Stephen B..."The Bassist"

Me Larry Jamming Hammond On My 50th


I played guitar for a few years when the music scene started to change. All of a sudden organs became the focus. Groups like the Animals, The Dave Clark 5 and The Doors made portable organ sounds the norm. The airways were filled with the sounds of Farfisa and a Vox Continental. But it was Felix Cavaliere's mastery of the Hammond B3 that made me gasp. What a wondrous sound!! So I recruited our school's concert pianist to be our group's organist. The problem was the he was the exact opposite of me. He was a classically trained sight reading virtuoso. But when you asked him to jam or play rock and roll, he didn't have the chops. So, he would leave his organ at my house and during the week I would learn the parts then teach them to him at the next rehearsal. After a while, we both got sick of it. But we were friends, so he let me borrow his organ and I became the organist. Within a few months, I gave him back his Farfisa and my folks helped me get a Hammond L111, the "Baby B3" with 2 manuals, drawbars and 13 bass pedals. With the big 122 Leslie cabinet we were some hot shit among high school bands!!

I stayed with the organ for a number of years. Ronnie Tourso and I played together in a number of bands at parties, social clubs and the 1964-65 World's Fair. These groups included The Ravin' Image, The Sintrifical Fours, Ronnie and the Soul Sounds and Utopia Parkway. Together we recorded for Capitol Records, Kama Sutra and United Artists between 1965 and 1972. And the treat for me was being able to record on the mighty B3 that the studios provided. The picture at the left was taken at Capitol studios circa 1967 0r 68. I can't recall who the girl is...hahaha! i still have a Hammond in my home studio...a 1953 model BCV with a 147 Leslie cabinet (of course)! And yes, I still play keys every chance I get.
I loved everything about being an organist except having to lug the equipment. But as our music was changing I was called upon to change instruments once again. It was the formation of Utopia Parkway that moved me to bass.

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