As a guitar player, I started to
work in local night clubs around the Los Angeles area. I also worked
with different "doo wop" groups, singing backgrounds, playing
guitar, and doing some recording. Back in those days we would go to
Austin L. McCoy's studio on Avalon Blvd., or
Ted Brinson's Studio on 30th Street in Los Angeles.
I learned to read music through private lessons and would practice
the guitar for up to 8 hours a day. This later paid of well.
I started a
five piece band while in high school (1953), which consisted of
drums, bass, piano, guitar, and saxophone. We added a female singer
and did a lot of parties, dances, and shows. The first member was
Glen Wade, who played upright bass. I met Glen by asking the
John C. Fremont High School "band teacher" Mr. Gailey,
if there was a bass player who could be used in a "combo", as small
music ensembles were then called. He recommended Glen who
agreed to start a band with me and we went from there. We added
Sentel "Freddie" Willis on drums, Valerio Poluito, on
Piano, and John Reese on Alto Sax. Theresa Procello
was the first vocalist, and Joan Dennis, a neighbor, sang
with us later. She also played Piano.