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I have been involved with music all of my life. From Drum and Bugle Corps, where I played the valve bugle and through all of the bands that I have been involved with I have always loved music. One of my earliest memories is of my father, "The Bigdog". I was little, maybe 7 or 8 yrs. old and it was time for bed. He said, "It's time for you to go to your room". So I went but I couldn't get to sleep. I kept hearing these sounds coming from the living room. So I got up and peeked around the corner from the hallway. To my surprise there was a jam session going on. There were banjos, guitars, and harmonicas. I really liked what I heard. People making music together. 

My next memory is going to my cousin Ralph's house were there was a drum kit set up. My eyes glowed and I was amazed. The chrome was glistening as the sun was beaming in on it. I just stared at it. When I was 7 or 8 years old, I went to a place where Perkin's Pancake House is now located at the Asbury Park Circle, this was the first time that I heard a band. I was amazed because the drummer played with three fingers. I'm not sure if it was both hands but he definitely had a deformity in his hands and he played great. When I was in the third grade I joined the Shore Liners, a drum and bugle corps from 1956 to 1962 and I played a bugle, a soprano valve bugle. 

When we were in 8th grade, my friend, Augie Wreioli took me to a teen dance at the U.S.O. Club in Asbury Park N.J. Buzzy played the drums along with the records that he was spinning. Once again, when I walked into this place and I was amazed, but this time it was because the music sounded so live. It was because of the drums. Buzzy was a master at playing with those records. I kept on coming back to see Buzzy and after a while Buzzy gave me a job helping him clean up after the gig, carry the records and sometimes I got to keep the beat. There are too many great Buzzy stories to get them all in now. Eventually I will get to them all. Buzzy was a great inspiration to me in my early drummin' days. 

I worked with Buzzy for a while but soon it was time for me to try out for a band. Buzzy heard about two musicians who were looking for a drummer. One was Bill Chinnock who with Danny Federici had a band called the "Storytellers". The other was Sonny Kenn who had a band called the "Blazers". First I had to borrow Buzzy's drums, then we went to Chip Gallagher's house to audition for the "Storytellers". They wanted me to play "Wipe Out" as my audition song. I would have liked to play something different because I never liked doing drum solo's anyway. After that didn't work out, we went to see this kid called Sonny Kenn. He needed a drummer. I just tried to imitate what Buzzy showed me. When I played with Sonny we did 'You Really Got Me'. I could sing and I got the job. As it turned out, my father knew Sonny's father, so my first rock 'n roll band was "The Blazers", later to become "Sonny and the Sounds" and finally, "Sonny and the Starfires". 

Third from the left
Ocean Grove

Mission Show
Holy Spirit School
Asbury Park

Cowboy with Gun

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Richard Skelly and I are now working on our book
"The FIRST Beat from E St."
 sample chapter 


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Copyright 2003. Vini Lopez
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