|hours of deliberation, we chose to be
known as The Vandals. As our reputation grew in the teen-club circuit, we
landed a prized two-night gig at the Winchester Cathedral nightclub, where
some band named Sly and the Family Stone played after hours. We even
bought new microphones for the occasion. Friday went great and we didn’t
even have to take our stuff home! Saturday didn't go as well because our
new mics had been stolen. (Sly is currently in seclusion, probably feeling
a little guilty.)
In 1965 it got to the point where we needed a kick in the ass. Nick wanted to concentrate on his bass playing and not sing so much. He said his next-door neighbor, Cosmo Violante, was a hell of a singer, and would like to join our band. Now, with all the pieces in place, we continued playing high schools and proms, getting tight. We played a variety show at the Salesian Boys’ Club as the featured act. Little did we know that the Beau Brummels, who used the Boys’ Club as a rehearsal space,
|had also agreed to do a few
songs. Laugh Laugh was on our playlist for that night. I asked Sal
Valentino if it was OK with him if we played their song, and he said fine.
It was thrill to be able to play their song with them in the audience! We
In January of 1966, Don Wehr’s Music City had a battle of the bands. Our dreaded archrivals The Hedds were expected to win. Each group had ten minutes to perform, which meant probably three songs. At rehearsal, we couldn’t decide which three songs to play, so we came up with a tight ten-song medley that blew the doors off of everyone, including the judges! Don Wehr couldn’t believe it as he read our name as the winners. The first prize was a Vox Phantom 12-string guitar. Finally! From then on, Ticket To Ride sounded just like the record.
Later in 1966, the San Francisco department store H.Liebes was having bands play Saturdays in their teen department. One of their teen models heard us at St. Stephen’s Teen Club and recommended us. We got the job