Rob Dahms, guitar player for The Night People, plays a lick, Fri. May 6, 2011, at Cabana's in Rock Island. (John Schultz / Quad-City Times) John Schultz

>>> The good memories quickly surface when members of the Night People begin talking about their past.

Arriving to gigs in a 1953 Packard hearse. Making then-high school drummer Jim Stroehle look older by drawing on a moustache, which came off in a post-show glass of milk. Auditioning bass player Gary Pearson by seeing if he could polish off a pint of whiskey.

And then there are the onstage memories: Opening for Jimi Hendrix at The Col Ballroom. Recording demos at Chess Records and CBS Records in Chicago. Packing crowds of 1,000 or more into the Draught House (more recently The Dock restaurant on Davenport's riverfront).

Considered by many at the time to be the most popular band in the Quad-Cities during its initial run from 1963 to '69, Night People returned to the stage together last fall. The band has a regular Friday-night gig at Cabanas in Rock Island, as well as various other locations in the Quad-Cities.

"We love to play and we love to play together," said guitarist Rick Maddelein.

"There's a lot of friendship here too," bass player Gary Pearson added.

Other members of the group - guitarist Rob Dahms, keyboard player Mike Stroehle and his brother, Jim - had played in various combinations and incarnations through the years.

But when they realized they could bring Maddelein and Pearson back to the fold, they knew lightning was striking twice.

"They really helped save the job at Cabanas. Adding Rick and then Gary and the influx of material both brought to the band really saved the gig," Dahms said.

"Revitalized us," Jim Stroehle said.

Mike Stroehle, recovering from treatment for a nerve disorder, plays sporadically with the band, which had reunited for several occasions over the years, including the 1984 opening of the RiverCenter in Davenport.

The music veterans practice on their own, but not necessarily with each other.

"We've never had a full band rehearsal with this band, and yet our song list is well over a hundred songs, because we all know them," Dahms said.

Some band members will call each other on the phone and work out lines of songs.

The longtime friends and musicians say they know how to read each other on the songs, predominately hits of the 1960s, heavy on the Beatles.

The age and experience play in their favor, Jim Stroehle said.

"Most of it, professionally speaking, is that to be able to play any music from an era, you need people who played in that era," he said.

The fans who packed the Draught House are returning, band members say, as well as others who've only heard about Night People.

"A lot of the people who were around then are finding us, little by little," Dahms said. "But the funny thing is a whole new generations - their younger brothers and sisters, their kids."