During the mid to late ‘60’s bands had weird names. Such was the case for two Twin Cities’ bands: The Grasshoppers and The Bananas.
The Grasshoppers had a good five-year run and broke up in 1968. Singer Jiggs Lee decided to try his hand at a draft deferment in college.
In 1969, The Bananas were trying to re-align the “image thing” by making some changes. Jim Offerman and Joe Soucheray (today, a highly-paid broadcast professional, author, and columnist) were replaced by Jiggs Lee on vocals and ex-Crow drummer Mike Mlazgar. With Dave Elmeer on bass, Lloyd Forsberg on guitar, and Al Dworsky on keyboards, The Bananas continued to fill existing contracts with the intention of making a change.
What to name the band? Lloyd said “Cain”. Nobody had any objections, and so it began
After numerous teen club dates and school dances, Cain began to stretch its base. College shows, where audiences were more politically active, started to garner a “heavier” reputation for the band.
Cain always seemed to have a devil of a time keeping drummers and keyboard players. By the time the band broke into the Chicago scene, Mike Mlazgar had been replaced by Tom Osfar. Cain learned about the long hours of a working Rush Street band. Six hours per night, seven on Saturday for two weeks straight.
During that period, Al Dworsky left to live on a Kibbutz in Israel and was replaced by Fane Opperman for a short time. Soon the keyboard position was filled by Jerry McGee. When Jerry went on to other things, Chas Carlson filled those duties. Chas authored “Katy”, and other members of Cain began to pen some original material.
Cain would leave Minneapolis-St. Paul every month or so to spend long nights toiling in rock clubs like The Rush Up, The Corporation, Beginnings, and The Night Galley in Illinois and The Stone Toad and Humpin’ Hannah’s in Milwaukee. Those lead to dates at Merlin’s in Carbondale, IL and other out-state venues. Along the way, Cain worked club dates with similarly hopeful bands like Cheap Trick, Styx, and Kansas.
2:30 in the morning would often turn into jams with whoever might be in the crowd that night. members of Fleetwood Mac, Iron Butterfly, Spencer Davis, Todd Rundgren, Mott the Hoople, and others would haunt the clubs after shows, looking for an open stage to jump.
Tom Osfar left Cain to join Tufano & Giamarese in Chicago. “Ozzie” was replaced by Kevin DeRemer from the Everett James Band. After all the changes, Dave, Lloyd, Kevin, and Jiggs decided to forge ahead as a four-piece. Finally, the core that went into the studio was in place.
Cain’s first album “A Pound of Flesh”, released in 1975, was originally intended to have a very ethereal theme with a reference to Shakespeare’s “The Merchant of Venice”. The resulting cover was the idea of ASI Records’ marketing department run amok. Tours to support the LP took Cain to Texas, Michigan, Indiana, and Kentucky, aside from the usual stints throughout Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Illinois.
Cain’s second album “Stinger” was written during road trips and infrequent rests from touring. It fulfilled the two-album contract with ASI and Cain’s management was free to pursue other label opportunities.
Cain began work on a third LP in 1978. It was only half completed before, weary of unfulfilled promises and faced with the diluted market as a result of "Disco", Dave and Jiggs left to "air out". Lloyd and Kevin continued to play as Cain for an additional year until, that too folded.
Today, Dave is an anesthesiologist in Minneapolis and still pays music, Jiggs works as a commercial sound system designer in the Twin Cities, Lloyd is "somewhere in North Carolina", and Kevin is married to Melissa Manchester and living in Los Angeles.
A bio of Cain would not be complete without mentioning some of the people that kept the band together through their hard work and dedication: John Cutcliffe, Ward Monroe, Red White, Larry King, Dave Johansen, Michael Dean jacobsen... We couldn't have done it without you!