Mezmer Pic, 1981 When Mezmer exploded onto the midwest band scene in the 1970s, many people believed this Missouri based band featuring musicians like, drummer Dikki Barnes, bass guitarist Randy Jones, lead vocalist Jimi Foreman and guitarists Roger Haley and Frosty Vestal were destined to be one of the Midwests great bands of the 70s and to a point they were right. After all, between all these members, there had been memberships in some of Missouri's most popular and successful bands.

The Band Mezmer was originally formed in the early 1970's and saw success as a club and high school dance band, later spliting up and breaking into several sucessful area groups. Carrol Ray Dollens had been playing lead guitar with a club band called The Starlighters. While guitarist Roger Haley and bassist Randy Jones teamed up in a band called The Crossfires while drummer Dikki Barnes was a music major attending Culver-Stockton College and playing with his band Storm Trooper on the tri-state club circuit covering Missouri, Illinois, and Iowa.

In early 1977 after several telephone conversations with Randy Jones, drummer Dikki Barnes decided to move back home to Mexico, from Canton, Mo where he and Randy Jones joined forces with original members Roger Haley and Carrol Dollens on guitars, After several months of Rehersals meZmer put it's Show to the test at the local High School far surpassing expectations and established Mezmer as "The Force To Reckon With"....

MeZmer then moved on to conquer the next problem they felt they were facing, a front man for the band and a chance for the musicians to concentrate more on the music and a little less on the lyrics. After holding a few auditions Dennis Milan just out of college and working in advertising in the area was asked to rejoin the group. Along with having a large vocal range Dennis was also a keyboard player and brought to Mezmer that much needed keyboard sound of the 70s. However this would prove to be a short lived part of the Mezmer history as Dennis's job would soon start taking him out of town on a regular basis causing conflicts with band rehearsals and gigs since Schools, Clubs and Organazations were booking the band well in advance so the search for a front man resumed.

Now as they so often do, it was about this time a small civil war erupted within the band over a studio recording date and on January 1, 1978 Carrol Ray Dollens and Roger Haley left the group.

Jimi Foreman and Gary Kenniston were to be the logical choices for the job now that their band NightShift had split up, Jimi was perhaps the most dynamic singer in the area with a stage presence and personnality to match so Jimi was brought into the band to handle the ever increasing range of vocals and add the dynamic front man the band needed so as to allow the band members to concentrate more on the Music and to augment their showmanship.

Dikki and Randy worked togather with Jimi and Gary over the next couple months on a new Mezmer and a new stage show but only weeks before the opening Gary left the band to get married but ironically the same day Gary announced he was leaving the band, Roger Haley and Carrol Ray Dollens returned to the band and with all grievances set aside Mezmer was once again on the road again.

Hittin the stage this time with a massive sound system and a stage show augmented by columns of fire and fog machines and a sound that seemed to hypnotize the audience as they would chant "Get Mezmerized" Which fueled the fire of the fans and followers alike calling themselves MezHeads and the girls calling themselves Mezmerettes. This quickly established Mezmer as The Biggest Little Concert Show band in the area.

Musical differences once again in 1979 lead to the final departure of Carrol Ray Dollens to pursue his own musical interests, and Carrol Ray quickly formed his own group Pacific Lights.

Frosty Vestal who had been playing for some years in the local band Southern Comfort was asked to join Mezmer at this time, bringing with him to the group his southern rock influenced and oriented style of playing, Frosty's ripping slide guitar solo's along with Roger Haley's love for the twin lead solos togather Frosty and Roger built Mezmer's reputation as the midwest's Ultimate In High Energy Rock and Roll.

With Mezmer's membership of Dikki Barnes, Randy Jones, Roger Haley, Frosty Vestal and Jimi Foreman now set in stone for the next several years.

Mezmer once again took it's "Ultimate In High Energy Rock and Roll" show to the road on a steady diet of concerts and shows at the local county fairs, bars and clubs, and even more now because of Mezmer's demand and following of loyal fans Mezmer gladly became the band of choice for all major benefit concerts in the area, which all band members agreed "That benefit concerts are just our way to give a little something back to the many people who have supported us over the years."

................To Be Continued................

Mezmer History ~ Chapter 2

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