|College Wrestling 101, Practical Applications
The band steered clear of barroom gigs, but played them occasionally to tighten a new set; it was a chance to have a paid rehearsal. One of these gigs
became a lot more trouble than it was worth. A college wrestling team captain accused a band member of flirting with his girlfriend and began a heated
exchange. Unable to pick a fight, he staggered away. As the evening wore on, he returned bringing the wrestling team with him. They planned to attack
from the bushes as we loaded the equipment van. We grabbed microphone stands and other make-do weapons. I wrapped my knuckles in a bar towel to
let them know we meant business. (I probably would have used it to pat down my wounds after they finished mauling me.) For some reason, possibly
because the fight would draw more attention than expected, the team scattered. With the roadies spiked with booze and adrenalin, our troubles were far
from over that evening…
We then stopped for a late night snack at a Van Wert area truck stop. Insults hurled back and forth between our roadies and a couple of truck drivers, and
soon broke out into a fistfight. I remember the plate glass windows heaving towards the point of shattering, with chairs, food, and tables flying around the
room. It seemed like the whole place came unglued. As the brawl intensified, a fearless cook grabbed a pistol in one hand and a meat cleaver in the
other. Waving them above her head, she herded the entire room full of customers out into the parking lot. We grabbed the roadies and peeled out to an
abandoned stone quarry where we camped the rest of the night. Thinking the trouble had passed, we meandered back into town at daybreak.
|The Ohio Power Band Escapades by: Dave Langstaff
|A Real Trooper
Running late for rehearsal one day, Henry & I hopped into his red-hot rod--the Red Devil-- and hit the back roads for Lima. Normally the trip was an hour or
so, but we must have made it in half that time. I remember going airborne at least 3 times as the Red Devil flew across a series of county road bridges. As
we screeched around a big tree lined curve in the road a few miles north of the rehearsal building, we met a state trooper cruiser going the other way. We
saw his brake lights come on, so Henry put his foot even further through the floorboard. A few heavy G-Force minutes later, as the band stood watching in
awe, the Red Devil slid into the parking lot broadside, throwing stones and fish tailing its way around to the back of the building. We parked and sneaked
around the building to join the rest of the band standing out-front. With their jaws nearly on the ground, they asked, “What in the world’s going on? A State
Patrol cruiser just flew by here at about a hundred mph!”
|Foggy Mountain Breakdown
While returning from New York City, the equipment van broke down in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Henry and I slept in the van, hoping for a hopeful easy fix
the next day. The rest of the band took the Cadillac on to Ohio. We found that a spark plug had broken and punched a hole in the top of a piston. After
discussing our choices with the mechanic, we decided to forgo repair and press on for home, over 500 miles away. Our top speed of 35 MPH became 1-2
MPH with the engine shaking and gasping, as we navigated the steep grades along the Pennsylvania Turnpike. With the engine compartment positioned
between the drivers and the passengers seats, our main concern became gasoline finding its way through the top of the piston into the crankcase where it
could explode. There were NO cigarettes smoked in the van the rest of that agonizingly slow trip!
The looks we received whenever we hauled our cut down C2 Hammond Organ in Jim’s Hearse. (We stood the organ on end and cut it in half with a saw,
making it easier to move). During that period, the band sported long frizzed hair, some wore rose-colored glasses and psychedelic clothing. Put simply, the
walnut organ with its Gothic quatrefoils looked like a casket, or at least something serious riding in the back of the hearse. We saw an array of facial
expressions, everything from delight to bewilderment gazing in on us, as we passed cars and trucks on the interstates. Around Lima, we often took turns
riding in the back, lying on our backs holding flowers on our chests, and heads turned to the windows with big smiles on our faces.
People normally looked on the band with amusement. There were times where our modern dress provoked violence…
…If Looks Could Kill
John called for back up as the threat of violence intensified. He received a few slurs and comments at a local bar because of his super long hair. Our main
roadies at the time, one a calloused ex-Marine Viet Nam War Vet, the other a seasoned Motorcycle club member joined him lending their support. The
Marine took the ubiquitous Crescent Wrench from his back pocket and swept the entire bar full of food, dishes, and drinks on to the floor. The three then
started in on the patrons. Soon the police arrived and took them to the city lockup. Mitch received their phone call and bailed them out since we had a
contract agreement playing that evening. We became concerned because of our endeavors to promote a wholesome family friendly image of the band.
|The Same Old
|The Power within - By Kevin Smith
The year was 1969. Led Zeppelin had just released its first album and a slew of other groundbreaking albums were out there by the likes of Jeff Beck,
Blind Faith, Deep Purple and Procol Harum. Heavy stuff. At 15, I wasn’t old enough to drive to concerts on my own. But on several occasions I did
manage to tag along with my older brother, Sol, to the Hullabaloo club at Forest Park Plaza in Dayton. The Hullabaloo was a low-slung affair, tucked
neatly in the rear of a nondescript shopping center. The club didn’t serve alcohol but it was still the happening place, bristling with energy and always
overflowing with people. The Hullabaloo – which later morphed into Papallilski’s - ultimately served as a launching pad for up-and-coming bands like The
Allman Brothers, Grand Funk Railroad and The James Gang.Some of the music those groups produced back then was downright amazing. But it was a
regional band from Lima that really blew me away. The Ohio Power was a band like none other. When these guys took the stage, the sound was simply
monstrous.Henry “H-Bomb” Weck was a tornado on drums, laying down a rhythmic foundation like a freight train, and guitarist Dave Langstaff seemed to
meld elements of Pete Townshend, Richie Blackmore and Jeff Beck – all rolled into one!
But it didn’t stop there Jim McGarvey was rock solid on bass, singer LaVon Harper was soulful as hell and vocalist/keyboard player John Supernavage
could tackle seemingly anything. This band had it all. I heard them play on several occasions and their punchy, in-your-face assault on the material
never ceased to amaze me. This was like finding pure gold! The Power played everything from early Zeppelin tunes to more obscure songs like “Apricot
Brandy” by Rhinocerous and “Tin Soldier” by the Small Faces. In the band’s later incarnation, they also did a lot of their own material, like “Sunken Ships,”
“Lookin’ Back” and “Flying High.” Breathtaking stuff. But as good as the tunes were, the songs were almost immaterial. It was the way they played them.
Everything was “Power-ized” with the band’s own unique stamp. And the tunes were energized all the more by arrangements that often were very complex.
Watching the Ohio Power play was like listening to one huge, well-oiled – AND VERY POWERFUL - machine.
I can still remember arriving at the club with my brother and his friends. Sometimes it was just us and other times my best friend, Eric Loy, was along.
When we pulled up, I’d actually jump out of the car and run inside to get a good spot. That’s how exciting this band was. Now it’s nearly 40 years later and
they’re back. I was 15 then and I’m 54 now. It’s about time. Kevin Smith
|Ohio Power: Looking Back by: Dan Kimpel
Between the dying factories and the luxuriant cornfields in the flatlands of Northwestern Ohio, rock ‘n’ roll was the closest thing we had to salvation. In the
mid-Sixties, with a boarded up downtown, a Southside primed to explode into racial violence, and the Vietnam body count on the nightly news, Lima,
Ohio was a microcosm in a region that would, in time, be known as the Rust Belt. Thank God we had our own rock ‘n’ roll heroes: Ohio Power.
To us they were stars: We would see them around town -- skinny and defiantly longhaired – carrying amps upstairs into Art Miller’s electronic repair shop,
buying sticks and strings at Bill Smith’s Custom Percussion or tooling around in bass player Jim McGarvey’s ominous black hearse.
|Some guys never learn. And much as I hate to admit it, I am one of those guys.This realization came to me a couple of months ago when the seminal Los
Angeles rock band X came to town during one of its periodic reunion tours. The band was about 20 minutes into the show – somewhere between "Nausea"
and "Johnny Hit and Run Pauline" – when my girlfriend tugged at my sleeve and whispered, "This is so loud it's giving me a headache. Let's go."
And in that instant, I was thrust back through the decades to the UAW Union Hall in Lima, Ohio, to the spring of 1969.
The event was the Lima Senior High School post-prom dance, and my date was trying to make herself heard over the sonic wash of my favorite local
band, The Ohio Power. The Power was opening that night for anoutfit I'd never heard of – Brownsville Station. And even though I'd never heard of them, I
knew they were based in Deeetroit, and Deeetroit at that stage of my life was the center of the rock and roll universe. They had to be good! And they were.
Brownsville Station lived up to its pedigree, and the bill was indeed so perfectly balanced that Ohio Power drummer Henry Weck eventually wound up
playing with the Station. It was a perfect match.
|Some Guys Never Learn by: Dave Fandray
|Fortunately, the music that night was so loud and so compelling that I couldn't make out – or could pretend that I couldn't make out – what my date was
telling me. Which was, of course, that the music was giving her a headache and that she wanted to go home.
What can I say? I was younger then. And like so many of my friends, I thoroughly believed in the liberating power of rock and roll. The Ohio Power, and
Detroit bands like Brownsville Station and the Bob Seger System and The Amboy Dukes and the mighty MC5 sang the anthems of our liberation. In no
small way they set us free. So free, in fact, that we weren't afraid to look the other way when our girlfriends tugged at our sleeves and told us it was time to
go home. These days, when I feel that tug on my sleeve, I surrender gracefully. I guess you could call that growing up. Which is no small
accomplishment, really. I am, to this day, grateful to The Ohio Power and all of those great Motor City bands for giving me the courage to do that, to grow
up gracefully while holding on to a big piece of youthful exuberance that I know will never die.
Hey! Maybe I HAVE learned something after all.
|What The Ohio Power Meant To Me: By Tripp Tozzer
(Tripp Tozzer is the host of Wax Trax on Oldies Radio Hot 99.7 WKSD on Sunday Evenings at 6:00PM in Van Wert, Ohio)
To small town boys like me, they were gods. Van Wert, Ohio in the late sixties wouldn't have been where you would have expected a musical mecca
existing, but it did. Starting at the Junior Fair Building record hops anddances with Rebel & Tom and then later Tom & Jerry, we saw bands like The
McCoys of Hang On Sloopy fame, The Kingsmen of Louie Louie renown, even Freddie "Boom Boom" Cannon. Bob Seger came to town in 1969 and left
empty-handed when the promoter took off with the box office receipts.
But, my favorites were always the local and unknown bands. First The Voyagers, then The Jents, The Blueberry Syrcus, The Munx, The Canterberry Bell,
The Condors, The Cloud, The Sands Of Time, Raw Meat, Thunderstone, Tuloma, and several others, names lost in time. We later had the Teen Center,
"The In" where some of Michigan's up-and-coming bands came to play. Chuch Magee and Russell Schlagbaum, who later worked their way around the
world several times with Rod Stewart & The Faces and The Rolling Stones got their starts in the music biz at The In.
But, the best, the loudest, the most in your face band was by far The Ohio Power. I don't know who came up with the name, but you couldn't have
described them more aptly. They were from Ohio and they were powerful. Dave Langstaff, Henry Weck, Jim McGarvey, LaVon Harper, Marty Freeland,
and John Supernavage weren't just great players; they combined for a sound that we never heard before. Rock and roll for sure, but soulful and bluesy as
well. They took any song and made it their own, from early Zeppelin to Little Richard.
And the nicknames, Gink, Harp, Shark, Lil' Dave (sorry, H), and the best name of all, Supernavage. That name was just too good; it had to be made up.
They played everywhere in the Midwest. Small clubs like "The In" of Van Wert, Springbrook Gardens in Lima, all the way up to venues like The Toledo
Pop Festival, The Cincinnati Summer Pop Festival, and The Grande Ballroom in Detroit. They rubbed shoulders with the MC5, The Amboy Dukes, The
Rationals, Iggy Pop & The Stooges, Grand Funk Railroad, Frijid Pink, Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels, The Third Power, SRC, Bob Seger, Brownsville
Station, Traffic, Mountain, Alice Cooper, Bloodrock, and countless others.
It was hard to believe. Small town kids from rural NW Ohio played against some of the biggest names in the business! We were at the same time, jealous
and in awe. If they could do it, maybe we could too. They were among our most influential role models. They showed us the way, proof positive that
anything was possible. Set your sights high, work hard, be persistent, and maybe you can scale the heights of your chosen professions, just like they did.
Like they say, "More Power To Ya"
|Late that night, lying in bed, with the glow from the Sohio refinery staining the walls of my bedroom orange, I could still feel the band as I heard the wail
of the Baltimore & Ohio railroad. The train rolled out of town. I knew I would be next. They say that reminiscence is not what really happened, only what is
remembered. The monumental sound of Ohio Power signified to one teenage boy that everything was possible.
- Dan Kimpel - Los Angeles, California.... http://www.dankimpel.com/
|Returning to Ohio late one night, we stopped for food at a Michigan truck stop. We again drew attention because
of our present-day dress and hairstyles. Other than that, nothing seemed out of place. We enjoyed our meal,
settled the bill and left for home, unaware that harm would come our way. A car passed us at a high rate of speed,
and then sped back towards us. They hurled what must have been a large brick and dented our car. Fortunately,
they missed the windshield. Violence became typical during the 60's as people saw the status quo challenged
and the world changing around them.
|I remember Jim dreaming about having a semi trailer full of Chicago thugs parked outside a truck stop. He would
open the trailer doors letting them maul his assailants, after luring them outside with his shoulder length hair, pink
suit and rose-colored glasses. It was especially difficult having professional dress and hairstyle as a working
musician finishing high school. I remember greasing my hair and piling it on top of my head like a 50's hoodlum,
which was acceptable, just to skirt the dress code. Henry wouldn’t do the greaser thing, so he was sent home
because his “Beatle” bangs touched his eyebrows—hard to imagine, eh?
|Back in those exciting and seminal days of progressive rock in the late sixties and early seventies, a handful of my only and best friends and I discovered a
prodigious and stentorian group from Lima, the OHIO POWER! WHOA!
Fortunately for us, the OHIO POWER frequented and seemed to favor playing one of those burgeoning clubs of the time, which now
seems like a dream too good to be true. Pappalilski's was a club which had been the erstwhile Hullabaloo Club in Dayton's Forest Park Plaza Shopping
Center. There was no age restriction and for two dollars, you could catch (as we did) The Flock, Allman Brothers, James Gang, Amboy Dukes and others,
though for us, we much more excitedly went to experience the OHIO POWER!
As comparisons are odious, and each band was unique, the OHIO POWER just DID IT for us more than any other! They had their
own class, style and panache! They were the first band I encountered that had a Marshall stack, had humor, originality and excitement. They also seemed
to be so hip in finding and covering the coolest material by Jeff Beck, Led Zeppelin, Hendrix, etc. Man! They were so professional, but were nice guys,
too! They'd put their own stamp on cover material, as well as composing original material of the same high caliber.
As I know God is omnipotent and orchestrates events in each person's life, I am grateful that we got to experience the OHIO POWER, which so inspired us
then, and we've never forgotten it.
-by Eric Loy
|OHIO POWER: 1970: Pappalilski's, Dayton, Ohio
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