Part 2: The early days (1965-1975)

When I was in my late teens and early 20s I decided it would be fun to be in a band. It was probably largely a reaction to my slight problem of having no dates at all and no prospects for any. At the time I didn’t realize it was due to my personality, which had the same relation to a normal personality as your  dog’s breath has to your breath. (Hm, I’m going to have to work on that prose…)

Asking around among my friends as to which instrument was easy to play and they needed in their bands, playing electric bass seemed to be the path of least resistance. I saved up my chore money and bought a Gibson EB-0 bass on time payments and started lessons. It seemed like a great struggle and that bass sounded crappy played through my stereo. After a while I bought a Guild hollow body bass from a college kid in La Jolla, but even though it had better twang it still didn’t have the punch I thought I should be able to get.

Finally, a much better musician than myself told me to stop wasting time on these oddball basses and get a Fender Precision. Finally I could get the tone I sought. (Meanwhile I was going through lots of amplifier and speaker combinations, a lot of them bought at local manufacturer Carvin. I also bought a two-neck bass/6 string guitar from them which I have a picture of somewhere.)

For some reason, although I enjoyed a lot of pop groups (Rolling Stones, Doors, Love, Yes, etc.) with the normal vocals+instrumental makeup, I was always drawn to instrumental music first. I don’t know why this was. Some of my early favorites (which may seem corny now) that I can recall at the moment were “The Lonely Bull” (Herb Alpert’s Tijuana Brass), “The Lonely Surfer” (Jack Nitszche[I think]), and “Telstar” (The Tornadoes, a Joe Meek production). Amazingly, in those days an instrumental track could actually make the Top 40. More will probably come to mind…

So in my teens I bought a Gibson EB-0 electric bass on a weekly payment plan using my allowance. I didn’t even have an amplifier at that time, so I could only play it by plugging it into the back of my parent’s hi fi. (All those old enough to remember the “hi fi”, raise your hands!)

Then began the laborious part of learning music theory and practicing. After several months of that, it was time for me to get up the nerve to find a band that would have me.


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