Tim Thielbar - Lead Vocals
At the 2012 Star Country 96.3 Music Awards, Tim was selected as "Best Male Vocalist".
Tim boasts years of experience in the southern Wisconsin music scene.
He's sung with some of the areas top music acts, including John Masino. A versatile singer, Tim's voice centers on a clear, very strong tenor range. His ability to "hit the high notes" enables the band to perform songs by the likes of Jimmy Wayne and Keith Urban, as well as the mid-range songs of Blake Shelton and Brad Paisley.
Comfortable out front, pitch-sure and exciting to watch, he commands the stage and holds the audience's attention.
Michael Rortvedt - Lead Guitar
5th GEAR is extremely happy to have Michael as Lead Guitarist. He toured extensively with Nashville recording artist Wendy Duffy, and previously fronted his own group. Multi-talented, he writes original tunes, plays guitar and dabbles with the piano as well. Michael's awesome guitar sounds are the bedrock of the band's music, and his great ear for musical parts has assisted the band in accurately reproducing today's mainstream country sound.
Kevin Smith - 2nd Lead Guitar
Kevin is an accomplished musician in his own right. As a guitarist in the band Under the Gun with Madison star frontman John Nicholson, Kevin enjoyed tremendous success in the region. When Nicholson joined "The Music Mafia" headed up by the likes of Big & Rich and Gretchen Wilson, Kevin accompanied John to Nashville where they toured extensively. Kevin's 2nd Lead Guitar contributions, often the most challenging segments of the bands song's, are played seamlessly. Kevin's musical tact is indespensable in rehearsals, helping to shape and define the band's sound.
Bruce Towle - Bass Guitar, Backing Vocals
Bruce came to the band from the Outlaw Country group the deVillebillies. He spent several years touring with the regionally successful band Southern Cross. He was the Madison Area Music Association's 2009 Bass Player of the Year, holds down the low end like nobody's business, and is a talented backup singer as well. Comfortable on either electric or stand-up bass, Bruce is essential to 5th GEAR's musical presence.
Terry Grinde - Keyboards, Backing Vocals
Terry has been writing songs and playing keys in many area bands for years. One of his original songs was nominated for the Madison Area Music Awards "Country Song of the Year" in 2010. He received an Honorable Mention Award for an original song entered in the prestigious 2011 Song of the Year contest, an online international songwriting competition. For 5th GEAR he loves to play the conventional keyboard parts as well as some smokin' honky-tonk piano, and sings backing vocals. Terry typically arranges much of the music, organizes practices, handles publicity and books the band's shows.
Chris Havey - Drums
Chris is an exciting, talented drummer with years of experience. He's been around the block a few times, working in all types of venues with acts both big and small, including the classic rock band "Last Crack". His many years in the business and his reliable, steady approach make him a valuable asset to 5th GEAR.
Brad Marchant - Lighting Technician, Stage Hand
Brad's knowledge of DMX digital lighting is immense. He does a great job of setting the mood for each song with vibrantly colorful lighting scenes that aid in bringing out the excitement and emotion of the music.
Brad is a huge contributor to 5th GEAR's stage show.
Paul Berger - Sound Technician, Stage Hand
Paul recently moved to Wisconsin. He attended Clemson University in South Carolina where he graduated with a degree in Production Studies in Performing Arts with a concentration in Audio
Engineering and a minor in Music. He worked in the theater at Clemson (the Brooks Center) for 6
years, the final year being a one year audio internship. Paul has mixed everything from dance recitals to chamber choirs to rock bands! He's also worked extensively as a recording engineer, and is currently engineering and producing at Megatone Studios in Madison, WI. After 8 years in the sweltering heat of the south, Paul is glad to be back up north - "I love the snow!".
5th GEAR is very pleased to have Paul on the sound board.