brings back lots of memories. I was the drummer for the Tayles in 1970 and played at a festival or two with Soup. I don’t really remember what the y sounded like but I remember that the drummer was a great rock drummer and they were a top notch jam band. I’m heading to Madison this weekend for a reunion with another band I played with called Firehouse. Lots of memories!

  24. Steve Says:

    The first album, the one in the plain wrapper with soup stamped on the front, I have one of those. I used to live in Sauk City then the home of CUCA records where that album was pressed. I knew the family of CUCA and somehow managed to get a copy. I’ve been wondering about SOUP for awhile, since going through my stack of albums awhile back. I need a record player.

  25. Bill Thomas Says:

    My band The AXE Band opened for Soup many times. Doug Yankus was a phenomenal guitarist who inspired me. If you never saw him live, you have no idea what you are missing. Listen to the first LP if you can find it.
    Doug was a gentle and kind man, who had an imagination for playing guitar like no one else I have ever seen. Though he was so very good, he never acted aloof or condescending. That is a lesson well learned by me.
    Thank you Doug. I will never forget you. Bill Thomas.

  26. F Says:

    Doug Yankus played drums for the Memories on Monday nights at Club 96…the Memories were lead by Chuck Posniak(al’s bro) who later jointed Yankus in Private Property…Steve Gertsch was the drummer and Dan Janssen the bassist…later Gary Shebilske joined Private Property when Posniak left…Gary formed Appleton’s first honky tonk group…Bushwack’d…it featured Bob Stowasser…a most under-rated…under appreciated steel player and personality…Shebilski sang country like few and when Diane Strand joined him…Dolly and Porter met their match…Rob Griffith played drums until his passing…phases and stages…circles and cycles…scenes that we’ve all seen before…Willie 1974

    • william schmidt Says:

      Date: Sat, 29 Aug 2015 15:31:23 +0000 To: schmidtz1@hotmail.com

      • Terrie True Says:

        I knew Bob Stowasser well in 1970 and 1971 and he was one of my room mates in those years. He was an intelligent and interesting man and a wonderful musician. Does anybody know if he is still in the area or if he is still with us. Gary Shebilske was also a friend of my husband and me and Bob Stowasser. He is another VERY talented musician and all around great human being. Last I knew he was living in Appleton. I hope he’s well. Here’s a question for anybody out there who knew these great Fox Valley musicians. I’ve often wondered over the years how Rob Griffith’s son Strider Poe was doing. Anyone know what became of him after Robbie passed? I think his mother was a girl named Mark Elliott. Not sure if that’s spelled right. Does anyone remember a three piece band called Raw Meat that used to play at The Quarry in Appleton in 1960-1970?

      • rhoffmann7 Says:

        Does anyone know what happened to Terry Lee cooper (Terry Lee & the sonics / Cheese) or Wally Snyder. – Bob Hoffmann (Tailor)

  27. F Says:

    Soups very first appearance was at a Festival hosted by UW-Fox Valley’s underground…it will go down as one of the most memorable shows ever…loud loud and louder…also featured was the Grass Bomb…Tom Geheim…Jimmy Jo Van Hoff…Wilber VandenBurgt…Dicky Shelk…Terry Lee…Chris “the Brain”…Bob Stowasser…Appleton was an Oasis thanks in large part to Vic Wendt…Gary Laabs…Al Posniak…Hey even the Fugs played Appleton with Allen Ginsburg in tow…

  28. Rick Marion Says:

    I had a very short initial music life in Appleton from 68-71. I was here for Jr/Sr year @ Xavier as an ABC student. Didn’t get out much. However, did work those years in the Den at the Appleton Y as a Leader’s Club member and President where we had bands a lot of weekend. My memory fails me, but I’m pretty sure I’ve worked shows for some of the bands mentioned. However, before I left for the Navy in Feb 71 I used to frequent the Quarry to hear the Bowery Boys play. They are some of my strongest and fondest memories of my early Appleton years. In particular, their covers of Three Dog Night stood out. Otherwise, in the months before I left, the Ravino (sp) provided some great music along with Country Air (now Monarch Gardens). Also caught the New Colony Six at a Xavier Sock Hop.

  29. Rainbird (Janet Baron) Says:

    Soup played at a benefit I organized in 71 in Milwaukee, at either the War Memorial or Jewish Center on Lake Drive, can’t remember which. We raised the initial money to open Outpost Natural Food Coop’s first storefront on Fratney and Clarke across the river (now Riverwest). Their first album (brown paper cover) has traveled with me to Mendocino, Beijing and back. My all time fave.


  30. […] up:  Tonight I listened to The Album Soup, Procol Harum’s Broken Barricades, and Savoy Brown’s Looking In.   Not really a night […]

  31. chris Says:

    Want more info and music of Soup and friends?
    Let me know aspoonfulofsoup web site Thanks Chris Yankus


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