Blackwood Apology

The 1960s

Blackwood Apology was inducted into the Minnesota Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame in 2007.

Blackwood, originally Blackwood Apology, was a Minneapolis band formed in 1968 around the music of guitarist Dale Menten. Menten had completed a studio project, a vocal-pop-rock album, which was about to be nationally released and promoted by a major record label.

The album, "The House of Leather," was a collection of tunes woven around a civil war era story. The band was formed to tour and promote the album, and performed other Menten originals as well as covers of blues and rock tunes done in uniquely-fashioned arrangements. Menten and vocalist Dennis Libby were the only two musicians who performed both on the album and with the band. The band enjoyed significant success in the last half of 1968 and into 1969, playing venues such as The New City Opera House, The Labor Temple (opening for The Grateful Dead), and the West Bank's Dania Hall.

In early 1969, Menten, in collaboration with a playwrite, director, and producer, transformed the album into a rock musical of the same name. With live music by Blackwood, it became a sellout hit, first at the original Cricket Theater in Minneapolis and then at the Crawford Livington in St. Paul.

Joe Piazza

Left to right: Bruce Pedalty, Hammond organ; Dale Menton, composer, guitarist, vocals; Joey Piazza, drums & vocals; Dik Hedlund, Fender bass;

Seated in front: Dennis Libby, lead vocalist