Nicklaus, Jr ~ Drums, Vocals
Art Nicklaus Sr. ~ Guitar, Vocals
Kim Nicklaus ~ Piano, Key Bass, Vocals
After college, I came home to Shelton Washington, and my brother Kim Nicklaus returned from the road where he played with a show band, "The Bill Williams Show". Kim and I ended up building a recording studio in Shelton called Greatheart Studios in 1975-76. We bought a used mixing board from Rick Keefer at Seawest in Seattle who was upgrading at the time to 24 track. We bought a used Ampex 1" 8-track from a studio in San Francisco. We were building the studio primarily with the idea of recording our own music, but we had to "fund" the thing of course, so we opened it up as a part time business and did some albums for local folks as well as radio jingles for some of the local stations. But alot of our funding came from a band we formed with our Dad, Art Nicklaus Sr.
We called this band "Art Nicklaus & Country Nicks", and we played mostly private parties, elks clubs, high school reunions, etc. in Mason, Thurston, and Grays Harbor counties. We released an album in 1977 that we recorded in our studio which we are pretty proud of. Dad grew up in North Dakota, and sang on the radio and toured as a young boy with his brother with Lawrence Welk (prior to TV). Dad played for dances in Shelton and Olympia throughout the 50's, and his music was country/swing/jazz. Kim and I were strictly rock and rollers, but we learned Dad's music and backed him because he offered to donate 100% of Country Nicks income to the studio building fund. I have attached a couple of pictures of our group. Dad played guitar, a 1956 Les Paul special he bought brand new in '56. Brother Kim played piano with his right hand and key bass with his left, and I played drums. We all sang, lots of three part harmonies, with Dad taking the lead vocal most of the time. We eventually retired the group, although we are actually recording again right now, mostly for posterity, although my brother has ideas for marketing us through the "Red Hat Society".
When we quit playing, my brother Kim went on to play with "The Kingsmen". Incidentally, our cousin is Dick Peterson, who joined the Kingsmen in Portland in 1965, just as Louie Louie was being released nationwide. Also of possible interest, Dick has recently finished a rough draft of a book about his days with the Kingsmen called "Louie Louie, Me Gotta Go." It will hopefully be released one day soon; I have read it, and anyone interested in the northwest music scene and the early days of Rock and Roll would find it a fascinating read.
Art Nicklaus, January 2005