With the addition of Daamen, the subtraction of Tim, the newly named Glad, the incorporation of Burnt Tripe and the hiring of a manager – Daamen’s dad, the configuration of the band was now pretty much set for the next three years… There were occasions when we would have a “guest” member along, but mostly it was the five or six (including Al and often Bob and sometimes Tim) of us.
We did everything together – not just music… Beach… Disneyland… Movies… TV dance shows… Family relocations… School plays… Looking for Sheep Man… Everything.
There were lots of good times and a few rough ones, too, I guess, though I really don’t remember many of those (well, there was the Vox amplifier incident, but I’ll skip the more lurid details on that one. Basically, I bought a new amplifier without my dad’s permission. That was bad enough, but Daamen’s dad co-signed for it. That was pretty rough… Suffice it to say that my dad brought it up to me a couple of weeks ago… It’s been over forty years and he’s still ticked. But there’s a nice picture of it at the bottom of this page. Dad – don’t look there…). We went along for a couple of years adding songs to the list and playing gigs around Ventura County, and a few in LA, but nothing extraordinary happened until the middle of our Junior year in high school…
That’s when something really extraordinary happened – or, I guess I should say, something really ordinary happened…
As was his custom during his tenure with Sears, my dad was transferred half way through the school year. This time to Stockton, CA. (For those of you who don’t know where Stockton is, it’s about 1. 2 light years from Ventura – about a parsec further even than Bakersfield, where my Beach Boys albums lived.) The chances of me getting to band practice and gigs, much less to school, were somewhat limited if I moved to Stockton…
Once again, there was great wailing and gnashing of teeth on my part. And the world was about to come to an end… Again… Woe is me… Bummer…
“Moving??!! What do you mean we’re moving?? We can’t move! It – it – uh – it’s not time to move yet,” I complained.
“Well, Bill,” my mom said, “actually we CAN move. We’ve been here five years and that’s longer than we have ever lived anywhere before.”
“What kind of logic is that,” I responded.
“I’m your mother, and I don’t need to be logical,” she retorted, “but the logical thing would be to go where the food is. In case you haven’t noticed, there are a few more of us in the family now than when we first moved here.”
I had to admit my mother had a point. We were now up to eleven living brothers and sisters (not counting the three stillbirths/miscarriages interspersed in there. There wouldn’t be any more, though, largely because my mom kept dying on the delivery table with the last three, and the doctor decided that he had revived her for the last time – she had a hysterectomy about ten minutes after my youngest sister, Debbie, was born – right after he re-started her heart again.)
That, of course, wasn’t the only reason for my dad to accept the promotion, but it was enough for me to accept the situation.
Especially after what happened next…
Somebody came up with the idea that I should not leave in the middle of the school year. (Considering I had been in over 20 schools before I got to high school, that sounded sort of ridiculous. I had NEVER before NOT changed schools in the middle of the school year, but now someone thought it was a bad idea to do so, and who was I to disagree?)
I actually had friends who had parents who liked me and, to make a long story short, Scott’s parents offered to let me stay with them for the remainder of the school year! And for minimal (token) rent!
Surprisingly, it was not at all difficult to convince my dad that this was a good idea.
There were a lot of benefits to the idea:
My parents would have one less mouth to feed (more or less) because…
- I could stay behind when the rest of the family moved to the Degoba System.
- Scott could have a brother with whom to share his room and his chores.
- I could have continuity in my junior year in high school.
- And, oh yeah, we would not have to break up the band and I could continue to make the payments on the briefly mentioned Vox amplifier.
So that’s what happened – I stayed on Earth when my family moved away.
God Bless the McLanes…
It was a great few months. The McLanes were terrific people for letting me stay with them – they made me part of the family, and I am very grateful to them. Still, it was the first time since I was very young that I lived in a house that wasn’t completely overrun with humanity, and it took some getting used to.
There was no scrambling to get to the bathroom in the morning ahead of my sisters (never mind my brothers – they were mostly younger than my sisters and they didn’t stand a chance). Scott and I weren’t around that much, but when we were, everybody had a place to sit, and in the same room, if we wanted. And discussions were…organized? (I can’t quite put my finger on the exact term, so “organized” will do fine.)
It seemed quiet… Almost too quiet… But it was nice, and I have a lot of good memories of that time.
One great memory I have is of Scott’s reel-to-reel tape recorder. We used it to record some of our practices, and even a gig or two. And we also recorded some songs off the radio. Each night after the lights went out, in the darkness before we fell asleep, we would listen to Pink Floyd’s “The Dark Side Of The Moon”… Back then, it kind of creeped us out… so, of course, we then had to listen to The Moody Blues’ “Nights In White Satin” to clear the “moon” out of our heads… When it was over, one of us would ask the other “You want to listen to it again?” and the other would answer, “OK.” Most nights it was a one “moon” and two “knights” thing.
But, time goes on and, sadly, the school year ended (that was the first time I was sad to have the school year end)…
…It was time for me to move to Stockton… And so I did…
Second star to the right and straight on until morning…
To hear actual songs by Bill Kammerer with a spiritual emphasis, click here
If you’d like to see some of my favorite Youtube music videos, lick here
If you would like to contact me directly, just click on the email address below, or send me an email from your own email account. my email address is: