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North Beach, San Francisco

When did you begin seriously listening to Top 40 radio?
1955, when my older brother would let me.

What station and where?
KYA, San Francisco

For better or worse, earliest songs etched in your memory?
Beep-Beep ( ), Don't Hang Up by the Orlons and most Everly Brothers songs. Also, from my older brother, a big dose of The Kingston Trio and The Brothers Four

If stranded in the jungle, ten songs you would take:
Frank Sinatra's greatest hits, if accompanied by Nelson Riddle Orchestra, only.

First few records owned and why:
Pepino, The Little Mouse and The Chipmunk Song, since my mother liked furry animals.

First trace of show business in your blood:
An appearance on a local TV station with my kindergarten class. I stole the show by rolling a clay weenie and displaying it, with a monologue, to the camera. My first inspiration for my Tom Jones routine.

First performance in front of a captive audience:
At about 7, playing guitar in a trio, I was the youngest. Performed "Little Brown Jug" at Sherman & Clay's guitar class concert.

Between the ages of 6 and 16 what was your favorite radio station:
KYA San Francisco

Between the ages of 6 and 16 your average daily exposure to music?
About an hour or so, between hanging out at the Boys' Club.

Ulterior uses of music (this one's for Julio but if you can answer it too):
Playing guitar to impress girls, since my athletic abilities and physique, did not. Been by MO ever since!

Name of first band?
The Dukes.

Musical repertoire of first band?
Any music we could read, which meant standards, especially Italian wedding standards from a fake book. "Stranger on the Shore" was always strong, as was "More". "Al Di La" brought the house down. This was 6th grade. I, of course, was guitarist and business impressario. Our standard gig was $12. total. The Dukes featured Steve Albano on accordian, Joe Cirimelli on sax/clarinet, and Pete Cresci on drums. We wore cool red cardigan sweaters with white shirts and thin black ties.

Earliest musical influences and why:
By freshman year in high school in 64, I had dropped the 50's stuff and moved right into top 40 hits. For three years I was guitarist and lead vocalist for one of the biggest names in San Francisco Teen Club bands.....The Humans. Beatles. Stones, Turtles, Doors, Monkeys, The Dave Clark Five, Paul Revere and the Raiders were the bands we loved. The Humans....Mike Haggerty (later a Glass Pack), played a mean lead guitar, Steve Scarpa (drums) was the son of a professional big band drummer, Jeff Corino (organ, also a Glass Pack briefly), his father owned the biggest accordian instruction school in North Beach and his cousin, Rich Calcavecchia, played base.

Between ages of 6 and 16 favorite comedians?
Amos and Andy, Jackie Gleason and Art Carney

Who or what influenced your sense of humor?
Don Weir of Don Weir's Music City. Sold me my first Vox amp and that was a joke.

How did you first hear the name BWGP?
I was there when the Great White Duck, John Neudecker, (Butch's roommate at St. Mary's), coined the Butch "Wax" phrase during an impromtu guitar sing-a-long in the dorms. Murph added the Glass Packs monicker, we changed the spelling for some good college gutter humor, and we never looked back!

When and why did you join BWGP?
They really needed me. I was one of the few with a real band pedigree, (The Dukes and The Humans), I could carry a tune, harmonize sometimes, plus, I owned a black Rickenbacher, twelve string guitar, that we used for the first few years. I still have it.

Earliest recollection of performing with BWGP?
That first performance at the amphitheatre behind St. Mary's. It was a magical night and we only performed two songs, I think. Of course we had 15 guys in the band, and The Family, a group of about 25 young toughs who liked getting painted up as greasers and escorting us around in our early years.

Most desperate BWGP moment:
See below.

Most embarrassing moment performing with BWGP:
In 1991, at Bimbo's, I fell face first off the stage, singing Love Potion # 9. I was supposed to jump, but I was distracted by Julio's stage whisper about brown gunk in my foaming love potion. I cracked four bones in my face and took six stitches above my left eye. I almost broke my neck. I finished the song while spurting blood over Bimbo's stage, and completed the entire first act with my face starting to swell and contort.

Fondest recollection of BWGP:
Our trip to Guatemala in Summer, 1972. Craig Martin and I pretty much orchestrated it with Arturro Castillo, a kid from Santa Clara University. His family owned the largest brewery in Central America, Gallo Beer. The guys in the band thought it would never happen until we stepped onto that PanAm flight for Guatemala City. We were treated like rock stars with hourly promotions on the local radio stations, banners across main street, and posters in all of the storefronts. We appeared on most of the front pages in all the local press.

How do you explain your role in BWGP the 19th Annual Farwell Performance to new friends or colleagues who have never heard of BWGP and didn't know you have a secret closet life?
Once friends or acquaintences see me in BWGP at Bimbo's, I have a whole new relationship with them!


  © 2005 Butch Whacks & the Glass Packs