I’ve always enjoyed listening to music for as long as I can remember. When I was a child I can still remember my mother listening to Perry Como and some of the big bands being her favorite. I think she enjoyed Elvis Presley also because we always seemed to be at an Elvis movie at the drive-in.
When the Beatles invaded the states, I was a teenager, who became incredibly immersed in the scene. I finally received my first guitar at around 14. They bought it at a department store. The strings were so far from the neck, I hardly had the strength to press them down to make a sound. I remember I so wanted to be in a band that I invite some of my class mates that played real instruments over to my house to start a band. My instrument was a small plastic organ with chord buttons and a three octave keyboard. Of course, it was a disaster. They were kind though and let me down easy. The first thing I bought when I had saved enough money from working for my father was an electric guitar and amp. The guitar was a Kent, not the greatest but at least it was playable. One of my oldest friends who I had gone to kindergarten with was learning to play at the same time. We helped each other out and he introduced me to two brothers whose older brother played in a real rock n’ roll band. They knew all the chords
My first public performance was with him at a Battle of the Bands. We had enlisted another friend’s little brother to play drums. You can never imagine how bad things can get until you’re on stage in front of people for the first time. It was a large area and we thought that for artistic reasons spreading out as far as we could from each other would be a good thing with the drummer in the middle. There were no monitors and all the amplification came from our own microphones and guitars plugged into our own amps. So when we started we could not hear what anyone else was doing. I’m sure it totally confused the drummer when we both started out the first song in different places. One of us started out on the verse the other the chorus. We quickly stopped and walked across the stage and met in the middle in front of the drummer. I know we discussed what we were going to do, but stage fright must have clouded our minds because we both started out in different places again, albeit the opposite ones which we had done before. I think this may have happened three times, maybe more. It became a blurry nightmare at some point. It is a sign of how dedicated I was to being a musician that I didn’t sell everything the next day.