The Esquires

The EsquiresFrom: Jonesboro, AR, USA

Since its inclusion on the Journey To Time and Hipsville compilations, The Esquires’ “Sadie’s Way” has been a favorite. The group called Jonesboro, Arkansas home, and although they were very popular locally, they only managed to record one single during their brief time together.

An Interview with Scott Snellgrove

60sgaragebands.com (60s): How did you first get interested in music?

Scott Snellgrove (SS): The first song I really remember that actually got me going was “Chantilly Lace”…”with a pony tale hangin’ down.” I thought it was about a Dinosaur with a bony tale hangin’ down. Well…the beat got me and I got hooked. I hot my first Guitar at six-years old. I’ve been playing ever since.

60s: Was The Esquires your first band?

SS: No, but it was my first real gigging band.

60s: What was your first band?

SS: The Eagles. Some guys in California (later) stole our name and…

60s: How long were The Eagles together?

SS: About a year. We won the Annie Camp Jr. High talent contest, recorded a demo and got air play with “The Bird is the Word”.

60s: When was The Esquires formed?

SS: The summer of ’64 as The Furys. Rick Metzler formed the band.

60s: Who all comprised The Esquires?

SS: Rick Metzler, rhythm guitar; Rick Murray, sax; Stanley Knight, lead guitar; Roger Barnhill, drums; and me on bass. We were The Furys. When Jim Grimes joined, we became The Esquires.

60s: Where did The Esquires typically play?

SS: We played everywhere – even clubs (our parents did not know about the clubs.) I was 15 and playing some of the more prestigious dives in the area.

60s: Did you play any of the local teen clubs?

SS: Sure. (We played) The Cave, The Place Next Door, The Hotel Noble, and The YMCA. We played a lot in Memphis, too!

60s: How far was the band’s “touring” territory?

SS: The Memphis area, and Arkansas, Mississippi, and Missouri.

60s: How would you describe the band’s sound?

SS: Rock and Roll. Due to the age spread of the band (jr. high and high school) everyone from Chuck Berry to The Beatles, Elvis, Stones, and Animals.
60s: What was the Jonesboro rock and roll scene like in the ’60’s?

SS: Jonesboro had a great scene in the ‘60’s. There were lots of places to play and kids that loved to go and dance.

60s: Did The Esquires participate in any battle of the bands?

SS: Yes! (We faced) Tommy Jay and The Escorts, The Knowbody Else, The Gentrys, The Devilles, The Guilloteens, and lots more. We came in first or second place every time – when it was a battle. Usually these were concerts/dances with two or three bands (as well).

60s: What other local groups of the era do you especially recall?

SS: The Escorts, Knowbody Else (aka Black Oak Arkansas), The Gentrys, The Letchers, and The Bar Boys.

60s: Did The Esquires have a manager?

SS: My Dad and the other dads. My Dad said that they thought they had the next Beatles.

60s: How popular locally did The Esquires become?

SS: Very. Our record, “Sadie’s Ways” b/w “Big Thing” was #1 in Memphis – all over Central to North Arkansas, North Mississippi, and Southern Missouri. We never made any money from the record but we made a fortune for those days from the gigs.

60s: What were the circumstances leading to the recording of the Esquires’ 45?

SS: We just thought we would do it. We came up with “Sadie’s Ways” at a rehearsal one night at the drummer’s house. Metzler and Grimes wrote some words. “Big Thing” was basically our break song. That’s me playing the trumpet.

60s: Where did The Esquires record the single?

SS: Alley Records. It was fun and a bit of work. We did a double on Stanley’s lead guitar. The record was done on two-tracks and overdubbed with vocals and the extra lead.

60s: Did The Esquires write many original songs?

SS: Not a lot. But Stanley Knight and I later wrote several. For the Esquires it was (more) like a jam and then put some words to it. Metzler and Grimes usually came up with the words.

60s: Do any other Esquires recordings exist?

SS: There is an EP with four songs. I have one “somewhere”! There are some rehearsal tapes done on an old Wollensak two-track. They’re not very good quality, but you can hear the band. It was a very good band… as good as any at the time. It was years later and much studio experience later that I finally really appreciated just how good we really were.

60s: Did the band make any local TV appearances?

SS: Yes – On Talent Party on Channel 13 in Memphis two times, and on Dance Party on Channel 8 in Jonesboro.

60s: What year and why did the band break up?

SS: In 1966. Grimes and Metzler joined the Marines.

60s: Did you join or form any bands after The Esquires?

SS: Yes – The Tuesday Blues was the next band. It was very successful. And (I’ve joined) lots more since.

60s: What keeps you busy today? Do you still play?

SS: Well, I sell printing…and yes I still play music. We have a band named The PF Flyers. The band has been together in some form or another since the mid-‘80’s. Eddie Ross, the drummer, was actually in the Tuesday Blues in ’69. He played with The Bar Boys from Paragould while I was with The Esquires. We play four to six times per month. On August 12, at the ASU Convocation Center, all these old ‘60’s dudes played: The West Finch Blues Band (with members The JustUs), Bar Boys, PotMelon, The PF Flyers (former Esquires, Bar Boys, Tuesday Blues, and Black Oak Arkansas (former Knowbody Else and Letchers members). It was the NEA Biker Classic – a big show.
60s: How do you best summarize your experiences with The Esquires?

SS: It was great. It’s even better now that you guys have expressed so much interest in something that we did when I was 15 and 16.

~ http://www.60sgaragebands.com/interviews/esquires.html


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Tracks played on Psychedelicized…

From the 1966 single “Sadie’s Ways”
Sadie's Ways

  • Sadie’s Way