If you're fortunate enough to reside around the Columbus, Ohio area, you're bound to be familiar with The Jim Lynch Band. The band plays regularly throughout the Columbus area, and is fronted by Jim Lynch, a veteran of many locals groups during the '60's - including The Gears and The Lapse of Tyme. Though Lynch was not a member of The Gears at either the time of their inception or their breakup, he was a member while they recorded songs for the legendary Hillside '66 and '67 LPs. Lynch left The Gears to join The Lapse of Time, and has been playing continously with groups ever since...
An Interview With Jim Lynch
60sgaragebands.com (60s): How did you first get interested in music?
Jim Lynch (JL): My paternal grandfather had been a musician and band leader, but had died when I was very young. As a child, my parents would take me to visit my grandmother, and she would let me play with my grandfatherís collection of instruments. I can remember them giving me one of Grandpaís guitars, and letting me sit on it and drag it around, bang on the strings, etc. As I would break one guitar, they would give me another one. Ironically, I guess it was their attempt to keep me quiet that resulted in my love of music. Also, my cousin, Sue, was dating a bass player, Danny Mauck. He helped me get my first real guitar for $15 from Whitey Lunzarís music store. It was a little box Stadium. I cut my teeth (and my fingers) on tunes like, Walk, Donít Run.
60s: Was The Gears your first band?
JL: No. My first band was called The Exceptions. My bandmates were: Jim Dolan on drums and vocals (he was the only one who could sing and play simultaneously at that time); Scott Saunders on lead guitar; and Yours Truly on rhythm guitar, with occasional leads.
During that summer, I went to stay with my sister and her husband in Troy, Ohio, where there was little for me to do (when I was not watching my infant nephew) but practice my chops. When I returned to the band, Scott designated me the lead guitar player from that point on. After that, I played with The Shantays (a "cool" take on the French verb, "to sing"). I played lead guitar and sang vocals; Scott Saunders also played guitar; Jim Dolan played drums and vocals (he was later replaced by Joe Gargani (of The Del Tones); and Steve Beery on bass. Gene Ochsendorf was the vocalist and tambourine player. In the summer of í66, The Shantays became The Diplomats. I played guitar; Steve Berry was on bass; Gene Ochensdorf sang vocals, played tambourine (and by that time, the harmonica, too); Emil Windmiller played rhythm guitar. Bill Tuggle played drums. Emil was a great guy. Columbus natives might remember Emilís Restaurant on East Main at Hamilton Rd. Emilís dad was the owner. I could take up a whole article on recollections of conversations in the booths at that wonderful landmark.
60s: Where was The Gears formed, what year, and by whom?
JL: This is where I could go on and on. The Gears was actually formed over a long period of time. In the time frame of The Shantays and The Diplomats, some other talented guys had a great band called The Del Tones. They were looking for a new rhythm guitar player to replace John Pellitier, whom I had always respected. Bob Alwood was chosen to take his place. That is when the band became The Gears. It must have been Fall of 1965.
60s: What was the line-up that comprised The Gears?
JL: The members of The Del Tones, were: Wes Richards on bass guitar and vocals; Tom Radowski, on lead guitar and vocals; Joe Gargani on drums and vocals; and John Pellitier. When The Gears was formed, Bob Alwod replaced John Pellitier on rhythm guitar. In the summer of 1966, they added Joe Daniels on keyboards and vocals. At the end of that summer, since The Diplomats were in disarray, and Tom Radowski was leaving The Gears, I was invited to replace him on lead guitar, and I accepted.
60s: Where did The Gears typically play?
JL: In clubs like The Gloria; The Sugar Shack (in Chillocothe); the Inferno clubs in Mansfield and Mt. Vernon, Ohio; the Gators Huts in Gahanna and Mt. Vernon; Phil Garyís The Button clubs. We played at "Lazabaloo", a teen concert and fashion show series held at the downtown Lazarus Department Store. We also played numerous teen clubs and Battles of the Bands at Valley Dale and the Ohio State Fairgrounds. We also played Jerry Rasorís DANCE PARTY Hop and Shows (record hop and music shows). That was the circuit in those days.
60s: How did you typically fare in the Battles?
JL: We beat out The Cheerful Earful and Sir Timothy and The Royals (later The Ohio Express) to go on the finals against The Fifth Order, who defeated us by a nose (Billy Carroll's nose, that is). The songs we performed were, to the best of my recollection Do You Believe In Magic, Iíve Been Lonely Too Long, Western Union, Devil With A Blues Dress (Good Golly, Miss Molly), and Happy Together.
60s: How far was the band's "touring" territory?
JL: We toured all over Ohio, and some of the river towns in West Virginia.
60s: How would you describe the band's sound? What bands influenced you?
JL: We took pride in our musical diversity. We played hits by The Loviní Spoonful, The Standells, Paul Revere and The Raiders, Rolling Stones, but we really took pride in our covers of The Beatles and The Rascals.
60s: Did The Gears have a manager?
JL: The best. Hillard Ebrom, Wesí uncle. Then, Johnny Garber and Dick Pickett of the famed "DJ Productions".
60s: How popular locally did The Gears become?
JL: We drew huge crowds everywhere we played, and made it to local TV shows.
60s: The Gears were featured on the Hillside '66 and '67 LPs. How did the band become involved with those projects?
JL: We knew Larry MacKenzie, who was a guitar teacher at Whitey Lunzarís on Hamilton Road. He had a recording set up in his house down by Lockbourne Rd. We wanted to record some of our material, and we did it with him. That was the first of many recording sessions for The Gears both with and without my involvement.
60s: Whose idea was it to cover Time Won't Let Me on the '66 LP?
JL: Time Wonít Let Me was on our current play list at the time. We also recorded a couple of Paul Revere and The Raiders songs at that session.
60s: Who wrote We're Through for the '67 LP?
JL: Iím not sure who wrote Weíre Through. It might have been Bob Alwood or Joe Daniels, or both.
60s: Did The Gears write many original songs?
JL: Mostly Bob Alwood and Joe Daniels. They wrote individually and together.
60s: The Gears released two singles that I'm aware of: Feel Right b/w Explanation and Come Back To Me b/w Sooner Or Later.
JL: I had left The Gears to play with The Lapse of Tyme by then, but I believe the personnel was: Joe Gargani on drums, Mike Shoaf on bass guitar, Bob Alwood on guitar, Randy Armstrong on guitars, and Joe Daniels on keyboards.
60s: Are you aware of any vintage live recordings, or unreleased songs?
JL: I am not aware of any.
60s: Do you know why The Gears called it quits?
JL: They went through several personnel changes before I joined them, and then several more after I left, so I canít really say. It seemed to me that The Gears had gone from being highly popular to being less popular, and everyone sort of drifted away to join other bands.
60s: Did you join or form any bands after The Gears?
JL: Prepare yourself - this is a long list!
Lapse of Tyme
Dave Workman Blues Band (the original)
The Rock Collection
Ted Robinson & Company
The National Rock Opera Company production of Jesus Christ Superstar (we toured the U.S. and Europe)
Dane Donohue & Jim Lynch
Dane Donohue, Craig Fuller & Jim Lynch
Dan Green Band
Dick Mackey Band
Sam & Dave
The West Coast Hipnotics
Little Jimmy & The Hipnotics
John Schwab Band
The JuJu Bees and The JuJu Bees Rhythm Revue
The Jim Lynch Band
I also enjoy a partnership with singer/songwriter Charlie Bleak, playing as a duo whenever possible, and recording original tunes.
I played with some of these bands longer than others, but this is a complete list, to the best of my recollection. I named a number of the bands listed above, such as The Hipnotics (The West Coast Hipnotics were actually called The Hipnotics, but had different personnel from The Hipnotics that I formed later in Columbus), Little Jimmy & The Hipnotics, The JuJu Bees, and The JuJu Bees Rhythm Revue.
60s: How often, and where, do you perform today?
JL: The Jim Lynch Band plays several times a week, either at public venues or for private or corporate events. I occasionally perform with Charlie Bleak, too. Please feel free to visit our web site for current schedules, clientsí comments, an example song list, and more information on the Jim Lynch Band: http://www.JimLynchBand.com. Over the years, I have performed with the other current members of The Jim Lynch Band from time to time. They are: Mike Shoaf (who played with The Gears after I left) on bass guitar and vocals; Terry Finneran (from D. C. Papke) on keyboards, vocals, harmonica, saxophone, and flute; Brad Hinerman (from The JuJu Bees and The JuJu Bees Rhythm Revue) on drums and vocals; and John Carson on flute and Soprano, Alto, Tenor, and Baritone saxes.
60s: How do you best summarize your experiences with The Gears?
JL: The experience was extremely valuable to me. I went from playing in what were more or less garage bands to playing with The Gears, who enjoyed a different level of popularity. That experience really helped me to develop my sense of showmanship and professionalism.
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