The Gizmos rumble again 



Pictures from the packaging of the Rock & Roll Don't Come From New York CD by the Gizmos.

By Katherine Coplen

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Being a punk in Indiana today is easy; simply rip off your favorite bands, post some demos to your Facebook page, hop on a few shows at the Mel and you're good to go.

Being a punk in Indiana in 1977, how ever, was a completely different story.

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"We were the only punks in town," says Dale Lawrence, frontman for legendary punk act The Gizmos about the Bloomington scene. "People either hated us or treated us like a novelty act."

Formed in 1975 as an elaborate eight-piece recording project, The Gizmos began as a proto-punk shock band. Songs like "Muff Diver" and "Pumpin' To Playboy" comically paid homage to raunchy sex.

Despite the relative success of their first few EPs, the band dissolved in 1976. In an attempt to keep The Gizmos' name afloat, Gulcher records owner Bob Richert put out ads recruiting musicians to Gizmos frontman Ted Niemiec.

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Answering the ad in Primo Times was a young Dale Lawrence.

"I had just got Never Mind The Bollocks [by The Sex Pistols]" says Lawrence, "and I was eager to be in a band."

Armed with the Gizmos name and reputation, the reformed band sought to keep the ball rolling. Ironically, Niemiec dropped out of the band after a semester to pursue his med school career and eventually became a gynecologist.

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With no original Gizmos, Lawrence and bandmate Billy Nightshade decided to keep rolling as The Gizmos, but not without some changes.

"We stopped playing all the joke sex songs," says Lawrence "and started to focus more on being a punk rock band."

"The Sex Pistols were our number one influence but we listened to The Clash, The Vibrators and X Ray Specs," says Lawrence, "I liked Television and the Ramones too, but the British stuff was better."

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The next few years for The Gizmos were an uphill climb.

"It's hard to communicate how isolated we were," says Lawrence. "We played anywhere we could and rarely more than once."

After struggling in Indiana for two years, the Gizmos packed up and moved to New York City in 1980. Despite moving to a more punk-friendly city, the Gizmos didn't fare much better in NYC.

"Whereas we were a couple steps ahead in Indiana," says Lawrence, "we were a couple steps behind in New York."

The Gizmos fizzled in NYC and Lawrence moved back to Indiana in 1982 where he found that punk rock had finally started to catch on.

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After the dissolution of the Gizmos, the members dispersed throughout the country, each pursuing their own musical careers - Lawrence led the Indianapolis version of The Vulgar Boatmen - nd reuniting infrequently for one-off shows in the Midwest.

Gearing up for only their 7th reunion in over 30 years, Lawrence, now an Irvington resident, seemed a bit incredulous to be back at it again.

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"We knew that we were the best band it town," says Lawrence, "But we didn't think that we'd be playing a reunion show 35 years later."

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