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‘Generation Gap’ of musical talent comes together on stage

Carter Quast and Rod Scheitel, grandson and grandfather, make up the band Generation Gap. In the top photo, they pose for a photo in front of an old Volkswagen

MANKATO — A mutual bond and passion for music has made Rod Scheitel and his grandson Carter Quast a duo to keep an eye out and an ear open for in Southern Minnesota.

The two formed the appropriately-named band called Generation Gap back in late 2018 after Quast, a Janesville native, took up guitar and started playing with his Grandpa Rod after church at his grandparents’ house. After performing together at benefits, the two began learning more songs together and began taking gigs around Southern Minnesota as Generation Gap, the first-and-only band Quast has been in.

“I only started playing guitar when I was 18, 19, so just for a few years here,” Quast said. “But me and my grandpa just sat down one day and kind of learned a song together. That turned into, ‘Hey, we’re going to play a fundraiser,’ and just do an hour of music, so we kind of turned some material around for that. Then people started asking for business cards, and we were like, ‘Well, okay, we’re going to have to learn a lot more songs for this.’ And eventually that turned into where we are today.”

While Scheitel calls Mankato home now, he has a nice history in the city of New Ulm. Born in Sanborn and raised in Wisconsin for most of his childhood, Scheitel first moved to New Ulm in the mid 1960s at the age of 16.

There he met his future wife, Audre (Rewitzer), and worked part-time at Brown’s Music. Scheitel also started his first band Azby in New Ulm with Tom Bauer, Rick Christianson and Brad Anderson in 1970.

the duo perform at Schell’s Brewery.

“We [Azby] had a garage … on the north side,” Scheitel said. “And the going thing was the neighborhood allowed us and put up with us until 10 o’clock, and then a squad car would roll quietly through the alley right at 10. And there would be an officer there saying, ‘Time to shut it down,’ and we’d finish the song and we were done. And the next night or a couple nights later it all started up again after supper and we’d play until 10 o’clock.

“Actually you have to realize that we were just broadcasting to — I don’t even know how many homes were within earshot, but there was a lot of people — and we just respected that 10 o’clock thing and they allowed us to do our music, which I’m not sure all of them were probably digging it,” Scheitel added. “But we turned into a band, started doing jobs and it was fun. Young men have ambition, and you have to realize that you can’t just go out and say, ‘We’re going to make this happen.’ You’ve got to have one hour, then two hours, then three hours of music ready to play, ready to perform. It takes a while to do that.”

Living next door to Scheitel in the 1970s was Terry Sveine, New Ulm’s recently appointed mayor.

“He lived, literally, next door,” Scheitel said of Sveine. “There was a picket fence between my house and his house. So he was probably in high school, but we [Azby] weren’t that old either in the early 70s. … Sveine would come over and play the harmonica. We had a microphone, a little PA, and he would get up there and play his harmonica. We did a few songs together, originals that we did, and it was great. And we formed a friendship that has lasted all these years. He still wanders into the store and visits. It’s very nice.”

After Azby, Scheitel spent time in bands like Rochelle, The Brown Mountain Boys and The Full Range Band, which later became The Fabulous Full Range Band.

Back in 1975, Rod Scheitel played with Rick Christianson, Tom Bauer, Brad Anderson in the band called Azby

The Scheitel’s moved to Mankato in 1976 and eventually started their own music store, Scheitel’s Music, in 1986. Scheitel’s Music has been at its current location of 180 West Lind Court in Mankato since 1993.

Even though Scheitel no longer resides in New Ulm, he loves coming back and will do so again on July 25 with Quast as Generation Gap has a gig at Schell’s Brewery. The show is from 1 p.m. until 4:30 p.m.

“I love it,” Scheitel said of playing in New Ulm. “I used to call it ‘old home week.’ People come in and watch us that I have not seen for sometimes 30, 40 years. Sometimes I don’t even recognize them anymore, so many years have gone by. And they come up and we talk and we reminisce. It’s phenomenal and I’m very lucky. God has blessed me and Carter a lot with this endeavor.”

If unable to attend on July 25, Generation Gap will also be playing at Sleepy Eye Brewing Co. a day earlier from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. on July 24. Generation Gap is also currently slated to return to New Ulm and play at The Grand Kabaret on Sept. 10 as well.

For those interested in checking out the duo on any, or all of, those dates, the two share a musical taste in many bands and artists from the 1960s and the 1970s, which is what one can expect to hear when attending a Generation Gap concert. Quast plays guitar and handles lead vocals, while Scheitel can be found behind his keyboards.

Quast plays his guitar at The Grand in New Ulm.

Both Scheitel and Quast said their biggest influence in music has been the Beatles. Gordon Lightfoot, James Taylor, Neil Young and Simon & Garfunkel are other musical influences the two share.

“Mostly in the 70s, some 60s, and a small amount of other variety music, but a lot of 60s and 70s singer-songwriter,” Quast said of what Generation Gap mainly performs. “That’s kind of where we focus, and we’ve found a really good niche with that, and people like to listen to it. It’s really popular at wineries and breweries and stuff like that. Some of those older folks that like to come and just sit and listen, they love it and we’re booked like crazy, but it’s a good problem to have.”

Scheitel said that while performing songs in a band of two isn’t easy, Quast has been good at picking out songs that will work.

“Carter and I don’t use any technical, automated, computerized anything,” Scheitel said. “You hear us and what we’re playing. And we began to get that tighter and tighter. [Carter] is an old soul. He loves the 70s, the 60s and 70s. He finds good songs and I look at him and say, ‘Yes, that would work, that would work.'”

Generation Gap has a Facebook page also, where one can like, follow and track where the band will play next.

he photo above shows a close up look of Scheitel in 1975,

Scheitel’s Music also has a Facebook page, with live streams on Tuesday afternoons called “Tuesday Tunes at 2.” Scheitel and other musicians perform, talk music and answer questions during the stream. The streaming began in March of 2020 during the pandemic and remains a feature part of the Scheitel’s Music Facebook page today.

With years of talent and knowledge in music and business, Scheitel spent many years away from playing in bands while operating his store.

That was, of course, until the chance to perform with his grandson presented itself.

Now, Scheitel said that he just hopes to keep his fingers healthy and arthritis-free so he can continue performing with his grandson for years to come.

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