Lifetime Achievement Award

Gary Reynolds

Gary Reynolds Drumming

Drummer Gary Reynolds has been a major force in area music for nearly 50 years beginning with The Lord George Organization in 1965. Fans still recall their near perfect renditions of Rolling Stone songs Satisfaction and Paint it Black. When the LGO broke up, Reynolds became part of a power trio called The Organ Grinder’s Requiem. With lead guitarist Mike Leppert and Bass player Dave Mulligan the Requiem brought the likes of Cream and the Jimi Hendrix Experience to the Kankakee area long before it was fashion-able. The future looked rosy when the band played the Kinetic Playground in Chicago and Lyke Young in Old Town, but soon afterwards the OGR split up.

Mike Leppert and James Riordan moved to Nashville and began a song-writing career and after a year formed the band Hope and asked Reynolds to become the drummer. Hope signed with Mecca Records and recorded an album which spawned a single entitled Cellophane Man. In 1975, when Mecca Records closed their doors, Reynolds helped form the band G-Force with saxophonist Gerry Grzelak. The band featured sing / songwriter Dave Moore and performed songs from a rock opera written by James Riordan in a special concert with the Kankakee Municipal Band. Later Moore left and was replaced by a lineup that included singers George Lord and Deborah Riordan, guitarists Fran “Mouse” Grzelak and Steve Chartier, keyboardist Jim Whittington, bass player Larry Arnold and James Riordan. This band recorded an impressive demo at Pumpkin Sound Studios that drew interest from a few California record labels. When G-Force broke up Reynolds helped form Liive which featured another well known area guitarist, Fuzzy Jeffreys. This marked Reynolds entry into R&B, a form of music near and dear to his heart. Liive was together for 17 years, playing some of the top R&B clubs in the Midwest.

Reynolds then formed Hypnoises with James Riordan, David Spargur and Johnny Garret which recorded two albums of original material. During this time Reynolds had refined his skill as a commercial painter to the point where he was hired to do the ceiling restoration of the Parmamount Theater. Lying on his back atop a huge scaffold, Gary Reynolds began thinking about a band that could pack the 800-seat venue. Thus, Everyday People was born. The band’s debut performance filled every seat in the theater and led to a standing ovation, a feat they repeated several times. When virtuoso singer Misti Kohl joined the group, things moved up a notch, climaxing with her winning the American Idol competition at the Rialto Theatre in Joliet and the band’s performance there. Gary Reynolds has been a huge influence on the Area Music scene and his career can only be summed up by the well deserving phrase: Lifetime Achievement!

James Riordan,
Author of 33 books and
Founder of the Area Music Awards


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