My sister Fay (who's 22 years older) tells me that I used to sing Eddie Fisher's "My Heart Cries For You!" on the street corners of New Haven when I was just 3 or 4 years old.
I really don't remember doing that nor do I have any pictures or recordings. So, I'll just have to start the story from where I do remember...
I loved 'um,
Yeah, Yeah, Yeah!!!!
Like so many of us, I was watching the Ed Sullivan Show on Sunday, February 9, 1964 when John, Paul, George and Ringo were introduced to America.
I watched, and knew that I'd found a course for my life.
From then on I formed bands (and life-long friendships) to pursue that dream. From the basement of my boyhood home, rehearsals led to school dances, proms and then to New Haven Night Spots.
Eventually I was able to work professionally entertaining people.
In 1978 I "quit my day job" and have been making my living doing what I love, singing and entertaining, ever since!
All Those Years Ago
Bob & Tom
Picture taken just outside the backdoor of the house I still live in today! Tom's wrist is not broken, nor does he "usually" keep it limp like that. Just caught in a bad moment!!!
Diana (I'm Coming Home) was one of the first songs I wrote (1965). Sitting on the bed in my bed room with my next-door neighbor/ friend /bass player Tom, we played our guitars and sang into a small reel-to-reel tape recorder (I think it's Tom who's singing lead). And now anyone, anywhere in the world can hear it on their computer! How could we have known?
My first band was The Stonechads. Don't bother to look that word up in the dictionary! You won't find it! A stonechat is a small bird, but a Stonechad, well, that's just what we were called back in 1965. Bob Mel - rhythm guitar Joe Mel - lead guitar (Joe is my nephew, but because we are close in age, everyone thinks he's my brother!) Tom Harper - bass (The Kid Next-door) Billy Grabowski - drums, and Joey Vercillo - Vocals (both school friends). The band was together for two years from 1965 - 1967 during my high school years.
Slow Down was recorded from a live radio broadcast (May 1, 1967). Joey Vercillo, then 13 years old, is singing lead.
Well, at least 4 out of 6 members are pictured below. From left to right: Joe Mel, Tom Harper, Bob Mel & Rick Liso. Missing: Paul Safiotti (Guitar) & Frank Bosson (Lead Singer)
In 1968 Tom, Joe and I plus two members of The Chants, Paul (Tiny) Saffioti - guitar and Rick Liso - drums, with the addition of Frank Bosson (Lead Singer) formed the group,
The Purple Half. I played keyboards. We had this great line on our business cards (Pictured, below/left):
"Everything is half of something else and we are The Purple Half".
I don't know what that means, but it sounded good!
The group didn't last long but it was the only group I had any part of that had a definite uniform. Three of us (1/2) wore white nehru shirts with purple trousers and the other three wore purple nehru shirts with white trousers.
I still have my purple nehru shirt; although it doesn't fit! - it must have shrunk in the wash.
Joe, Tom, Bob & Rick
"Harvey"- Rick, Tom, Joe, Paul and me!
The Purple Half kind of turned into Harvey with the addition of our lead singer, Harry Griswald anddeparture of Frank Bosson. The year was 1968. Because Harry's draft-lotto # was "1", the United States government wanted to send Harry on an all expenses paid trip to Vietnam. But Harry didn't like warm, humid weather so he left for Canada, ending our "Tom, Dick and Harry" days!
The band stayed together for a few more years. I retired in early 1971.
Did You See Her Ride written by Bob & Joe Mel in 1969 was "Harvey's" 2nd studio recording. Paul is singing lead (playing bass guitar), Rick (Drums/ background vocals), Joe (lead guitar) and Bob (Hammond organ/ background vocals).
After that I formed a few different groups: The "Doughboys", "Mel" and "Slik". I played guitar and/or keyboards in all the groups up until "Slik". But in "Slik", we had two great guitar players - Fred Bova and Harvey Thurrott, and a great drummer, Rick Liso, but no bass player. So I played bass.
In July 1976 "Slik" broke up.
By then I was tired of trying to put bands together that shortly thereafter broke up and I decided to try it on my own. . .
Marline is a beautiful song written and sung by Fred Bova.
This recording was made during a "Slik" (the band's name, not a comment on it's members!) rehearsal on one track of a small cassette recorder placed in the middle of the room.
The quality of the recording is poor, but those guitars are amazing!!