Remembering A Michigan Legend: Gordy Garris of The Frost
Michigan is proud of its musical history, and the Lansing area is where a few local rock legends live. On February 5 Gordy Garris of The Frost passed at age 71. Garris was first on the local music scene in a group called the Beaux Jens as a teenager. Formed in Grand Ledge in 1966, they were one of Grand Ledge’s most well known bands, along with Tonto & The Renegades. During their short run, The Beaux Jens released one record, a single on a vanity label which was operated by The Sceen, which was a teen club the Beaux Jens performed in to packed crowds. That 1967 record became a garage rock classic, after being included on the Crypt Records “Back from the Grave” series.
In 1968 the well known Dick Wagner formed The Frost and Gordy joined as their bassist. Going from playing to hundreds to playing for thousands. Once Gordy was gone from the Beaux Jens, despite their best efforts, everyone eventually found other interests, and the Beaux Jens were gone. While playing with Dick Wagner and The Frost, Garris had the opportunity to share the stage with the likes of other Michigan rockers, like The Stooges, MC5, and the Amboy Dukes. They continued their move to becoming rock royalty and playing with national artists like The Byrds, Jeff Beck, Jefferson Airplane, Pink Floyd and others on the national stage.
City Pulse reports Perhaps his biggest show was at the Goose Lake International Music Festival (aka “Michigan’s Woodstock”), which drew around 200,000 hippies thanks to a laundry list of now-iconic bands. And While Wagner was the key figure in The Frost, Garris did contribute some writing and co-writing credits along the way, including “Through the Eyes of Love” and “Baby Once You Got It.”
This past week his son Gordy Garris Jr. put out a tribute single in memory of his father, called Disappear. Gordy lives on through his music, and in our memories. It’s unfortunate that many of the artists we grew up with and were inspired by, are now leaving us. Even though they are gone, we still have the comfort and inspiration of their music.
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