Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Wick Fisher
Moose Lake Star Gazette 

South Dakota Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Wick's World


I had just received notice that in six hours I was to give an induction speech into the Class of 2015 South Dakota Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The speech was not about me, Wick Fisher. The only thing I have ever been inducted into was the United States Army, which I discovered five days ago was entirely illegitimate. Rather than being drafted, I should have received a 4-F deferment. Unknown to me, the draft board, the medical officer who administered my physical and the Army, it seems, overlooked the fact that I had a hole in my heart since the day I was born. Oh well, no reason for whining about it now. At least I got a college degree courtesy of the G.I. Bill and experienced the thrill of jumping out of airplanes.

I was whining about having to piece together an acceptance speech on such a short notice honoring my hometown buddy who decided to stay in Nashville. Thanks a lot, Wally. I also was the one who had to listen to the words of disappointment from his family and friends who couldn’t believe he had bailed out. Honor me for saving a stray dog and I’ll invite the world to my party. I guess when the spotlight shines down, some of us receive it rather differently.

By five o’clock the first act was on stage ready to rock the night away. Shortly before, I had been notified my services were not necessary. The chairwoman of the Grammy’s who had a lot more experience at this sort of thing than I, would accept the induction award for Wally and her husband Chris’ group, The Red Willow Band. I am still close friends with the five band members and have kept in touch with them over the years.

Several other bands from my college days were also inducted, none of which I had seen for 40 years. The most notable were Zero Ted who began as The Blue Things, Blueberry Buckle, and internationally famous operatic singer Susan Osborne and her trio called Garden. Sue was just returning from a 29-day tour of Japan where she performed 28 concerts. We decided the last time we saw each other, she was trying to sell her puppies out of my health food co-op called Harvest Moon. I still recall my nervousness over the health inspector walking in my store and what he would say about the dog-poop littered cage of puppies sitting near my store entrance.

Throughout the evening, I not only got reacquainted with many of the band members, but a lot of old college friends showed up. We agreed name tags would have helped but if you looked into their eyes and used a police technique called age-enhancement, one could generally realize who the old friend was, or you could at least pretend.

Incredibly, almost every band was on their game. They all sounded great, at least to us aging hippies who forgot our hearing aids. Some of the musicians went on to fame and fortune playing with the likes of Jethro Tull, Jean-luc Ponty, Paul Winter Consort, Jerry Jeff Walker, Jimmy Dale Gilmore, Butch Hancock and Roy Clark.

Singer/guitarist Tom Peterson, long considered South Dakota’s premiere songwriter, brought down the house when he sang the chorus “There’s an Iowa driver on a Sioux Falls Street.”

Just before retiring to my own bed on Sunday evening, the phone rang. It was my long-time friend, Jimmy Bass, the first friend I made on campus after returning back to school following my stint in the Army.

“Wick, I have to thank you for getting me tickets and including me this weekend. This was one of the most fun times I’ve had in my life!”

It was for me too, Jimmy.


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