2016 - Support People
The tale begins in the early 70s, with Mike Simpson needing a bass player for his new band . . . Ed “Gardo” Ring wasn’t much of a bass player in his mind, but the duo got along well, so Gardo sang and mashed about on the bass in the band Ironwood until one fateful day when an unfortunate accident “skroinked” the neck on his bass.
“Unable to afford repairs or a new axe, I turned to doing lighting (such as it was) for the band, and gradually assumed control of whatever PA equipment was available,” said Ring.
Ironwood morphed into the touring group Gambler and much hilarity ensued for a couple years (1972-ish through 1974-ish) as I handled FOH audio and lighting. Then came the first set of ACT years (1975-1981), which included a brief stint on the road with Cabala (Ken Duncan and crew) in 1976. Did some mixing on weekends with The Movies (Mike Smith, Tim Gay, Steve Desterhaft, and Jean Wildebour), did a show or two with The Morning After, and probably a couple other one-offs I don’t remember.
“Then, after ACT lost the BEOG contract in 1981, I went to work at Mt. Mercy . . . until they lost the grant that was paying my salary in late 1982 . . . so it was back on the road again doing lights and FOH sound with Landslide (Tom Suter’s band) until early 1984 when I started back at ACT. In 1986, Dogs On Skis was born and I spent the next 10 years heading up the crew and handling FOH audio and lighting design. A few gigs here and there with The Morning After and Funk Daddies, filling-in for Dennis Jones at Downtown Friday Night shows or a ska-fest at the University of Iowa, and a fill-in (or two) at Gabe’s for various acts who needed a knob jockey for a night, and there you have it.”
According to him, Gardo’s most significant achievements occurred during the early years of Dogs on Skis. During that time, many shows were in large venues with crowds numbering in the thousands. This required extensive lighting and large sound systems. Gardo oversaw the design, set-up, and teardown of the staging, lighting, and sound systems as well as mixing the Front of House during these shows. A large part of the appeal of Dogs on Skis was the professional quality of its shows and Gardo played a major role in assuring that the band looked and sounded the best it could.