The beginning of our journey......

I would like to welcome you to "El Paso's Musicians (Past and Present)" My intent with this site is to bring information about musicians I have known in El Paso from the 60's to present day. Many of the musicians that you will be reading about were either in groups that I played in while living in El Paso, as well as, the ones that I befriended all throughout high school and college. I graduated from UTEP in 1972 and in 1973 my wife and I left El Paso with a vocal show group called The Sounds Royale. The group started out with Sam Stephenson (guitar-vocals), Gayle Hageman (bass-vocals), Tedd McKeever (keyboards-vocals), Debbie Wilson (flute-vocals) and myself, Rick Kern (drums-vocals) The group was based out of Newport Beach, CA. We performed at mainly Orange County venues such as The Disneyland Hotel, Charley Browns in Huntington Beach, The Newporter Inn, Del Webb's Townhouse and the San Francisco Hyatt Regency. Today these musicians are scattered all over the place. Sam is living in Houston, Tx. and serves as the Dir. of Safety for Union Pacific Railroad. Gayle and his wife live in El Paso where he is a self-employed entertainer. Tedd is still performing jazz in Bremerton, WA. We are still trying to find Debbie. I am sure she is warming many hearts out there somewhere with her fabulous voice. There was an additional bass/sax/vocalist by the name of Wayne Mills that played with the group. He is still living in Orange County, CA. and is retired. I moved back to El Paso with my wife to be with our respective families and to start our own family. Both of our kids, Ricky (25) and Nicole (23) are musicians both living in Austin. Nicole plays electric cello with an Austin band called Alex Dupree and the TrapDoor Band. She is also playing with a popular Austin band called "Balmorhea". Both of our kids went to UT Austin. Ricky graduated in May, 2007 and Nicole graduated in May, 2008. They both love photography and film. The YouTube videos on this site were produced by my son to show our capability to show videos of performers on this site. He also did my colorful splash page that you see when you first log on to the site.

There were two other groups that I played with while on the road. When the Sounds Royale disbanded I advertised my profile at the Local Musicians Union that I belonged to in Los Angeles. Two guys were looking for a drummer/vocalist and that was the beginning of "Tapestry". The members were Curt Hespe (keyboard-bass-horn-vocals) Dan Evans (guitar-bass horn-vocals) and myself (drums-horn-vocals) This was the group that travelled the most. We played many show rooms from one corner of the U.S. to the other, including two tours of Canada. Our very first job, after only being rehearsed for two weeks, was the Sahara in Lake Tahoe. During that time we appeared on the same billboard with Elvis, Diana Ross, Isaac Hayes, The Fifth Dimension and the Jackson 5. We were suppose to be there for one week and they held us over for 5. The only bad part of that booking was when we all came down with the flu at the same time. Remember the saying "the show must go on" well, it did with the grace of God and alot of liquids. This group continued travelling all over the country. We even took a three day break to cut an album in Cincinatti, Ohio at Queen City Studios. We sold the album mainly to people that saw our shows. This group lasted about three years. My last group on the road was also called "Tapestry" It consisted of Dan Evans from the first Tapestry, Jerry Johnson (bass-guitar-steel guitar-vocals), Danny Miller (guitar-vocals) and myself on drums and vocals. This group came together as a result of my old friendship with Jerry Johnson. He was a Chaplains Assistant at Ft. Bliss in El Paso around 1967-68. We played in a group called the Basic Sound at the Knights Club. That club was in the old Rodeway Inn at Bassett Center. Jerry was living in Long Beach, CA. when I asked him if he would like to form a new group. Out of my three groups on the road, this one was the group that was more destined for a recording contract and opportunity to break out of the club scene. We will never forget the night that we were playing at the Reubens in West Covina, CA. when our agent came in and told us that we were going to be on the Captain and Tennile TV Special with Neil Diamond. Dick Clark was the producer of the show. We signed the contract and had our original songs ready to showcase. There was only one small problem - none of the networks picked up the contract. How do you say "that's show biz" It was not too long after that that I left the group and came back to my home town of El Paso where I still live. This
is the rest of the story....

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Dog and K.A.T.T. - 2008

(Click Image to View)
L-R Joe Schermie-bass, Katt Kleiber-lead vocals,
Floyd Sneed-drums (original drummer for Three
Dog Night), Ron "Diego" Johnston-lead guitar,
originally from El Paso. Ron Johnston has been
in touch with me recently and has shared some
great info about his early days in El Paso. I have
had a great conversation with Floyd Sneed and
shared the memory that my wife and I had of seeing
Three Dog Night in Las Cruces at the Pan Am Center
in the late 60's - he's really a nice guy and one of the
best drummers in the business. Ron states "I was
just surfing and found your site. I'm always wondering
what happened to all the old guys in EP. I remember you,
as I went to UTEP starting in 1969 in the music department.
I was in a band then called Adobe Flats." He also mentioned
to me that he had been playing with Joe Schermie (of Three
Dog Night) since 2000 - that he died on Ron's birthday in
2002. He also told me that he was going out on the road with
Chuck Negron (lead singer for 3DN) this summer. "Like I
always said there is no place like El Paso..great food, great
people and a wonderful atmosphere, but damn if you can
make a living playing music there...haha!" "My older
brother Darrell Hooker hung out with Bobby Fuller and used
to bring him to the house and my brother Terry was always
with Andre Bonaguidi. Paul West, and Frankie Sotello. In
those days I was shipped to my aunt's house in Phoenix and
played in a band with Vince Furnier (Alice Cooper) called
the Spyders in 1965. After I graduated from UTEP in
theory and composition I got a job in Austin at a recording
studio on south Lamar and helped produce some Johnny
and Edgar Winter records and then took off to Dallas with
Uncle John Turner. I went back to EP in 1978 where Big
Sonny Farlow ministered at my wedding to Sharleen
Singleton and became brother in law to Jimmy Chagra...
haha! I played with Jimmy Carl Black in 1978 and then went
to California to do some records with Tommy Mars from
Zappa and one thing lead to another.....Ron

I might add that Ron was on staff as a session player with
A&M Records around the same time that Mike Ciccarelli
was a session player with Warner Communciations.
Visit their bands site at:
Submitted by Rick Kern

No comments: