the Torquays / Them (It's Them)

Cincinnati, 1962-7

Them, 1966 (with instruments): L-R George Makrauer (drums), Paul Simons (lead guitar and vocals), Eugene Katona (bass and vocals), Mary Ellen Tanner (vocals), Stan Hertzman (rhythm guitar, keyboards, and vocals)

The Torquays were started in 1961 by a couple of students at Cincinnati's Walnut Hills High School. After a couple years of building their skills and reputation, they got a contract with King records in September 1964 to record their 1st 45. The band decided to change their name to Them (after the 50s film, without any knowledge of the Irish band with Van Morrison) prior to the record's release, alledgely because a band in Lexington, KY was using the Torquays name. The 45 that emerged turned out to be a classic two-sider - "Don't Look Now" b/w "A Girl Like You", featured on many "compilations" of 60s garage band music. Them kept getting bigger and bigger, while the band members attended the University of Cincinnati by the fall of '64. Between appearences at UC dances, teen dances, fundraisers, etc Them were the biggest group in town. In the fall of '65 Them got a regular TV gig on "Between Time", a teen oriented variety show on Cincy's WCPO. They added Mary Ellen Tanner, a beautiful singer, and later Steve Welkom, a guitarist and singer who was a few years younger than the other members and brought the band some of more harder edged '66 era garage influences. It was Steve who composed the A-side of Them's second 45, "Baby (I Still Need Your Lovin'). Before the recording, Them was negotiating with the American arm of Brian Epstein's management for a contract. The second 45 was also recorded at King but the record was released on the short lived Toy Tiger label, run by local promoter Don Litwin who also had a connection to Cincy resident and future famed film scorer Randy Edelman. Edelman was connected to a vocal group, the Strangers in Town, who recorded a 45 on Toy Tiger with Them providing the music. The Toy Tiger 45 was released twice, first using the name TTHHEEMM and another pressing as It's Them to prevent confusion with the Irish band and to avoid potential interference if they got a contract with Epstein. For some reason the record is very hard to find (the Buckeye Beat team wants a copy badly, please!). "Baby I Still Need Your Lovin'" is an absolutely great piece of snarlin' garage rock featuring Stan Hertzman on the organ. Unfortunately nothing came of the Epstein deal and the band, with the members in disagreement about the future direction, disbanded in '67. Stan Hertzman decided to concentrate full time on his A.Jaye booking agency, and George Makrauer entered the business world. Eugene Katona, who wanted to stay in music, quickly joined up with some hippie-minded players to form Surdy-Greebus. Steve Welkom went to Ann Arbor, MI to attend college and played a couple bands including the Floating Opera.

Thanks to the generosity of the former members we have a book's worth of amazing memorabilia that we will be posting, as well as a more detailed story.