Thursday, July 3, 2008

The Journey of Easy Livin' - Startup

As far as I was concerned, I could have kept playing the drums all night, even though I didn't know what I was doing. We had a lot of fun at Duane's house that day (and night) and all I could think about afterwards was having another chance at playing more music.

That led to the suggestion, why don't we start our own band? Why not?

Just because Duane was the only one with an actual instrument (Florence's piano didn't count since it wasn't portable), and aside from those two none of the rest of us could play anything, so what? Where there's a will, there's a way.

Along the way for various reasons, everyone except Duane and me dropped out.

The search for the rest of the band commenced. I don't remember how we came across them, but we found Dennis Yokotake to play the keyboards and then Michael Kosaka for the bass. One obstacle had been overcome.

The other obstacle was, how and where do we get the instruments, amps and other equipment?

For that, we went to the source that pretty much all of the garage bands on the Westside used: Betty's Music in Mar Vista. Betty Norup had a small and very crowded little store on Centinela Avenue near Culver Boulevard next door to a sandwich shop called The Submariner. Just down the street from her was the locally legendary Mago's, well-known among Westsiders as a place you could go any time of the day or night to get a teriyaki and chashu plate or a burger.

The attraction of Betty's was that if she "sponsored" your band, she would sell you everything at her cost. "Sponsored" in this case meant you mentioned her store during your gigs.

The problem was, a deal like this was very popular so there we were, not even a formal band with any gigs in sight yet, trying to join the likes of Carry On, Free Flight, Long Time Comin', Beaudry Express and Winfield Summit, the most popular of the Westside garage bands to be sponsored by Betty.

Betty told us she was sorry, but she already had too many bands she was sponsoring.

Maybe it was the disappointed looks on our faces and maybe not, but for whatever reason she ended up changing her mind and offered to sponsor us, too.

And that's how we found a source for our equipment.

Betty was not real organized, but you could not meet a nicer lady. Through the many years since those days, I have not forgotten her and how she made it possible for us to form our band - I've always appreciated that.

Now we had the players in place, we had our instruments, and we were learning some songs, too. But there was something still missing: a singer.

Imagine the music video below, sans voice. Take the musicianship down a few (many?) notches as well, and there you have us at that point in time:

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