Clugston ~ Guitar
Paul Glenn ~ Keyboards
Keith Koelling ~ Tenor Saxophone
Don Jones ~ Lead Guitar
Adrien Messner ~ Drums
Jerry (Ched) Millar ~ Lead Guitar
Bob Poole ~ Trumpet
Jeff Ross ~ Bass
Brian Wesner ~ Vocals
We played at the Elegant Parlor in Vancouver, an after hours blues club, and also around the Vancouver area, participating in battle of the bands with the Epics ..etc…
Brian Wesner, June 2010
Soul Society: a Surrey B.C. Rhythm and Blues Band of 1966 and 1967
The band “Soul Society” was the result of many hours of practice by a bunch of young guys having fun. The band was organized and lead by keyboard player Paul Glenn and the band was an evolution of Paul’s previous band called the Jesters (from Surrey).
Paul had purchased his first organ and the band started to deliver more Motown rhythm and blues style tunes to their previous rock and roll performances. The band always wore black sports jackets, grey slack, and a thin black tie while performing on stage; similar to other Motown and early English rock bands of that era.
Then a major change and major additions to band members occurred. After the dust had settled at a band practice in Paul’s basement, it was agreed that the name of the band was to become “Soul Society”.
“Soul Society” band members included: Jerry (Ched) Millar, Jeff Ross, Paul Glenn, Bob Poole, Keith Koelling, Adrien Messner and Brian Wesner.
….Rewind: Yes, Ched Millar the radio announcer/disk jockey on many Vancouver, BC, based radio stations played lead guitar for “Soul Society”.
After the new name, everything stepped up a few notches. A new black sports jacket with grey cuffs and lapels was added to the band’s “on stage” wardrobe. Dance steps and choreography lessons were integrated into band practices. Audiences at dances were getting larger in part to the efforts of band members who would distribute and put up posters to advertise events and performances.
In the late 60’s there was a roller rink operated in downtown Langley on the north side of the Fraser Hwy. The “Langley Roller Rink” owner (Frank) would hire live bands to perform Friday and Saturday evening, as well as long weekend dances that started at midnight on Sunday. Many Canadian bands of the time, described in “Pacific Northwest Bands” played here. However “Soul Society” possibly performed at teen dances at the Langley Roller Rink more than any other.
The band would grab a job were ever it could find one: playing for private weddings and parties, school and teen dances, discos’ and nightclubs. The rock and roll, rhythm and blues, and soul music that was performed by the band was well received and in high demand during the late 60s.
A minor break occurred for the group when “Soul Society” landed a nightly gig at the “Elegant Parlor” night club on Davie Street in Vancouver which was owed by Tommy Chong.
Chong who later became half of the legendary team “Cheech and Chong” was then a guitar player and singer in the Vancouver band, “Bobby Taylor and the Vancouvers”.
Tommy Chong writes (enter “Tommy Chong’s Vancouver”): “After Mary Wilson and Nancy Ballard of The Supremes ‘discovered’ us (the Vancouvers) at our club late in 1966, our band got a recording contract with Motown Records to produce an album.”
Later, as “The Vancouvers and Chong” met recording contract obligations at “Motown Records”, “Soul Society” filled in, as the house band, at the “Elegant Parlor” for multiple one and two week intervals during 1967. As a result of repeated nightly performances the band was starting to sound pretty hot. As Tommy and other band members would roll back into town for short periods they would turn up at the club. It was definitely very surreal to have Motown recording artists who were considered your peers, (people who only days before had possibly used the studios used by the “The Supremes” and other Motown groups) coming on stage and ask to perform with the band. The band “Soul Society” broke up shortly after that.
Keith Koelling, February 2014
Jerry (Ched) Millar, Jeff Ross, Paul Glenn, Bob Poole, Keith Koelling & Adrien Messner
Keith Koelling, Jeff Ross, Paul Glenn, Jerry (Ched) Millar, Brian Wesner, Adrien Messner and Bob Poole
Image Courtesy of Keith Koelling
Don Jones - Filled in breifly on Guitar
Ronnie Clugston - Filled in Briefly