This all has to do with my Dad and a ’60s rock band called Three To One and Rompin’ Ronnie Hawkins.

I am going to make a short story long, so bear with me on this. It begins 1967-ish, give or take a year, when we were living in a small 3-bedroom bungalow with a full basement on Concession 3 of Orillia Township. This becomes relevant, so please be patient.

There was a club in Orillia call the Club Pav (not sure if it was Pavalon or Pavilion, but everyone just call it The Pav) that brought in live bands every weekend. Tons of them! Every Canadian band from the mid to late 60s that you could possibly think of played The Pav. And, of course, The Kee in Bala, which still operates to this day. I used to go quite often, and in fact our whole family went. Kids were welcome!

I can’t remember exactly how it happened, but we came to know one of these bands quite well. They were called the Three To One. The “Three” were John Renton, Derek Norris, Brian Russell, and the “One” was Claudette Skrypnyk. Claudette was the drummer, by the way, and a damn good one! A female rock band drummer in the 60s. You better believe it.

Anyway, one week the band let us know that they were going to be playing at The Hawk’s Nest in Toronto and invited us down to see them. So on a Saturday, we all loaded into the car and went to the club, which was located upstairs from Le Coq D’Or at 333 Yonge Street. I still remember the stairs going up to The Hawk’s Nest. They had gold-painted iron railings and red carpet. It’s amazing what you remember, while forgetting most of everything else. At the top of the stairs was Mr. Ronnie Hawkins hisself, bigger than life, meeting and greeting us because we were guests of the band. I remember sitting at a table with the family and drinking tall glasses of Coke.

And I think it was after this that my Dad finished our basement into a recreation room, a party room, and he named it … you guessed it … The Hawes Nest. I remember a plaque being made up with the name on it and hung on the wall.

Later, the band Three To One changed their name to Raja and became a far-east psychedelic act that didn’t last long. They drifted away out of our lives. Just a couple of years ago, we were living in the Comox Valley on Vancouver Island, and my brother was at a pub when he heard someone mention a fellow by the name of John Renton living here now. He couldn’t believe that it was the same John Renton of the Three To One, but by golly it was! After 45 years and 4500 km distant, we met John Renton again. What a pleasure! He told us that Derek was in Vancouver area and was doing fine, Brian is here and there, having been a studio musician for all these years. Claudette, however, has vanished into thin air. They can not locate her. So, if anyone out there knows a woman who used to be a rock band drummer by the name of Claudette Skrypnyk, please let me know.

The band Three To One only put out one single, that I know of. It was a cover of See Emily Play, which Pink Floyd had put out as their attempt at a pop single around the same time.

My younger brother, Dan Hawes, was motivated by the Three To One and See Emily Play and Pink Floyd enough to take up guitar, developing into an amazing musician in his own right. A number of years ago he formed a Pink Floyd tribute band “All In All It’s Just” and went touring with it. You can see videos of his band playing Pink Floyd at including See Emily Play!

And so, in honour of my Dad, who passed away in 2007 before he could meet John Renton again, I have named this Blog … The Hawes Nest. I hope you will enjoy reading it.

Randy Hawes