My first band at age 13, was called “The Gents”, and we played a lot of Ventures,
and of course when the Beatles emerged, along with the British Invasion, we played
much of that material. My bass player and rhythm guitar player were over six feet
tall so you could image the image this projected on stage. I remember playing street
dances, backyard parties, garages and schools. We regularly played a small town called
Hornell, and I remember the girls were “oh so friendly”. I had four or five of them
writing to me. It was such a trip. My older cousin, who was a drummer with a popular
group at the time, used to call me up to do college beer blasts... wow now we are
really talking about a trip since I was only 15 at the time and had to slosh my way
back to the stage after break.
The Last Rites:
After the Gents, I started a group with a few high school friends, Karl and Gary Laporta, Carlos Falcon, and Joe Altobelli. The name of the group was the Last Rites. We started off wearing Monk’s robes and played at the University of Rochester so often that we became their band of choice. At that time, I was the only one who was eighteen. Karl and I are still close friends and remain in contact often.
Turning twenty, I gave up
playing for a time, got married, and my sons Michael and
Eric came along. Then one day my neighbor told one of his co-workers, who played
drums in a 50’s band about me. One day a couple of the members and their girlfriends showed up at my doorstep and I had to “cold” audition for to get the gig. Well, needless to say, Johnny B. Goode won it for me and I became a member of a group .This lasted for a couple of years before I jumped back into guitar retirement
I went to work for Eastman Kodak in 1978, and worked beside this guy who kept telling me that he heard that I was an accomplished guitarist and he wanted to start a group with me. I kept telling him I wasn’t interested until one day I got fed up with his daily insistence and decided to call his bluff. We went to a music shop, I grabbed a Guitar, and played for him, and that was how the number one band in Rochester, New York “Vegas” got started. Oh I forgot to mention that this guy couldn’t sing, so we terminated him, no, not that way, we let him go. I didn’t have my gun permit at that time. After “Vegas” (two years of six nighters, 50 hour work weeks at Kodak, no sleep at all, and a separation), I finally had to leave the group before a nervous breakdown ensued.
Park Avenue / Vegas:
I performed in ” Park Avenue” playing current rock until rejoining “Vegas” around 1982 as part of an 8 piece horn group performing some great music by BS & T, Chicago. After a couple of more years, in which the three nighters began to turn back into five and six nighters, it was time again for another retirement. Ahh…. but those retirements always seemed so short.
Around 1989, I started another group with some former members, including Karl Laporta, called “R*Gang” (was “Our Gang” until people began asking me who was Spanky was). R*Gang became very popular and cranked out classic rock well after I relocated to Virginia in mid 1993. The band was booked every weekend and had a great following.
After relocating to Virginia, I performed in a classic rock band with Tom Arbisi, and
Kim Beamer called “The Wise Guys”. I left the “Wise
Guys” in 1995 after it turned into a seven piece, three guitar dual female country band.
Again sought retirement, had back surgery in ‘97, and came back out of retirement
to spend the next five years performing with the Glass Onion Band out of
Spotsylvania. We did mostly Beatles and went through a few musician changes.
The favorite time I had in the band was when Eddie Collins was a member. I loved
the Hammond B3 and man could he crank on one. Unfortunately he moved to
Florida and wouldn’t take me with him. You can listen to the cuts on my sweet-lou
website. After 20 years of performing on and off with Mr, Arbisi, I finally got screwed for the last time. I was gently forced out of the band after our Keyboard player left and the band went acoustic.
The years 2006 through 2007 found me performing with the Northern VA group CoverUp, led by Craig Huffman and Tom Wigley. The gigs were fun but far away and you would find me driving 80 miles or so at 3 am to get home. Usually falling asleep at the wheel, dodging drunks and deer it became too much and I left the group. Check CoverUp out at www.coveruprocksu.com I helped the band out be subbing twice and not getting paid for the gigs. So much for friendship