(Song Mustang Sally performed by The Marty Ledden Band. Marty Ledden: Lead guitar and Vocals, Dave Hunt : Base, Kerry McBryde: Keyboards, Tommy Lawson : Drums)
I started playing drums professionally in 1965 at the young age of 13. Back then I lived in the small town of Fairborn Ohio, near Dayton. My first band was called Little Willie and the Knights, made up of Mike Mays on (Rhythm), Danny Williams on (Bass), and Roy Lovely (Lead) and me on the drums. We were a local group who later changed our name to The Difference and worked with Steve Payne on lead. While working in The Difference I was hanging around a lot of older guys. So I went from music 101 to playing with season musicians in a short period of time. This was a great time and a great learning experience but I was still very young compared to most of the guys I was playing with and needed to be around guys my own age. My friend Mike Crass was getting pretty good on the guitar and we knew of a guy named Keith Howard who was very good as a lead player. We started jamming in Mike’s garage and started to get a decent song list together. We had just a three piece group at that time and we started looking for a base player. Mike had a good friend named Jeff Brown that wanted to join the group. The only problem was Jeff did not know how to play bass. This was a little problem and I was against it at first, but Mike said he would work with him. Jeff was a great guy and we all liked him so we gave him a month. He not only picked up the song list and was playing it but he was playing all the songs as good as the records, it was unbelievable. He also was singing backup. Jeff over the years turned out to be one of the best base players around. Later on he played with Bill Caudill Band
The band kicked off, so we needed a name. We played under two names The Age Of Reason and Paper Sun. We settled on Paper Sun. Now we were playing all of the school dances and Halls, anyplace kids our age could play. We started getting a following of sorts. Mike’s mom made sure we looked good all the time and made sure we acted right when we were on stage or out just representing the band. Two of our good friends Chuck Westfall and Dave Fisher were always there to help us with setup and sound. Chuck later started singing and sang up to his passing in 1995. We will miss our dear friend. Mike and Keith are still getting together and playing. Mike owns and runs Alley Art and Frame in Springboro, Ohio. Keith is retired and living in Fairborn, Ohio. Jeff is in New Carlisle, Ohio semi-retired from music.
My best friend, Sonny Songer, was a drummer with a well known local group called The Things. They had Sonny (Drums) Marvin Songer (Rhythum) Mike Lazzara (Lead) and Lee Davis (Bass). Hanging with Sonny exposed me to all levels of music; to this day, he is the reason I love to play drums. Later, Sonny and Lee joined up with a guitar player named Bill Caudill, and The Bill Caudill Band was started. This was one of the best three man groups I had ever heard, and getting to sit in with them when Sonny could not make it gave me a chance to learn and grow as a drummer. Bill had been involved with a well known group in the area called BC and The Cavemen. It consisted of Bill Caudill (Lead), Sid Helmer (Rhythm), Don Mullins (Bass), and Kerry Freeman (Drums). Most bands playing at that time were setting their standards by the Cavemen, they were phenomenal.
Another great band in the area at the time was The Demons. They were a rival band of The Things and both where continuously positioning themselves as one of best bands in the area. The band consisted of Gary Moon (Guitar) Gary McAnally (Bass) Mitch McAnally (keyboards) Kelly Spencer (Lead) Brian Edwards (Drums). Gary the front man for The Demons was having problems replacing their drummer Brian after he had died in a tragic car wreck. I was always excited when Gary would call me up to sit in when needed. Later they recruited a local boy named Dave West to play drums. Scott Moon, Gary’s brother, and I played in a pretty good little band called The TOAD, (The Original American Dream). This group included Mike Walters on guitar, Marty Romie on bass and Scott Moon on guitar and me on drums. Scott and I also played with our school buds Sammy Davis on keyboards, and Tim Hart on bass off and on through high school. Gary and Scott are still in the music industry, now living in California. Gary has stared with Knight Ranger and toured with Three Dog Night. Scott makes custom guitars in Pebble Beach, Ca.
While playing with The Difference and sitting in with other local groups, I was blessed to play on the same local stages in Dayton that groups like the McCoy’s, Tommy James, and the Shandells had showcased on. Later, The Difference changed direction, and we began playing a country sound which could be compared to the country you heard in the late 80’s and early 90’s. In 1972 the group got an offer to travel to the Nashville area under the management of Buck Owens’s manager. Owen’s people heard us play at the Sorghum Festival in Ashland, Kentucky. At that time I made a decision to leave the band and join the Air Force to continue my education. I continued to play during my stay in the Air Force and played with many good musicians while on tour in the Southeast, Asia, and Japan.
From 1975 until 1999 I played very little, but I did get to sit in with some union musicians while I was stationed in Las Vegas. That helped me keep in touch with the music. In a casual conversation in 1999 with my good friend Jerry Jackson, he mentioned a bunch of guys jamming at a local American Legion and they invited me out. I got the itch again, went out, bought a new kit, and the rest is history.
I started playing with different people in the Macon, Georgia area playing country and rock. I got a call from a group call Spirit Quest and played with them for a while. They were the last band to record in the old Capricorn Studio, now named Phoenix Studios, before they closed. We played at the Cherry Blossom Street Party on the main stage in downtown Macon. I played with the Aaron Taylor Band and I sat in with Cat Fish Willie. I also had a great time playing with my good friends Mike Robinson, George Miles, and Mike Brennan in a group called Plan-B.
I am now playing with Ray Knighton, Wanelle Collins and The Phoenix Band doing local events. I also perform with the Marty Ledden Band and anytime my good friend Jerry Jackson asks, I am also there to play with him and his son.
(MORE TO COME)