Many decades ago, when I was just a kid, the intermediate school band director came to my third grade class and displayed a selection of different musical instruments. After he demonstrated a clarinet, I went home and told my parents I wanted to be in the school band. Mom and dad supported the idea and off to the music store we went. Because I couldn’t remember that the instrument I saw demonstrated was a clarinet, I told the music store clerk that the instrument had a lot of keys. When he pulled out a gleaming gold, pearly keyed saxophone, I exclaimed with jubulance “That’s It!”
Being in the school band was okay, but I really enjoyed the hours I spent practicing with my Ricky Nelson, Duane Eddy, Bill Blacks Combo (practically wore out “White Silver Sands”) and Johnny and the Hurricanes records.
In junior high I formed a band with a few other young musician friends who wanted to play rock and roll. Our band was invited to play the 8th grade girls assembly. We had a whole two songs in our repretoure. Tall Cool One and Quiet Village. After we played the first song, the girls exploded in screams and applause. That’s when I got bit by the music bug.
In the following years, I played in a variety of instrumental bands and eventually was asked to play in the most popular group in Wichita called the Thundermen. We ended up playing on the KAKE TV dance party, every Saturday, which kept the band busy. After the Thundermen I joined the Breakers, and we opened for the Dave Clark Five (early thrill).
When the Beatles invaded our shores, it was time for me to start singing.
In 1965, my family moved to Bellevue, Washington, a Seattle suburb. Within months, I formed City Zu with Brad Miller. Brad knew some musicians in the area who wanted to jump on board.
Things moved quickly for the band. By 1967, we won a Battle Of The Bands contest, through KJR radio and Pat O’Dea. The grand prize was a Columbia Records contract with producer Jerry Fuller. One of the songs we recorded became a regional hit and City Zu opened for all the major groups that came through Seattle, including The Who, Sonny and Cher, The Yardbirds, Beach Boys, etc.
By 1969, we left Columbia and signed a deal with Dot Records and were produced by Ray Ruff. Although the songs should have been hits, there was no distribution, which left them sitting in the warehouse at DOT. So close and yet so far away.
Through the mid 70’s the band enjoyed popularity in the school and teen dance circuit. By 1975 City Zu performed in night clubs throughout the Northwest. In the early 90’s we moved to the casino circuit in Nevada. Soon thereafter, I decided to hire pop architect Kathy Childers, who helped re-define City Zu (she does everything). We currently enjoy entertaining in some of the top casinos in Nevada.
I’ve always said, I will bop till I drop, but if anyone has an offer I can‘t refuse, let me know.
P.S. Thanks mom and dad, for making me stay at it, when I came home that day in 5th grade, crying, kicking and screaming, that I wanted to drop out of school band, because all my friends had.