Henery "Hank" Roesing
Henery (Hank) Roesing began guitar at the age of ten, and writing songs a few years later back home in Corpus Christi, Texas. Boosted by winning second place in a high school talent contest, Hank started his own band and thought he was on his way to stardom. But at the encouragement of his parents he decided to follow in his father's footsteps and joined the U.S. Coast Guard.
There was a long hiatus in songwriting and yodeling while he pursued other career goals. He did keep singing and playing though, mostly in church and gospel groups.
The Coast Guard took him worldwide and finally landed him in Ketchikan, Alaska. He's also lived in Juneau, Anchorage and Bethel; and has been in the greatland long enough (since 1971) to be a real sourdough.
While living in Bethel, Hank hooked up with a wonderful Eskimo couple, Henry and Hilma Shavings. He met them in church and began playing gospel with the Henry Shavings Family Band, traveling to Bush Alaska villages where they shared their music.
It was during this time that Henry Shavings encouraged Hank to revive his yodel. This he's done, and it was then that he was motivated to begin writing songs again.
Hank and Michael met through mutual friends in Bethel, although they lived there at different times. After a number of fun jam sessions, Michael suggested a group of two -- and even had an apropos name: 60/40.
Michael was motivated to take up the guitar in his teens by the easy and spectacular fame and glory of the great mid-sixties garage bands like Herman's Hermits, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and The Monkees. His first band was called Genesees Tombstone. Also, he says, "My dad played three or four songs on the guitar and it didn't take long to realize that, with a little practice, it was one thing I could do better than him." This happened in Boise, Idaho.
Later, in high school and college, Michael started listening to Bob Dylan and writing protest songs. Love songs too. While living in Portland, Oregon, in the mid-70s he decided to embark upon a professional music career as a country guitar picker. He quickly learned that fame and glory was certainly not easy and maybe not even that spectacular.
Except for the poverty, obscurity and loneliness it was a great way to make a living and he managed to do so, after a fashion, until the early 80s when he met his wife-to-be (Rhonda) in Twin Falls, Idaho, and gave up life on the road.
Playing music, however, has always been a sideline if not a mainline. Along the way, Michael learned and wrote many songs. Lately, he's been forgetting a few. The long and winding road has led from Oregon to Idaho, Montana, Nevada and even North Dakota. It took an airplane to get to Bethel, Alaska, in 1988 where he just missed Henery Roesing, who was leaving about then.
The fame and glory that had eluded him throughout his musical career finally blossomed in Bethel, where, since it's a small town, everybody is famous or at least infamous. The highlight of the sideline musical career came in 1996 with the release of "Greetings From Paris on the Kuskokwim," his collection of silly songs about Bethel (available elsewhere on this website). Silly songs, along with songs about roads, car parts, the weather, computers and guitars had become a specialty.
Now, living in Anchorage and having teamed up with Henery "Hank" Roesing, the sideline musical career has almost reached its zenith, or maybe its magnavox. Anyhow, he's learning songs he never would have had the courage to do before and discovering the joys of creating harmony.
"We're just two old pros who don't give a damn anymore if we don't sound like the jukebox or impress some booking agent," he says. "We're just in it for the fun. Although it is nice to get paid." All the fame and glory is nothing to sneeze at either.