Photos taken at the Mason City Library of all original members (LR) in the two seats Mark Jocelyn, Mike Watts, John Tyler on the floor, Jim Thornton on the back left, John Lake on the floor in front of the fireplace, Elwood Zipsey in a chair, Jim Linahon On the far right chair with Jeff Dahlstrom in the back on the right. — Photo provided by Jim Thornton.
by Lisa Regen
Fifty-five years ago, a group of young musicians in the Clear Lake/Mason City area formed one of the country’s most exciting bands. On Labor Day weekend, that fraternity band who called themselves “The Library” is inducted into the Iowa Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
If you were old enough to get out of your parents’ house on your own anytime between the fall of 1967 and the spring of 1972, you likely enjoyed rocking this band that encouraged the kids to tell their parents, “I’m going to study in the library all night.” The band includes a hot trumpet section along with traditional guitar, bass and day drums.
The original Clear Lakers lineup included Jim Linahon on trumpet, Mike Watts on drums, and Elwood Zipse on sax. Dennis Baker, also from Clear Lake, joined when Linhoun eventually left the group. Mason City band members who were part of the original lineup included Jim Thornton, guitar and vocals, Mark Goslin, vocals, Jeff Dahlstrom, vocals, John Lake, guitar, and John Tyler on bass guitar.
“To be eligible for induction, performers must have been active for at least 25 years and be outstanding,” explained Roger Schnagel, a regional advisor in our Iowa Rock and Roll Association and a former vocalist with his band, explaining to Soul.
Schinagel and Tim Coffey, former president of the Clear Lake Chamber of Commerce and now director of the NE Iowa Association, agreed that the band was a good choice.
“They were outstanding musicians,” Schengel explained. “People all over the area remember them and would be happy to see the library being recognized after all these years.”
The band, which boasts “More Soul Than a 15 Foot Sneaker,” has played all of the hot spots in Iowa, Minnesota and Dakota. They were a featured band at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, drew record crowds at the Roof Garden in Lake Okoboji, and played at So’s Your Uncle in La Crosse, Wisconsin. Director Bob Potter kept the band moving and once sent them to Boulder, Colo. , to play a house gig for a week.
In 1968, the band traveled to Chicago to record for the first time as protesters filled city streets during the Democratic Convention. They covered “Groovin’ is easy” and “Temtation.” In the summer of 1970 they recorded two original tunes, “Get Back Evil Woman” and “What This World Comin’ To”. You can find all these songs on YouTube by searching “The Library” is the title of the song.
Although college and military service forced line-up changes, the library was able to maintain its signature sound during the five years they spent together. When the band dissolved in 1972, many of its members went on to grow their musical careers.
Jim Linahon lives in California and is an award-winning music producer, composer, and trumpet artist with over 400 recording projects to his credit. Jim Thornton lives in Clear Lake and has continued to play with his band, Green and Clear, along with other collaborations. Over the past 25 years, he’s worked at The Lady of the Lake and played 99% of the music there for every type of party. He still records and enjoys a musical life.
The five remaining members of the band, Jim Thornton, Jim Linhon, Elwood Zipsy, Mark Joslin, and John Lake will attend the party this Labor Day weekend. The festival kicks off in Arnold’s Park, Iowa with a Rock the Roof concert Thursday evening, September 1. Weekend festivities include the Opening Ceremony and Guitar Marching Ensemble, the Signature Concert, the Iowa Rocks Talent Contest, and the Inductee Meet & Greet. The weekend culminates with the Iowa Rock and Roll Induction and Concert on Sunday, September 4th.
Details of the Iowa Rock ‘n Roll Music Association’s amazing weekend schedule and ticket information can be found at www.iowarocknroll.com where plans are formed.