Some kid picking his nose, Larry Fritts, Gene Swift, Gary Harmon
The Dog Years
Richland, Washington
1969 - 1970

Larry Fritts ~ Lead Guitar
Gene Swift ~ Bass, Vocals
Gary Harmon ~ Drums, Vocals

Steve Roberts ~ Manager

The Dog Years evolved out of Lightnin' Slim and the Rangers when Gene and Gary discovered that they could sing (and that I couldn't). Our manager was a high school friend named Steve Roberts, who booked us into high school, college, and church dances as well as alienated youth establishments such as Big Daddy's Club and Umbra. We played every Hendrix, Cream, Doors songs we could manage. I started writing songs under the name of Dick Spiterali who was the coolest guy I knew who came to our dances.

Larry Fritts, April 2003

Believe it or not, I still have people ask me about this band when I travel to Washington and run into an old acquaintance. We were definitely different than all the other local bands by this time. Fritts would play his guitar behind his head or with his teeth and do a good job of it.  We never played it note for note and as Larry mentioned we started putting in some early original material.  I believe it was only Larry's stuff at the time as my writing was still around the corner. We did an acoustic set once at the senior dance. This was unheard of. It made some of the jocks mad but it gained us more of a following with the alternative people. We had an unofficial body guard by that time by the name of Darryl Dabbling, a friend of ours and Steve Roberts, so the seniors could not beat us up for playing strange stuff. Our manager also had this really big Chevy truck that we called “Super Truck” which we would haul all of our stuff in to the shows. Later we used it to carry giant B-52 bomber inner tubes that we would use to float down the Columbia River. We did do a number of Church dances which were always good but they always said we played to loud, which we probably did. Anyway, we figured out this trick where we would show the leaders that our amps were only turned up to 5 but we would pull the knobs off our Fender amps and set them on 8 or 10, put the knobs back on so it would look like 5 and amazingly everyone was happy. Once at a dance for CBC College we were playing out by the Pasco airport and we started the show by waiting for a Hughes Air West DC-9 to take off from the Pasco airport as we slid into “Back in the USSR” by the Beatles. We were quite sure not even the Fab Four had done that trick live. This was a magical time in the Tri-Cities for music as there were many places to play or go hear live music every week. When we were not playing we would go down to the Community house and hear great bands like Lyn Stanfield’s “Isle of Phyve” (spelling) with the neat B-3 Hammond organ or Ron Jones and the “Pastels” who had really nifty Vox Super Beatle amplifiers and wore matching outfits.

Gene Swift, April 2005

The Dog Years, with all the original members (Larry Fritts, Gary Harmon and Gene Swift) reunited in August of 2011 to play a set at the Richland Bombers High School Reunion.  The band did several covers and a couple of original tunes.  Watch them at You Tube.

Gene Swift, March 2012

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Last Update:  9 March 2012
Credits:  Larry Fritts, Gene Swift
Band # 1182