The original lineup of Reaper:
- Rob Casey – bass
- Mike Hernandez – guitar
- Dan Falck – guitar
- John Gerstenberger -drums.
This version of Reaper played at the Sacred Heart Gymnasium in the mid to late 1970’s. According to Dan, at $1 each for admittance, the guys made $500.
Other members who were later a part of the band:
- Greg McCann – Lead vocals
- Jeff Kirkpatrick – Keyboards
- Tony Nash – Rhythm guitar
- Adam Youngblut – Bass
- John Hernandez – Guitar
- Staci Thompson – Keyboards
- Tim Gilson – Guitar
- (Don’t Fear) The Reaper (Blue Oyster Cult)
- Cat Scratch Fever (Ted Nugent)
- Highway to Hell, Back In Black, You Shook Me All Night Long, Hell’s Bells, Girls Got Rhythm (AC/DC)
- Wanna Rock, Just Between You and Me (April Wine)
- Takin’ Care of Business (BTO Overdrive)
- Hold On Loosely (.38 Special)
- Runnin With The Devil, Dance The Night Away, You Really Got Me (Van Halen)
- Jumpin’ Jack Flash (Rolling Stones)
- Let’s Go (The Cars)
- Fox On The Run (Sweet)
- Paranoid (Black Sabbath)
- You Got Another Thing Comin’ (Judas Priest)
- Doctor Doctor (Robert Palmer)
- Tush (ZZ Top)
- Beth (KISS)
- I Want You To Want Me, Surrender, Voices (Cheap Trick)
- Ridin’ The Storm Out, Take it On The Run (REO Speedwagon)
- Peaceful Easy Feeling, Take It Easy, The Greeks Don’t Want No Freaks (Eagles)
- Any Way You Want It (Journey)
- Crazy Little Thing Called Love (Queen)
- Sweet Emotion (Aerosmith)
- Rock and Roll Fantasy (Bad Company)
- Flirtin With Disaster (Molly Hatchet)
- More Than A Feeling (Boston)
- The Breakup Song (They Don’t Write ‘Em) (Greg Kihn Band)
- Smoke On The Water (Deep Purple)
- Double Vision (Foreigner)
- My Sharona (The Knack)
- Sweet Home Alabama (Lynyrd Skynyrd)
Notable Reaper gigs:
- A couple of festivals in Strawberry Point
- Oelwein 4th of July celebration (not sure of the year)
- Street dance in Lamont: This was the gig where Nash was perfecting his “Ted Nugent-style leans way back” pose. He lost his balance but fortunately for him ,Jeff and his keyboard slowed his fall to the concrete.
- Pig roast/family reunion that they were asked to play country… they knew and performed 3 songs amongst our usuals (similar to the Blues Brothers in the country western bar, but no chicken wire, and no thrown beer bottles)
- Wedding reception of Cindy Seeger and John Ropke in the mid 1980’s. They played in a steel shed on top of wagon (at least they weren’t set up in the dirt). There was a drunk man dancing around yelling, “play some country, or I’m gonna kick your asses…” Similar to the movie about the Blues Brothers, they played ‘Folsom Prison Blues’ by Johnny Cash….. about 12 times!
- Spring Follies at Oelwein High School, in either 1978 or 1979
- School dances at Oelwein High, and several others over the years
- Played the Armory at least once (TERRIBLE acoustics!)
- Played for Greg McCann’s brother’s wedding reception… in freezing night temperatures.. couldn’t feel their fingers.
Memories from the band (in their own words) :
The rides to and from our gigs: – One of the members of the band (who shall remain nameless) was a maniac behind the wheel. We reenacted “Dukes of Hazzard” stunts while in his car. We did powerslides in loose gravel, jumps over railroad crossings, diving thru open windows to get in the car (or out). Sliding across the hood of his Monte Carlo didn’t go well, we hit the ridges and rolled off the hood.
- We were just kids: At one of the bar gigs we played, we did our usual setup, which included a bunch of trips in and out with equipment. On one of our first trips in the door, Tony was followed by John. The bouncer/doorman asked John for his ID, as it was a bar. John pointed to Tony and said, “You didn’t card him!”. The guy told John something about that Tony was over 18. John told the guy he wasn’t and the doorman didn’t believe him. That was close, and the only time age was made an issue, but only for John.
Car Talk: Riding with John while he drove meant we got airborne regularly. There was a creek crossing near his home in Hazelton that he got high enough in his ’66 Chevy Impala (?) that John, his girl Lisa, and Tony were floating inside the passenger compartment, until we hit HARD. We think that we broke springs or something.
- More Car Talk: Soon after Tony got his license, he was driving with Greg as his passenger, when he smashed his little car into a grass-hidden stump at John’s garage out in the country. Tony was doing a donut around the garage, and that dang stump jumped in front of him. Greg’s quote immediately before they hit the stump was. “Oh $h1%!! STUMP!” But it was too late. The Gerstenberger’s tractor had been left there during the day, and they used that to straighten the bumper so Tony could get it home.
- We played loud: At that garage, we practiced occasionally. One night, John’s mother drove from the house (about a mile away) to pay us a visit. When we finished the song we were playing, she told us that old man “so-and-so” said we sounded good. John started laughing loudly. We asked what was so funny. He told us the old man lived about 2 miles away, from the front of the open garage.
Dan’s influence: Dan taught Tony rock and roll. No question about it. When Tony met Dan, Tony knew how to play ZERO rock songs. Dan taught Tony all he knew, by lots of after school afternoons and evenings, playing new albums for him, showing how to play it, and made him cassette tapes that he proceeded to wear out.
- More of Dan’s influence: Dan made some of his own guitars and started building a synthesizer from a kit. Dan had a HUGE record collection, and tried at the time to get Tony to play some blues guitar. But Tony wasn’t ready for that yet, and didn’t try blues until much later.
- We had FUN: Greg was our own class clown. He was always joking and laughing, and kept all things funny. We were all funny, taking advantage of every opportunity to make a joke or say something funny. It is amazing we got anything done in our once-a-week practice sessions.
- Practice in downtown Oelwein: Wayne Wagner of Oelwein (business owner) became our manager shortly before Tony had to move. He let us practice in the basement of the Ben Franklin store in town. The specific area was the vault. Maybe it was once a bank vault. We covered the floors and walls with carpet, blankets, curtains, whatever we had just to absorb the sound and help the acoustics. On our first practice there, Wayne informed us that although outside the vault door was silent, the apartments above the store were rockin’. Ooopsy! We didn’t think to do anything with the ceiling in the vault.
Tony Nash says, “My final performance of the band was the last day of the school year before Christmas break 1981, on the stage in the gym at OCHS, for a couple hours, non-stop. We started earlier than we said we would, played later than we said we would, but didn’t get in trouble. We turned everything up to max volume, aimed all speakers at the center of the gym, and wailed on it! I was told that the gym floor was vibrating as was the glass wall on the front of the school, about 40 feet from the gym wall. We used all the stage lights, using one of the experienced drama stage hands to operate them. When we finished, I think we were all deaf and had headaches. …Yeah. It was fun. Every practice, every performance. Even with ringing ears and headaches.”
Tony Nash, “We practiced hard, especially to learn a new song. We had a great time, and laughed a lot at each other. It is hard to find friends like that anymore.”
Below is Reaper during the 1979 Spring Follies. Tony Nash is wearing the cowboy hat looking at the camera. Dan is talking with John with Adam behind him… all you can see is the bass, and Jeff is wearing the shades headed for his keyboard.
Video of Reaper Reunion at KAMMERSTOCK 2015
Original members of Reaper (Mike Hernandez, John Gerstenberger and Dan Falck) were joined by Seth Vargason and Russ Fagle at the Oelwein Knights of Columbus on December 12, 2015.