The Dominions (1964-1967)
Genre: Garage rock band
- Gene Garrett (guitar, lead vocals)
- Ron Gordon (bass)
- Frank Nachtman (lead guitar) also played with Small Crowd, and H.B. and The Checkmates
- Ken Paxton (organ, vocals) also played with Small Crowd
- John Peters (saxophone)
- Larry Rodman (drums)
- Ron Techel (guitar, vocals)
The Dominions were formed in 1964 when I started at the University of Oregon. We were a basic hard rock group that made up for lack of quality vocals with a very driving rhythm. We were probably the most popular band in the Eugene area for over three years. Our one single, “I Need Her”, is still selling on ebay and was the best selling record in Oregon for several months, until we ran out of copies. The first two weeks we released the record we far out sold all other records, including the release of the Monkey’s “Last Train to Clarksville”. One of our claims to fame was a performance at the U of Oregon Student Union where a dancer, on top of my speaker system, took her top of during the show. She was behind me so I couldn’t see what she was doing. All I could see was the crowd really loved what we were doing!!!! I thought it was the music but the school quickly closed us down. We made all the papers for a few days until she left town with her boyfriend, who drove an ambulance with two tiger cubs in it.
It was a fun time and the band members enjoyed being with each other. We still maintain contact and actually had a twenty year reunion a few years back. We thought we sounded ok until we saw the video tape!! I focused the Dominions on being a show band. I played the organ laying on my back or with the guitar player sitting on my shoulders, we danced on stage with audience members, switched instruments during a song and had squirt gun fights during performances. The idea was to have fun and get the audience into the action.
-Ken Paxton, February 2004
I was the drummer for “The Dominions,” a band that started in Eugene, Oregon, in 1964. We played house dances, prom’s, etc. at the same time as Round Randy & The Moguls. One of the big deals back then was to go to Bend, Oregon and play in a battle of the bands- an event put on by a man called Brian Tracy. Our lead guitar player, Frank Nachtman, was from the early 60’s campus band “H.B. & The Checkmates.” I have photos from gigs in the Erb (EMU) on campus and in McArthur Court. We also played Friday at Four’s in the main ballroom upstairs, as well as all campus dances in the main EMU ballroom. We played Friday at Four’s in the EMU until the police closed us down because of overcrowding issues- subsequent Friday afternoons were held upstairs- but the atmosphere wasn’t the same. We cut one record called “I Need Her.” In about 1966 and sold all 500 copies (Graves Recording Studio in Eugene). The band evolved into a group called “The Small Crowd” in the late 60’s with singer Kathy Smith, who moved to L.A. to try and make it there. I get calls once in a while from record collectors who want to know who was in the band, etc. After college in the 70’s I played in “A Group Called Jack” in Eugene/Springfield night clubs like the Back Door and the Down Under.
-Larry Rodman, January 2004
I found the attached photo, probably one of the earliest ever taken of the group. “The Dominions” can be seen on the front of Ken’s organ. Ken had the sign made on fabric and hung it on the front of his keyboard on our gigs. I am on drums, Ken Paxton on organ. The sax player is John Peters. Ron Techel, guitar and vocals, is the furthest on the left in the back, next to him but not visible (only his hair and guitar) is Bob Nosler, who at the time was our lead guitarist. Bob left the group after the first year (incidentally, his family owns “Nosler Bullets” in Bend, Oregon). The big guitar player in the forefront was a rhythm guitar player by the name of Dick Nicholas. He also left the group after the first year and went into the Marines (this was 1964-1965). The photo, as I remember was taken at a dorm hall dance on the University of Oregon campus; we were all students. This was the earliest version of the band, started by Ken Paxton. Later, Frank Nachtman, formerly of the group, HB & The Checkmates, joined us as our lead guitarist, as well as Gene Garrett, vocals and rhythm guitar, and Ron Gordon, on bass guitar. I have other photos of the later version of the group, in front of an airplane, hanging off a boxcar (this one includes female vocalist Kathy Smith) and others.
I remember hearing in the dorm, that this guy named Ken was starting a band. My parents lived in town so I went home and packed up my drums and brought them back to the dorm. Sure enough, as I was unloading them Ken (who I had not yet met) came walking by and said, “Are those yours?” I said yes, and Ken said, “Okay, you’re in the band”. Hard to believe, but that is exactly the way it happened, I remember it like it was yesterday. -Larry Rodman, February 2006 Source: PNW Bands