Teri’s Notebook: New band to take center stage at Bike and Music Festival

My husband’s band is making its Carson City debut next Friday at the Bike and Music Festival beginning 6 p.m. in McFadden Plaza.

The festival is the culminating celebration after National Bike to Work Week, which begins Monday. (To join the Bike to Work Week Challenge and for a full list of events, go to musclepowered.org.)

Gary’s band, Randy & the G Men — so named for Randy, the drummer, and the other three members who are all named Gary — will be the featured entertainment.

As way of introduction, I decided to interview my Gary — as opposed to the other G Men — for this week’s column.

So, over a pizza at Sassafras, I asked him questions — it seemed a little weird to do in our own living room.

This band came together about five months ago. It’s Gary’s first after about a seven-year break following the end of his last band Terrapin Road.

The other members, Gary Fritz on guitar and vocals, Gary Fields on bass and Randy Belsheim on drums have been playing together for years in bands including the Jackals and 9 Below Zero.

They play blues rock.

“It’s blues chord changes and blues lyrics, but the beat and the rhythm are more rock ’n’ roll,” Gary explained. “It’s the music we know and like.”

But it wasn’t always Gary’s music.

He started taking guitar lessons around the age of 10, but he didn’t stick with it long.

“The guitar teacher was making me learn songs like ‘Red River Valley,’” he recalled. “I didn’t like that crap, so I quit.”

Growing up in the fairly secluded Los Alamos, N.M., he was not exposed to a wide variety of music.

“When I was in New Mexico, the only thing I heard was what they played on the radio,” he said. “That was a lot of country and a lot of Zepplin. I didn’t even know there were other genres of music.”

He did get an occasional inkling.

“When I would listen to rock and country, there were little parts where I would hear these guitar licks that would just grab me,” he said. “When I moved to Phoenix for mechanic school, I went to see Alvin Lee. He had this dude open for him named B.B. King, who I’d never heard of before.”

It was life changing.

“I was blown away,” Gary recalled. “B.B. King’s music was everything I’d been listening for in those little parts in country and rock songs. It was all the stuff I’d been looking for. It absolutely blew my mind.”

Around the same time, Gary met a guy who’d played with big names like Mitch Rider and the Detroit Wheels, the Outlaws and Rick Derringer.

He offered to teach Gary to play.

“We’d play Elvin Bishop and Joe Walsh. It was all blues rock,” he said. “Once I started playing with him, it came pretty easy.”

Shortly after, Gary joined the Navy, where he put together his first band. Since then, he has played guitar and sang in bands off and on.

He’s looking forward to playing for his hometown crowd.

“When everything is working on the stage, the crowd can feel it,” he said. “I think I’m a pretty good judge of groove and vibe. If it’s really grooving, the crowd will be moving.”

Follow Randy & the G Men on Facebook for a complete list of shows.


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