Feature of the Month
The Bleach Boys...by Don Fritz

Written on 4.15.10

This is the twelfth edition of the Feature of the Month for the South Dakota Rock & Roll Music Association. We are rock and roll fans, and looking to write a feature each month, that will not only bring back wonderful memories, but will also remind us all of the history that was made in our great state of South Dakota. We are hoping to write a feature each month selecting one of the many talented Bands, DJ's, Radio Stations, and Dance Halls throughout SD.

In 1963 Dale Yost, Jay Stout, Dave Rettig, and Rick Yarnall formed a band called The Catalinas. Stout was the drummer and the other three played guitar. Since they didn't have a true vocalist the guys played mainly instrumentals. That changed when former "Jaguar" member Ron Odson joined the group and they were able to utilize his voice and do vocals. Ron especially liked Buddy Holly and the band soon found itself doing a lot of 50s music. 

With a new sound they needed a new name. The Beach boys were very big at the time so as a gimmick they became The Bleach Boys, going so far as to dye their hair. A short time later Yost left the group and help form another group, Dale Gregory and the Shouters(2010 HOF inductees). The Bleach Boys were somehow able to advertise on 50,000 watt KOMA out of Oklahoma City. Sometimes large crowds would attend their dances, thinking they were The Beach Boys. The band played at ballrooms and clubs throughout Eastern South Dakota and surrounding states. One thing that made them stand out was a play list that included many "Beatle" songs They were also the opening band for The Byrds in Sioux Falls.

The Bleach Boys became recording artists when they recorded a record at Kay Bank Studio in Minneapolis in the mid sixties. On side was a remake of The Nitecap's party song "Wine Wine Wine" and the flip side was a song they wrote titled "Must Be Love". It was released on the Studio City label and both tunes were very good. "Wine Wine Wine" reached #1 at KELO in Sioux Falls. Rettig left the group and Greg Weig, a bass player and singer, was added.

In the summer of 1965 Sioux Falls had numerous "battle of the bands" and ramp dances downtown. At the 9th street Teensville Ramp Dance Steve Ellis and the Starfires along with The Bleach Boys were the featured acts. The crowd was estimated at 10,000. Later that year Stout left the band and former Caddie Rich Stevenson took over on the drums along with Jerry Straus on keyboards. The following summer they did a grueling 21/2 month tour of Canada as Buddy Knox backup band. Soon after that they attempted to cut another record but were unsuccessful and eventually the band broke up.