Randy Meisner’s early bands in the 1960s included the Deacons/Thunderbirds, the Invaders, the Dynamics/Drivin’ Dynamics, and the Soul Survivors/The Poor. (After the Soul Survivors moved to California, they had a very brief period of calling themselves the North Serrano Blues Band, and they then changed their name to The Poor.) There is also a separate post for The Poor. The Dynamics in Scottsbluff, Nebraska officially began November 23, 1961, and they later changed the name to the Drivin’ Dynamics. The Drivin’ Dynamics recorded three songs at Sully Records in Amarillo, TX in 1965, and two of those songs were released. The videos of those two songs are near the bottom of this page and also some others of Randy and Larry Soto singing lead in the Dynamics/Drivin’ Dynamics.
The Drivin’ Dynamics were very popular in Nebraska and surrounding states. There are many newspaper notices below mentioning that the Dynamics/Drivin’ Dynamics would be playing at various locations.
A Scottsbluff newspaper, The Business Farmer, had a society column which would mention the activities of the Scottsbluff and Lake Alice residents. The column was simply called “Lake Alice”. The Meisner family was often mentioned in that column. In addition to singing, Randy Meisner was also involved in 4-H, so there are some newspaper notices regarding that.
AND, there is a photo of Randy at five years old with his mother, Emilie, in The Business Farmer. Being a farmer’s wife, Emilie was interviewed for the Woman’s Page of the newspaper. Her Banana Nut Cake recipe was even included. Plus, the Runza recipe from a Scottsbluff church cookbook is below.
From the archived Ken Sharp interview in Rock Cellar Magazine:
“At around 12 or 13 I got an acoustic guitar and took some lessons. I played some PTA meetings out in the country. Jimmie Rodgers’ ‘Honeycomb’ was one of the first songs I learned. Then I went to town school when I was fourteen and a half. I met some guys in town and I started a group with Grady and Doug Wall called the Deacons and then it was the Thunderbirds. We couldn’t find a bass guitar so we ordered one out of a Sears catalog. We got one guitar that was really sturdy and put four strings on it. We played through high school. Met up with my guitar teacher and we started a band called the Dynamics. We did a lot of Beatles and R&B songs. I think I was about seventeen. We played a Battle of the Bands in Denver. We did pretty good but we didn’t win anything.” *Rock Cellar Magazine – Nov. 10, 2016
*There are several typos throughout the interview. Ken Sharp misspelled the last name for Grady & Doug. It should be ‘Waugh’ instead of Wall.
Randy was born in March 1946, so he was 15 when the Dynamics were formed in November 1961.
The Battle of the Bands contest in Denver where he met the Soul Survivors was in 1966 when Randy was 20 years old.
Audios/Videos on this page:
- “So Fine” (Randy on lead vocal)
- “Hurt Me” (Larry Soto on lead vocal)
- “Do You Wanna Dance” (Randy on lead vocal)
- “Kansas City” (Randy on lead vocal)
- “You Send Me” (Larry Soto on lead vocal)
- Nebraska Music Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony – Aug. 19, 2000
Randy Meisner’s Early Bands
Larry Soto, former bandmate in the Drivin’ Dynamics with Randy Meisner, was interviewed for this article that appeared in the Scottsbluff Star Herald on August 2, 2023
The Business Farmer Society Column
These performances were all prior to the forming of the Dynamics/Drivin’ Dynamics. Randy was born March 8, 1946, so he was just 14 and 15 years old at the time. Even at that young age he was being asked to sing at events. Randy was only 14 years old when he sang at the Beatnik dance, and I’m assuming that “cabbage buns” are those famous Runzas of Nebraska.
A recipe for Runzas is below. It was taken from the Emmanuel Congregational Church of Scottsbluff 1972 cookbook.
The Business Farmer (Scottsbluff, NE) – Oct. 26, 1951
Randy must have been a special nephew to be given this car by his uncle. Randy was only 12 years old!
The Business Farmer (Scottsbluff, NE) – May 10, 1958
~ Randy and his mother, Emilie Meisner, at home ~
Emilie’s Banana Nut Cake recipe below
The Business Farmer (Scottsbluff, NE) – Nov. 9, 1951
Recipe for Nebraska Runzas
They have also been called cabbage burgers, kraut buns, and bierocks. (There are different spellings of bierocks, as well.)
Both of these recipes are from the 1972 Emmanuel Congregational Church of Scottsbluff cookbook.
The talent contest took place on Sunday, Sept. 17, 1961, and the Thunderbirds won 2nd place. Randy was 15 years old at the time. This contest was shortly before the Dynamics were formed in November 1961.
Star-Herald (Scottsbluff, NE) – Sept. 13, 1961
This talent show was in Randy’s junior year in high school and just before he turned age 17. Grady Waugh was also in the Thunderbirds with Randy, and Paul Asmus was in the Dynamics. The talent show took place a little over a year after the Dynamics were formed in November 1961, so it’s possible the “Invaders” was merely a name this particular group of boys chose to use just for the school talent show.
Daily Star-Herald (Scottsbluff, NE) – Feb. 12, 1963
The Dynamics/Drivin’ Dynamics
Randy Meisner’s first band practice with the Dynamics in 1961
Larry Soto, Richard Rohnke, Randy Meisner, and John Ankeny
The Dynamics at Terry’s Arena located between Gering and Scottsbluff – 1961
Richard Rohnke, John Ankeny, Randy Meisner, and Larry Soto
The Dynamics publicity photo – 1962
John Ankeny, Randy Meisner, Paul Asmus, and Larry Soto
The Dynamics played at the Sidney Nebraska High School Christmas Cotillion held Dec. 14, 1963 at the Fort Sidney Motor Hotel
Bobby Soto (on drums), Larry Soto, and Randy Meisner
1964 High School Yearbook – Sidney, NE
“For the first time at a semi-formal dance, a teen-age band, the ‘Dynamics’ played. By the following comments, it was obvious that the students enjoyed themselves.”
The Dynamics played at the Stomp Inn Jan. 28, 1964
L-R back: Randy Meisner and Bobby Soto
L-R front: Larry Soto and Paul Asmus
The Drivin’ Dynamics performed at Terry’s Arena (located between Scottsbluff and Gering) on New Years Eve 1964.
Three KOMA Radio aircheck composites—from 1964, 1965, and 1966
You can hear what Randy and the Dynamics were listening to back then on that Oklahoma City radio station. KOMA is also the station that the band bought commercial spots on to advertise where and when the Dynamics would be playing.
KOMA 1964 with Don McGregor
KOMA 1965 with Deane Johnson
KOMA 1966 with Charlie Tuna and others
The Dynamics at an unknown venue
The Drivin’ Dynamics at Scottsbluff National Guard Armory in 1965
Paul Asmus, Dave Margheim, Bobby Soto (on drums), Larry Soto, Randy Meisner, and Steve Cassells
Dave Margheim, Paul Asmus, Randy Meisner, Larry Soto, Bobby Soto (on drums), and Steve Cassells
Randy had an interest in livestock and 4-H as well as music when he was young.
He was 14 years old in 1960.
Daily Star-Herald (Scottsbluff, NE) – Mar. 13, 1960
Daily Star-Herald (Scottsbluff, NE) – May 8, 1960
The Business Farmer (Scottsbluff, NE) – June 24, 1961
Randy Meisner’s early bands newspaper articles and announcements for teen dances, formals, banquets, and proms that the Drivin’ Dynamics played
Morrill Mail (Morrill, NE) – Mar. 22, 1962
Morrill Mail (Morrill, NE) – May 3, 1962
Daily Star-Herald (Scottsbluff, NE) – Oct. 20, 1962
Alliance Times-Herald (Alliance, NE) – Mar. 26, 1963
“Woah, lonesome cowgirl look what I can do
I can rope, I can ride, I can brand hides
Even do a trick or two”
Keith County News (Ogallala, NE) – Aug. 1, 1963
Scottsbluff Daily Herald (Scottsbluff, NE) – Nov. 17, 1963
Iris Besaw owned a dance studio in Scottsbluff. Notice that the band is called the Randy Meisner Combo and not the Dynamics here, even though the Dynamics were formed in 1961.
Gering Courier (Gering, NE) – May 24, 1963
Daily Inter Lake (Kalispell, MT) – Dec. 23, 1963
Daily Star-Herald (Scottsbluff, NE) – Sept. 12, 1963
The Crescent Ballroom
The Dynamics played at the Crescent many times.
Tribune-Sentinel (Grant, NE) – June 20, 1963
Tribune-Sentinel (Grant, NE) – Oct. 17, 1963
Tribune-Sentinel (Grant, NE) – Nov. 7, 1963
Tribune-Sentinel (Grant, NE) – Dec. 12, 1963
Keith County News (Ogallala, NE) – Sept. 12, 1963
The Tribune Sentinel (Grant, NE) – May 21, 1964
The Crescent Ballroom in Grant, Nebraska
Grand Island Independent (Grand Island, NE) – Jan. 10, 1964
Dawson County Herald (Lexington, NE) – Nov. 9, 1964
Chadron Record (Chadron, NE) – Oct. 15, 1964
The Antelope (Kearney, NE) – Nov. 20, 1964
The Antelope (Kearney, NE) – Dec. 18, 1964
The Antelope (Kearney, NE) – Feb. 19, 1965
Gering Courier (Gering, NE) – Apr. 23, 1965
Benefit Dance at Scottsbluff National Guard Armory on Jan. 23, 1966
Star-Herald (Scottsbluff, NE) – Mar. 13, 1966
“Two members of the group, Randy Meisner and Steve Cassells, both of Scottsbluff, returned this week from Denver, where they have been setting up bookings for six nights a week in the Denver area after the last of May.”
Daily Star-Herald (Scottsbluff, NE) – Apr. 8, 1966
In August 1965, the Drivin’ Dynamics signed a record deal with Sully Records out of Amarillo, Texas. They recorded 3 songs: Randy Meisner sang “One Of These Days” and “So Fine”, while Larry Soto sang “Hurt Me”. Even though “One Of These Days” was recorded, it was not actually released with the other two songs according to Steve Cassells (Drivin’ Dynamics keyboard player from 1964-66). He said it was scrapped in favor of “So Fine” and “Hurt Me”.
“So Fine” (Randy on lead vocal)
“Hurt Me” (Larry Soto on lead vocal)
“Do You Wanna Dance” (Randy on lead vocal)
“Kansas City” (Randy on lead vocal)
“You Send Me” (Larry Soto on lead vocal)
Alliance Times-Herald (Alliance, NE) – July 6, 1983
The Gering Courier (Gering, NE) – July 25, 1991
“After playing at a battle of the bands show in Denver, the Soul Survivors asked Randy to go with them to California for a record deal, and he did. He later helped organize the Eagles and had a solo career as well. ‘By Randy making it, we made it. He took a part of the Dynamics and Scottsbluff with him’.”
Star-Herald (Scottsbluff, NE) – June 30, 1996
Nebraska Music Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony – Aug. 19, 2000
Bobby Soto died a few days later on Sept. 6, 2000
From the nebrocks Bobby Soto memorial page
The Gering Courier (Gering, NE) – July 12, 2001
The newspaper photo was taken when the Drivin’ Dynamics played the North Platte (Nebraska) High School Prom in 1964.
The Gering Courier (Gering, NE) – Oct. 23, 2014