Albano ~ Bass
LeAnne Engkraf ~ Guitar
Gerry Ries ~ Vocals
Jim “Nipper” St. Martin ~ Drums
Witchway was formed in late 1983 when band mates Gerry Ries, LeAnne Engkraf, and Jim “Nipper” St. Martin, formerly of Sticker, started looking for a bass player to allow Gerry to focus on his vocals.
A band friend told them he worked with a guy who played bass and arranged a meeting. The initial meeting went well but the chemistry after was like no other any of the band members experienced before. Anthony Albano would join the group as the new bass player, bringing a dark element to a talented band. The band would rename to Witchway.
Witchway, like others at the time, was a mix of originals and covers leaning more towards a Black Sabbath influence. The band was one of three that rehearsed in the storage complex off of 16th and Lincoln.
In 1984 Witchway would perform for the first time at the Yakima Valley Convention Center in what was billed as a battle of the bands. This is where they met with Truth Seeker Productions who would eventually take them on as management.
Truth Seeker would later put them in front of Ken Kinnear, producer of Heart, in a show with the up and coming band Widow, a hopeful for a new “Heart like” group for Ken. This led to another show in Lewiston, Idaho at the famous Casey’s with the same lineup.
During this time the band was planning a move to a bigger city to take it to another level. The band followed Gerry to the Bay Area, relocating based on job placement from Gerry’s training at JM Perry.
The strain of the move was too much for the young group to bear and Anthony eventually moved back to Seattle where he continued to play but never found the same magic as he had with Witchway.
Gerry and LeAnne remained in the bay area for twenty years and, busy with other endeavors, drifted away from music. Gerry recently joined the Fruit Tramps, a local Yakima band, as a vocalist. LeAnne bought a new guitar this year and is reconnecting to music after a twenty-five year break.
Anthony Albano, June 2012
Some of the other Pacific Northwest music groups represented in members and crew of this group include: UHF, Sticker, Fruit Tramps and many other NW bands