From Blue Moon Films and DTrain Media
"Investigation Nation presents
Walking that Lonely Road ... Alone ...
Again ... Naturally"
The Amazing Story of the I Band
A documentary about six socially challenged individuals,
whose search for the truth - started by a mysterious, disappearing quote in a Wikipedia article -
led them to startling discoveries about 1960's music,
snacks, life and the Internet.
a Canadian production produced in Canada by Canadians
CLICK TO SEE
ABOUT the Search for
the I Band
The Legend of the I Band
When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.
On a cold September day in 2005, Lionel Twanes, a 35 year old unemployed Theremin player, came across something while surfing the Internet that altered the course of his life forever.
He was living in his Mother’s basement, saving up the money he earned from giving Theremin lessons, to fund his dream of becoming a traveling Traveler’s Checks salesman. On this afternoon, he came across a strange fact while reading an article on the music of the 60’s in Wikipedia. Right there, buried in the middle of the article, was a reference to a mysterious group of songwriters who ghost wrote many of the hits of the era.
Never having heard of this story before, he sent a text to his close friend and confidante, known only as "The Badger", asking if he ever heard of this. The Badger texted back "No", but assured Twanes that he would come over to discuss the matter when school let out.
When The Badger arrived, Twanes brought up the web page, but amazingly the statement had vanished.
Unwilling to listen to any explanations, The Badger left in disgust.
Twanes, confused and embarrassed by this turn of events, began a research project to discover more about this rumor. This project became an all-consuming obsession for the next seven years, the result of which is this film you are now watching.
Along this journey, many others from suburban homes and of varying ages took up the search. A website was created as a central storehouse for all the facts and stories uncovered (www.mysterioussongwritersfromthe60s.bs).
Wikipedia was scoured extensively, unusual websites were investigated, blogs were read, chatrooms were created and monitored, and, in extreme cases, personal contacts were made.
From these snippets of information, tenuous connections were made, gaps were filled with fabricated facts, with guesswork and supposition tied it all together.
It was clear to all that there was something to this story.
And that something happened in a specific place at a specific time.
On June 29, 1958, an incident occurred in Birmingham, Alabama.
On that evening’s news, there was a report that a bomb was discovered in the Bethel Baptist Church during an evening service. Fortunately, it was removed to a nearby open field and exploded without injuring anyone. The pastor, Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, was a Civil Rights activist and this bombing attempt was obviously the work of the local KKK.
* The following information comes from the writings of Dougie Style, a self-proclaimed expert on the early years of The I Band. *
This event deeply affected the futures of three college freshmen at Calumet College of St. Joseph, Indiana - Lev Friedland, Harlan Willoughby and Nestor Gleason. (note: a Roman Catholic supported school – listed as one of the 10 worst colleges in USA).
They understood the need for equality because of their own situation – a Jew, a Jehovah’s Witness and a Puerto Rican/Irish Catholic – friends since childhood on Staten Island. From personal experience, they knew the value of mixing cultures – deli sandwiches, fear of transfusions, alcohol, eight days of presents, long walks, alcohol, borsht, meeting new people, alcohol … and their love of Pasteles.
They resolved to leave behind the safe, childhood pursuits of education, work and family outings, and take up the battle for civil rights.
So … they decided to create a folk trio to sing protest songs.
Thus began a musical collaboration that produced a volume of work unrivaled in music history.
But … as with all important things, it all starts with a name.
The first name they created – The Heebie Geebies – tried to leverage the unease they all felt with the anti-Civil Rights groups, with the naming conventions of the groups of the period.
Unfortunately, they couldn’t get a booking. After six months of trying, they realized that their name evoked anti-Semitic feelings in the mostly conservative, mostly Christian club owners in St. Joseph, Indiana.
After careful consideration, they decided that they had only two options: move to Israel, play at bar mitzvahs or change … They had three options: Israel, bar mitzvahs or change their name. Being broke, coupled with the fact that there were only two Jewish families in St. Joseph, they decided to change their name.
And thusly, thanks to Harlan’s lifelong love affair with imaginary numbers, Lev’s inability to spell correctly and Nestor being drunk, they all agreed to the new name, "the i Band".
Shortly thereafter, due to capitalization issues, they officially became The I Band.
In August of 1959, with renewed enthusiasm, a sense of adventure and a desire to create an impact in the Civil Rights movement, they left for Minnesota to begin their musical odyssey.