The Control Boys started out in early 1981 as a guitar-based new-wave band, consisting of Mike Jones, Dave Eyerly, Darin Fox, and Jeff Tibbets. Jesse Ruggles joined during the summer of that same year. Mike's brother, Cam, came on board as the band's sound man, and Mike Eyerly, Dave's cousin, became band's the light manager.
It wasn't until the spring of 1982 that Rich Dickson joined the band as the keyboard player. Dickson and Ruggles had played for years together, and also performed in the touring rock band, Small Wonder.
Now, there were six. With the arrival of Dickson, came an arsenal of new instruments and sounds, so the band's original sounds and music began to grow and evolve. Their guitar-driven fast punk style, ala' Dirty Looks and XTC, was leaning more and more towards keyboard-orientated songs along the likes of Split Enz, Joe Jackson and Devo, but the band still kept their punk roots in all their shows.
Dressing in loud colors and building elaborate stage sets and props, they began playing Salem venues that included Boone's Treasury, The Main Event, and the defunct White Coaster, which has since been demolished and rebuilt with state offices. From the success of those performances, the band began playing colleges such as Western Oregon University, Willamette University, and the University of Oregon (fraternity where Animal House was filmed). The band found themselves as the warm-up band for Portland-based bands such as The Confidentials, Mr. Nice Guy, and Billy Rancher and the Unreal Gods. Reviews from these performances lead to their first trip out of state to Spokane, branching out to other cities including Eugene and Portland, and also communities around the Salem area. One performance even included a music department fund-raiser for Regis High School, which was held at the Star Theatre in Stayton, Oregon. Press releases, a large fan base, and media coverage were really beginning to build for the band. Untimely circumstances led to Jesse Ruggles leaving the band to join another band in Alaska, and Jesse was then replaced by Steve Hermenze at Ruggles' request. The band's following continued to grow, and by 1983 found themselves as the headliner playing at the Mission Mill Museum and the Salem Armory. By then, Control Boys shows were not just concerts, but events.
The band continued on this path until late 1983, where Rich Dickson found teaching instrumental music in public schools, raising a family, and trying to balance the schedule of The Control Boys overwhelming. The Control Boys disbanded shortly after his decision to leave.
In September of 1985, all the original members played a standing-room-only reunion concert at The Main Event, with guitarists Jesse Ruggles and Steve Hermenze both contributing their chops to the sold-out performance.
To say that they had a strong fan base would be an understatement, as one 45rpm record that The Control Boys recorded in '83, had sold for $50.00 at Salem's Ranch Records three full years after the band had disbanded!
Jeff Tibbets (Tid Vicious): Vox, percussion
Jesse Ruggles (J.R.): Guitars, vocals
Dave Eyerly (Stan Ikky): Guitars, vocals
Mike Jones (M.Jones): Bass, vocals
Steve Hermenze (HermenZ): Guitar, Vocals
Rich Dickson (Dr. Polyester): Keyboards, Trombone, Harmonica