Photo courtesy of Joe Coffman
Gentlemen Wilde
Yakima, Washington
1964 - 1966


Joe Coffman ~ Guitar
Ryon Hood ~ Guitar
Frank Monaco ~ Drums
Chris Norgaard ~ Bass
Jim Selzler ~ Vocals
Dan "Kim" Thomas ~ Guitar

Phil Stalder ~ Manager

In Memory of

Ryon Hood   (d:  August 2009)

The band was started in 1964 by Ryon Hood and Chris Norgaard. They were both fledgling guitar players and after viewing “A Hard Days Night,” at the Liberty Theater in Yakima, Washington.  Influenced by the movie, they lost control, exiting the theater illegally through the third floor emergency door and running down the external fire escape.  They then realized that they could no longer deny their need for the fame and glory of Rock and Roll.

Of the two, Ryon was the natural performer, Chris, the more hesitant... perfection in rehearsal his hedge against exposure as an artistic charlatan.  He became the Bass player, probably because he was the tallest.  Frank Monaco was the drummer, recruited for his popularity as well as his ability, and as luck would have it, his ability was not lacking.  Joe Coffman was the lead guitar player for the simple reason that he was the only person we knew that professed to play lead guitar and did it well enough that we believed him.

In the beginning, like many bands of that time, we were exclusively an “Instrumental” band doing standards like “Telstar”, “Pipeline”, “Walk Don't Run”… and a lot of surfing stuff.  The Beatles inspired many, and other bands started popping up, doing of all things, vocals.  This was a quantum leap in difficulty for the band, primarily because none of us thought of ourselves as “lead singers”, a breed apart from the “musicians” in the band.

At this point, brilliant planning on the part of someone, a theory that I tend to discount… or pure serendipity… caused us to invite Jim Selzler to audition for lead singer.  Jim had three things in his favor, first, and most importantly, he was pretty… secondly, he could sing, in a cross between Mark Lindsay (Paul Revere and the Raiders) and Dion or Bobby Vee or Fabian… one of those 50s Italian guys. Thirdly, and musically least important, but in terms of the band's survival, impossible to calculate…he was one of the toughest boys in the whole of the Yakima Valley.  Renowned for his quazi-psychotic rage when engaged in physical confrontations, his presence undoubtedly saved our young selves from much cruel and unusual punishment.

This was the golden age for regional bands, musicians were more popular than jocks and a lot of the stories were true.  Thank you, Jim. The final adjustment to the band's lineup was the replacement of Ryon Hood with Kim Thomas on rhythm guitar.  Kim was the quietest and most musically talented… his addition turned us into a more than competent cover band. We found that we could do vocals with three part harmonies, which gave us the capacity to do almost anything on the Top 40 and beyond.

As a band we loved Rock and Roll…Kinks as opposed to the Beatles… the Kingsmen, Paul Revere and the Raiders as opposed to Gary Lewis and the Playboys… Gloria, instead of any Herman’s Hermits song.  At this time, bands played for dances, and there was nothing better than walking on-stage and ripping into some real healthy Rock and Roll, and having 500 people get up off of their butts and start sweating.  Jim thought he sang love songs really well… we hated them, the girls loved them… so we played enough of them to keep the sweat level acceptable.  We played Friday and Saturday nights almost without fail for nearly three years.  We made very good money… we played on venues with Don and the Goodtimes and other recording artists.  We traveled to Portland, Oregon and all over the central part of the state to play for almost every high school in existence.  We believed, for a while, that we were going to become more than a regional band, and we lasted until we graduated from high school.  Within three months after graduation, ego, or time ended what had been a great, uniquely 60s, American experience, that was, as this website for ” Bands of the Great Pacific Northwest” shows, replicated in hundreds of places, by thousands of young people, who hopefully enjoyed it all as much as we did.

Christopher William Norgaard, 1 April 2002

Ryon Hood passed away after a valiant fight with cancer in August of 2009.

Rest in peace and Rock on Ryon!

Joe Coffman, September 2009

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Last Update:  18 June 2010
Credits: Joe Coffman, Timothy Ford, Chris Norgaard, Dan "Kim" Thomas

Band # 293