The Troyes: Battle Creek Garage Band That Should Have Made It Big
"Rainbow Chaser," a Top 5 hit on the charts in 1966 should have propelled this band to stardom. Instead, The Troyes remain a footnote in music history.
Appearing on the Ed Sullivan show in February of 1964, The Beatles inspired a generation of would-be musicians to grow their hair and learn to play an instrument; it turns out, not all were that good. Rudimentary skills were enough to create an entire genre, though, when garage rock was born out of the suburban carports kids and amplifiers had been exiled to. Soon, bands like The Outsiders ("Time Won't Let Me"), The Castaways ("Liar Liar), The Standells ("Dirty Water"), The Syndicate of Sound ("Little Girl") and others had national hits on the Billboard charts. The Troyes' "Rainbow Chaser" and "I Don't Need You" are as good as any of those songs.
Formed in Battle Creek, The Troyes were active only from 1966-68. Jerry Younglove (bass), Lee Koteles (organ, lead vocals), Fred Dummer (lead guitar), Gary Linke (lead guitar) and Bill Hirakis (drums) recorded nearly two albums worth of material at Detroit's United Sound studios. Only two singles were released, and "Rainbow Chaser" on Phalanyx records was "a smash hit that climbed to number 3 in the top 40 of September, 1966," according to the jacket of Rainbow Chaser: The Troyes Complete Recordings. The run of luck ended there. The band made it out of the garage, but never got further than the stages of Battle Creek's teen clubs.
Peaking at the beginning of the garage rock trend The Troyes' sound ranged from far-out psychedelic to unhinged fuzz and garage to moody haunting sounds. They were the Cereal City's finest that should have been big. You can hear more of their music here.