Reunited after 26 years!
Kevin Dippold: Drums
Lance Eastman: Keyboards/Vocals
Gordon Jesberger: Bass Guitar/Vocals
Dave Piccirillo: Guitars/Vocals
Based out of St. Marys, Pennsylvania
It was Thirty Years Ago Today . . .
Well, maybe not today, but you get the idea. And if you were lucky enough to come of age in the late 1980s/early 1990s, you'll have no trouble remembering the local bars and restaurants that featured live music.
Who could forget the packed dance floors, the excitement, the friends and the laughter? The big hair and the short skirts? Do you remember the bands and the musicians who gave of themselves every weekend to entertain us?
If you do, sit down, grab a cold one, and take a step back in time. Back to a time when PF Flyer enjoyed a highly successful run as one of the hottest rock bands in west central Pennsylvania/ southern New York.
PF Flyer had its earliest roots firmly planted in 1986 with a group called Paragon. Drummer Dave Foote, guitarist Kurt Thomas, keyboardist Lance Eastman, and bassist Rod Shaffer played together for the better part of a year before they opted to take a break.
During this time, Shaffer moved out of the area, leaving Eastman, Thomas, and Foote facing an uncertain future. The trio hoped to continue playing together, but they needed to find someone who could assume bass-playing duties.
In the fall of 1987, Eastman contacted bassist Gordon Jesberger. Jesberger was then playing with The Late Show but he readily agreed to join Thomas, Eastman, and Foote in this new endeavor.
After months of rehearsal, PF Flyer debuted on Saturday, February 13, 1988 at the Elk Casino in St. Marys, Pennsylvania. Conceived as a light pop/dance rock band that focused on solid musicianship and three and four-part harmonies, the quartet soon found themselves playing to enthusiastic crowds. Word of mouth quickly helped them build a solid reputation among the Pennsylvania club circuit.
As with any venture, there were growing pains. Dave Foote left in early 1989 to pursue a personal business interest. He was replaced by Kevin Dippold. Dippold’s solid drumming brought power and purpose, but he left the band a few months later.
Don Strandberg became the third drummer to join PF Flyer. A veteran of Mad Hatter and The Movies, Don added his own unique talents to the ensemble. Strandberg’s addition also sparked a subtle transition of style. The predominantly dance-pop set list soon morphed into a classic rock format.The change was beneficial; PF Flyer grew in popularity and drew a large following everywhere they played.
In the spring of 1990, Strandberg left the band. Unwilling to give up all the gains they’d made, the remaining members of the band looked to an old friend. Kevin Dippold, who had been playing with The Things, agreed to return.
They never missed a beat, continuing to explore new venues while expanding their fan base.
PF Flyer’s final roster came about in the spring of 1991. At Dippold’s suggestion, guitarist/vocalist Dave Piccirillo joined the lineup.
The addition of a second guitar player and a further revision of the set list infused new life into PF Flyer. Their music became intricate and edgy, with soaring guitar solos, a driving rhythm and, above it all, those signature vocal harmonies. “The Fly Boys”, as they were affectionately known, had finally arrived.
From Bemus Point, New York all the way to State College, Pennsylvania, PF Flyer enjoyed a popularity dreamt of by many bands, but achieved by few. It was not unheard of for clubs to turn patrons away at the door, as attendance had exceeded capacity for the show.
Ah, but nothing lasts forever. Careers and family obligations finally took their toll. The boys played their last gig in March of 1992 at The Well in Ridgway, Pennsylvania.
It was the end of an era, but not the end of the dream.
Several attempts were made over the years to reunite PF Flyer, but nothing stuck. That is, until the Fly Boys met in September of 2017. Cautious but optimistic, they got together for one practice, then a second, then a third.
And then they secured their first gig: The Wildwoods Bar and Grill in Saint Marys, Pennsylvania on February 17, 2018. Ironically, nearly 30 years to the day of their first debut.