It was the fall of 1973, and Bill Britton had just been married in August. He and his wife were moving from Aberdeen to Vermillion for the fall semester at USD. He knew school was important, but so was playing in a band. After a couple of weeks in school, he decided it was time to call a couple of friends in Aberdeen to see if they had an interest in moving to Vermillion and joining in his effort to start a band. Both had played with Britton in "Beggar's Crusade" from Aberdeen in 1972 through the summer of 1973. Ron Ziegler (vocals and acoustic guitar) and Marley Forman (bass guitar and vocals) were all too eager and ready to jump on board. Now they just needed a drummer and rhythm guitar player. John Rockwell, a fellow college student, got the drumming gig after he found out the band would be playing some Jethro Tull and Led Zeppelin tunes. Also, a young guitar player named Chuck Eklund (only recently out of high school) settled in to play rhythm guitar.
With Britton, Ziegler, and Forman still having a repertoire of old "Beggar's Crusade" songs to get started with, they soon had a solid base of tunes in their set lists. Then the fun started with the challenging Tull and Zeppelin songs (not to mention Foghat and Savoy Brown)! The bookings started coming in, and they were off. Mostly weekends at first, but not long after, there were gigs in the middle of the week.
After several months, the band decided to look into a booking agency to get their name out there. The Winston/Keifer Agency took the band under their wing and became a great source of jobs. Along with this, the traveling got more intense, and so it was decided to purchase a bus. Gigs were coming from a four-state area, and it didn't make sense for the band to travel in 3-4 cars. An old school bus was purchased and painted up, along with "updating" the interior with couches, tables, and a storage area built for the Marshall amps.
Geoffrey, b.c. did many "festivals" or multi-band gigs, some of which were the Dakota Jam in Mitchell, Pierpont, SD rodeo grounds, Clay County Bash, USD Student Union, SDSU campus (by the Campanile), and Melgaard Park in Aberdeen. They also played many of the great old dance halls like Blue Dog Inn, Rest Haven, the Rainbow Ballroom in Britton, SD, and Groveland Park. And of course, the bars: the Depot Club in Aberdeen, the Warehouse and Stonehenge in Huron, Grease City in Vermillion, The Gallery in Mitchell, the Red Baron Club in Watertown to name a few.
As the school year ended, it was time to try the road as a full-time band. Living and traveling in an old school bus had its moments, but what a great time the band had. Playing all over the area and camping out now and then was a great way to spend the summer.
As the fall drew near, Britton had decided he was headed back to school, but with the band playing full time (several nights every week), he knew it was time to step away from it. His last gig with the band was at the famous (infamous) J & M club in Sioux Falls, and out of the blue that night came Mark Craney to sit in with Geoffrey. In just a matter of a few months, Mark was to go to England and land a job with Jethro Tull!
Bill stayed with the band long enough to get new guitarist Tim Andersen into the fold and up to speed, fortunately, he was a very quick study. Andersen, Ziegler, and Britton all knew each other from Aberdeen (in other bands), so the fit was perfect. Tim added some Hendrix tunes, which enhanced the band's set lists. For three gigs, Geoffrey, b.c. had two lead guitarists at the same time. Fun!
The band continued to play a variety of venues in the 4-5 state area for the next several months until Andersen left the band in December 1974 to join Bob Ellison and Chateaux. He was replaced by Minneapolis guitarist John Richardson. After that, Geoffrey, b.c. added several new songs to its repertoire, including music by Robin Trower and Bread. The band continued playing for several more months until Ziegler left the band to return to college in the spring of 1975. Eklund and Rockwell relocated to Washington state, where Rockwell resumed his music career. Britton continued (and continues) to play with several bands. Six months after Geoffrey, b.c. dissolved, Forman joined the Red Willow Band and stayed with them for their 12-year existence. Andersen continued his music career and, after moving to Los Angeles, played with several bands, including Clown and Genocide, and worked for many years as a studio engineer (he also continues to perform). Ziegler pursued a career as a theatre director and has recently retired. He and Tim Andersen were inducted into the SD Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2019 as members of Uncle Zeek.
Geoffrey, b.c. was a true rock band by anybody's standards, and a reunion conversation is currently being discussed.