Friday Knights  Page 4

The Showboat

May, 1973 

 

We were delighted to be doing something completely different, a chance to play on a Burlingame icon at the time. That is until we sunk it!

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From Showboat. to no boat, another audition, another shipwreck. Burlingame

 

Our High School Graduation

June, 1973

I can still remember Cory, Paul and I getting stoned out of our minds in our green caps and gowns shortly before we got our diplomas at Capuchino. After that we all went to the “All nighter party at a bowling alley with most of the alumni. 

 

Coyote Point Golf Course

July, 1973

 

My father had to play golf, so of course I had to play a golf course! I began calling them all in the yellow pages until we landed this gig without a resume or even a demo tape. Things were a lot different back in those days!

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Coyote Point Golf Course, 1700 Coyote Point Drive, San Mateo

 

In my big new solo, Hound Dog, I couldn’t remember which order the chorus and verses were in so They said you was high classed, and You ain’t nothin’ but a hound dog had to be abbreviated and fit onto a little half inch wide strip of paper taped to the mic stand just below the mic clip. 

 

HOUND 

HIGH

HOUND

HIGH

HIGH

HOUND

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Par 3 Restaurant/Lounge

 

My date, that night, Donna Haffen, who I used to take to see The Giants followed by a romantic dinner at McDonalds actually curled her hair for this gig. Cory whispered to me it meant that she liked me. I could only hope he was right, because I was nuts about her! Later, my cousin Chelle, who first introduced me to her, broke the news to me that Donna once asked her, “Doesn’t Cory turn you on?” When I asked Cory if there was ever anything between those two, all he said was, “Even if she came over and gave me the biggest kiss I ever had, I wouldn’t go for it, she’s your girl and our friendship means too much to me”. That was good enough for me and I never gave it a second thought. So that was the end of that short romance. Cory was the lady charmer of the bunch, I don’t think anyone would argue with that. 

 

Chapter 2

(July 1973-Fall 1973)

New Practice Studio #2

 

TRIBUTE TO MARY MONTALTO

 

After a few months of practicing in my bedroom, we were evicted by my parents, it seems we were making too much noise and keeping the dogs awake in the afternoon. That was not admissible, so what to do? We realized we had matured as a band and it was indeed time for us to move up to a more professional  studio-like environment to help us grow as a top-notch ensemble which we had been lacking in on so many levels. Hmmm... where to go….so many choices, but it would have to be just the right place, with just the right atmosphere, comfort level, temperature, we couldn’t chance anything less, as our future was at stake here. Ahhhhh, just the place! Leave it to Paul to come up with this……...His garage! Get ready neighbors, you are about to become our newest fans, like it or not! We would rehearse with the garage door open, facing the street just in case any pretty girls should happen to be passing by. No such luck we were at the end of a cul-d-sac.

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Paul’s House  6 Seville Ct., Millbrae

 

One time, I remember distinctly, right in the middle of trying to work out Locomotion by Grand Funk Railroad (which Paul pointed out had the fidelity of a toilet) Paul’s sweet mother came into the garage from the house and asked us to turn down the volume so we wouldn’t disturb Mary Montalto. What? Disturb? We’re The Friday Knights, we can’t be disturbing anyone, we were inches away from the big time! Who’s Mary Montalto I asked Paul. What a great name!! I mean you can’t make up a name like that, this was classic! But DISTURB??? Why we should be charging the neighbors admission for what we were playing! Just who was this Mary Montalto, anyway? Paul explained she was the lady right across the street. I thought! I didn't know who she was but perhaps we should tailor our performance to our audience and do something special for our new fan-to-be. I mean with a hysterical name like that how could we resist? I immediately angled my giant Plush bass amp (luckily it was on wheels) to face directly toward Mary’s house.

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Mary Montalto’s House 11 Seville Ct.

Millbrae (Directly across the little street)

All I could think of was what a classic name, Mary Montalto was!, I loved it! I mean you can’t make up a name like that! Mary Montalto...CLASSIC! With my mic plugged into my amp, I began noodling on my bass as I began calling out the name “Mary Montalto'' in lots of different voices, using lots of different accents and starting to serenade her with a new original song. Paul looked at me with that stern look he so often gave me whenever I did something he didn’t approve of. We all knew that look. He told me to knock it off and quiet down and stop it immediately, but it was a moment I couldn’t resist! To be honest, ordinarily I would have stopped right then but I could see Paul was doing everything he could to keep from laughing and look pissed. That was all I needed...I turned my amp up even louder and began singing her name, “Maaa-r-r-r-y Mon-talt-o-o-o, oh Maaa-r-r-r-y, would you ma-r-r-ry me?” That was it! Cory was in hysterics, and Paul trying hard to keep his “dad face” busted up! I’m not sure, but I think even Righteous Rick was beginning to show signs of amusement! Nevertheless, Paul ran over, unplugged my amp and quickly shut the garage door! Oh well, I thought, I bet Mary Montalto was loving every minute of it!

 

We worked hard auditioning all the time at as many places that would give us a half hour, as we could find, I spent countless hours on the phone trying to line up as many of auditions as I possibly could. I remember booking at least one evening where we did back-to-back auditions in different parts of town with only an hour in between! That meant that the minute we finished playing our last song at the first venue we had to quickly tear down, pack the car, drive like knights on white horses across town to the next place. There, we ran in the door with our equipment, set up, did the sound check, all while I was introducing myself to the manager in time to play our first chord and start all over again, all in sixty minutes flat! I had to hand it to the boys, as we did all that, and I really can’t remember anyone ever complaining, we were in it to win it, and my hat’s still off to everyone to this day!


 

Linda Mar Lodge, Our big, big gig! Heh, heh, heh, no big deal!

October, 1973

 

I guess perseverance will pay off if you don’t heed warnings and learn your lessons from past mistakes because there we were, a working band at last! All because a little bar in Pacifica auditioned us and LIKED US ANYWAY! They actually offered us a steady gig for every Friday and Saturday night beginning the following week.! We were ecstatic!.“See? I told you guys, if we did this long enough it would finally pay off!”, I reminded them. I can still remember Paul with his “old man voice” reciting the saying Cory and I had coined, “Heh, heh, heh, no big deal!”

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Linda Mar Lodge 1249 Linda Mar Shopping Center, (since renamed “Cheers”)

 

These were full 4-set nights meaning we were going to have to learn more songs, lots more songs. Up till then, we were lucky to play anywhere for more than thirty to sixty minutes so we had to keep playing the same fifteen or so songs every time. This was going to have to call for a lot more rehearsals. Look out Mary Montalto, we’re comin’ home! We actually worked very hard to more than double our repertoire in a week. We even played the Giants song during this gig. We got better too, we started to loosen up and get more seasoned on stage and even started to work the room with a little banter and jokes between songs for a change!

 

This was what we knew we were cut out for, and we were getting better! One night I brought Roy’s stereo Sony recorder and recorded the whole four hour gig in high fidelity stereo, it turned out pretty good. What I wouldn't give to hear those tapes now, but after forty eight years some things begin to disappear, these were unfortunately some of them. Short on songs, we even pulled The Giant’s song out and played it was really fun and I made the same mistakes on the bass as I did on the recording. Well all things must pass...after our second week we were given our walking papers the waitress told me we ruined her favorite song All I have to do is Dream By The Everly brothers. I guess that’s all it took because that was the end of our long-term gig.

 

A NEW BEGINNING

 

It was Paul’s idea to commemorate our recent disappointments of losing both our only steady gig as well as our practice studio in his garage at almost exactly the same time by doing a long overdue, yet untimely photo shoot in what had been our rehearsal studio for the last five months.

 

Using the same “Friday Knights” stencil I had made several months prior for Cory’s bass drumhead as well as the doors and tail of his Mustang. The two thumbs down images were from a 1967 Mad Magazine Special** from my collection that is now nearly complete. I made the sign to Paul’s specifications and we hung it behind us in all of the pictures in that shoot. 

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Allman Brothers At Fillmore East album cover

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Rejected and dejected, The Friday Knights, needed a new beginning 

 

For the shoot, we all took turns sitting in the front, but only those with Paul and Cory on the drum stool remain. I’ve looked on EBAY for the others, but apparently they were all sold out. In one of those lost pics Paul and I held up our guitars, Cory, his drumsticks and Rick proudly sported a broom which we all thought was hysterical. 

 

* Now a rare collector’s item especially with the stencil insert pages intact. All my stencils got ruined from the Friday Knights treatments and it took me years to of searching book stores in San Francisco to replace my Mad Magazine complete with the stencil inserts. (There was no EBAY in those days).

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1967 Mad Special, I sacrificed for The Knights