top of page


The Institution was a New Jersey garage band formed in the summer of 1965. 

The founding members were Philip Rubin, Marvin Coopersmith, J. Howard Duff, and Richard Lester. 

They met at, and graduated from, Union High School in Union, New Jersey

There were many members over the years, but the band’s core members from late 1965 through 1970 were  

Rich Lester, lead vocals; J. Howard Duff, guitar and vocals; Marvin Coopersmith, guitar; Pat Moast, bass guitar; Jean-Paul LaMond, drums; and Russ Frame, keyboards (succeeded by Janette Greene in 1968). 

Other early members included Steve Wryzinski (bass), Glenn Horowitz (drums), and Jack Whelan (drums). 

Early influences were The Rolling Stones, The Animals, and a variety of blues musicians ranging from Mississippi John Hurt and Howlin' Wolf, to the Blues Project, the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, John Mayall, and Cream.        

In later years, they played everything from straight blues to garage rock to ballads.

J. Howard Duff recalls The Institution  (from: September 2015 [note: site no longer active] )

"We played at band battles, teen clubs, concert venues, churches, schools, and parties. If my recall is correct, we played seven band battles, and won six. We played The Cheetah Club and Café Wha (among others (including the Night Owl Cafe]) in New York City, Clay Cole's Land of 1,000 Dances, and the Hullabaloo Club(s). We opened for [... a number of acts including ...] Canned Heat in 1969 in Jersey City, New Jersey, but with all that, I think the coolest thing we ever did was to run our own concerts. You could not do this today (too many potential lawsuits), but we would hire our own hall, promote the date with posters and press, recruit our fans to sell tickets and act as staff, hire rent-a-cops--the whole deal!'


'We had a lot of original songs. Between '65 thru '70 we probably wrote 20 or more. The primary songwriter was Rich Lester. The boy could write lyrics with the best of them, and (at the time) having to lean on me (J. Howard) and Marvin to put music to his melodies allowed both of us to get writing credits! Actually, Rich, Marvin, and I collaborated and also wrote on our own. We still have both live and studio (went back into studio in '69) recordings. Quality of live material is very good for the most part and there are covers and originals."

'The Institution, as it was in the '60s, broke up in 1970. However, through the '70s and '80s, various musical aggregations of the core team of Lester, Duff, Coopersmith and LaMond were successfully formed, gigged, toured, and recorded'."

bottom of page