Version 1: Eddie Flowers, Rich Coffee, Ted Niemec, Davey Medlock, Kenne Highland, Dave Sulak, Rick Czajka, Don Jaskulske, Jim Kohl
Version 2: Ted Niemec, Phil Hundley, Steve Feikes, Don Jaskulske, Billy Nightshade aka Daryl Frazier, David “Shadow” Myers
Version 3: Dale Lawrence, Billy Nightshade aka Daryl Frazier, David “Shadow” Myers, Tim Carroll Jim DeVries, Rick Czajka, Robbie Wise, Crash Kinser
Original Gizmos Reunion Backing Musicians aka Version 4: Max Demata, John Terrill, Kelsey Simpson, Sam Murphy, Craig Bell, Eric Weddle, Ian Brewer, Ken Kaiser, Matt Burns, MJ Quirk
More details at Wikipedia
The Gizmos are considered to be the first Indiana punk band, having preceded even the Ramones with their first EP release. The band has a complex history due to many personnel changes in the early days, leading to two distinct bands with three lineup versions plus various backing musicians appearing during the 2010’s. The Original Gizmos, as they are now known, formed in 1976, most members being teenagers living in Bloomington for various, temporary reasons.
They were the first recording project of Gulcher Records’ Bob Richert, who had already started a fanzine and record store by the same name. Gulcher issued two 7″ with the Version 1 lineup, “Muff Divin” and “Amerika First”. After Version 1 dissolved in 1977, Niemec formed Version 2 with mostly new members, they were responsible for the third EP, “Never Mind The Sex Pistols, Here’s The Gizmos”. It is strongly rumored that John “Cougar” Mellencamp appears uncredited on one of the Original Gizmos’ EP tracks.
Billy Nightshade (bass) and Dave “Shadow” Myers (drums) were in version 2 and continued following the breakup of that combo, with a Version 3 lineup that added Tim Carroll and Dale Lawrence, both guitarists. This band released a Gizmos EP on Gulcher in 1978 entitled “World Tour”, and were the version of the Gizmos that appeared on one side of Gulcher’s Hoosier Hysteria LP. The core of Version 3 relocated to Hoboken, New Jersey early in 1980 in hopes of breaking into the exploding NYC scene, but broke up the following year.
Musicians scattered and became involved in other projects, and it looked like all versions of the Gizmos were history. Periodically, Version 3 reunited and played shows in Bloomington and Indianapolis, beginning in the mid 1990’s. Gulcher, dormant since 1981, restarted in 2000 and reissued CD’s of Gizmos music and issued several archival releases of live and studio material that had been previously unreleased, helping create a renewed interest in the band.
None of the key Original Gizmos members stayed in Bloomington; it was generally accepted that a reunion of the Original Gizmos was out of the question. However, Max Demata, an Italian Visiting Professor at Indiana University made it his personal quest to make it happen, contacting the far flung members and forming a “shadow Gizmos” of Bloomington musicians to work up the old songs so that when the original members arrived for a show, a credible backing band would exist. In 2014, the unthinkable shows happened in Indianapolis and Bloomington, with Coffee, Niemec, Flowers and Highland in tow. Flowers, Coffee and Highland had been very active in bands after their time in the Gizmos. The band played elsewhere, including Chicago, Detroit and other cities, with various backing musicians. Gulcher released a CD EP of new recordings in 2016.
Nightshade died in 2017, marking the apparent end of Version 3 reunions. Flowers moved to Bloomington in 2017 but the difficulties of bringing the other Original Gizmos to the same location has proven a barrier for the original band to continue.
While there was said to be a rivalry between the Original Gizmos and the version #3 Gizmos, this did not prevent a special night in Bloomington where both versions performed separate sets on the same stage, with members combining at times.
The Gizmos place in history is secure; the Original Gizmos’ naïve, charming punk rock anticipated the worldwide punk explosion, while the punky power pop of version #3 Gizmos spawned the venerable Vulgar Boatmen, Dale Lawrence’s popular band for many years. Tim Carroll has had a successful career as a Nashville, TN country artist. Shadow Myers played drums for early Indianapolis new wave bands The Positions and Your Parents, and was a partner in Twilight Tone Promotions and Crazy Al’s, the early punk and new wave club in Indianapolis.
|Related Artists: Vulgar Boatmen, Your Parents, The Positions, Crawlspace, Unclaimed, Thee Forgiven, Afrika Corps, Hopelessly Obscure, O. Rex, Rockabilly Yobs, Right To Left, Satellites, Teddy and the Mofos and several more (see individual member listings at Discography link)|
|Years Active: 1976-1980, reunion/reformation of Original Gizmos 2013-2018, periodic reunions of Version 3 Gizmos from mid 90’s to mid 2010’s|
|Musical Family Tree|