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The band native to Hot Springs, Shells of Time, will be performing September 22 at the Mueller Civic Center as part of Hot Springs' homecoming festivities after the Hot Springs Athletic Hall of Fame banquette. 

Founding member of the Shells of Time, Mike English, said the band formed sometime around 1966 and 1967. He and his friend, Frank Crowell, had grown up in Hot Springs singing together. Between the two of them, they could play drums, bass, keyboard and vocals. They picked up a guitarist, Tom Murati, and formed a three piece band known as the Night Walkers. 

Soon after, English got a tip from a friend in shop class that a new guitarist was in town by the name of Rich Schuttler. He asked Schuttler to join the band, and the first incarnation of the Shells of Time was born. 

At the time, all the band members were 14 or 15 years old and attending Hot Springs High School.

"Our dads would drive us around town and out of town for gigs," said English. 

The youngsters started making noise early, landing a spot on KOTA in a promotional segment known as "The Stars of Tomorrow".

They started to expand their playing radius into Nebraska, Wyoming and North Dakota, even opening for a few touring national acts. 

Craig Katt and Brad Baldwin were soon added to the ensemble. They not only brought with them strong musical talent but another valuable asset to the young, touring band.

"Craig and Brad had driver's licenses, so now we could really go where ever. No dads added to the hi-jinks," said English. 

They were now able to play as many gigs as they wanted. 

The inevitable graduation from high school was a challenge for the band, but eventually Katt, Schuttler, Engish and Baldwin all found themselves at Black Hills State. 

They added a horn section to the band and purchased a touring bus.

They stayed together for a while, until 1973 or 1974 by English's estimate.

"It's been a wonderful road that went for quite a while," said English. 

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Then the band began to break up with the exits of Crowell and Schuttler. From the remains, a three piece band calls Mazhac was born. Mazhac played with some other up-and-coming bands, most notably Styx. 

Eventually most of the band members splintered in their own directions, many continued playing music with other bands. 

The band's last gig together was at their induction to the South Dakota Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2015. Prior to that, Schuttler and English played together at their class reunion as a two piece in 2011.

English is proud of his memories with the Shells of Time.

"I think every gig the band played, we did our best,” he said. “It didn't matter what the response from the audience was, it didn't matter how big the audience was, it didn't matter whether they liked us or not, we just did what we did and enjoyed it." 

The reunion concert came to be after the former band members made a donation to the Hot Springs High School Athletic Hall of Fame. The donation wasn't big according to English, but it prompted Carlos Cornay of the Hall to call English and thank him. 

Cornay's call wasn't just for a thank you, however. He told English of his memories watching the Shells of Time perform in Hot Springs when he was a kid and asked if English would be willing to play homecoming. 

English contacted Katt and Schuttler, who were both eager to play. They also recruited other former band members, Randy Crane, Joe Meyer and Brian Wheeler. 

English is excited for the reunion gig.

"Expect a great show and a lot of fun," he said. 

He also added, that the daughter of Frank Crowell, the band's late lead singer, Katie Crowell will be singing with the band. 

English is currently living in Burbank California. When asked what he does, English said: "I'm retired from anything other than playing music."

The show will be a fundraiser for the HSHS Athletic Hall of Fame. Tickets are $20 per person. For more information, call the Hot Springs Chamber of Commerce at 605-745-4140.

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