Growing up in Palmdale was no easy task..
My brother Don and I were into all kind of menacing activities. You could see us running down the hill after shaving Mrs. Kalvin’s cat or after pushing Mr. Duche’s old tractor tires down the hill. My father never let any wrong go unpunished, nevertheless another neighbour would be at our door the next evening complaining about us.
My mother on the hand was quite calm and loved humming to her pop music while doing the household chores. She was always telling us stories of her adventures as a young woman, how she danced and loved playing the guitar but never could learn how to play it. She encouraged us to enroll for classes at the local youth empowerment foundation. We would meet at the centre every evening after school with a few other kids.
Focusing on music and instruments
After a couple of months, we could all play our desired instruments. I loved the piano while Don, who was quite fond of smashing things, fell in love with the drum set. Our new found friends, Kevin and Grace, were guitar enthusiasts. The two were particularly gifted in vocals. This friendship quickly turned into a band, one that would later come to be known as the Everlys Experience.
My parents were quite pleased with the turn around in our behaviours as we spent more time at the centre than stirring up the neighbourhood. My dad was quite eager to sponsor our little band with instruments when we asked for help. He even agreed to rent us his shed, which soon became our headquarters for our small gigs. Mum on the other hand did not shy away from helping us. She got all her friends to hire us for their gigs such as birthday parties for kids, graduation parties and even a wedding.
This wedding was the game changer
A well connected business man spotted our potential during our performance and decided to introduce us to his friend, who would later become our manager. His daughter Tiffy was studying music at the State College and was a welcome addition to our group. I still think Don had a crush on her. Our band was booking shows in neighbouring towns and we were soon on every lip. We then decided to launch our first album. Tiffy’s value to the band got its share of glory as she wrote the entire lyrics of the album. Of course we made money.
In the early 2000s our fun was cut short when Tiffy was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was in the early stage, but all the same was a blow to our jovial mood. She had transformed the band into playing its own music at gigs from playing other people’s music. The breast cancer was in a way affecting everybody, we all felt her pain, though arguably some of us like Kevin’s lady friends felt this as a blow to our money maker. Kevin was to later break off from the band to pursue a solo career.
This was the scope changer
We became a pro-life band and started playing for causes. Tiffy was quite eager to help, especially since her father was still our manager. She got us playing for causes such as breast cancer awareness and weight management. These became our pillar causes and was soon to be incorporated in all our gigs and publications. Our promoters were not so happy with the change and we could see a significant decrease in bookings.
We managed to book a concert in Beverly Hills. At this concert we met Judy. Judy was a fitness trainer who owned her own dance studio, where she choreographed dance moves for her clients. She also used the studio to run her Dancing for Weight loss samba dances. Judy had undergone weight loss surgery and was determined to enlighten the world on alternative means to weight loss that did not involve surgery. She introduced us to her international promoters.
Working with the promoters saw us gain favour among other promoters and got more bookings than before. Our friend Kevin was to later re-join the group. I’d have preferred otherwise, but we needed an extra hand on the guitar! The promoters got us gigs in the UK, which led to our world tour. This was to start in Thailand. A shakeup in the management of our promoting company saw our world tour delegated to a different promoter.
This world tour quickly turned into a nightmare
During our first concert, a raid by immigration officials saw us spend three nights in police holding. The officers claimed that we had violated the terms of our visa agreement by working. We spent the remaining days of the tour making appearances in court. I felt bad for Tiffy, who was by now in remission but stuck in a dirty hotel in Thailand since our promoters could no longer foot our hotel bills.
Three months later, we were found guilt and the judge sentenced us to serve our sentence under house arrest back in our country. I really didn’t care that I was going to be under house arrest, all that mattered was being home. Tiffy has been working on the lyrics of our upcoming album. We intend to tell our story through the album. I hope you will enjoy the album.
Below are a few more interesting stories about those who are, or have been, in their own band.