By Alexia Helmer
“How many lead singers does it take to plug in a light bulb?” asked Stan Robinson to his two fellow musicians. “Just one. He holds it and the room revolves around him.” Roy Mathy and Gary Donohoo, the other members of the Geezers, a local classic rock band, laughed heartily at their comrade’s joke. And they can do that, because in the Geezers, everybody can sing lead. With Donohoo on drums, Mathy on electric bass and Robinson on electric guitar, and everybody filling in on vocals, the Geezers love what they do – and they’ve loved it for as long as they can remember … almost.
Mathy shared, “Before I wanted to be a musician, I wanted to be a cowboy. But then I didn’t have a penny to run the electric horse …” Not surprisingly, Mathy typically opens their shows with his quick, dry humor. But the humor doesn’t stop with him. Donohoo introduced himself by saying, “Stan and Roy are music majors, and me, I’m just a legend in my own mind.” Robinson shared that he was inspired to play by The Beatles. When he saw them as a 10-year-old, he decided, “That’s what I want to do.”
All three men have played in a variety of bands since their youth, with Robinson and Mathy first getting together to play in Tapestry back in the ‘70s. Their first gig together as “the Geezers” was playing downtown in May of 2011. Mathy reminisced about that night saying, “When you look out and see people singing along with a song, or even just tapping their foot, you’re on stage going, ‘I got ‘em.”’ They walked away knowing that their first appearance together was a success. Donohoo said, “After that, we started booking.”
Donohoo quipped, “We’ve been told after our performances, ‘don’t quit your day jobs.’” But despite jokes between themselves regarding their lack of skill, listeners of their album should judge for themselves. After all, Donohoo also said, “Elvis never met us.”
As the conversation continued, Donohoo recalled a humorous memory in the past, saying, “It was a three-night gig set. We had just Roy and I, on drums and bass. The first night, the place was packed. The second night, the crowds starting falling off a bit. The third night, it was really slim. I told Roy to leave his bass and scout things out in the crowds and see what was going on. He went out and said, ‘too much drums.’” And with that, the Geezers closed their interview the same way they started – with hearty laughter.
In closing, the Geezers expressed thanks to Don’s Place for hosting their release party on June 17, as well as everyone who came. Donohoo said, “We feel real fortunate to still be playing rock ’n’ roll now that we’re in our ‘60s … because it’s part of who we are.”
For $10, the Geezers’ CDs are available at The Loop Barber Shop at 203 W. Morgan St., and Revolution Records at 206 W. State St., both in Jacksonville.