One of my earliest music interests was back in the early 50's when I was taking accordion lessons. Although I enjoyed the sound of the accordion I knew it was not the instrument I wanted to play so sometime around 1959 I bought a pair of sticks and started playing on a card table, telephone books and coffee cans. I bought a three-piece Slingerland drum set from a friend and started drumming to records. I was into music with a good beat and was not much of a lyric buff. I liked things like Cozy Cole's Topsy Part II, In The Mood, and Take Five just to name a few and drummers like Buddy Rich, Gene Kruppa, Sandy Nelson and Johnny Barbata. I consider myself fortunate to have grown up in a neighborhood that produced a lot of really good bands and some very renowned drummers. Guys like Dan Seraphine of Chicago fame, Ross Salomone who played with groups like Redwood Landing and Madura and was a studio session drummer for a lot of great bands, and Billy Herman of The Exceptions, The New Colony Six and Aorta fame. I still keep in touch with Ross on a regular basis and he tells me he plays his drums everyday. I know Dan has a group called the California Transit Authority and is touring. I would watch my drummer friends and drummers from other groups and try to pick up on things they did and incorporate them into my playing. I can remember watching Ross kick double bass in the auditorium of Steinmetz HS when he was about 15 years old and could not get over how great he was.
In 1965 I came upon a 3x5 index card that read, "Guitar players looking for a drummer". I thought I was pretty decent by then and gave the number a call. I met Steve and Fred and the three of us enjoyed getting together and playing mostly instrumentals. A short time later Greg joined the group and the rest as they say is history. I prefer to say destiny.
Some of my favorite songs we played through the years were I'm Crying, Hello Josephine, Rock Around The Clock, Taking Care of Business, Let It Ride, The Peppermint Twist and both versions of Proud Mary. (CCR and Ike and Tina Turner)
I enjoyed the music of the Buckinghams another old neighborhood group, The Beatles, Dave Clark Five, Bill Haley and the Comets and some that maybe most won't remember like the Chambers Bros., Baby Huey and the Baby Sitters, Electric Flag and Chase who billed themselves as the horniest band in town.
Two of my favorite memories of jobs we played:
1. We were playing our version of a Land Of A Thousand Dances and I was using tube sticks with little beads inside. I hit this rim shot, one of the sticks broke, and the top of the stick and the beads spilled out onto the dance floor. I'll leave the rest to your imagination!
2. While playing a private party in a hall above a bowling alley in Chicago this guy who had a little too much to drink kept hitting my crash cymbal with a woman’s high-heeled shoe. I warned him twice to stop and the third time he hit it I jumped off the stage and chased him down the stairs onto the sidewalk where he kept running and could still be running today for all I know. When I got back upstairs the guys were still playing so I got back behind the drums and finished the song with them.