In the spring of 1967, Lima bassist Jim McGarvey and guitarist Marty Freeland joined forces with Van Wert guitarist Dave Langstaff
and drummer Henry Weck to form The MUNX. Although they did mostly cover songs, the arrangements were always original and
heavy. They refused to play to top forty hits and trendy bars, so gigs were few and far between. They were lucky to afford gas money
and their union dues, but they sure rocked.
A change of fortunes came shortly after, when the MUNX played some gigs at a place called The Sopwith Camel in Lima. One night,
the MUNX played opposite a local band called The Mixed Emotions. The lead singer was LaVon Harper, or "Harp", and their
drummer/manager was Mitch Pemberton. Around the same period, a keyboardist named John Supernavage was in Lima
performing at The Villa, in a band called Jack Sparks and the Sparkles (with Seymour Duncan of guitar pick-up design and
During the winter of 1967-1968, the original Ohio Power (1.0) consisted of
LaVon Harper, singer - Henry Weck, drums – Jim McGarvey, bass - Dave
Langstaff, organ/guitar - Marty Freeland, guitar. When Marty graduated from
high school June of 1968, he started making plans to move to California.
The band went 3-piece for a while, but as good fortune would have it, John Supernavage was back in Lima visiting friends, and
available to join the Ohio
Power (2.0) on Dave’s newly refurbished Hammond C-2 organ. This allowed Dave to remain on guitar. John’s gritty rock and roll
voice contrasted wonderfully with Harp’s and gave the band even more flexibility and style.
Music changed fast; hair grew longer as the psychedelic movement took place in
California and New York. The Ohio Power became part of it. However, some of their
biggest influences were coming out of Detroit and its suburban areas. Although they
played regularly in a three-state area, the Ohio Power found themselves playing
more and more in the Detroit market.
Eventually the music revolution in Detroit spread to Ohio in the form of the Toledo Pop Festival. Sept.14th 1969, Ohio Power played
at their first Pop Festival in front of a few thousand kids with mostly Detroit area bands: MC5, Ted Nugent and the Amboy Dukes,
Turtles, SRC, Savage Grace, Rationals and Rush.
Each member of the Ohio Power band became an integral part of the over all sound. This comes only from years of hard work. The
band knew what one another was thinking at any given time throughout a performance. This gave them an uncanny tightness in
complex arrangements. Because of this, the whirlwind came to an abrupt end when Dave Langstaff received a low draft lottery
number forcing him and the rest of the band into making career choices. Through the years that followed, the members have
remained good friends, with each probably wondering what might have happened if a few cards had come up differently.
One trip to New York produced a recording contract offer from Enoch Light, owner of Project 3 Records, which the bands attorney
turned down. During that period, the Power played bigger and bigger gigs brought on by their increasing popularity and high-energy
in-your-face of rock and roll. London Records courted the Power after hearing them at a concert in Canada with Frigid Pink. Also
Capitol Records executive producer and manager became interested when they backed Grand Funk Railroad.
They now have that once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to hit the stage together August 2, 2008, and are once again working hard to
deliver more of that in-your-face rock and roll they were known for during those exhilarating times in the Lima area.
MORE POWER TO YA!
The various bands went their separate ways, until The Mixed Emotions
fell apart. Mitch came up with the idea of Harp becoming the lead singer
for the MUNX, with a name change to the Ohio Power, and management
by Mitch. The soulful voice of Harp jelled with the edgy MUNX sound to
create a uniquely heavy, but commercial sound.
For them to kick out hard high-energy rock in Detroit one night, then travel to Indiana
to play a different set of music the next was not uncommon. Because of this
flexibility, they were playing a lot; never turning down an opportunity to gig.
They once traveled three hours just to play two songs on a TV show in Muncie, Indiana. And regularly made the drives to Detroit to
play various places, including those run by Punch Andrews (Bob Seger’s manager), the Roostertail, East Town, Silver Bell and more.