DAMAGE: Ohio 70’s Bands

March 12, 2008

The band Damage, based primarily in Orrville, OH, was a great hard rock band that I spent time with, mainly as a roadie and some PR. They had a great following and all of the members knew how to rock, believe me!
If memory serves in 1978 the band rose out of the ashes of a band called Soily that Rick Thistlethwaite was in with Bill Forrer and Mike Sommers. After some slight adjustments they settled on a line-up consisting of guitarists Jerry Kirven (Fat Taxi) and Mark Good, drummer Tom ‘Bones’ Morrison, bassist Michael Johnson and singer Rick Thistlethwaite. Rick Gidley joined the band as the light and sound technician.
The band played primarily hard rock in the J. Geils Band-ZZ Top-Thin Lizzy vein and within a year had a large following. In addition to covers the band played several originals and soon was playing throughout the Wayne-Holmes-Ashland-Stark-Summit county areas in clubs and bars including the Hitchin’ Post, Columbo’s/Grouchos, Fort Fizzle and many others. Some of the theatres/clubs they played included the Castle Theatre in Millersburg, OH (where they set subsequent attendance records) and the Theatrical in Wooster and some Canton venues. They also played venues like the Sportsman Club and various outdoor events including support for Savoy Brown/Kim Simmonds at Wayne County Speedway.
A great, tight sound, stage presence and one hell of a following, when the music stopped the D-A-M-A-G-E was done!
Unfortunately on January 24, 2008 Michael Johnson, Damage’s bass player who Kim Simmonds remarked could go to the “big time”, passed away at age 48.
Below are photos of Damage in action from December 31, 1978 at the Castle Theatre. Photos were taken by Gary Fulmer.

Rick Thistlethwaite, Bones Morrison, Jerry Kirven 

The great one: Michael Johnson



Rick Thistlethwaite



Rick Gidley, theatre mgmt., Michael Johnson, Doc Lehman



 Doc & Bones

Doc can be contacted at: DocLehman@sssnet.com  


  1. Wow, Doc this was a great trip down memory lane! I was looking for Jerrys new band and stumbled on this. Is so great you have pictures! Just thinking of some of the old hang outs made me laugh! I was definetly a “Damage head” I read some of your posts from concerts at the Colesium (Ack no spell check) Ahhh the good ol days when 15 bucks could buy you a whole day of rock and roll. I can actually remember thinking THAT was alot of $$. Speaking of “remembering” How the hell do you remember all this stuff? Guess there is always 1 who does ! LOL
    Just wanted to tell ya how greta this all is..Keep it up

  2. […] DAMAGE: Ohio 70′s Bands […]

  3. Where the heck was I during this band? College? Living in Wooster? Dammit! I missed it!

  4. OK…well looking for Jerry Kirven, my cousin, any idea what band he is playing in now?

  5. We had a party out on Paradise Road when my grandparents were gone on vacation. Michael Johnson, Steve Hanna , Bones ??? with Guy Zigler singing. What a night. Was dancing with Frost….remember him???

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