I eventually wanted to expand to playing lead guitar. At the time, the major influences were bands like The Ventures, The Fireballs, and Duane Eddie. A huge local influence in my lead guitar playing at that time was a nice guy name Leonard who came to California from Utah to stay with my best friend, Henry Medina, and his family. Leonard helped catapult my lead guitar playing and I am deeply indebted to him. Sadly, he died young and I never had the opportunity to share my gratitude with him.
I entered high school in 1960 when surf music was beginning to become popular. One of the local bands that had emerged was the Revelairs. Their lead guitar player came down with mononucleosis so they needed a temporary replacement and I was asked to audition. I was better than their regular lead guitar player and was given serious consideration but there was one big issue to overcome. I looked like a hodad.
In Southern California during the 60’s, teenagers were primarily divided by two types of kids, surfers and hodads. Basically a hodad was somebody that didn’t surf and had that “John Travolta, Grease” look. They considered me a hodad which gave the group considerable concern that I would hurt their surfer image. Despite that I didn’t have the right surfer look, my playing prevailed and that started my early professional career at the age of 15 as the lead guitar player in the Revelairs. We played all the major Southern California dance venues, released a single, and eventually recorded eight of our instrumental songs. Thirty years later all of our songs were featured, along with other surf bands, on a CD titled, Rare Surf II. Billboard magazine gave it great review specifically showering praise on the Revelairs. A later European edition came out titled, American Surf Treasures Vol II that featured us on the CD cover.
The band went their separate ways in 1965. I joined the army a year later and lost my interest in playing for many years. In 1978 my ex-wife and I decided to take a year off to travel around the US mostly camping. I knew that I would have a lot of free time so I decided to take a few classical guitar lessons so that I could self-teach myself how to play in that style while travel around the US. I spent many hours around campfires practicing on the classical guitar. The main objective of our travels was to find a new place to live away from big city living. Six months into the trip we decided that Sandpoint, Idaho would become our new home. Unfortunately, I again abandoned playing the guitar for many years. They say in life that you don’t usually regret the things you did but it’s the thing that you didn’t do that are most regretful. This certainly was the case with me my on-and-off commitment to the guitar.