The Vikings
Lakewood, Washington
1958 - 1961


Bill Arnold ~ Bass
Don Densmore ~ Saxophone
Gene Erickson ~ Guitar
Ray Michelsen ~ Guitar, Vocals
 Pierre "Pete" Ouellette ~ Guitar
Fred Taylor ~ Drums, Vocals
 Bill Waddle ~ Piano

In Memory of

Bill Arnold
Gene Erickson

The Vikings were formed by a lady named Betty Fyfe to play at the Lake City Teenage club in late 1958 (Lake City is near the Veterans hospital by American Lake in Lakewood).   There were 8 or 10 guys that auditioned and 5 were chosen from that group including me.

It's been a long time so my memory of the complete list of the five is a little foggy. I do remember the Lead guitar was Pete Ouellete and 2nd guitar was Gene Erickson. Gene and I have kept in contact all these years and he lives in Kettle Falls Wa.

There was also a bass guy named Bill (have forgotten his last name) and a Piano player Bill Waddle.  Bill went on to greater things and ultimately played in night clubs and pianos bars in Tacoma and Seattle for many years.  From time to time we also had a sax player who's name escapes me. And of course I was the Drummer.

About that same time the Wailers were formed and three of them, Rich Dangle, Johnny Greek, and Mark Marush went to Clover Park High school in Lakewood, the same school I attended.  Of course they went on to bigger and better things and achieved national notoriety.

We would play around the area at lot of the same places the Wailers played and occasionally we would sit in while they were on their break and they would sit on on our gigs.  Anyway, we played around Tacoma and Lakewood and didn't make much money but had lots of fun.

About midway in 1960 people started to go different directions, college, military or "real" jobs and the Band slowly disintegrated.  However, it was a great time for all of us, kept us out of trouble, and will be in my memories forever.

As a footnote, I met my future wife at one of those dances at the Lake City location.  In fact I think the building is still there. Hope this helps your history of the bands.

Fred Taylor, September 2008

Maybe we'll get a response from some of the "old" Vikings in the  band.

I Did a few gigs from time to time over the years but I guess I'm sort of retired from active percussion.

My brother in law, Chuck Curry, did play drums for a group from Renton called The Mystics from about 1963 through 1965.  He is a few years my junior and while I was dating his sister, got him interested in percussion.  He followed through and a few years later played with the Mystics.  We still have our drums  and from time to time fool around a little bit in his house with our gear.  In any case, thanks for the interest in the old bands.

Gene Erickson, lead guitar, joined the Army and played for several groups in Louisiana after his tour with the Vikings.  Did you attend Clover Park as well Sam??  Oh, you had me listed on the site as Drummer and Vocals, probably should delete the Vocals part, well maybe not, I did do the "la la las" on our version of  " I've Had It " and the harmony on "Jamaica Farewell" so I guess I qualify.

Thanks again,  Fred, September 2008

After a long battle with Alzheimers, Gene Erickson passed away in April 2012.  We have been friends since our Rock and Roll days with the Vikings in the late 50’s.

Gene leaves a void that will never be filled.  He fought his affliction all the way to the end, keeping involved with his music and love of old cars for as long as he could.  A special note of thanks to his wife, Dolores, who never lost hope, supported Gene in all he tried to do, became his care-giver, nurse and counselor.    Good bye my friend  Gene

Fred Taylor, November, 2012

If you have corrections, a neat photo or more information, please send it to:

Make a donation using PayPal.  It is fast, free and secure.
Last Update:  17 November 2012
Credits:   Fred Taylor, Ray Michelsen
Band #  2446