The Wha?

Years Active: 


Detroit rockers the Wha? formed in mid-1965 around vocalist Bob Demster, his guitarist brother Tom, lead guitarist Tom Tasseff, bassist Dan O'Connell and drummer John Milkovich. The group's name was inspired by a trip to New York taken by the Demsters and O'Connell where they saw a then-unknown Jimi Hendrix performing live at the Greenwich Village club Cafe Wha?; Hendrix was discovered by the Animals'Chas Chandler less than a week later, and the rest in history. The Wha?, meanwhile, returned to southeast Michigan and began playing the local festival circuit, opening for the likes of The Yardbirds, the Velvet Underground, the Surfaris and Sam The Sham the Pharaohs; a staple at Ann Arbor's legendary Fifth Dimension club, they also regularly performed in the company of local favorites including the Rationals, the Underdogs and the Woolies. By late 1966, the Wha? were ensconced as the regular opening act at the Grande Ballroom, warming up audiences for headliners like the MC5 and the Scot Richard Case. With a repertoire comprised primarily of covers by the Rolling Stones and The Who as well as Motown favorites, the group earned a strong local following but recorded only a handful of unreleased demos; they began to disintegrate in early 1967 when Tasseff was sent off to military boarding school, limiting his involvement in the Wha? to school breaks. He quit the band that summer, and was replaced by keyboardist Doug Daller; the Wha? dissolved permanently months later, with O'Connell later resurfacing as a member of the Detroit band Barooga Bandit.

[Ankeny, Jason.|WHA?&sql=11:dcfpxq9jldde~T1]


Event Datesort descending Venue City Region Country
MC5 10/07/1966 Grande Ballroom Detroit Michigan USA
MC5 10/08/1966 Grande Ballroom Detroit Michigan USA
The Walking Wounded 11/18/1966 Grande Ballroom Detroit Michigan USA
MC5 12/17/1966 Grande Ballroom Detroit Michigan USA
Beans of Beauty Dance Contest 02/03/1967 Grande Ballroom Detroit Michigan USA
The Rationals 02/11/1967 Grande Ballroom Detroit Michigan USA
The Wha? 05/06/1967 Grande Ballroom Detroit Michigan USA