My First Piano, 1962
My family moved into a new home in Suisun City, California and the previous owners had no place to put their little spinet piano. It remained in the house, and I quickly laid claim to it. I'd banged around on the school piano a little bit and liked it, but now I had one in my own house! I took formal lessons for a few years, but more importantly I discovered I could pick out melodies and chords off the radio and in my head. From Mancini's "Moon River" to Brian Wilson's "In My Room" (what's that chord in the bridge under "Laugh At Yesterday"?) the fuse was lit and I couldn't get enough music in my life.
high School Band, 1966
J.C. before there was rock? Not really. I already had a 'group' going (as we said back when) and it was a lot more fun than high school band! Here we see the Armijo High School Marching Band upon our return from the All Western Band Review in Long Beach, California; the state's biggest marching band competition. It was the first time the band had won anything; the first trophy ever in the band room. That's Yours Truly on a pals' shoulders, foreground, in my H.I.S. sweater, stretch Levis and Bates Floaters. The following year I wasn't allowed to march because I wouldn't cut my hair . . .
The Furlanders, 1966-67
That's me, "John" on bass! Only a few years previous The Beatles changed the face and sound of pop music, and in every town across the country any kid with an ounce of musical talent wanted to "be in a band." I was no exception, and I was in awe of the local groups popping up around our county; bands like The Tallyrands, The Donnybrookes, The Oxford Circle and a dozen others. In the Fall of '65 I entered high school, and no more than a week into it a "Suisun Boy" named Russell tried to get me in a fistfight with a "Fairfield Kid" about my size (back then after-school "duke-outs" were commonplace the first couple weeks of school). Instead, Robert Koehn and I found some serious common ground in our passion for music, and at only thirteen years old (we were both 'advanced' a year) Rob was already a hell of a guitar player! I convinced my folks to buy me a bass guitar, we found a twelve-year-old drummer named Jeff Pehan, an eleven-year-old guitar player named Jeff Murray, and the game was on; my first band "The Furlanders" was born! I don't think a picture of the band exists, but we had this cool pink business card! I also recently discovered a recording - probably cut the summer of '66 - of us running through Rufus Thomas' "Walkin' The Dog" with Yours Truly on lead vocal. "Walkin' The Dog" at thirteen? Thank you very much KDIA, the hippest soul station on the West Coast . . .