An Interview with Jim Buckley of the Fallen Angels
Contributors to Michigan’s ‘60s Garage Band Scene
Interviewer’s note: Not to be confused with the Fallen Angels that had a couple of LP releases on Roulette Records, this group of Fallen Angels hailed from Michigan and only released one 45. Vocalist Jim Buckley refreshingly shared the group's story with “The Lance Monthly.”
[Lance Monthly] How did you first get interested in music?
Jim Buckley I was in school choirs and glee clubs starting at the age of seven.
[Lance Monthly] Was the Fallen Angels your first band?
Jim Buckley The Fallen Angels was my first band. It lasted from the summer of 1965 to the summer of 1967.
[Lance Monthly] Where was the Fallen Angels formed, what year, and by whom?
Jim Buckley The band was formed in Bloomfield, Michigan. Dave English and I started it.
[Lance Monthly] Who comprised the band?
Jim Buckley Dave English was on drums, Doug Swzed on guitar, Daryl McGhan on organ, Bob Owens on lead guitar, and I sang.
[Lance Monthly] There are at least two other bands that recorded in the '60s with the Fallen Angels’ moniker, including the group that recorded LPs for Roulette Records. Were you aware of this?
Jim Buckley I came up with name before the band was formed. We were all from Brother Rice and not angels. We started before the Roulette band. They never got airplay in Detroit.
[Lance Monthly] Where did the band typically practice?
Jim Buckley The lead's (Bob Owens) basement was our practice place. We practiced every day after school.
[Lance Monthly] Where did the band typically play?
Jim Buckley At Holli Gibbs', Pam Meritt's, and Mary Armstrong's birthday parties. We also played at the Silverbell, Mummp, the teen center in Bham, and all the local high schools where we played at mostly combo clashes.
[Lance Monthly] How would you describe the band's sound? What band's influenced you?
Jim Buckley We played mostly British Invasion covers: Kinks, Who, Yardbirds, and Hollies.
[Lance Monthly] How popular locally did the Fallen Angels become?
Jim Buckley If the girls liked us and went out with us, we were popular. We had no following otherwise.
[Lance Monthly] What other local groups of the era do you especially recall?
Jim Buckley Thyme, Seger, and Southbound Freeway were our heroes. The Fugitives, Yorkshires, and Chosen Few were the bands that were better than we were.
[Lance Monthly] Your group released one single. What was the flip to “Doomsday Flight”?
Jim Buckley The flip side of [the] record was “Feel A Whole Lot Better” - a Byrds’ cover.
[Lance Monthly] Where was the 45 recorded?
Jim Buckley It was recorded at United Sound for $200.00 in the same studio [in which] Seger, MC 5, and the Woolies recorded. I wrote the song and the band arranged it. It was one of about three songs that I wrote and played. Originals were not popular to play.
[Lance Monthly] Do other '60s Fallen Angels recordings exist?
Jim Buckley A cut of “Sometimes I Think About,” a Blues Magoos cover, was recorded at Falcon Records in Royal Oak. We didn't think to keep any tapes.
[Lance Monthly] Did the Fallen Angels participate in any Battle of the Bands?
Jim Buckley We lost every Battle that we were in; that confirms our greatness! We lost to BC and the Cavemen at Seaholm, the Guys Lucky at Rice, and the Animal Crackers at, I think, Groves.
[Lance Monthly] How far was the band's "touring" territory?
Jim Buckley We played metro Detroit, except for one frat party at Michigan State University (MSU).
[Lance Monthly] Why did the band break up in the '60s?
Jim Buckley We broke up when English went to Milwaukee to attend college, and Owens went Texas. Keeping five guys together was always tough. We were in it for girls, but as soon as one was secured the band suffered. Oh well . . . it was a great time.
[Lance Monthly] Did you join or form any bands after The Fallen Angels?
Jim Buckley English and I formed Vagrant Winter the following summer. We played from 1968 to 1970 with various members at parties at MSU. My last gig was the Valentine's Dance at Wilson Hall on February 13th, 1970. A great poster was created for that event. I wish I had one!
[Lance Monthly] What keeps you busy today?
Jim Buckley I'm in advertising and marketing and have worked over the years with some of the giants in the music industry on accounts such as Burger King's "Who's Got The Best Darn Burger in the Whole Wide World? Burger King and I." I did not write this music. I'm in the process of recording a six- song limited edition CD of my compositions for posterity. It will be done for Christmas and it's been fun performing and recording again. I am old, but not yet dead.
For more on the Fallen Angels, check out their page on My First Band at Fallen Angels.