Larry Means

2009 - Individual Artist

Larry Means was born Feb. 27, 1947 and lived in Sioux City until passing away on March 22, 2005. His musical career spanned 32 of those years.

In 1963 Larry began playing guitar in a garage band that included Kevin Flamming and Larry’s cousins, Bob and Jim Stanwick. This group didn’t play professionally but got together often as they honed their skills.

Larry joined his first profession group in 1965. The Illusions played in ballrooms throughout the Midwest much the same as all the young bands of that era. Their trademark was their mode of transportation. They traveled and carried their equipment in a hearse.

For the next 27 years, Larry performed with many of the prominent bands of Northwest Iowa . In addition to the Illusions, he played lead guitar for the Hangmen, the Psychedelic Hangmen (with Dave Stokes), Highway 77, The Blues Band, Firecreek (with Bob Dawdy), The Other Band, AM-FM, Rockit Billy & the Boosters, Roadhouse, Silver Ridge, The Brotherhood, Souled Out (with Russell Bizzett) and The Benny Barnes Band. It was during his stint with Rockit Billy that he earned his nickname “The Amazing Larry Means.” He made his mark among the best of Iowa ’s rockers and the Hall of Fame inductees listed above.

While with the Psychedelic Hangmen, Larry performed often at the original Roof Garden. The Other Band performed for an entire summer as the house band at the Outrigger in Okoboji . A frequent attendee at many of these gigs was the famous Tommy Bolin who, at that time, was something of a Larry Means groupie. Larry had the reputation for making good bands sound even better.

While he was with the Hangmen, they won a Teen Fair band contest. The prize was a recording session. They would later perform as the backup band for the Fine Guys on their recording of “Carolyn” backed with “You’re a Lucky Guy.”

As the ballroom era was coming to an end, Larry, like many other musicians played more and more in nightclubs. Some in the Siouxland area included The Loft, The Big Apple, The Flamingo and The Lighthouse. He also accompanied the guitar masses at St. Francis Church.

He is survived by his wife Nancy, daughters Laurie and Josette, five grandchildren, one great-grandchild and thousands of rock and roll fans who loved and danced to his music. For 32 years this outstanding musician brought the best in music to everyone. Larry Means is posthumously honored for his massive influence on Iowa ’s music scene by induction with the Hall of Fame Class of 2009.

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