The year is 1965. My family is on vacation in Miami Beach, Florida. This was the only big vacation I remember us taking. We did not have a lot of money. We stayed at a small motel down the beach from places like The Fontainebleau Hotel which was famous for it's star appeal and great floor shows. I'm 14 years old and interested in only two things - girls and music. (As I get older, I find out that one "enhances the chances" with the other.) Not having a lot of luck on the female front, I met a kid who brought his electric guitar and a small amp on vacation with him. I had never played a guitar before, but with my musical background on piano, it was not hard to pick up. Naturally, I taught myself the chords to some of The Beatles' songs like "She Loves You" and "I Want To Hold Your Hand". Due to an airlines strike, we ended up taking a greyhound bus home. That was an experience I never want to duplicate, ever. The trip home took 36 hours! I spent the whole time thinking about putting a band together.

In the fall of 1965 I assembled a band with my brother, one of his friends and one of my friends. We called ourselves "The Eminent Victorians". (My brother's friend saw the title on the cover of an old hardback book.) We played the local recreation center dance for our first gig. We were not prepared and it was a terrible night. The p.a. system we had was not nearly powerful enough to cover the room. Our vocals were bad at best. (My friend, who insisted on being the lead singer, could not sing.) I was playing an acoustic 12-string guitar with an electronic pick-up in it. My amplifier was an old Magnavox console record player - the ones with the 5 lb. tone arms - that I purchased from my parents. I had a neighborhood appliance repairman install a jack inside the console so I could plug a guitar into it could still play records! The other instrumentation was drums and electric guitar. That's right, no bass guitar. We could not find anyone to play bass in time to do the gig. One good thing did happen that night. A member of a local band that was becoming very popular happened to see us but I did not know that until months later. Needless to say, "The Eminent Victorians" did not perform in public again. We continued to practice, trying to find a bass player and working on a way to get rid of our singer. (Unfortunately, he owned the p.a. system.) We went through many member changes but nothing good ever materialized and I swore to myself that I would never perform live again without being prepared.

One night early in 1966, I arranged for a rehearsal in my family's living room. I set up the spinet piano facing the rest of the group. We were working out "I'm A Believer" by The Monkees. The intro is done on a compact organ in the original recording, so rather than play my 12-string, I played the intro on the piano. I was amazed at how much easier it was to play these songs on piano. I decided then that I was going to save up my money and buy a keyboard rather than play the 12-string. No more "...blisters on me fingers!" as a famous Beatle once said. By late spring of 1966 I had saved up enough money to buy my first electric piano. It was big and heavy and, fortunately, it came in 2 pieces. The top was the keyboard and it set on the bottom which housed a small amplifier and 4 speakers. It was a very popular brand electric piano at the time with many national acts using the same item. Word got around that I now had a cool electric piano and was looking for a band. Since I had taken piano lessons, I knew a little something about music and had developed a pretty good ear.