the Last Times


Marion, 1964-7

L-R Joe Kantzer, Don Lister (in tree), Kregg Kirts, Jack Henderson. Photo by Tony Giampietro.

Harding High School students Jon "Jack" Henderson and Eddie Baxter, two aspiring guitarists, started their own combo in late '64. They took the name '69ers but needless to say that was not a ticket to fame, so they became the Tymes - at least until they got word of the hitmaking vocal group of that name. Finally settling on the Last Times, they found crack drummer Don Lister and lead guitarist Kregg Kirtz to round out their Byrds-influenced sound. They played teen dances all over the region in Vermillion, Huron, Mansfield, and Columbus where they were scouted by Tony Giampietro. After playing a job in Columbus one night, they stayed and auditioned for Tony the next morning, and he decided to pay for the group to record several songs at Magnetic recording studio. The demo included a couple Byrds songs, and two band originals, "Don't Tell Me" and "I Need Your Love". Giampietro pressed up 500 copies on his Togy label and got the record some airplay on Marion's WMRN. Eddie Baxter quit the Last Times in the fall of '66 to attend Ohio U. Keyboard player Joe Kantzer came on and the band changed their sound to emphasize the new instrumentation. The Byrds set remained by organ-heavy sounds like Spencer Davis were added. The period of late '66 to summer '67 is considered the Last Times peak, and people like Andy Apperson started to take notice. Apperson had tried to get the band under his wing but they stayed with Giampietro (with whom Apperson shared a loose affiliation). A month or so later, the Last Times played a gig at Wooster's El Rancho Grande, with the Music Explosion, who played their newly recorded but not yet hitbound "Little Bit O Soul". Apperson had the song "Come on down to my boat" to offer to the Last Times as incentive for signing on, but the band didn't like it and no deal was struck. In the Spring of '67 the Last Times wom their way into the Jaycees' statewide battle of the bands. As one of 10 regional winners, they competed against the Fifth Order, and the eventual winner the Missing Links. Bowling Green's Links peformed their showstopper "I've Got Rhythm" twice to snatch the victory. The Last Times were playing from behind to start, as Joe Kantzer had been drafted and guitarist Tim Foust was subbing, and to mark the occasion the band used the name Seven Bare Feet. The battle took place on the Times' local turf, the Marion Colesium, which was packed with over 3000 teens from all around Ohio. The Last Times lasted until the summer of '67 when John Henderson got married. After Joe Kantzer got out of the service, he got together with some other Marion musical veterans to form Owen Station, a popular club band for several years. Kregg Kirtz played in the Marion band TKO.