“Boney Maroney” brought Everett teens bopping to their feet from 1958 through 1961 when six students at Everett High School supplied hot tunes at cool dances.
The Cherchers (pronounced “sher-shays”) featured Mike White on drums, Ray Guyll on the saxophone, Rick Mickles and Bob DeYoung for rhythm and lead guitars respectively, Ted Shreffler on piano, and Phil Mitchell on bass.
“It was a magic time for six young guys,” Mitchell said. “It started a bond of friendship that would span the rest of our lives.”
The six reunited in April at Mitchell’s Everett home. They reminisced about gigs at Normanna Hall and Langley High School.
The reunion was described as a magic time.
“The guys reconnected, the ladies laughed and got to know each other, and some music actually flowed,” Mitchell said. “Burgers, root beer floats, memories, and sharing life experiences.”
It was one perfect day that everyone carried home in their hearts, he added. Memories of the last group get-together were ever-so-poignant because in August, Shreffler died of a heart attack in California.
He was the first of the Cherchers to die.
They didn’t know in April it would be the last time they played “Oh Donna,” “Good Golly Miss Molly” and “Rock Around the Clock” as a group.
They learned those hit songs back in the day at DeYoung or Shreffler’s houses after school. The Cherchers performed regularly at dances sponsored by KQTY, the local radio station.
Good times lasted through high school, then they drifted apart.
Where did they go after competing in Battle of the Bands and gigs at the South Everett Youth and Community Center and junior proms?
Bob DeYoung graduated in 1961 and owned a paint, body and mechanic shop in south Everett for the next forty years.
He also worked for 39 years in the car auction business.
“In 2003 I sold my entire operation because I was tired of all the people, traffic and taxes,” DeYoung said. “My girlfriend and I now live on a little lake on top of a mountain in Kitsap County. We’ve restored a 1930s cabin and have acres of flowers, lawns and white picket fences. I have an extensive antique car collection and a museum. These days I play with the old cars, work in the museum or go fishing.”
They winter in Arizona, where they run into folks who hung out at the Totem on Rucker Avenue.
“I was real excited when I heard about the reunion last spring because I had not seen most of the band for 50 years.”
Mike White used to jam in the Everett High School auditorium before class with Ted Schreffler.
“Ted wrote the music for a couple of songs,” White said. “I wrote the lyrics. We had a couple of surefire hits in the making, but we needed a band to play them. So we decided to start one. Ray was a natural choice. I knew that Bob played a guitar. Phil was recruited to sing because he was in choir so he knew how. We did not know that he also played bass fiddle in orchestra. What a score.”
Mickles came along a bit later after he set White up with a gal named Linda, White said.
After graduation, White served in the Army and then became a sheet-metal journeyman. He lives in Arlington with his wife of 20 years.
“I build hot rods, restore and ride vintage motorcycles and still play rock ’n’ roll,” White said.
Phil Mitchell was invited to join the band by Mike White. Cherchers, as in the French cherchez, to search, was a unique name, he said.
Mitchell joined the Army with White, on the buddy plan, and served in Germany. He then worked at Scott Paper Company and later for Seattle shipyards.
He married Jeanne Harris in 1967. The pair had two daughters and are still in love, he said.
His career took him to Standard Oil Company, back to the shipbuilding industry, then on to the Washington State Ferries as a structural marine designer with some dabbling in the estimating field. He served with the U.S. Army Reserve, accumulating almost 23 years of military service.
They live in Everett and love to travel. He’s into motorcycles and photography and still plays music.
Ray Guyll jammed in the band room and White asked him to join the Cherchers.
Thus began a musical career.
Guyll played his way through college with King Solomon, Jan and Dean and Fats Domino.
“During my college years, an early childhood passion for ventriloquism and puppets was rekindled, so using the university and public libraries, I began my research,” Guyll said. “At the time I couldn’t afford my own dummy, so I learned how to build one.”
The Bothell man taught band in the Arlington School District. He also got into magic and put an act together. While teaching band in Bellevue, his bands performed at Disneyland, DisneyWorld and in concert with the United States Marine Band for President Ronald Reagan.
He’s worked with ventriloquist Paul Winchell and Edgar Bergen on restoring dummies. He creates new characters with his wife, Barbara, and teaches music.
“No matter how much time goes by I will always cherish those rehearsals, performances and get-togethers with my all-time favorite band, the Cherchers,” Guyll said. “When I think back, one thought comes to mind: It was so much fun.”
Rick Mickles chatted with the band when they played at an Everett YMCA teen dance.
He went to their next practice and joined the group.
Mickles, who lives in Everett, served in the Army and then worked at Boeing and Nord Door before retiring from Video Factory.
The father of two is married to Carol, and they enjoy collecting movies and Elvis memorabilia.
“Boy! Did the reunion bring back some great memories of the bond between six people,” Mickles said. “It’s still there today.”
Ted Shreffler headed to the University of Washington after high school and ultimately earned a Ph.D. in music composition from UCLA.
He performed with the Crome Syrcus psychedelic rock group and the rock group Joshua, formerly known as Cannonball. He lived in California where he composed and produced music.
“We were all encouraged by our parents to follow our dreams,” Mitchell said. “And follow them we did.”
Kristi O’Harran: 425-339-3451, firstname.lastname@example.org.