As is the case with so many from my generation, The Beatles had such a profound effect that they literally changed my life almost immediately. So great was their impact, their charm, and of course, their music, that it was undeniable that without a doubt, the coolest thing in the world was to play the guitar!
Luckily, by the time they made their famous first appearance on The Ed Sullivan show, I was already playing classical as well as folk-style guitar, so I was truly “primed” to comb my hair down, get an electric guitar, and be off and running! I went out right away and bought a very inexpensive chromed-out Japanese 4-pickup guitar with a whammy bar that to this day, I’ve never seen another of……I formed a band in my Junior High School in the Bronx, (I was only 11 at the time), and we set out to play anywhere we could.
One of the first gigs we did was right at our school, for the “talent show”, and so intense was the Beatle craze at that time, that all me had to do was hit the stage, and all the kids started screaming and rushed the stage! We hadn’t even played a note yet, and all of a sudden, we were actually running in the pouring rain, down a Bronx street, followed by screaming kids! Oh yes, by the way, as I was running out, the teacher sitting in the wings of the stage told me “don’t worry, you won the talent show!”. That, I thought was truly hysterical, since we literally had not even played yet, but we were already the winners!
The next few days were like a re-birth for me, as I went from being barely on anyone’s radar to being the coolest kid in school. Before that, I was only known for being the first kid to show up with slip-on loafers! Now, I was the rock n’ roll kid, and was getting quite familiar with being a “big deal”. I can remember two weeks after the talent show, walking around the corner from my apartment building in the Bronx, and suddenly hearing a girl yell, “there goes one of them now!”, as she and a group of her friends started to chase me down my own street! Yes, I must admit, something was truly telling me to stick with the guitar at that point, and it has never changed, not for a single day. Here’s to those great and wonderful memories of out “formative” years!