We played the Lakeshore and the Forrest at the Beach. Guy V. was our sax, Dick Laurey was our drummer, after Hank Bowman. Ralph (can't think of his last name, but it's over on the CNYForum net) played bass. Jimmy Hanna, lead guitar. Jon Hynes (he's still around Utica) also played bass with us for a while. Me on keyboard, most often on whatever piano came with the gig. I remember Tommy Miglaccio and I think he was the same named kid who grew up around the corner from me on Lamb St., but I never ran into him musically in later years. I knew Jimmy Palladino and Chuckie Daniel, but don't remember Tommy playing for them in the Plaids. The best known group at the time was the Premiers. They had a terrific sound and presentation. They had help from pros in NYCity (paid for) and they were on Ted Mack's Show. Remember, every time there was an argument or clash of egos, band members came and went. I remember playing a place down in the valley one night where the piano was so far off international scale, we could get the guitar strings down to it, but Guy could adjust his sax reed only so far and I had to play flats all night! I remember another "enagement" at the Mohawk Gun Club (halfway up the Rt. 28 Hill to Richfield Springs, where the wood stove (a novelty at the time and unfamiliar to the kids who organized the dance) backed up and we all had to stand outside in the rain while the Fire Dept. aired the place out. Gates Intino originally had the Rythym Kings and we recorded a record with him under our name the Bel Airs. We recorded it on UFA's auditorium stage, as a matter of fact, because it was known for it's acoustics, I was told. The record did NOT go platinum! I do remember Little Ray, but barely. Did I see him at the Beach? We never played DeCastros. That was reserved for the pro bands with expensive arrangements. Those guys didn't do weddings or proms. I remember an afternoon at the Utica War Memorial when we fronted for a tour that consisted of the Crickets (after Buddy Holly), Dion (of the Belmonts), a weird robot who ran on adulation, and Buddy Knox (Party Doll), a friendly god ol' boy who I suspected was constantly high on something. We did the warm-up at the front of the show and then had to hang around in case someone OD'd I guess . But that was fun. We felt famous! It was a "deadhead" tour and the name folks were not really too serious. A "deadhead" was where you got out a big calendar and started calling agents until you finally had a number of name bands all passing through or near a spot on a given weekend, each of them "deadheading," to a job on Tuesday night, on the way home, or just a hole in their schedule. You could get them cheap because of these circumstances. So, if you could find a band for the warm-up and a place to hold the concert, you automatically became a "Rock and Roll PROMOTER" and supposedly made lots of money. Jim Gaylord is not a familiar name. Keep in mind that we started in 1959 when I was a high school junior and it ran (for me) maybe until 1962, when I quit in my last year in MVCC to try to study and then left Utica for New York City in 1963. So, anyone outside that narrow window of time would not have come to my attention. fFolks like Guy and Jon and Dick continued and they are walking encyclopedias of "Utica's Bands of the '50's and Beyond." The DJ's we worked with at that time were Hank Brown and there was a short, round guy from TLB, can't think of his name. Hank built up a following down in the valley and held dances wherever he say an opportunity, getting a band to play for their own exposure and to entice attendees. After you "got famous" you didn't (practically) play free for DJs.
Last Edit: Mar 6, 2008 19:04:35 GMT -5 by dgriffin
Bobbiez, I'm on a roll, too. I was just sitting here thinking about the VERY early days of my musical "career" in 1959. For our second job, we played outdoors at a gas station opening on Oneida St. near Wittig's. It didn't rain. Our first job was with a DJ (not Hank) at the Our Lady of Lourdes Children of Mary Dance in the fall of 1959. We didn't have outfits (necessary then) but we all had chinos and white shirts and we pooled our money and bought red "Perry Como" styled sweathers to wear. We set up on the stage about an hour before the dance began. This was before we had Guy (5 years older than us and an experienced musician) and Ralph after the Plaids broke up and we were all high school kids, Jimmy Hanna , Hank Bowman , Lowell Sick, (all of (New Hartform High), Mike Motto from Proctor and myself (UCA). I remember the DJ realizing we were all scared shitless and he tried to calm us down and encourage us. He was probably afraid we'd cut and run and he'd have to explain our disappearance. We got through a couple of songs, microphone troubles, amp troubles, etc. Then came the moment when my world stopped. I walked to the microphone to sing ....I still remember it, "Your Precious Love," and I wondered how the hell I had ever placed myself in such a position, about to make a complete ass of myself. I thought to myself, "I can't play, I can't sing, I can't even think, so what am I doing up here?" We had done the voice work as a group in the first few songs. I was the first solo singer. The kids who had been milling around on the floor between numbers stopped and everyone in the auditorium turned and looked up at me (so it seemed). I knew I would never be able to hold my voice in control. I knew I'd forget the lyrics. I wondered why we were doing this song, the most difficult for me. The intro was now finishing and I opened my mouth to sing. I did it. It went OK. It was like someone else was in my body. I was scared to the bottom of my shoes but the song was coming out OK. When it was over, girls screamed. Screamed? Were there mice on the floor? I was hooked. I have never in my entire life afterward felt the elation of that night. And I never experienced anything quite like performing for a crowd. And I was really never all that good, either.
Boy Dave, It sounds like you're having the same feelings I had when reminiscing about our song and dance era. "Those were the days my friend!"
Do you remember when Hank Brown host the local Band Stand on WKTV? Well, I was one of his girls on his program with the long ponytail and poodle skirt dancing my dupa off. lol!!!!!!! That was the bomb. Just loved doing it. Yes, we felt like movie stars to.
Am still good friends with Hank Brown. Hank and I with more dear friends drove to Rutland, Vermont two years ago to Ralph Roman's funeral. Ralph was our good friend who was also on radio with Hank. Ralph had his program, "Open Mike," on WIBX for quite a few years working along side of Hank, Dan and Mike Fusco. In our teen years all worked as DJ's for many different stations, bands, dances, weddings and parties.
Do you know any of the bands and guys in more recent years? Most are retired now. Do you know Tony Joseph from the band Ivory Tower or Barry and Joe Nuccio from the Bandella brothers? OMG, I could go on forever. Just wish my memory would cooperate so I could remember more of the bands and the guy's names. I worked at Vista Lounge in Yorkville for 7 years and the old Ramada Inn on Burrstone Road. Got to know alot of the bands from here and alot from out of town. Some really good show groups and guys like Larry in Stage Makeup. Fantastic group from Boston.
Geez, I'm sorry for carrying on and boring everyone (except Dave ) but they were "the days my friend."
Yes, I do remember the local bandstand gig of Hank's, but I can't remember which year. He must be at least ten years older than us. Nope, my knowledge of the local (Utica) music scene ended abruptly on Memorial Day of 1963 when I left for New York , seldom to return (for very long.) I spent some time in Utica during the summer of '65, staying at my parents' house for a 6 or 7 weeks before getting married, but most of my time was spent working, driving up to Watertown or Syracuse to see my wife-to-be or having a couple of beers once in a while at Smitty's in the Gorge, where I was often the lone patron. Besides Mr. and Mrs. Smitty. By that time I'd lost interest. Bobbie, go here: www.cnyforum.org/phpbb/viewforum.php?f=2 and read these threads: "The Seed of Small Bands in Utica" and "Utica’s Bands of the Fifties." Some of the musicians you may remember have posted there.
Admittedly, I've never understood womens' fashions, but I can't for the life of me figure out what the attraction was. Group hysteria, I suppose, like us guys wearing pink shirts and charcoal ties and red nylon jackets.
Yeah Dave, and they were a pain in the a--. Had to starch "all" those slips that we wore under and I do mean "all" . One slip wasn't enough. The more you wore under the more the skirt would stick out. They were cute but I wasn't unhappy to see that style go. ;D
I'll get back to you later on the bands. I'm still in the process of reading the posts you sent me and enjoying every single one. Gonna read them all. Know so many people mentioned on them that it actually brought tears to my eyes hearing bout all and I don't cry easy. Wonderful, wonderful memories! Thanks Dave, for putting a smile on my face and, yes, even for the tears.
Got to run, but will catch ya later. Lots of appointments today.
Hey Dave, read all the post and I was so happy I did. Most brought back alot I had forgotten, people and places. Especially the places we hung out in and you guys use to play at that no longer exist. Spent alot of nights hanging out and dancing away at Four Acres and the Hacienda. I forgot about them and they were a great part of my younger years.
Alot of the bands and guys I mentioned were talked about on those posts. Reading them made me feel good realizing my memory has not abandoned me.
Two of the guys I forgot to mention before, John and Carl Phoenix, were such good friends of mine from kindergarten through high school. I always told my kids those two brothers were my devoted body guards in school. Whenever I got into a fight, (and honestly, I never was the one who started anything), they would make sure the fight would remain one on one for me. They were my bestest buddies and always, always watched my back.
John kept his band going for years playing parties and weddings. He lives near Clayville with his wife of 35 years. He now does his karaoke business in local bars in Utica and the surrounding area. We keep in touch on a regular basis. His brother, Carl, died of an overdose years ago. What a shame that was.
I also forgot one special guy who played in the Plaids, Fran Loucks. Don't know how I could do that because I was crazy about Fran and I know the feelings were mutual but I did have a "steady" at that time and wouldn't cheat on my boyfriend. Actually, I did end up marrying that "steady" a few years down the road.
I will continue to keep up on the posts. Thank you for bringing them to my attention. Really appreciated all. Wonderful memories. You know the ones that bring tears to ones eyes because they were that great.
Have to clarify one thing before I get ribbed by "certain" people here. What I said about fighting, "honestly, I never was the one who started anything." was being very truthful. Because I was always a small, petite girl the bigger girls "thought" I was an easy mark and would constantly pick on me and even tried to beat me up. Well, they started it and I then took care of business by finishing it. Never started one fight I was in my whole life and that's the truth!!!! Still will take care of business if I'm pushed to it.
Bobbbiez, Of course I remember Frannie. In yesterday's mail came the box from Dick Laurey (drummer for the Plaids and later for us, the Bel Airs) in Oregon containing his scrapbooks and files. He sent them to me so I could scan and copy anything I would want to. Looking through the stuff, I realized how little I saw of the whole picture back then from a personal perspective, because I was part of it for only a few years, '59 to '62. Dick's scrapbook contains stuff from the Plaids, who were becoming history when I came on the scene. In fact, we got Guy and Ralph (sax, bass)when the Plaids broke up; Chuckie (piano) went off to college, etc. (Guy and I were laughing last week when I stopped in Yorkville to see him about Chuckie's first electric piano anyone had ever heard. Chuckie, of course, could play it well, but the sound it produced was plain awful, like an orchestra of toy horns.) I didn't realize that Gates Intino evidently came back from Boston after I left for NY City and played with the Bel Airs, until I saw the photos in Dick's scrapbook. And there were loads of other Utica musicians in the book I didn't even recognize. And, of course, a lot of pictures from Dick's follow on career on the West Coast. And disappointing to me: the photo I've been looking for of the original Bel Airs (after the Rythym Kings) (Guy, Ralph, Hank Bowman, Jimmy Hanna and myself) wasn't there. Don't think Dick ever had a copy and since he wasn't in that version of the band, it wouldn't have been important to him anyway.
I was gone from the scene by '62 and gone from the area by '63, so many of the people you remember were known to me, but the later ones were not.
Bobbiez: Would you mind if I repost some the stuff we've talked about here on this forum over to the CNYForum (if that's legal?) I won't use your screen name, if you don't want me to and I'll pull any potentially identifying remarks.
There were a number of people, including Dick and Guy and Jon Hynes who have been following and contributing to the thread over there.
If you say OK, I'll pm Clipper and ask him if it's ok to do that.
I see no problem with it, as long as Bobbbiez doesn't. Just use discretion in using any material that would contain anyone elses info, other than yours, mine, or Bobbbiez. I belong to that forum also, so I don't care myself, and I would not be relevant to the topic you are going to post about anyhow.
I have faith that you, above anyone else, would not violate anyone's personal "space" or info. Go ahead and do what you like as long as it is okay with bobbbiez.
Thanks, Clipper. Actually, what would be good is for Bobbiez to come and join that forum and I could help her repost her stuff. That is, I'd summarize it for her, remove extraneous references and send her a file she could then post herself. It would be nice to have a central place for all of the Bands of the Fifties info offered so far by Bobbiez and the folks on the other forum.