Lady Windemere's Operation


Columbus, 1968-9

This group was formed in 1968. The original lineup included Jack Radicelli (guitar and vocals), John Ely (lead guitar), Larry Gantverg (organ), Gerry Rhodes (bass), and Bob Lenhert (drums). The group played at the Travel Agency club on High Street. They recorded two songs, originals written by John Ely, in Dayton and released them on a 45 using their own L.W.O. label. By the time of the record Richard Clark replaced Lenhert. After John Ely left the band, Lady Windemere's Operation continued as a four piece until they disbanded in '69. Thereafter, Jack Radicelli joined the Apocalypse.

"The band began at the Student Union on the Ohio State campus one week day. I would come to the Student Union where they had a grand piano, and I'd play for an hour or two for hoots and giggles. It wasn't a gig or anything, just playing to play; I'd been doing that since high school. Gerry Rhodes was sitting on a couch listening, and when I finished, he asked me if I'd accompany him on piano for a Greek Week skit he was planning on doing. He said if that didn't work out, maybe we could start a band. Well, the skit didn't work out, so Gerry and I held auditions for band members. Neither Gerry nor I had ever been in a band before, but I'd always wanted to and I guess Gerry did, too. Jack Radicelli and Twink Ely (no one called him John at the time...now they do because he's a psych admit in a Tucson hospital, a Phd, don't you know)Jack and Twink came to the audition together and had known each other from a previous band they'd been in, I believe. The drummer, Bob Lehnert, also tried out and got the job. His parents had a big cattle ranch in town. We all practiced for a while in some townee coed's basement, and yes, we all were attending Ohio State at the time. When we began in 1968 we were all into the Beatles, but we always opened with Gimme Some Lovin' by Spencer Davis, to introduce the band members one at a time as they came on stage, starting with Gerry on the bass. I didn't even have an organ when we started. Gerry had a friend who had a little Farfiza organ, and somehow got it to Gerry, and I started making payments on it as we played gigs. At the time I also swung out as a solo performer a few times before the band had gotten together and played at the Crazy Eye on High Street for a hootenany (I guess that's how you spell it), basically, a sing-a-long on a bad piano for drunks. Later I told the owner I was in a band, and the Crazy Eye was Lady Windemer's first gig. Gerry chose the band name. He said Lady Windemere's Operation was a line from a Kingston Trio Album, a hootenany group he was into at the time. We wore cotton Nehru jackets (really shirts), which again some coed sewed for us, and they later became black satin Nehrus, with Bob, the drummer, wearing a white one. John was always writing songs, and we always incuded them in the play list, including two songs he wrote for our break. Of course, one of them was called, Lady Windemer's Operation." - Larry Gantverg, Sept 2005