Sticks N Stones

2011 - Band

Band Members: Jim Kemis, Michael Buckley, Mark Gentry, Mark Shadle, Lynn Ridley, Terry Eike,
Steve Lutes, Mike McCleary

Founded in 1964 in Estherville, the Sticks N Stones quickly became one of Northwest Iowa ’s popular rock and roll bands from the mid 1960s through the late 1970s. The group got started playing the usual round of high school and teen dances in gymnasiums, roller rinks and teen clubs, but soon were working all the big ballrooms and roadhouses throughout Iowa, southern Minnesota, eastern South Dakota and northern Missouri.

The band’s first big break came in 1966 when they competed in the “Battle of Bands” competition at the legendary Roof Garden Ballroom in Okoboji. The boys made it to the finals and attracted the attention of Roof Garden owner Darlowe Oleson. The band’s play-list reflected the top 40 songs of the day. They were able to cover the songs of The Beatles, Rolling Stones, The Kinks and The Who making them hugely popular among teenagers. Based on their tremendous following, Oleson booked them into his four other Iowa ballrooms for the remainder of 1966, as well as 1967 and 1968.

The Sticks N Stones came back for a second “ Battle of the Bands” in 1967 and finished runner-up to that year’s champions. This honor garnered them regular, monthly gigs at several ballrooms as well as many more high school, college, club and private party dates. They enjoyed a loyal following that resulted in many repeat bookings. In addition, they opened for The Turtles, the Cowsills and The Lemon Pipers at the Roof Garden and Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels at the Coliseum Ballroom in Worthington, Minn. The Sticks N Stones are tied for eighth place for rock and roll bands that played at the Roof Garden the most number of times (9).

In the winter of 1968 the Sticks N Stones recorded “Hey Joe” at the IGL Recording Company. The song received regional radio play, but was never released on a wide scale. Unfortunately the recording master has been lost. They were also the first band in the region (perhaps Iowa ) to sell logo merchandise.

The band re-invented itself for 15 years quietly changing personnel while adapting to evolving musical tastes. The Sticks N Stones remained a crowd favorite until it finally disbanded in 1978 when founding member Lynn Ridley’s brother Neil, who had taken over the band, lost his life in a car accident.

The original members of the Sticks N Stones include: Lynn Ridley – lead vocals/backup drummer/rhythm guitar; Mick Buckley – drums/vocals; Terry Eike - bass guitar; Mark Shadle – rhythm guitar/vocals; Mike McCleary – lead vocals/rhythm guitar, and Jim Kemis – rhythm & lead guitar all from Estherville, Iowa and Mark Gentry and Steve Lutes – lead/rhythm guitar from Spirit Lake, Iowa. Sadly, Lynn Ridley and Terry Eike passed away within a month of each other in 2009. The Sticks N Stones dedicate their induction into the IRRMA Hall of Fame to their two departed friends, Terry Eike and Lynn Ridley.

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