Thunder Bay, Thunder Bay District, Ontario, Canada
Pat Waddell – lead vocals, replaced by Dean Dietz
Steve Kadel – lead guitar, replaced by Bill Hollingsworth
Bob Bergmann – rhythm guitar and vocals
Gail Scanlon – organ
Bruce Brown – bass
Mike Morrand – drums
The Dinks’ “Nina-Kocka-Nina” takes the repetitive nonsense of “Surfin’ Bird” and adds a bizarre parody of an Asian accent. The soft-spoken opening has the Japanese inflection down well, even if most of the words are gibberish. Once the song gets going the tone shifts to something that sounds like no real language except variations on “papa ooh mow mow”. The few lyrics in English, “get out your pencils, get out your books, try to catch all the teacher’s grubby looks” and “I’m taking English, History, Biology and Chemistry” imply that school is turning him into a raving idiot! Ironically, the writer of the song would become a teacher himself after leaving the Dinks!
“Penny a Tear Drop” is very different, and the contrast between the twelve-string guitar and organ sounds great. It’s something of a shame that the success of “Nina-Kocka-Nina” put the Dinks into the novelty category and ended their chances of making it as a sincere pop act. Song writing credits for “Penny a Tear Drop” go to Ray Ruffin (a variation on Ray Ruff’s name I hadn’t seen before) and Jack Dunham, whose name also turns up on the Dinks second 45.
Needing a follow up to “Nina-Kocka-Nina” they predictably cut another song in that vein. “Kocka-Mow-Mow” lacks the magic of the first record. Instead of being a band original, it was knocked off by two of Ray Ruff’s associates: Jack Dunham again, and Royce Taylor, a singer who had his own 45 for Sully as part of Gaylen & Royce, “I Can’t Stay” / “Modern Day Fools”.
Oddly it comments directly on their first disc: “all the DJs across the nation, thought we had a bad creation, they just thought we were up in smoke, but that’s kind of funny because we’re on all the charts” … “radio stations started getting calls, they said our band made their skin crawl, they didn’t like the music ’cause it made them sick, but everybody wanted to hear it, kids” … “they said ‘Nina-Kocka-Nina’ was the most … you better think twice before you put this one down.” On the flip is an incredibly insensitive song by Royce Taylor, “Ugly Girl”, sung in the sweetest voice.
Dink’s rhythm guitarist Bob Bergmann answered some of my questions about “Nina-Kocka-Nina” and the band:
I am Bob Bergmann, the writer and lead singer for “Nina-Kocka-Nina” on the Sully label. I played rhythm guitar for the Ragging Regattas and the Dinks back in the 60’s out of Beloit, Kansas.
The band was started earlier by Steve Kadel, from Beloit, Kansas. He was one of my best friends growing up in the 60’s. We graduated together in ’62. We learned guitars together during high school, by ear. We learned with 5-strings on our guitars–THANK GOD–there was no little E-string.
After graduating, Steve went to Fort Hays College which is now Fort Hays State University in Hays, Kansas and I went to St. Mary of the Plains College in Dodge City, Kansas. Steve started the band The Ragging Regattas in Hays. After two years, I transferred to Fort Hays State College and joined the band. Steve was the person who should be giving credit for starting the band.
I was in my froshmen year in college at Dodge City, Kansas and came up with the song “Nina-Kocka-Nina” and the jibberish language. We put the song together after a performance somewhere in Nebraska. We were sitting there on our amps, very tired, and I got up and started to sing the song which the band had never heard. They all plugged back in and the song was created. I had no idea what the jibberish meant, but at some performances, I was asked by orientals if I knew what I was saying and I think they agreed, I was saying some real words. Pat created his own background words during the recording. Pat’s name should have never been first on the record and he will admit that.
The reason we went to Texas to record, two different times, was our so call it manager had contacted Ray. We did not write “Penny A Tear Drop”. It was written by a person in the 30’s. The song was the reason we were asked to come to Texas to record. I would say it got us in the recording field. “Penny a Tear Drop” took hours. needed a flip side and we did “Nina-Kocka-Nina” in a few minutes and it went over the best.
We were called the Regattas when we went to record, but Ray sent our contract back and changed our names to the Dinks because Ragging Regattas didn’t match the “Nina-Kocka-Nina” song. I did sign a contract with BMI in New York after “Nina-Kocka-Nina” came out. There was a nice writeup in one of the top record magazines in the US about the song. Full page showed a picture of the record and around the record were comments from DJ’s around the nation about the song.
We were mainly an instrumental band. The song list was very long and mixed between vocals and instrumentals. Our main songs were by the Ventures, and other instrumental groups, many from England. We recorded an album of instrumental songs at Sully Studio after the two 45s, but it never came out.
Somewhere I have one of the many sheets of songs we had taped to our our Fender Dual Showmans. We all had Fender instruments and amps. I did have a Country Gentleman at one time. I also played rhythm on a Fender 6-string bass that was owned by one of the guys in the Blue Things. It had a very funky sound and the frets were very far apart which made it tougher to play.
One of the hardest songs that I remember doing was “Slaughter on Tenth Avenue” by the Ventures. Our lead guitar, Bill Hollingsworth was the greatest, and I don’t think I could have learned the rhythm without his help. You mention “Surfing Bird” by The Trashmen: Bill was first cousins with their lead guitar player.
After a few years, Bill Hollingsworth replaced Steve on lead guitar, and Dean Deetz replaced Pat Waddel on vocal. I left the band in ’66. I got married in January 1967 and finished my teaching degree. I am a retired business teacher here at Jetmore, Kansas of 35 years.
If my memory serves me correctly, went on a year or so before some of the guys were drafted. After that, they split company and two bands were started – I think the Beasts and another Dinks band. I was one of the junior high school sponsors and we hired the Beast for our high school prom. I remember joining the band for “Nina-Kocka-Nina”. The students and staff couldn’t believe it. One student came up to me and said “Mr. Bergmann, I didn’t know you had that in you”!
On March 7, 2009 the Dinks were inducted into the Kansas Music Hall of Fame in Lawrence, Kansas. It was a gala celebration for our band who I had not seen for forty years. Steve could not make it to the induction ceremony.
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