Circa 1979, Terry Jermac and Bill Shields were earning paychecks from Chicago & Illinois Midland Railway, laboring for the shortline coal-hauling system at its northernmost end in Peoria, Illinois. Nights typically found the duo trading iron tracks for the Teac 4-track in Shields' home studio, bouncing down parts to pop songs despite six years' worth of losing bandmates to new employment, new groups, and the call of the west coast. But when Jermac poached bassist Doug Block from a gig at Peoria's Otherside Lounge, Lay-Z could once again call itself a legitimate three piece.

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