Phil Volk
American musician
Phil Volk
Phil "Fang" Volk is an American musician, singer, song writer, band leader, record producer, and arranger. As the bassist of Paul Revere and the Raiders from 1965–1967, Volk appeared in over 750 television shows, 520 of which were episodes of the Dick Clark production, Where the Action Is, which aired daily from 1965 to 1967.
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    LATE_ADULTHOOD
  • 2011
    Age 65
    It was coincidental to the message of the song that Osama bin Laden was killed on May 1, 2011, the same day the single was released.
    More Details Hide Details Volk states, "We all share the fragile, little planet. We all need to work together, like Lennon said, 'Come Together' and 'Imagine all the people, livin' life in peace'. You know, that's a bigger vision and it's not only a vision that a lot of people have had, but it's also on a scriptural basis, that the world would be a better place if we'd all get on the right path". There is a scriptural reference at the end of the song, Daniel 2:44, placed there as a personal message from Volk. The song was played at Ground Zero the day after bin Laden was killed by a disk jockey from upstate New York, Ronnie Dark, and received a warm response from the crowds gathered there. Volk is planning to include "The Times They Are a-Changin'" on an album which may include several original songs, Brotherhood covers, songs by the classic Northwest garage band The Wailers, and a few other Dylan tunes. The band is teaming up with Volk's wife, Tina Mason, and daughters Kelly and Jessica, to make personal appearances as Fang with Family and Friends. The band consists of Ken Kirby on lead guitar, Jamie Leasing on keyboards, Freddie Schreuders on guitar, and George Clark on drums.
  • FIFTIES
  • 2005
    Age 59
    Volk's newest group is Fang and The Gang, with whom he recorded his latest album "Fang Reveres The Raiders", released in January 2005 on Sonic Wheel Records, Volk's own label.
    More Details Hide Details The album consists of covers of all of The Raiders top 20 hits, plus Volk and the band revisit his own compositions for The Raiders, including "Why, Why, Why", "In My Community" and "Get It On". The album also includes covers of other artists' work, a new composition by Volk, and a Brotherhood song. The band's latest project is a cover of the Bob Dylan classic, "The Times They Are a-Changin'". The idea for covering the song came out of Volk's desire to record a new album. He began by listening to old cds and perusing the catalogs of different artists. Volk is a long-time Dylan admirer and Dylan recorded at Columbia Records at the same time as the Raiders, but the two rarely crossed paths. The new version is harder rocking than the original. Volk calls it, "A Song for the World in Turmoil".
  • 1997
    Age 51
    Volk, Levin, and Smith played several dates together following the 1997 Raider reunion, but when Smith moved to Hawaii, the group was unable to continue.
    More Details Hide Details Volk and two former Raiders, Drake Levin and Keith Allison, as well as former members of The Grass Roots and The Buckinghams, formed a group called The American Rock All-Stars. They performed at various venues from 1998-2002.
  • FORTIES
  • 1986
    Age 40
    A Broadway-style show, created by Anita Mann, called "A Blast From the Past", was Volk's next gig. It featured songs from the rock and roll era and debuted in Las Vegas in 1986, where it played until 1993.
    More Details Hide Details In 1994-1995, the show originated in Lake Tahoe, California and finally moved to Hawaii in 1996.
  • TWENTIES
  • 1969
    Age 23
    In December 1969, Volk joined the Stone Canyon Band as Nelson's bassist, replacing Randy Meisner.
    More Details Hide Details Volk toured with the band for 7 months, including a performance with the band on The Johnny Cash Show. Philosophical differences, particularly over drug use, which Volk had renounced after the break-up of The Brotherhood, caused Volk to leave the band. However, Volk credits Nelson with teaching him some new styles of finger-picking on the guitar that Volk still uses today. Following the end of his association with Rick Nelson, Volk went on to form a group called The Great Crowd. It consisted of 15 people, including a horn band and 4 female singers. They played at Disneyland and were recording on Lute Records. However, Volk's wife's former manager, who got them the job at Disneyland, asked them to scale back the number of group members. The resulting band was called The Friendship Train and consisted of six members, to include Volk, his wife Tina Mason, and his sisters, Jeannie and Marilou. The group performed at Disneyland for 7 years. In the early 1980s, Volk and Mason toured with their own band, The Phil Volk and Tina Mason Band. The band broke up due to internal issues after a tour of the Northwest and Canada.
  • 1967
    Age 21
    In mid 1967, Phil Volk, Drake Levin, and Mike Smith, along with organist Ron Collins, formed The Brotherhood.
    More Details Hide Details However, The Raiders trio were being sued by both Columbia Records and Paul Revere and although signed to RCA, could not release their first album, titled simply "Brotherhood". By the time the legal situation was settled, a full 18 months had gone by since the power trio of the Raiders had split to form The Brotherhood. The band finally released the album in 1968. Volk feels this first album suffered from the fact that it was too "thematic" and gave the group no discernible "sound". The band simply did not have the music ready to go once the lawsuits were settled. All the songs on the album were jointly written by Volk, Levin, and Smith. On "Love for Free", the band used a pump organ to create a sound like a classical fugue at the beginning of the song as Volk's solo. After playing it for his father, who had made some criticisms about the sound of the organ, Volk went back to the studio and overdubbed the organ 8 times to get a bigger sound. "Doin' the Right Thing" was mostly Levin's composition, but Volk helped finish it. Levin has the lead vocal and plays lead guitar, with the other members on bass, drums, and organ. An engineer named Robert Moog set up a prototype of what he called a Moog Synthesizer in the RCA studios, where the album was recorded. That led to the Brotherhood using it on 2 cuts, "Jump Out the Window" and "Forever", having been asked by Moog to try it out.
    Volk had also completed half of the next Raider album, "Revolution", released in April 1967.
    More Details Hide Details However, he was not given credit on the album for his contributions. Volk did return briefly in 1970 to the Raiders, at the request of Paul Revere, for 4 concert appearances during The Raiders tour with The Beach Boys. Revere was experimenting with having Freddy Weller and new bassist Keith Allison play lead and rhythm guitar, respectively. Volk took over playing bass for these concerts. In 1978, The Raiders classic line-up reunited for a final time on a Dick Clark prime-time special titled 'The Good Ole' Days'. The group performed a medley of their biggest hits. Four of the members of the classic line-up reunited in September, 1997, in Portland, Oregon. Volk, Drake Levin, Mike Smith, and Mark Lindsay performed for a crowd of over 10,000 fans. There has long been a controversy related to whether or not session musicians were used on The Raiders hit albums during the years Volk appeared with the group. He says, "There were no studio cats. That must have happened later, maybe in the 1970s when Mark has turned up as producer and Terry Melcher left. I don't know, Mark brought some people in for "Indian Reservation (The Lament of the Cherokee Reservation Indian)", but when I was in the band, and I want to get this straight, I was the bass player, I sang background vocals, and I also sang some lead vocals on some of the songs, and it was Drake, and myself, and Smitty, and Paul on keyboards, and Mark played some saxophone.
    In April, 1967, just a week after his older brother Captain George Francis Volk, U.S. Army, was killed in Vietnam, Volk, Levin, and Smith flew to New York from Los Angeles to perform on The Ed Sullivan Show.
    More Details Hide Details At rehearsals, Paul Revere had already replaced Levin with guitarist Freddy Weller. Volk showed Weller the steps he and Levin had made famous and Levin worked with Weller on his guitar parts. The Raiders performed "Him or Me", "Kicks", and "Ups and Downs". It was the last time Volk would appear as a regular member of the Raiders.
  • 1966
    Age 20
    But neither Volk nor Valley got any credit for helping to create the record. "Good Thing" peaked at #4 on the Billboard charts in December 1966.
    More Details Hide Details The members of the rhythm section of the band, Volk, Drake Levin, and Mike Smith, were becoming disillusioned with the overall direction of the band. While songs like "Hungry" and "Good Thing" remained true to the band's garage band roots, Volk and the others believed songs like "Melody for an Unknown Girl" were not relateable to what was happening in the world of music at that time. While Lindsay and Revere seemed to want to stay in the same musical groove, Volk and the others wanted to play music with a harder edge and sing songs that were message-oriented. They made the decision to leave the Raiders to form their own band.
    By 1966, according to manager Hart, he was receiving as much fan mail as lead vocalist Lindsay.
    More Details Hide Details The band also performed on many other television shows during Volk's tenure with the group, including Hullabaloo, The Ed Sullivan Show, The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, Colosseum, Milton Berle, Batman, The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, and The Hollywood Palace. After the success of their first album, their television show appearances, and a national tour in the summer of 1965, the Raiders reentered the studio to work on their next album, "Just Like Us", released in January 1966. The album featured Volk's lead vocals on the cover of the Animals' 'I'm Crying', and the blues classic 'Baby, Please Don't Go'. The latter proved to be popular with the fans, even though it was never released as a single and as a result, the song showed up on many of The Raiders' greatest hits compilations. "Just Like Us" became the first Raider album to go gold and their first top ten album. It also included "Steppin' Out" as well as "Just Like Me", which peaked at #11 on the Billboard charts. Not willing to lose the momentum the national exposure of their television show provided, the group recorded "Midnight Ride", the first album to contain song writing contributions from all five members of the band. Volk and Drake Levin co-wrote "Get It On" for inclusion on the album, with Volk singing lead. "Kicks" was the big hit from the album, reaching #4 on the Billboard charts.
  • TEENAGE
  • 1965
    Age 19
    It was only after his departure in 1965 and his replacement by Clive Davis, that the Raiders got backing by their label.
    More Details Hide Details The Raiders first Columbia album was "Here They Come", which was released on May 3, 1965. The first side of the album, produced as a live performance by Bruce Johnston, featured former Raider bassist Holliday. The second side, produced by new Raider producer Terry Melcher in studio, showcased Volk on bass. However, the artwork on the front of the album showed Holliday as bassist, but the back cover listed Volk's name on bass. "Here They Come" remained on the charts for 45 weeks. Recording with the band came easily for Volk, after long weeks of touring and getting to know the band's repertoire. Melcher used Volk's understanding of musical concepts, the result of his time as a music major in college, to assist in the studio when songs were being arranged. Volk could notate, understood chord structure, and knew how to write charts. In addition, Volk could play keyboards and Melcher often used him in that capacity. The first song on which the Raiders' new signature sound was evident was "Steppin' Out", written by Lindsay and Revere. Volk and Levin worked together on their guitar parts, with Levin coming up with a repeating lead line and Volk following with the same bass line that is played throughout the entire song. The song was the band's highest charted hit to date, peaking at #46 in August 1965.
    In January 1965, Volk received a call from Drake Levin, informing him that he should expect a call from Paul Revere, who was in need of a new bass player for his Raider line-up.
    More Details Hide Details The current bassist, Mike 'Doc' Holliday was leaving the group for personal reasons. Levin had to convince Volk to leave school in order to join the band on tour. Volk sent his parents a message overseas, informing them of his decision. Volk joined the band in Las Vegas to perform at the Pussy Cat A-Go-Go nightclub. At the end of his first concert appearance Mark Lindsay, lead singer, "baptized" Volk with a jug of water, making him an official member of the Raiders. Since all band members had a nickname, Revere suggested Volk call himself "Bugs" or "Bucky Beaver", because of the prominent eye teeth Volk often displayed with a wide grin. Disliking both of those choices, Volk came up with the name 'Fang'. At one show, he decided to grab some electrical tape and spell out the word 'Fang' on the back of his bass. Volk flipped it over to display the name to the audience, all the while dancing and making faces behind Lindsay as he sang lead. It became a signature bit for Volk and the group.
  • 1963
    Age 17
    When Volk left for the University of Colorado on a scholarship in September 1963, the friends said goodbye at the Boise train station, not knowing that in little more than a year, Volk would also be joining The Raiders as the final piece in what would come to be considered the "classic" Raider line-up.
    More Details Hide Details
    In 1963, Volk, as a member of the Borah H.S. track team, was scheduled to run in the Idaho State Track and Field Meet.
    More Details Hide Details Choosing to run in the meet, rather than go to a show The Chancellors were slated to play, cost him his spot with the band. After his dismissal from The Chancellors, old friend Drake Levin invited Volk to join him in the band Sir Winston's Trio, a jazz-pop group, as guitarist/bassist. The band first played a place called Quinn's Lounge, but was quickly fired for being under-age. Following that disappointment, the band was asked to do a local television dance show in Boise. While in town, the trio decided to catch Paul Revere and the Raiders show at a dance club Revere owned called The Crazy Horse. Revere had seen the Sir Winston's Trio on the television show and asked if they would be interested in becoming the house band while the Raiders went back to Portland, Oregon, their new home base. However, he insisted that the trio have a drummer if they were to play his club. Volk and Levin did not know of anyone that could join the group right away, so they asked Revere if they could borrow The Raiders' drummer, Mike 'Smitty' Smith, for the first week they played the club. All three - Volk, Levin, and Smith - would eventually become Raiders and then would go on to form Brotherhood. Eventually that summer, the band changed its name to The Surfers, adding cut-offs, Hawaiian shirts, and deck shoes as their outfits of choice, and played The Crazy Horse in Boise with a new line-up that included an organist as well as a drummer.
  • 1962
    Age 16
    After the family moved to Boise in 1962, he joined The Chancellors with former Nampa H.S. classmate and former drummer for The Classics, Russ Bice.
    More Details Hide Details Volk again played rhythm guitar and did lead vocals. The Chancellors had a horn section and were a show band that also did instrumental songs. The band played the Fiesta Ballroom in Boise every Saturday night, taking turns with other local bands. These shows were well-attended by high-school aged teenagers from the Boise area.
  • 1960
    Age 14
    The first band Volk joined was called The Classics. They formed in Nampa, Idaho at Nampa H.S. Volk played guitar and did some of the lead vocals. He remained with the band from 1960-61.
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  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1945
    Born
    Born in 1945.
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