The Novas
Woodburn, Oregon
1964 - 1965


Guy Charles Eichsteadt ~ Rhythm Guitar
Kenny Hermans ~ Bass Guitar
David Higginbotham ~ Lead Guitar, Lead Vocals
Rodney Kahut ~ Drums
Bernie Manion ~ Saxophone, Lead Vocals
Neal White ~ Piano, Organ, Lead Vocals
Merle White ~ Bass, Vocals
Jerry Woelke ~ Rhythm Guitar

In Memory of

Bernie Manion
Jerry Woelke

In the Summer of 1964 with Surf Music reverberating in their collective ears, a group of childhood friends in Woodburn, Oregon and some school chums from neighboring town Mt. Angel held some meetings to select a name and form a band.

Car names were the rage in the dawning space-age, and so it was that 'The Novas' combo came into being. Two early guitarists, Kenny Hermans and Guy Eichsteadt left the band to be replaced by Merle White, the bands first actual bass player, but not before Jerry Woelke did some substitution guitar/bass work while Bernie was still playing saxophone (most notably, New Years Eve 64/65).  Many sock-hops, teen dances, fairs and competitions followed. The band's original song list drew heavily from instrumental giants such as The Ventures, The Surfaris, The Wailers and other three chord master-pieces.  However, the band quickly grew strong with covers of intense rock material by Paul Revere, The Dave Clark Five, The Rolling Stones and The Animals.

As the British Invasion grew, so did the play list of The Novas. Instrumentals gave way to more complicated rhythms and elaborate vocals.  Soon thereafter Merle White left.  It was felt that a bass was more important than a saxophone.  This view was most keenly felt by the bands saxophone player Bernie Manion who finally bought a Hagstrom bass and a Gibson Atlas amp. The Novas concluded shortly thereafter, but not before the band caused some local commotion, performing as loudly as possible at the 1st annual Fender sponsored Rose Festival Teen-Age Fair.  Although The Novas did not place, they were amongst the finalists, receiving several mentions in the newspaper, resulting in some extra jobs as result.

David Higginbotham now works in video and still plays guitar; Guy Eichsteadt works for the Boy Scouts; Rodney Kahut is a nutritionist; brothers Merle and Neal White are professional photographers; Jerry Woelke retired from the U.S. Navy; Bernie Manion was fatally injured in an aviation accident; Kenny Hermans' whereabouts are unknown at this time.

David Higginbotham, May 2002

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Last Update: 29 November 2014
Credits: Dave Higginbotham, Guy Eichsteadt
Band # 864