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
Between the ages of 6 and 16 what was your favorite
KYA San Francisco
Between the ages of 6 and 16 your average daily exposure
About an hour or so, between hanging out at the Boys'
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?
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
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
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
Most desperate BWGP moment:
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
Once friends or acquaintences see me in BWGP at Bimbo's,
I have a whole new relationship with them!