The Wretched Group returns for two shows

The Wretched Group from the 1960s

The Wretched Group will be returning to the area to perform two live rock and roll shows this summer on Aug. 2 and Aug. 3.

The band members invite everyone to join them on the evening of Thursday, Aug 2 at Rookies on the Lake in Dunkirk. The music will start at 8:30 p.m., immediately following the concert on the pier.

The public is also invited to see The Wretched Group perform on Friday night, Aug. 3 at The Clarion Dockside Cafe in Dunkirk. This show will be from 9 p.m. until midnight.

The Wretched Group formed in Fredonia and Dunkirk in 1965. They are celebrating over 53 years of making music.

The band would like to extend a special invitation to those attending the many local high school reunions that weekend. They played regularly at teen dances at Fredonia, Dunkirk, and Cardinal Mindszenty high schools in the ’60s, and they hope to see many old friends as all three schools celebrate their 50th high school reunions that weekend.

The Wretched Group today

The Wretched Group is an authentic 1960s rock and roll band that consisted entirely of members of the Fredonia High School Class of 1968. They performed regularly between 1965 and 1968 at many local teen dances in Chautauqua County at venues such as Fredonia’s Teen Center “The Hub,” St. Anthony’s CYO Youth Center, the Fredonia Grange Hall, and area high school dances.

Teen dances with live music could be found on most weekends during the height of the 1960s. Local high school football and basketball games would usually be followed by dances in the school gymnasium, and chances were good that the live music was provided by local bands like The Wretched Group, The Children of Stone and The Cavemen.

The Wretched Group disbanded in 1968 after high school graduation and the band members left Fredonia for college.

The Wretched Group reunited for the first time in 1999 to perform at the members’ high school class reunion and has continued to reunite for performances regularly over the past 19 years. In addition to annual performances in Fredonia and Dunkirk, the band has played in Albany; Latham, New York and Vermont. They performed twice at the legendary Colony Cafe in Woodstock in 2006.

It is always a special event when these long-time friends get together to recreate the music of the 1960s including many classic songs by The Beatles, Rolling Stones, The Who, Jimi Hendrix, Cream, The Animals, Bob Dylan and more.

The current members live all across the United States. Current Wretched Group members, or “Wretchies,” include Mike McEntarfer of Fredonia on keyboards, Mickey Mamp of Fredonia on percussion and vocals, Tom Benton of Woodstock on lead guitar and vocals, Jim Modisher of Boulder, Colorado on bass guitar and vocals, Vince Gaeta of New York City on drums, Rob Nichols of Cicero, New York on guitar and vocals, Ken Colby of Woodstock, Vermont on guitar and vocals, and original drummer Dave Greenleaf of Boston, Massachusetts.

The band is pleased to announce that they will be joined by local musician Bill Smith of Silver Creek this year for both performances. “Bill was a long-time friend of Hank McKee and we are thrilled to have him join us,” said a band spokesperson. Smith’s band in the 60’s was called The Squires, and he currently performs with the local band Second Street Sunset.

This year’s performances will be very special as they continue to honor and celebrate the life and memory of Hank McKee, who passed away in 2016. McKee was an original founding member of the band. He was the band’s lead singer, but he was so much more than that. He was their life-long friend.

The Wretched Group would like to invite everyone who knew and loved McKee to join them on Aug. 2 and 3 to pay tribute to him.

The band has issued the following statement: “We urge everyone to bring your dancing shoes because we’re going to rock the house on both nights. Hank wouldn’t have it any other way.”

A Wretched Group performance always celebrates over 50 years of music, fun and friendship.

“The world of rock and roll has seen the loss of many of our music heroes in recent years. The Wretched Group lost our former drummer Jim ‘Quale’ Pasquale a few years ago as well as our frontman, Hank McKee, in 2016. You can’t simply replace someone as dynamic as Hank. Anyone who witnessed a Hank McKee performance understands that he put his heart and soul into every song. He had a big voice, a big laugh, and a huge heart. We can never replace him. We believe that he will once again be there with us on both nights. We invite everyone to join us as we do our very best to make Hank proud,” said a band spokesman.

Additional information about the Wretched Group may be found on its Facebook page.