The Band History
Sgt. Friday was formed in 1986 and became a popular band throughout the 80's music era in Wisconsin. Band members Rob Ryf (drums, percussion; Granddaddy 'founder' of the band), Billy Plucker (guitar, lead vocals) & Dave Dehart (keyboards, vocals; the band's name creator) formed together while attending college at UW-Oshkosh in Wisconsin. Ryf and Plucker had previously joined up with local musician Jim Helm (keyboards, guitar, vocals). Jim Helm would convince local guitar player, Jim Theabo (lead guitar) to join the band. Keith Knepfel (lead guitar, vocals) was added later in 1986 to replace Theabo. With the departure of Helm in 1987, Don Kellison (bass, vocals) was added to give the band a real bass sound and assist with the vocals. Sgt. Friday was assisted on the road by their faithful mates, Pat Immel, who helped roadie and managed the light show for all the years, Greg Winarski who was the band's jack-of-all-trades & always there for whatever they needed and Kris Koeppe of SRS Sound as their sound technician.
"G-Men Go Surfing" was a self-released 9 song cassette tape in 1986 and was recorded at Irish-Saxe Studios in Appleton, WI with engineer/producer Jim Hendrick. The album started out as a 'Live' demo tape, but with a gentle push from Hendrick, it turned into a full-length cassette release that sold out its 750 copies within a month.
In 1987, the band traveled down to Des Moines, Iowa, to record their second release, "City of Lost Souls". This album was produced by Steve Huston (Original Drummer of Head East) for XFR Productions owned by Pat Meuret at the South River Studios (owned by Mike Lawyer). Over 2,000 copies (albums and cassettes) were manufactured and sold.
The band was one of the only area bands to have their music played on WIXX 101.1 and they were featured numerous times on The Rockin' Apple WAPL 105.7 Apple Sider shows.
Sgt. Friday played Live Shows to many sold out shows throughout their 3-year run in the music scene. This being highlighted by headlining a sold out Memorial Day Weekend Concert that drew 10,000 people to Appleton's Memorial Park in 1987.
The band also played with national acts such as; The BoDeans, IceHouse, Firefall, Ozark Mountain Daredevils, Atlanta Rhythm Section, Autograph, Corey Hart and more... They also found success up in Michigan at Christmas Mountain and down south at Notre Dame College, IN.
After moderate success, the band parted ways in Nov. 1988, performing their last show at the Reeve Union on the UW-Oshkosh Campus. The same place it all began in 1986. It was time to make a choice, to either go out on the road and leave family behind to venture on a Southeastern College Tour, (which was offered to the band by a Notre Dame University Promoter) or pack it up and live a normal life. Circumstances made that choice easy and that would end the band's tenure.
Sgt. Friday would get back together in 2003 for a few Reunion summer shows. The band also added a few other distinguished musicians/friends to join them. Rich Zoran (Bacchus Lotus, Zoran) , Jeff Radke (Bacchus Lotus, The Heat) & Jack Rein (Plucker's cousin and music collaborator) would help create a 7-piece band to play sold out shows alongside the 80's MTV band, The Producers (What's He Got, She Shelia) at the Waverly Beach and The Fixx (One Thing Leads to Another, Secret Separation, Red Skies, Are We Ourselves, Saved By Zero, etc.) at the 2003 Waterfest Festival.
Sgt. Friday band members would go on to record and produce many other music projects throughout the years in 1812 Studio, SKP, Ellis Junction, Smoketree and more. Please visit the PROJECTS page to check them out.