Barrere ~ Drums
Dave Bartley ~ Guitar, Vocals
Chris Brickell ~ Vocals
Roger Halvorson ~ Keyboards
Dave Salwitz ~ Bass, Guitar, Vocals
I found this website just on a chance, and what a treasure! There are some great memories there, since I was in a Unicam band back then. The name of the band was Mantis. We were around for a couple years 1975-1977 and played at a lot of the places listed in the dance halls section, including Lake Hills Roller Rink, and some of the taverns.
We did some top 40 dance music and some originals, and played a lot of school dances and fraternity parties, because we were under 21 when we started and couldn't play at most taverns and clubs. Our highlight was playing at the Paramount in 1977 with a couple of other Unicam bands, which Rail headlined.
The attrition rate is tremendous for beginning bands, as it is a whole lot of work without much reward, so we broke under the strain after a couple years. I sure had some memories I will never forget.
Thanks for all the wonderful memories!
Dick Barrere, February 2006
Mantis was formed in 1976, with Dave Bartley on guitar, Dave Salwitz on bass, Roger Halvorson on keyboards, Chris Brickell on vocals, and Dick Barrere on drums. Dave S and Roger came from Stonehenge, another Unicam band, and Chris, Dick, and Dave B. came from a band called Wildfire, which had Charley Kopp (formerly of Aries) and Randy Ness on guitar and Art Day on bass. Mantis signed with Unicam and immediately began playing dates mainly on weekends, and rehearsing during the week. Soon they became tighter and more accomplished. Although they played top 40 dance music, they also played a few original songs. Their interests were with the prog rock bands of the time, such as Yes and Genesis. They were one of the few Unicam acts of that time who could do covers of these bands, because of the talent and musicianship of their members. Dave Bartley was a guitar virtuoso, Roger was a keyboard magician, Dave Salwitz and Dick formed a solid and complex rhythm section, and Chris Brickell had an amazing, powerful voice.
Together they traveled all around the state, playing at school dances and various clubs and halls, anywhere they could. Thanks to Unicam for those busy years. They became a favorite at venues like Lake Hills, which was more of a concert atmosphere, the type that they excelled in. They had a lot of fun playing these places, and they tried to bring that fun to the stage. They had a collection of props and costumes they performed with, and they tried to offer a little something different from the norm. The culmination of these efforts was the 1977 concert at the Paramount, opening for a 3 act Unicam production with Rail as the headliner.
Mantis at Lake Hills - 1976 - Courtesy of Dick Barrere
The music industry was changing fast during these years. Punk and New Wave acts were becoming popular, and it wasn't long before the prog rock style of complex arranging and marathon songs was a thing of the past. The grueling work schedule was also taking its toll. Chris and Dick left the band in 1978, and the other musicians went their own way, together for a while and then separately.
Chris and Dick eventually were married and had a family but later divorced. Dick has since remarried and resides in Seattle
Dave Bartley went on to other musical pursuits, then settling into the acoustic styles of Contra music. He is currently with KGB, which you can almost always find at the Folklife Festival, among other places around the area. Their website it www.kgbmole.com.
Roger went on to play in other bands including the Frazz, and eventually settled in the Los Angeles area with his family.
Dave Salwitz is playing in the rock band Indigo Soul, which you can find in venues around town. Their website is www.indigosoul.com.
Chris is an astrologer in Montana, and her website is www.starfires.com.
Dick Barrere, April 2006, April 2007