Gerry Michael and The Bummers

March 28th, 2013
Performance flyer for The Bummers circa 1968.

Performance flyer for The Bummers circa 1968.

Gerry Michael, a drummer and an alum of Group 212, arrived back in town in 2004. He still drums, but during the day he paints houses—and he is damn fine painter at that.

Back in 1968 Gerry was the drummer for The Bummers, a circa 1880 Commedia dell’Arte style group of cowboys and Indians. The performers numbered 14 and included a five-piece rock band who in addition to Gerry featured his brother Kevin on lead guitar, Tom Sankey on tenor guitar, his wife, Janet, on autoharp and Frank Thumbheart on bass. The previous year Tom Sankey had enjoyed success with “The Golden Screw,” an off-off Broadway folk rock musical at the Provincetown Playhouse in Greenwich Village. The  show’s cast album was recorded by ATCO and was the first rock theatrical recording of its kind.

To promote their area debut in July 1968 some of The Bummers went to Saugerties dressed in western gear and the following took place: “A tall young man strode along the street. He wore a wide brim Stetson hat, cowboy boots, blue jeans, and a gaudy western shirt. A six-shooter was at his side. One of the local lawmen moved in for the showdown, “What’s that you got strapped around your waist?” A smile pulled at the stranger’s lips. His clear blue eyes bored into those of the concerned official. “Why it’s just a cap pistol, officer,” the young cowboy replied. “I’m a bummer.” This was account was written up in the Woodstock Week. Read the rest of this entry »