The Wild Prophets
Date formed: 1967
Date disbanded: 1973
This group started out simply as the Prophets with Larry as the motivating force behind the bands formation. As their stage show matured the band adopted the adjective that best descibed their stage presence. They got into “some crazy things” to quote Larry. It was not uncommon for the band members to play laying down with their feet in the air, play with their instruments behind their backs, do choreography or jump onto tables while playing. The idea for the original name came from an obscure singer whose last name was Prophet. For a time “Ltd” was added to the name.
   The original drummer for the band was a fellow named Bob Zimma (?) who Jacque (pronounced ‘Jackie’) replaced early on. Ray originally started out on rhythm guitar before switching over to keyboards. Ralph came on board a bit after the band got started to replace Jacque. Andy joined after Ralph left the band to eventually start Rural. Roy was Ray's replacement. From here there is a bit of confusion.
   There were at least 6 others in the band at various times - Ted, Roy and Kean along with a fourth drummer and two brothers from Grundy Center, one on keyboard and the other on guitar. Ted remembers being in the group from 1967 through 1972 having been invited to join by Ralph. This is a picture of the group with Roy and Kean, but without Ray, Andy and Jacque. The two brothers from Grundy Center - Mark and Scott - replaced Ken and Roy respectively. Their last names are not remembered. If you have more info please let me know.
Roy Aysen: Keyboard
Kean Bonath: Saxophone
Jacque Furman: Drums
Andy Gebelstein: Drums
Larry Kelley: Bass, vocals
Ted Nunemaker: Vocals
Ralph Stevens: Drums, vocals
Ray West: Keyboard
Ken Wood: Guitar
Mark ??: guitar
Scott ??: keyboards
Jacque’s kit, when she started out with the band, was the standard kit of the day with kick, snare, one rack tom, floor tom and shell mount cymbal along with hi-hat. At some point when the band upgraded equipment she went to a new set with double bass adding more cymbals and an additional floor tom. It is recalled that the set had a white finish.
   Larry was playing a Gibson EB 2C bass guitar which had a cherry finish and two pickups. The amp he had to start out with is not remembered, but when the band upgraded gear he purchased a Kustom bass amp with two speaker bottoms finished in silver sparkle tuck and roll naugahyde.
   Ralph’s gear is not remembered. Ray was playing a Farfisa piano. Ken eventually ended up playing a Gibson ES 335, possibly with the same cherry finish as Larry’s bass and with the same pickup compliment. During the upgrade, he along with everyone else, got a Kustom amp with the same silver sparkle finish.
   The band also went in together and purchased a matching Kustom PA system with four speaker cabinets. All in all, the band had a few thousand dollars wrapped up in the amps and new drum set after all was said and done.
Initially the Wild Prophets practiced at least a couple of times a week. Practice was usually divided between Ames and Boone since Ken, Ray, Larry and Ralph were in Ames and Jacque was in Boone. Practice was held at each of the member’s homes. Later, as new members were added, practice was being held on Wednesdays in Larry’s basement with occasional Saturday afternoon practices if there was no gig booked.
   The Prophets did much of the popular songs of the day along with some older tunes from the ’50s. Amongst some of the artists they covered were Gerry and the Pacemakers, the Beatles, the Beach Boys, Wilson Pickett, Creedance Clearwater Revival, the Kinks and the Association.
   Larry did some of the job bookings for the group although they did get a few gigs from a fellow in Mason City. They played around the area quite a bit. The Cellar in Ames was a favorite with a good crowd in attendance every time. Other venues they performed at include the Starlite in Carroll, the Pla-Mor in Fort Dodge, the Dance-Mor in Swisher, RJ’s Lounge in Marion along with gigs in the area.
It is not remembered exactly why the band broke up, but the end came in 1973–quite a long time for a local band to be together even with all the personnel changes. Jacque went on to play in other groups including one of the first all women bands that did well in the country–even playing Canada. Jacque also played with Cris Williamson and Glen Yarborough - although this information is unconfirmed at this time. She is thought to live in California and is not playing as far as is known.
   Larry went on to play in several other local groups. He still lives in Boone and, besides doing satellite tv installs, helps out with his son’s singing career. As of 2016, he has a new band together named Flashback. Ralph went onto to play in a group called Rural based in Ames which was inducted into the IRRHOF in 2006. He was also a founding member of the Deputy Dawg Band which was inducted into the IRRHOF in 2009. He owned a music store for a short while in Ames. Ralph gives seminars on massage therapy nationwide today. Ray eventually became a minister. Ken played in a few other bands and is still involved in music as far as is known. He lives and works in Ames. Ted later taught at Springville High School in Springville Iowa for 13 years and lived in the Cedar Rapids area. Unfortunately Ted passed away on Dec. 14, 2008 after battling prostrate cancer. No information is currently available on the other members.
next band