The following is a timeline of the creation and rise of The Thundermen beginning in 1959, through the present. Click on the pictures below to see captions. Enjoy the vintage photos and remember the good ol' days of rock n' roll!
The Unknows contained the beginnings of The Thundermen with Rick Hoehn, Mickey Lynnes, and Art Hestiken. Before this band however, these three musicians had a group called Al, Don, and the EC's, with Al Fremstad who would later become the lead singer in The Thundermen.
This is the first version of The Thundermen. There was no vocals in this band, only instrumentals were played. Art Hestiken would later leave the group. He was replaced by new lead singer Al Fremstad, who had been away in the U.S. Army.
The classic line up of The Thundermen, which had local hit records "Money" and Flyin' High in 1963. "Money" would eventually go to number one on WAXX radio in the Chippewa Valley. The Thundermen would pack Fournier's Ballroom on Friday nights. They also toured the midwest extensively after their record release.
The Thundermen broke up for awhile in 1964 because they did not want to tour anymore. Al and Gerry decided to get "real" jobs while Mickey and Rick joined the already established Marksmen. They performed together through 1964. Later that year however, Mickey and Mike reformed The Thundermen with Gerry and Al. The new Thundermen group performed until June 30, 1965.
While The Thundermen took a hiatus through the 70's due to the changing music scene, past and future members of the Thundermen would play together in various area bands. Three Way Street was one such band, which would eventually become the new Thundermen band of the 1990's.
The classic line up reunited! After 18 years away from the music scene, The Thundermen returned with the four original members from 1962. The good old days of rock n' roll were back and the band was playing throughout western Wisconsin to very enthusiastic crowds.
By 1991, original members Gerry Johnson and Rick Hoehn had decided to leave the band. This made way for Dave Engedal and John Trygstad, both who had played with Mickey Lynnes in the 70's. The band were regulars at area venues such as Wagner's West and O'Leary's Pub. Audiences enjoyed their new sound.
The Thundermen continued to be a top band in the region through the 1990's. By 1996, however, Al Fremstad decided to leave again. The band played on as a trio for the first time. The Thundermen played steadily for the next 4 years, impressing audiences with their wide variety of 50's, 60's, and 70's favorites.