Ohio Power / the Munx / the Jents
Van Wert/Lima, 1965-1970
L-R: Dave Weck, Marty Freeland, Ben Harper, Dave Langstaff, Jim McGarvey
Ohio Power were a top NW Ohio band from 1968 to 1970. They were musically aligned with the Detroit/Ann Arbor music scene of the time and played often there and other cities around the Great Lakes.
The band started in 1965 as the Jents. The original members were Dave Langstaff (keyboards, guitar) and Dave Weck (drums) from Van Wert, and Jim McGarvey (bass) from Lima. The newspaper mention of the band from April '65 lists a fourth member Marv. A couple months later, Ted and Carol replaced Marv. One of the them played guitar and the other was probably a lead singer. They played between the two towns. Two promoters from Van Wert, Tom Smith and Jerry Walters, who booked local and national bands under the name of Tom & Jerry, held teen dances at WV junior fair building and gave the band a lot of gigs and exposure.
August 1966, based on their height, Lil'Dave was Dave Weck
Around October 1966 a change in band members had Marty Freeland from Lima joining as lead guitarist with Ted and Carol departing.
The band changed their name to the Munx around the beginning of 1967. They must not have known about the Munx from Sandusky, about 60 miles NE of Lima, who were big in the Fremont/Sandusky/Cleveland lake corridor. The days before instant mass communication...the band continued to play the Tom & Jerry dances and places in Lima.
Sometime in late 1967/early 1967 the band added Lavon "Ben" Harper as a lead singer. Ben gave the band a strong voice for R&B music. Around the same time they changed the name to Ohio Power. We don't know if that was directly because of the other Munx or because of the band's evolving sound. The addition of Ben and the name change pushed the band into a whole new level of popularity. They started playing in Michigan, Ft Wayne, Indiana, and supposedly got to Chicago. They also played after proms and local benefits.
The band's high energy R&B/blues influenced rock fit right in with the Detroit/Ann Arbor sound and as the scene up north was taking off in 1968 into 1969, Ohio Power was playing gigs with them and becoming part of the in-demand band list. They played several gigs with Brownsville Station. One of the new clubs that booked Michigan bands was Mildred's Electric Malt Shop at Russells Point, few miles SE of Lima. Mildred's was also booked by Tom Smith as he moved his business from the teen club to a local equivalent of Detroit's Grande Ballroom. Ohio Power played there, along with the Nite Watchmen, Flea Circus, and 3 Way Stop (post Shambles) .
Unfortunately the band never seems to have made any studio recordings, despite the July 1968 note about making a 45.
1968 ad, Marion
The band disbanded sometime in (early?) 1970. In 1971, Dave Weck got a call from his friends in Brownsville Station asking if he could join the band, replacing T.J. Cronley. Weck, now using the name Henry 'H-Bomb' Weck, joined and played with the band through their big hit "Smokin' In The Boys Room", until the end of the band in 1979. He started Schoolhouse Studios in 1982 after producing a couple successful albums by the southern rock band Blackfoot, who had played with Brownsville Station near the end.
Ohio Power had a reunion in 2008, with 4 of the 5 members.