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Local band to headline fest
Shift N Gears is (from left) Stephen Klohr, Dave Gramazio, Joel Godson and Stuart Nethery. - photo by Photo courtesy of

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Audio: Shift N Gears performing Candlebox's "Far Behind"

When four local businessmen with a mutual respect for rock and roll music got together to play eighteen months ago, neither had the notion that they would soon be playing to audiences with plans to record an album. But that’s exactly how it went down with the Richmond Hill-based rock band Shift N Gears, whose next gig is headlining Saturday at the annual ‘Ol Time Family Festival inside J.F. Gregory Park.

Each band member has an executive role in their day jobs. Lead guitarist Stuart Nethery owns Richmond Hill Transmission. Vocalist/drummer Dave Gramazio owns the Richmond Hill-based Aquatek Inc. Bassist Joel Godson is a service manager for Comcast. Rhythm guitarist Steve Klohr is a project manager for Gulfstream.

Three of the members live in Richmond Hill’s Buckhead subdivision, while Klohr lives in Savannah. The band was born when Richmond Hill resident Joe Vertullo, mutual friend to Gramazio and Nethery, told one about the other while encouraging a collaboration.

"All of our backgrounds are virtually the same," Nethery said. "20 years ago, we all busted after trying to make it in the music business. Each of us went on to get married, have kids and become successful in our careers."

When it became clear that the band was to become permanent, Nethery cleared out the top level of his auto shop to convert it into a rehearsal studio.

"I kicked all the old transmissions out and we spent thousands of dollars renovating," Nethery said.

"We started out just rocking out to old ‘80s hair bands," Gramazio said. "Then we started playing a lot of the modern stuff. We play everything from Nickelback to Aerosmith to Three Doors Down to Van Halen."

But Shift N Gears has bigger aspirations than just cover songs. The band just entered the studio to record three songs and plans to eventually release an album of original material. They also aim to play live 10 to 12 times a year. In addition to the festival on the fourth, Shift N Gears will be the opening act for this year’s Seafood Festival headliner. The group won the slot by taking first place in April’s Battle of the Bands at the Chamber of Commerce’s annual Business Expo. A representative of the Chamber said they contractually can't reveal who the headliner will be, but assures it is a national recording artist in the rock genre.

"We’re not in it for the money. We’re in it to make quality music," Nethery said. "We bring four professional people to the plate. We have a road crew that comes with us and an elaborate sound system. We’re not exactly starving musicians. It’s nice to play at this stage of our life, where we can afford to do it in style."

According to the band’s website, SNG has coined the phrase ‘Flex Rock’ when referencing the genre they play in. They define Flex Rock as a "genre-blending, mind-bending rush of studio-sounding rock music that spans three decades."

For more information on the band, visit their website at  

Click the audio attached to this story to hear Shift N Gears perform Candlebox's "Far Behind".

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