Night Flight

2012 - Band

Band Members:  Lisa Gossett, Rick Pfeiler, Randy Hoyt, John Spike, Tony Valdez, Matt Teronez,
Brian Goodner, Phil Steffen, Roxi Hansen, Jerry Kenney

Night Flight, later The Flight, was an extremely popular rock and Top 40's band throughout Central Iowa in the 80's, consistently packing clubs and events, gaining fans wherever they went. It was known for its broad repertoire, tight arrangements, members singing lead and backups, and sparkling four and five-part harmonies. The group played non-stop from 1979 until 1989, finally disbanding after ten years and more than 2500 performances.

Founded by saxophonist Jerry Kenney, on the demise of his Iowa City-based band, Fat Chance, the group started with Jerry and Randy Hoyt, another Fat Chancer's vocalist, percussionist and dynamic front-man. Other members were John Spike on drums, and bassist Rick Pfeiler, who was also vocal arranger, plus the newly recruited lead guitar virtuoso Phil Steffen and an amazing young prodigy, singer Lisa Gossett, just fifteen years old. Future long-term members would include Matt Terronez on keys, singer Roxie Hansen, keyboardist Brian Goodner, and guitarist Tony Valdez.

Highly memorable for early members; "Our rehearsals were in the coolest place ever. Tim Harrington, owner of Performers Agency, had a house north of Merle Hay with an indoor pool, living room waterfall and balcony where you could jump into the pool from the second floor." With a few members actually living in the house, "We used to come home from a gig to fifty people we didn't know and girls jumping from the balcony into the pool. Life was good."

Jerry left the band in 1980 to play in Florida and Phil became the leader. Matt Terronez joined on vocals, keys and guitar, having just left the road from another Kenny-founded group, the funk band Cocoa. By now few Central Iowa clubs were still doing live music and mostly only weekends. Steffen's efforts convinced several popular single-scene bars to give bands and weeknights a try, and Night Flight quickly built a brand new fan-base. Soon the group was playing nightly to a re-energized club scene, which included The Rusty Scupper, Gambits, Grapes & Grains, Clovers, Montana's, The Cattle Company, and many others. The Holiday Inn South is where Night Flight became almost a "house band" for several years. By 1982, the group's regional popularity had grown to where they were able to open for national acts, including the Temptations.

Lisa Gossett left in late 1982. Her angelic voice and perfect intonation were instrumental in the bands early popularity and appeal. From here the band remained just the guys for a while. Set lists were varied and challenging, ranging from Linda Ronstadt to Steely Dan, Boz Scaggs, Kenny Loggins, Earth Wind and Fire, The Police, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Level 42, the Tubes and many more. Now in addition to covers, Night Flight began writing, performing and recording originals by Steffen, Terronez and Pfeiler. In 1983, the band released an EP engineered by Mike Lawyer, recorded at South River Studios in Indianola. The single "Reputation" ended up in heavy rotation at KMGK, KBLE, and several periodicals, such as the Skywalker, which gave it outstanding reviews.

Near the end of 1984, Randy left the band. The group decided on a new name but kept the brand, becoming simply, The Flight. Two new players joined; the talented and energetic multi-keyboardist Brian Goodner, formerly of Transit, and singer Roxie Hansen. With her brassy voice and style, and now-fabled "attitude," Roxie quickly became a beloved and popular draw. The expanded instrumentation also led to even more challenging songs and arrangements.

The final lineup came in 1986 when Phil moved to Boston. The band was extremely lucky to land well-known singer-guitarist Tony Valdez, whose voice and song choices added still another dimension. This final version continued The Flight's popularity and gained new fans too. The Flight finally disbanded in 1989, ironically, just as local dance clubs began hosting VJ's who showed music videos.

Nearly all former members remain very involved in music, playing, teaching, composing and booking bands. Sadly Roxie Hansen, a force to be reckoned with, passed away in 1991. She is greatly missed.

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