Gear Daddies, The

Band members               Related acts

- Randy Broughten -- guitar (1987-92)

- Nick Ciola -- bass (1987-92)

- Billy Dankert -- drums, accordion, vocals (1987-92)

- Martin Zellar -- vocals, guitar, harmonica (1987-92)



- Martin Zellar (solo efforts)





Genre: rock

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Billy's Live Bait

Company: Polydor

Catalog: 847251-1

Year: 1990

Country/State: Austin, Minnesota

Grade (cover/record): VG / VG

Comments: minor ring and edge wear

Available: 1

GEMM catalog ID: 5058

Price: $10.00


Due in large part to the goofy cover, this one sat in my 'to-listen-to' pile for a couple of years.  Another apt example of the old adage 'don't judge a book by its cover'.


I'll readily admit the first time I played 1990's "Billy's Live Bait" I wasn't paying a great deal of attention to it.  I remember thinking these guys had borrowed the then-popular alt-country sound, making them sound a lot like The Jayhawks, Son Volt, Uncle Tupelo, etc.  Nice, but nothing special.  Luckily I gave the album another shot and the second time around the set's charms hit me full force. While their alt-country influences were clear ('No One's Home'), on tracks like 'Time Heals' and '' singer/guitarist Martin Zellar and company also seemed to have a thing for 1960s jangle rock.  Chock full of nifty melodies ('Stupid Boy' should have been a massive hit), the band's penchant for dark and reflective lyrics (with occasional tongue-in-cheek commentary) gave the set a wonderful edge.  Imagine John Cougar Mellencamp had he been born and raise in Minnesota and you'll be in the right neck of the woods.   Personal favorites included the previously mentioned 'Stupid Boy, the pretty ballad 'Sonic Boom' and the classic 'I Wanna Drive a Zamboni' (which isn't listed on the back cover liner notes). (If you're looking for the CD, try to find the fish shaped promo release.)




Following the band's 1992 breakup Zellar went on to a solo career, though the Gear Daddies have occasionally reunited.  He has a small website at:


"Billy's Live Bait" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Stupid Boy

2.) Sonic Boom

3.) Wear Your Crown

4.) Don't Look at Me

5.) Time Heals


(side 2)
Gonna Change

2.) No One's Home

3.) Color of Her Eyes

4.) Goodbye Marie

5.) One Voice





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