The First Band
Immediately after graduation in the Spring of '83, Dad moved to Denver, Colorado, and established a temporary stay of residence at his grandparent's house on 966 St. Paul St. After 105 resumes and a two-month search, Dad finally landed a job at Cencorp in Boulder as a Software Engineer. After finding a one room efficiency near the Boulder mall, ole Daddy-O began searching for an electric piano.
It took very little time for Dad to decide on the Yamaha CP-80 Electric Baby Grand Piano at ProSound in Boulder, at a price of about $5000. The CP-80 was a true baby grand with pick-ups on every string. This keyboard was the top dog at the time and was used by the likes of Billy Joel and U2, among others.
The loan was barely secured before Dad started calling ads for band auditions. Keyboard players were a rarity and always in high demand, so Dad reasoned that finding a good band shouldn't be too hard. Of course he heard the same thing about getting an engineering job, and like that found this also was hardly a "sure thing". Ole Pops would soon discover that finding the right band was going to be quite the endeavor. After several months of inconsequential and sometimes laughable auditions (one kid who ran an ad was only sixteen, still lived at home, didn't have a car, but professed to have "connections" in Hollywood - an oft made claim by musicians, Dad soon discovered) what appeared to be the first real break occurred.
A guy named Steve, whom Dad had met at two previous auditions (including the 16-year old's), decided to form his own band because he too grew tired of the same auditioning nonsense and bozos of the musician underworld. He had already found a female vocalist and drummer, and was searching for keys and a bass player. Dad decided to give this group a shot. He immediately recommended a bass player he met at Cencorp, Tom Ragonese, a friend he occasionally jammed with and someone who had a decent voice. Steve liked Tom right away and it appeared that Dad was finally going to start playing in a real band!
Well, about a week and two practices later, Dad was, well, FIRED! It was essentially a mutual thing and a "so what" to Dad after Steve called and told him adios. I guess Dad "disillusioned" them after scoffing at their request that he grow his hair long, wear goofy clothes, and plan on a future road tour "when the band hit it big!" Dad said he started getting leery after running into the drummer at a bar in Boulder soon after joining the fledgling group. It was something he would never forget because it seemed to reflect the stereotypical Boulder musician to this day. After asking the drummer "So, what type of rock do you want to do in this band", he dazedly responded "I just want to rock'n'roll, man". Dad thought to himself "hey, that's not what I asked, dork". Great, another musician who had the IQ of a stump!
So Dad's first band ended in a reverberating thud. Tom stayed with the group for another 6 months, and actually ended up playing a few gigs with them. He felt really bad after Dad got canned but Dad told him it didn't bother him if he wanted to keep playing with them. They eventually fired Tom as well for really no good reason (Some years later Dad would get a bit of satisfaction from this fiasco as their paths would cross again at a Battle of the Bands event in Boulder, so stay tuned!).
Chapter 3 - Beaute Shiela
Back to Table of Contents