The Cordell’s…Big Gig…Bellevue YMCA!

The year was 1966, our first real band … P.J. Wehrli joins the band. P.J. was a few years older and already had a job working at the YMCA in Bellevue. One day P.J. came to rehearsal with big news, he said I think I can get us a gig at the Bellevue YMCA teen dance! This was the Big Time Gig…playing for teens our age and not the wedding gigs we were currently playing. No more Polkas and standards from the Fake Book that Al got from his guitar teacher. We are playing real Rock n’ Roll … with girls watching us and dancing to us … it was a dream come true. Well, it happened, we got the gig, the BIG GIG, we played two live sets and P.J. played records as the YMCA DJ … we called him P.J. the DJ. I can still recall some of the songs… “69”, “Hey, Rattlesnake”, “California Sun”, “Wipe Out”, “Pipeline”, “Image of a Girl” and the show stopper … “Wine, Wine, Wine”… we just knew by the response of the teens that we were on our way to stardom! We even got paid … $20 … and our four-way split after we gave $1.50 each for the Kitty (to buy more equipment) and .50 cents to P.J. for gas for his Corvair… that gave us gave a whopping $3.00 each! The $3.00 didn’t go real far since I was dating my main squeeze at the time, Marylou, my childhood sweetheart and soon to be my future wife… so we walked to the Village Pizza Parlor…where I dropped almost $2.00 on pizza and cokes. I was able to save my first real dollar as a rock star… I still have it in a frame. From the Big Gig, we started playing real band gigs…no more weddings and church hall events…real gigs like, Mae Kort’s Dance recitals and teen dances and proms… we even landed some fraternity party GIG’s for Pitt. It was at this time that I realized that this is the path I would take for the rest of my life … Rock and Roll Baby! P.J. got drafted and the band grew and soon added a horn section. We landed a recording contract with Steel Town Sound Records. That record today is recognized in the Northern Soul catalog and brings a pretty good buck today. it’s 58 years later I’m still playing Rock n’ Roll and living the dream. The band is now called Johnny Angel and the Halos…and yes some of the original members still perform with me. In addition to our band, I’m singing with the last member of the original Vogues, Chuck Blasko. What a ride… thanks to the Cordell’s…and the BIG GIG…at the Bellevue YMCA!

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