Jerry Augustine: It was a riot
By Kris Leonhardt
Continued from last week
Among major leaguer Jerry Augustine’s Kewaunee High School classmates were Jack Novak — tight end in the National Football League who played for the Cincinnati Bengals and Tampa Bay Buccaneers — and Dale Koehler, who played basketball for the University of Wisconsin.
A high school star on the gridiron, he may have chosen a different path, but Augustine said that baseball was his No. 1 focus.
“I tore my knee up in high school, so I couldn’t play football,” he explained.
High school is also where Augustine met the woman he would later build a family with, Nancy Flaherty.
“She was a cheerleader at Kewaunee High School,” Augustine added.
But, sports weren’t his only focus in high school.
Augustine was a talented singer and rhythm guitar player who performed at a variety of venues in Brown, Door and Kewaunee counties 1964-68.
“Although today, we would be considered a garage band — a title given to musical groups which often practice in the garages of their members — our practice sessions were in the basement of our member’s houses,” said fellow band member and lead guitarist, John Schultz.
“Our playlist included songs by groups such as the Grass Roots, the Birds, the Kinks, the Rolling Stones and many more.”
Garage rock — garage punk or 60s punk — was a style of energetic music that became a craze 1963-68.
Augustine, Schultz and the other teenagers that made up the beat group were among many who formed bands across the state during that decade after the music genre spread from the UK and Europe.
The Kewaunee band members called themselves “The Riot.”
“It should be noted that back in the 1960s, the term ‘riot’ referred to the clashes between protesters and the police. Because of the constant presence of the word, riot, in the newspapers, we chose that as our name,” Schultz explained.
“In the summer of 1967, The Riot won a Battle of the Bands in Sturgeon Bay at Corpus Christi High School. There were 10 bands from northeastern and southeastern Wisconsin. This gave us more exposure and landed us quite a few jobs.”
Schultz and Augustine were joined by bassist, Steve Suchowski; lead singer, Dave Harlow; drummer, Mark Novak; and organist, Larry Balleine.
“Most of The Riot members continued to play with different groups or jam with friends in our post-high school years. And as I look back to The Riot’s playing days, we may not have made the big time, but I can honestly say, it was a riot,” Schultz added.
Continued next week