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War Stories from the 70's
Mike Guido -
the Full House Years
It is a little known fact that 35 years ago, I was the sound engineer and sax player in the FullHouse band. As a matter of fact, I was their first sax player. Back in those days, it was the original FullHouse (kinda like the 4 Beatles). Joe Scollo on guitar, Bob Sole on bass, the two Brads on keys and drums, & their manager Joe (Joe Weird). Each night the band would do one Beatle set in costume (grey suits, skinny ties & Beatle boots - or - white tails - or - Sgt Pepper suits etc.) and one set backing up Gary Procida, the coolest 50's and early 60's singer on the globe. The first and 4th sets were just great 60's and 70's rock and roll. The first summer I worked for them they had the OBI contract: OBI North on Monday, OBI South on Tuesday, OBI West on Wed., Redfords (another club owned by Bob Matherson) on Thursday, and every weekend they would rotate among those 4 clubs and the OBI East. Six nights a week baby. I made $200 a week. Once when Joe Weird gave me my pay envelope it said on the outside "minus $10, late and drunk on Thursday." I wish I had saved it so I could scan it for you.

Gary Procida was a presence onstage in his leather motorcycle jacket and righteous pompadour. He sang every 50's song in its original key. His schtick was timeless. For the Gary set, the dress was black cut off t-shirt, dark jeans and grease in the hair. I played sax during the Gary set. My big moment was the sax solo in "Charlie Brown." I wore cool shades and tried to dance like the guys in Sha Na Na. Fortunately, there is no videotape of these performances. By the way, my black t shirt said "Jewish Prince" on the front so I wore it inside out. I ripped the sleeves off it and kept it in my sax case … for 2 years … without laundering it. There … I said it.

In 1978-79 the band transported their equipment in a bus. Which I drove and repaired. The back half of the bus had the seats removed and was walled off for the equipment. They had stolen a ramp from some fast food establishment and rigged a frame to have it hang off the rear emergency door. It was made of diamond plate but was long and bounced like crazy as you walked up and down. The bus was pink and had "DALEVIEW NURSING HOME" stenciled on the sides. Paper Bagger Ralph Decursio was my light guy and partner in roadie-ing. Ralph wore high red Converse Chuck Taylors and had hair down to his butt. We set up and struck the PA and light rig every day. Ralph used to climb the ladder to the light bar in with 3 or 4 fresnel lights hooked to his belt and his wrench telephone-corded to his belt. At Solomon Grundy's Clipper in Bay Shore he was 20 feet off the ground. He would secure one light to the bar, then go hand-over-hand across the light bar to another spot, hang by one arm and swing another light from his belt to the bar, tighten it with the wrench and move on. Club owners would pitch a fit when they saw him. At the end of the night, Ralph was always in a rush to get out. We used to lift the really heavy cabinets into the back door of the bus together because the ramp sucked. The original keyboardist - one of the Brads - had a full sized Hammond B3 and a big Leslie cabinet. One night, I walked out the back door of Solomon Grundys in Rockville Centre and there was the huge Leslie cabinet laying in the gutter behind the bus. Ralph was nowhere to be seen so I went back inside to find him. After a search, I finally found him - in the gutter underneath the Leslie. Only thing showing was skinny arms and legs, red sneakers and a big wooden box.

I have many other FullHouse stories but they are better enjoyed in person.

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