LONG ISLAND BANDS

Chapter 2

1965 - 1970's

ONE LAST FORMAL LOOK

Johnny Adamec, Steve Murphy, Joe Ciampa, Kenny Joseph

THE STRANGERS 1966

GOIN' CASUAL

"THEE WORLD FAMOUS STRANGERS"

That's what it said on the bumper sticker on Joe Ciampa's Chrysler. It is barely visible behind my leg

Between the British invasion and groups like the Rascals scoring chart records, by the mid 60's bands were sprouting up like weeds on Long Island. It seemed new ones and clubs for them to work in were turning up weekly. It was a good time to be a music retailer too. In the spring of 1966, our drummer Billy Valerie from Bayside was drafted and Johnny Adamec from Bohemia replaced him.

Steve Murphy, Joe Ciampa, Billy Valerie & Me - Brentwood circa 1965-66

CRACKIN' UP , DOWN IN THE MURPHY's BASEMENT

This was our main rehearsal hall. I can't recall what was so funny. In late 1967, a highly revamped Strangers re -emerged from here, as Mrs. Murphy's Basement, with Lou Stevens from Centereach on drums & two Count em' Two keyboard players. Robbie Mince from Bluepoint on Wurlitzer Electric Piano and yours truly from Patchogue on Hammond Organ

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ORGAN LESSONS

SAY CHEESE !

For those of us who couldn't afford a Hammond, there were these

FARFISA PORTABLES

They Came In Dual & Single Keyboards & Folded Up Into A Suitcase

You Know Them / You Loved Them / You Bought Records By The Millions

That They Were Used On Like,

WOOLY BOOLY / WHEN A MAN LOVES A WOMAN / 96 TEARS

I'll never forget the first day I showed up at practice with it. I had my brand new Gibson ES 345 Stereo Guitar in one hand and the Farfisa in the other, that I had just bought a few days before at Irv's on extremely easy terms.

We rehearsed in Brentwood in Steve Murphy's basement, and Steve wanted to help me with my stuff. I was right behind him as we started down the concrete steps. Steve's foot slipped off the second step sending him and the Farfisa all the way to the bottom in a nano second. No broken bones, but the Farfisa had a nasty gouge in the cabinet. We turned it on and surprise it still worked fine. About a year later I started to have problems with it staying in tune and Irv and I took one of our famous trips to NYC in his Rambler, which was always a fun time.

"THREE TREE TENDERS" TAKING REQUESTS

At the end of the evening The Apple Tree Bartenders always got up on stage and did a few numbers with us. Their fans would often come up too and play Stump The Singers with them. This made the merriment go on way past closing time. Just look at Billy Valerie's grin who egged & encouraged them to new musical heights. Notice I am doubling here with the guitar strapped on while I played organ. This was a Lowery portable Irv Rosen loaned me while my Farfisa was in the shop.

I had the red Farfisa and we got by with it for a year until

the whole band chipped in And We Got

THIS!

On payments....it was a 1960 Hammond A-100 and at $1995.00 (used...but mint... it had never been moved other than when it went from Bob Lanka's Hammond store to the home and back when it was traded in August of 1966 ) it was a savings of $1500.00, over the cost of a new B-3 Model. Thanks to the Rascals, demand for Hammond B-3's and the prices of them had gone through the roof. Both organs were identical, save for the cabinet design and the fact that the A-100 had self contained internal speakers and amplifier, which at 413 pounds made it weigh almost 100 pounds more than a B-3, which at least was designed to be picked up and moved by two strong people eg. ROADIES.... The A-100's, cabinet was not designed to be picked up by humans and it took four to five of us to schlep it . I'll never forget the first month we had it , booking agent Neal Hollander decided to help us move it one night. As the five of us picked it up, Neal let out a groan and his face went to a whiter shade of pale. That was the first and last time he helped.

HELLO DOLLY

We soon bought a set of specially designed organ dollies aka "Roll Or Kari's" that were like handcarts that strapped themselves to both ends. I seem to recall they were about $75.00 and worth twice that in saving your back and more. Today they sell for over $350.00 Another constant expense was U Haul trailer rentals. Some bands started getting vans. My Dodge van was still two years away

"IVORY JOE"

I named my Dodge Van for Ivory Joe Hunter

WARREN NICHOLS IN HIS SUPER SUDS DAYS

The other part of the initial expense of going from a portable organ to a Hammond was a Leslie tone cabinet

With the speakerless B-3 the Leslie or Hammond Tone cabinet , was a must and even though the A-100 had built in speakers and a small amp, for club work it was as useless as my first Hammond Chord Organ was back in 1964. The Leslie Tone Cabinets were unique. They had two speakers, a horn at the top that revolved at two speeds slow & fast and a speaker baffle at the bottom that spun around the stationary bass speaker. The sounds this unique speaker cabinet produced was a big part of what was considered the Hammond sound. Back then they cost about $600.00 - $700.00 .... Only problem was our band was tapped as far as further expenditures.

THE SOLUTION ?


Steve Bordone who played a Hammond for The Crestmen, made a deal with me, that even today I still have mixed feelings about and many gear heads out there would have me commited for. Steve said, I'll trade you a brand new Leslie from Irv's for your ........

That's Right Kiddies, This Is What Steve Wanted For The Leslie

My 1933 Ford Street Rod with a full house souped up '54 Caddy Engine. In early '65, I use to throw my Fender Jaguar guitar & Bandmaster amp in the back of it and off to the gigs I roared.

Surfin' Strangers _ Summer of '65

WHAT'S WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE ?

WE DIDN"T PLAY ANY SURF MUSIC... IT JUST LOOKED LIKE WE DID

BY THE END OF SUMMER THESE OUTFITS & THAT USELESS CANDY APPLE RED JAGUAR, WERE SOON JETTISONED

The last time I saw my old yellow car, we were playing at the Starlight Lounge in Coram and Steve Bordone was showing off his new yellow car in the parking lot. I still was playing the Farfisa as we were still getting together the down payment for the Hammond. Today a new Leslie will set you back about $3,200.00 ... a car like what I had would cost about $32,000.00

The first night we played with the Hammond was a week or so later at the Apple Tree,* and with the very first song all all the guys turned around and gave me the biggest grins I ever saw. By the time of our first break they were saying, stay on the organ we can get by with one guitar. And with that I made another move I still have mixed feelings about. My guitar went into its case for several years. There were two other guys I knew who doubled on Farfisas and guitars back then, Nicky Marchiano and Max __?_-Both returned to guitar after a short time.

* I believe this may be only the second time a full sized Hammond organ took up most of the stage at the Apple Tree. and a swirling Leslie filled the knotty pine dance hall with that unmistakeable Hammond sound. Nat Marchiano recalled when he was playing there in 1964, that some of The Starlighters ( Joey Dee's band) came out there to play from NY City, The Starlighters included brothers Eddie & Dave Brigatti and a guy named Felix who didn't get to play the first night, because the van transporting his Hammond broke down. Of course a year later Felix's organ stayed put for an entire summer at The Barge out on Dune Rd and the rest as they say is musical history

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SUMMER OF '66

DINO DANELLI - 1966

THEY WERE STILL PLAYING HIGH SCHOOLS & CLUBS ON LI AFTER THEY HIT IT BIG

TOMMY CASTAGNARO

An Outstanding Drummer ! He was with The Crestmen, Down Five , Alice etc

As summer of '66 approached, the big musical question among a whole lot of bands was who was going to take the Rascals place at The Barge ? For some crazy reason, I think a whole lot of us viewed the Barge as a ticket to a record deal. Thing is, The Rascals didn't get where they were by copying anyone. But in the summer of 66 Long Island was flooded with Rascal style bands. There were probably more Rascal impersonators that summer on Long Island , than there were Elvis impersonators in Vegas ten years later.

"HEY THERE"

Speaking Of Vegas, What Were The Crestmen Doing There?

They Weren't, "Mr. Las Vegas" Came To New York City For A Telethon At The Waldorf

John, Rick, Sammy, Tommy, Steve

Where's Augie? Taking The Photo I Guess

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By '66 if you didn't have a Hammond organ in your band, you were no place. Bands with Rascal style names like The Orphans,The Rich Kids, The Brats etc, seemed to appear almost weekly.

THE RICH KIDS
Their leader Denny Beline, was Perry Como's nephew

The Crestmen, The Vagrants, The Strangers, The Nocturnes and probably twenty or more other bands all auditioned for the gig at The Barge. I think it was in mid May that we got our shot. The club owners didn't even watch us. Probably because they knew what we were going to play. How many ways can you play Good Lovin? They sent a lackey to the stage to tell us that they were within earshot and we may begin!

When they did hire a band for that summer, no one from Long Island got the gig. Instead a Stones styled group,The Sparrow from Canada became the house band. John Kay was their lead singer. I recall he usually sat at the bar alone during their breaks talking to no one. A few years later he re emerged with his new group Steppenwolf.

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And The Music Goes Round & Round

 

PHOTO IS PROBABLY ABOUT 1964 WE CROSSED PATHS WITH VINNIE GILL'S RHYTHM KINGS A WHOLE BUNCH OF TIMES PLAYING MANY OF THE SAME VENUES

LIKE THE PALM TERRACE , NAUTICAL , STARLIGHT LOUNGE . THEY WERE ACTIVE FROM 1962 - 65 , WERE VERY POPULAR AND HAD A BIG FOLLOWING.

STEVE BORDONE, RICHIE LEFEBVRE, RICHIE BROOKS & VINNIE GILL Down in front with his snare drum is DOMINIC AMATO

DOMINIC WAS IN THE ISLANDERS FOR A BREIF TIME & I WENT TO SCHOOL WITH RICHIE LEFEBRE

 

THE MALIBUS CIRCA 1966 AT THE BRIDLE PATH IN WESTHAMPTON
GROUP WAS STARTED BY LARRY SCHULZ, MY OLDEST FRIEND IN THE WORLD
, WE HAVE KNOWN EACH OTHER FOR 60 YEARS!

Front Row : Richie Lefebvre, Sax, Dominick Amato, Drums, Frankie Aielio, Vocals Rear : Larry Schulz, Guitar. George Roth, Bass

Richie & Dominick were both in the Rhythm Kings for several years and Dominick played with me in The Islanders, in 1962

Frankie was our lead singer in The Continentals.

RAINY DAYS & KNIGHTS & LADIES TOO

photo courtesy Leslie Zimei

The Rainy Days had a whole lot of different folks and configurations over a period of 4 - 5 years or so. I believe Al Rizzutti (sp?) was their visionary through out it all. That's Al on the left looking for new horizons, and then Jack McMahon, John Kerr, Phil Briosco, Kathy O'Brien, Leslie Zimei and Buddy Jaquinto sitting it out.

Some other members who were in the Rainy Days at one time or another include : Lee "Max" Maxwell, John Cherico, and Nat Marchiano

SOUNDS OF MODIFICATION

Another Lou Lofredo managed act. They had a full horn section

THE APPLE TREE IN MATTITUCK 1966

We had been playing at the Apple Tree steady on weekends for over a year and were getting a little tired of the routine. We started looking elsewhere, and hooked up for a bit with booking agent Neal Hollander of Amityville. The first job Neal booked us at was almost the last. We found ourselves trapped in the back of this dumpy bottle club in Copaigue called The Boog-Galoo. It was a former used car dealer - repair shop. Trapped was the word, as this place had no business license and no regard for fire laws. The whole place erupted into one huge fight as we started our second set. We had to bail out of a window near the stage only to find the fight had travelled to the parking lot. As I raced with my Farfisa organ in one hand , Gibson 345 in the other, to my new car (an immaculate '60 Chevy Impala ) two guys were between it and Johnny Adamec's 55 Chev. They were bashing the hell out of each other and one was using a metal stop sign he pulled out of ground as a weapon ! The first Suffolk County cop arrived and he fired his gun in the air. I dove under the trunk of my Chevy, arms out stretched with my instruments, and was hearing the sounds of the stop sign hitting my car, sirens screaming, and police dogs barking. When it was safe to emerge, my 2 week old Black Impala, was no longer in showroom shape. Nor was Johnny's Metallic Blue "Old 55".

To add insult to injury, the club owner took off with the door money. We never got paid, but at least we didn't get killed. We never went back there of course, but the joint reopened the next night and someone was stabbed. The Police shut it down permantly. Neil Hollander owed us big time.

The next gig he got us, was at the Action House in Island Park. That was one of the top clubs on the Island. But we went back to mainly booking ourselves when we could. One of the places we returned to was Danny Mazur's Cat & Fiddle club in Plainview. Danny had lost his liqour license and renamed the joint "My House" opening it to teens. He stayed with the two band format, but the crowds were way down. One night that we' re there, with a group whose name escapes me, but I recall Dick Realander from the Patchogue Bellport area was the leader of, a band called the Hassles auditioned for a future booking by doing a short set, They were just three pieces, Harry Weber on portable organ, Rich McKenna on guitar, Jon Small on drums with a lead singer named John Dizek. They had a lot of energy, sounded ok, but nothing that special. I'd cross paths with them many times later in the years to come.

NEWSDAY AD CIRCA 1967

MYNDS EYE Drums BRUCE GENTILE , Organ JR PISIANI, Guitar JEFF DAYTON, Bass JOHN FOUKIES Vocals JOE ANIZANO

Members went on to playing with a lot of major acts including Beach Boys Miles Davis Chuck Berry Bo Diddley ...

photo courtesy Bruce Gentile

"KENNETH CHARLES " WAS WITHOUT A DOUBT

THE LOWEST PROFILE MANAGER - AGENT ON ALL OF THE ISLAND

JUST LIKE COLONEL TOM WHO ONLY HAD ONE CLIENT ALBEIT A BIGGER ONE

UPDATE JULY 2010 : NOW YOU CAN GIVE IT A LISTEN HERE

SUPER THANKS TO JIMMI ACCARDI, ANOTHER VETERAN LI BAND MEMBER FOR NOT ONLY SENDING ME THE PRISTINE RECORDING OF THIS TUNE WHICH CAME OUT AROUND 1966, (BTW Notice Who Produced It! NY song writing Legends Jeff Barry and his then wife, the late Ellie Greenwich) BUT ALSO FOR PUTTING ME IN TOUCH WITH DENNIS CARBONE WHO WROTE IT. DENNIS WAS A MEMBER OF THE NOCTURNES, THE DOWN 5 & THE MOOF. THE DOWN 5, WERE DENNIS on Organ, BOBBY "Pizza" DeBARTOLA , Bass and lead singer, NICK MARCHIANO, Guitar, and TOMMY CASTAGNARO, Drums ... But That's Only Four You Say! . The 5th Member of The Down 5 Was A Rubber Duck who used to sit on top of the Leslie Tone Cabinet

JIMMI ALSO HAS SENT SOME PHOTOS THAT I WILL BE ADDING IN SOON

Next: HEY KID, WANNA MAKE A RECORD?

TAKE IT FROM THE TOP

NOTE : THESE PAGES ARE WORKS IN PROGRESS

If you were in a Long Island band or knew one or more well and have any memoribilia,__ Then By All Means ___ I would like to hear from you. My e mail