Fifth Generation

2007 - Band

Members: Bernie Gronstal, Mark Brenny, Steve Volk, Daryl Stalzer, Charlie Ferguson
Hometown: Carroll, IA
Bio: Fifth Generation was a Carroll, Ia., band that was started by two lifetime friends in 1964. As playmates and then neighbors they took an interest in music when they first heard the Beatles recordings of "I Wanna Hold Your Hand."

With Bernie Gronstal on drums and Mark Brenny on bass, they started out as The Dynamics and later became The Fifth Generation once they got going. Practice was usually from one to four times per week and their first song list included those great favorites like, "Louie, Louie", "Gloria" and "Hang On Sloopy." As time went on and the music got better they branched out into things like psychedelic, fuzz tone, echo and wah wah entered the picture.

The core of the band from 1964 to 1967 was Gronstal on drums, Brenny on bass, Steve Volk on guitar and Daryl Stalzer on lead vocals. This lineup stayed intact until Charlie Ferguson was added as a keyboard player and vocalist in 1967.

In late 1968 the group traveled to Milford, Ia., to record a 45 rpm with an original song written by members of the band called "Caroline". As the band had not given a whole lot of thought to the flip side, they decided on a little known tune by Jimi Hendrix called "Purple Haze". As Tom Tourville stated in his article on the band in ‘Twist and Shout’ magazine, "Little did these high schoolers realize they were about to record what is now considered worldwide as the finest garage cover treatments ever given to this classic Hendrix hit."

At the height of their career in 1969 the band did performances at the Roof Garden, the Cobblestone, the Pla Mor, the Starline, the Val Air and many other clubs and dance venues over a multi state area. In addition, they played in Bill Riley’s Battle of the Bands, The Clique, The Place and the Iowa State Fair Teen Town. They also opened for Zager & Evans of "In The Year 2525", The Buckinghams, and also The Neighborhood who had the hit "Big Yellow Taxi." All total, they played over 500 gigs in their relatively short career.

In the early 1970’s the group migrated to Iowa City and continued to perform as Fifth Generation. The band then ended up breaking up in Iowa City only to reform with some new members into a very well respected group named Axe. Today, some of the band members still play with different groups, but nothing yet has been able to compare with the magic this group created on that day in Milford at IGL Studios. As Mr. Tourville said at the end of his article on these guys, "They sure would have made Jimi proud!"

For their impact on music in Iowa, Fifth Generation deservedly joins the Hall of Fame Class of 2007.

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