IN MY TRAVELS...
The Tim Gainer Story
Tim Gainer is no stranger to show business. In his 50 years’ involvement in music and radio he has earned various accolades and awards along with praise and acknowledgment among peers, critics and fans alike.
Born and raised in Chicago, Tim learned to play piano at age 8 then taught himself to play drums at age 10 and guitar at age 12. At 14-years old, he joined his first band, “Spectrum” with a couple of school chums. After the band dissolved, he answered a local want-ad for a singer; this led to Tim’s joining “Tales” in 1973. The band made two successful tours of the college circuit around the Chicago area. But after numerous personnel changes and two unsuccessful attempts at recording, the band broke up in 1974.
Tim then received a call from popular local bassist Mike Fillapek, asking him to join his band, “Alpha”. The formation of this particular band (which also included “Canyon” drummer Mike Mackowiak and local guitar ace Richard Trusk) caused such a stir in the Chicago music press that their first-ever show at a suburban ice-rink was played in front of an estimated 2,000 people and received wide popular and critical praise.
“Alpha” continued to gig to well-received audiences (during which time Tim also played drums with guitarists John Devlin and Bob Bihlmeyer for “The Turquoise Turkey Revue”) and was on the verge of recording an album when Tim made a fateful decision: to give up the band and join the U.S. Army.
After basic training, Tim was shipped to his permanent station in Gelnhausen, Germany where he met noted L.A. session bassist Myron “Curly” Singleton. Together with guitarist Jacob Roberts and drummer Donald “Too Tall” Scott, they formed “Natural Cause” in 1979 and quickly became known throughout Germany, playing various military and civilian venues and recording a special to be broadcast on AFN radio. A single was also recorded, “(Beyond All) Time and Space”.
During the sessions, Tim met “Bullfrog” guitarist Sebastian Leitner and singer Gerd Hoch. They all quickly became good friends and eventually Tim was asked to join the band. The result was sold-out tours across Germany and Austria along with the recording of the legendary "lost" Bullfrog 4 album.
After his honorable discharge from the Army in 1981, Tim returned to Chicago with Leitner and Hoch to form “Raatz” with bassist Pat Gutkoska, Tim’s brother Pat Gainer on drums and guitarist Ken Valskis. The band was in the middle of a Midwestern tour of the U.S. when bassist (and Army buddy) Nathaniel Peterson Jr. called and invited the band to join him on a tour of Canada. This led to the formation of “Brat-Axis” and a successful tour of the country headlining shows or opening for acts like the legendary Ronnie Hawkins. But after several bad business decisions, the group disbanded. Tim returned to Germany with Hoch and Leitner in the hopes of reviving “Bullfrog”, recording material for a new album and even shooting a video. But after all venues were exhausted, the three finally split up in 1983 and Gainer returned to Chicago.
Back home, Tim decided to try his hand at his second passion: radio. Between 1986 and 1996 he worked as an on-air personality and Production Director for several stations in Illinois and Indiana. During this tenure he received a total of nine awards for his production work, notably from the Indiana Broadcasters Association, Radio & Production magazine and the Country Radio Association. In 1990 he was listed in the prestigious “Who’s Who In Entertainment” and was Program Director when he oversaw the construction and start-up of Indiana’s first Alternative Rock station, Lafayette’s WIIZ (“The Wizard”) in 1993.
After signing off from his final broadcast at Chicago’s WBUS Radio in 1996, Tim turned his sights back to music. He reunited with “Raatz” alums brother Pat and Pat Gutkoska in 1998 to form “Half-Gainer” with local guitar heroes Tim Bucher and Tom Whittaker. They quickly became local favorites in the Northern Indiana area and were on the verge of releasing their first single when, due to “the usual personal differences”, the band broke up in 2000 with all recordings shelved.
Tired of the constant on-again, off-again status of his recording history and determined to soldier on, Tim decided it was time “to make my music…my way” and set to the task of recording a solo album. It was truly a one-man affair with Tim playing all the instruments, singing all vocals and even producing and recording the album in his home studio. The much-anticipated end result was In My Travels…, which was released to immediate favorable reviews and popular reception in the fall of 2003. A single taken from the album, “Love On The Line”, was given considerable play on several internet stations and websites around the world. An excerpt from another song, “Requiem”, also appeared on the all-star charity album, The Longest Day the same year. In 2005 he was asked to be the official voice for “Relaxing Radio” and “Oldies Radio.” In 2008 he was a guest guitarist on “Big Dog Eat Child’s” Almost Not Famous album and in 2010 He was voted “The Voice Of The BSC”, - the official voice for BP’s Americas Business Service Center.
In 2012, five of the tracks from Bullfrog 4 were discovered and finally released on the band’s re-mastered Second Wind album which Tim personally re-mixed. The tracks were hailed as a triumph with one critic proclaiming, “these tracks alone are worth the price of admission!”
Today, Tim remains active in both the voice-over and music worlds; he can be seen and heard on various radio, TV, internet and industrial campaigns. His second solo album, Honor Among Thieves was released on November 15th 2019. A single from those sessions, "The Sunrise Also Fell" debuted on the Soundclick Acoustic Rock chart at #1 when it was released on October 19th, 2018. A follow-up single, "Hide n' Seek" was released on May 1st, 2019. It also climbed to #1 on the Soundclick Classic Rock chart. He is also a featured artist on the "Homegrown Underground Sounds Show" (H.U.G.S.) broadcast on radio station WRGG in Greencastle, PA which is heard in over 40 countries worldwide. No less than 7 tracks from both his albums have placed in the H.U.G.S. Top Twenty, with his cover of Bob Seger's "Get Out of Denver" reaching Number One.
Tim Gainer is no stranger to show business…(to be continued)