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Timothy Zehr - Biography

Timothy Zehr (aka Bass Dog)

 

Bass guitar, vocals 

Timothy grew up on a family farm in southern Indiana. Although farming was often a "dawn to dusk" way of life, music was a major part of Tim's childhood because his mom who plays guitar and here family were almost all talented musicians and singer. Sundays after church were often spent at the grandparents house where everyone would play and sing. Tim's greatest influences in the early to mid 1960's were two uncles who played guitar and bass. They both worked at different times on the family farm and lived in the Zehr household while they worked there. During those years Tim developed his love for the guitar and bass. His mom and uncles taught him the basics of the guitar and then he learned on his own by observing them play. Tim was very active singing and playing at church and school at around age 10 but a couple of years later his first experiences on stage were when his uncle would sneak him into dances and get him up to take his place on the bass guitar for a few songs. Tim also played piano and trombone during this timeframe. 

 

The first actual gigs Tim played were with other members of the family who had a Country band that featured Tim's aunt who sang, her husband who played accordion, another uncle who played fiddle and a male cousin who played rhythm guitar. They were known as "The Bauer Family Band." Tim would switch between the bass and lead guitar. They played at various social clubs, VFW's and American Legions around southern Indiana.

 

This all changed around 1966 when Timothy entered high school and met other musicians who wanted to start a "garage" band. There would be very little Country played in this band. It was Hendrix, Rolling Stones, the Beatles, the Doors, Chicago, the Guess Who and even some original stuff. Ironically this rock band would also have the word "Dog" in it.  They were called "Yellow Dog Contract."  Tim played lead guitar in this band and his best friend Dave Brietweiser how to play bass. Dave and Tim remain best friends to this day and spend every chance they get talking about the old days. Yellow Dog played all over Southern Indiana from 1967 thru 1971 at various school functions, youth centers, auto shows, YMCAs, city celebrations and parties. However, soon after Yellow Dog was formed another opportunity for a different type of band arose. The Bauer Family was winding down and his male cousin who sang lead wanted to form another band to take their place. Tim grew up singing with Dale so it was only natural that they join forces and put together the ultimate "way before its time" wedding band. Tim brought in the drummer and bass player, Dave from Yellow Dog and also incorporated the two uncles who played accordion and fiddle. They called themselves "The Varietors" and always said they played for people with ages from 8 to 80.  The Varietors did everything from Hendrix to waltzes and square dances and of covered all the popular country and Top 40 songs of that time. They became so popular it became difficult to find time slots for Yellow Dog to perform. Tim attended the University of Evansville from 1970 to 1972 but continued to go home on weekends to perform with his bands. Tim played guitar for a University performance of Jesus Christ Superstar and was also a member of the University of Evansville Choir. 

 

In 1973 Timothy met his wife Janet, who had just moved to town, at a dance hall. It was the first time she had ever been to one because she grew up in a very religious family and sang in church all her life. It was also this first Saturday night Timothy had off from playing in 3 years. They were married Feb 2, 1974. Tim and Janet began performing in churches, nursing homes and social functions playing contemporary and traditional Christian music.  Tim continued to play dance music with a Top 40 rock and pop band called "Easy" from 1974 thru 1976. In 1977 Tim was in a house band at a very well known dance hall in Jasper, Indiana known as the Calumet Lake Pavilion. That band was called "Captain Howdy" and was a very "show" band oriented featuring a mix of R&B, funk, dance music, rock and soul. 

 

In 1978 Tim convinced Janet to become the lead singer of a new band he wanted to form.  They called themselves "Crystal Image" and introduced the are to a mix of "lounge style" top 40 dance rock that featured a female singer and female country. Janet's southern Gospel background made her an extremely talented singer. In 1980 Tim and Janet moved to Nashville to promote Janet's voice and play music full time. They spent periods of time until 1985 playing as "April Lindsay and the Studio "Z" Band." Tim continued to go back to Indiana to help his Dad to farm in the spring and fall but in Nashville Tim began doing demo work as a bass player and running sound for various country artists and for a top 40 college party band called "The Doctors." Also during that time Tim toured with and played bass guitar for a singer named Sammy Hall. The "Sammy Hall Show" performed at Amway conventions all across America at various major cities. Sammy also took his band into high schools where he conducted anti drug and alcohol crusades. In the later 1980's Tim and Janet became involved with Praise and Worship at the Hendersonville Chapel. Tim played guitar in the praise band. 

 

In 1989 the Zehrs moved back to the farm in Indiana. During this period of time with the birth of their children and the fact that Tim had put together a large contract Turkey Operation there was very little time to maintain a band to play music. The Zehrs began to lead praise and worship in some smaller local churches in southern Indiana. This evolved into becoming a part of the worship team at a large church in Evansville, Indiana where Tim played both lead and bass guitar in the late 1990s. This continued until the Zehr family moved back to Tennessee for the second time because a decision was made to sell the family farm and their children had both decided to attend Belmont University in Nashville.

 

In 2006, Tim and family moved to Thompson Station to start his new career in real estate after the sale of the farm was finally completed in early 2008. Tim met a local songwriter named Jeff Carpenter and began playing bass guitar in Jeff's band. Unfortunately, Jeff passed away unexpectedly. Tim became a Broker and started his own real estate company in 2013 called Dream Realty. Tim's son Matthew is part of the real estate company. Matthew is himself a very accomplished guitarist and Tim spends a lot of time supporting Matthew's music interest. Recently Tim had been considering getting back into a band and as fate would have it he met "Key Dog" Jim in early October. Tim is very excited to take over the position of Bass Dog. The name Bass Dog is definitely applies because Tim is also a dog lover. He had many farm dogs and family dogs down through the years. One special dog was a Beagle-Collie mix named Clifford who was allowed to roam the farm but also traveled with the Zehrs during the Crystal Image and Studio Z years. Clifford would howl along with the band during practice.

 

Equipment

Tim plays a 1977 Fender Jazz Bass through an Ampeg SVT 4 PRO with an 8x10 Ampeg cabinet. For guitar Tim plays a 1969 Black Beauty Les Paul Custom, 1976 Fender Stratocaster, 12 string Seagull acoustic and a Guild Songbird acoustic. Amps through the years have included a silver face Princeton Reverb, Fender Showman with a 15" JBL cab, Fender Pro Reverb, Sunn Concert Lead with a 6x10 cab, Sunn Beta Lead, Yamaha G210, Peavey Combo 15 Bass Amp and a black face Princeton Reverb. 



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