Barbary Coast History Toggle

Then…

microphoneIn the spring of 1967, Jimmy Theros (Restaurant owner in St. Paul), Shirley Erdman (Insurance Executive) and Dave Wesley (Dentist /Banjoist) met for their customary lunch at Jimmy’s Highland Park Restaurant.

For the past few weeks they had been discussing re-opening the old Golden Garter restaurant on Navy Island in St. Paul, Minnesota. The Golden Garter, which overlooked the Mississippi River, had been closed since the 1965 flood. Dave had performed there in the early 60s as leader of the Levee Loungers before going on to Diamond Jims, after which he retired from the music business to pursue his dentistry career full time.

Dave was reluctant at first, but then agreed on the condition that he could have a five banjo band with tuba and drums, and that they would perform only on Friday and Saturday nights. The lineup included Dave Wesley, Dick Petersen, Dave Gaitley, Gene Lundgren, and Dick Ross on banjo, with Eddie Bauer on tuba and Carter Joadwine on drums.

And Now…

Over the past decades, the band has performed at many Jazz Festivals, including Sacramento and Palm Springs in Califorina; Suncoast in Florida; Bix Beiderbecke in Davenport, Iowa, and Clear Lake and Cedar Falls in Iowa; Decatur, Illinois; Strongsville, Ohio; Great Falls, Montana; and Ocean Shores, Washington.

Memorable Dates

  • November 3, 1967:
    Doc Wesley’s Barbary Coast Banjo Band opens at “Jimmy’s on the LeVee” — a smashing success!!
  • January, 1968:
    Dick Ramberg joins the band on clarinet and piano
  • May, 1968:
    Name of the band is changed to Doc Wesley’s Banjo Band
  • July, 1969:
    Recorded two LPs for Recar Records
  • July, 1972:
    Band plays its last performance at Jimmy’s
  • June, 1975:
    Dave Wesley retires and Dick Petersen takes over as leader
  • July, 1976:
    Name is changed to Barbary Coast Banjo Brass and plays for Senator Hubert Humphrey at the Minnesota Fairgrounds
  • May, 1977:
    Recorded LP at Diamond Jims
  • July, 1979:
    3M Corporation flies band to Washington, DC to perform for the Special Olympics followed by a meeting with Speaker of the House, Tip O’Neil at a party
  • June, 1982:
    Band opens up “Kelly’s” in the Sheraton Park Place Hotel in St. Louis Park where they performed for 9 years
  • January, 1983:
    Recorded LP live at “Kelly’s”
  • April, 1983:
    Band performs for President Reagan at the Leamington Hotel
  • June, 1984:
    Performed at St. James Lutheran Church in Burnsville for Dixieland type service. This is the beginning of a musical ministry that is still going strong. Approximately 40 Sundays per year
  • June, 1986:
    Name of the band is changed to Doc Wesley’s Banjo Band
  • April, 1983:
    Band performs for President Reagan at the Leamington Hotel
  • June, 1984:
    Performed at St. James Lutheran Church in Burnsville for Dixieland type service. This is the beginning of a musical ministry that is still going strong. Approximately 40 Sundays per year
  • June, 1986:
    Name is changed to Barbary Coast Dixieland Band and consists of clarinet, trumpet, trombone, bass, drums and banjo with many of the members doubling on other instruments
  • August, 1990:
    Band is invited to accompany the Mayor of St. Paul to Nagasaki, Japan on a good will Dixieland tour.
  • November, 2001:
    Inducted into the Minnesota Music Hall of Fame
  • January, 2002 to present:
    Barbary Coast Dixieland Band begins its concert tours traveling all over the nation and enjoying the opportunity to perform for thousands with their toe’tappin’ music