In 1964, the Ed Sullivan Show televised the Beatles on Sunday night. I was in seventh grade. Watching all those girls flip out over these Brits caught my attention. The music was catchy, the hair was unusual, and the hook was set in me.
During lunch time at school I found out that a couple of friends (Bill Carder and Mark Roth) knew how to play guitars and needed a bass player. I thought, “This is my chance! How hard can the bass be? It only has four strings!”
So we convinced one of the drummers in advanced band (Riley Caton) who had a drum set to join us. We began to learn as many popular songs as we could.
Toward the end of that year, the Junior High put on a talent show. We entered as a band--the MALIBU’S! We played two instrumental songs: “Wipeout”, and “No Matter What Shape Your Stomach’s In”. We even dressed up like Paul Revere and the Raiders.
Well, even the hoods liked our music! And the girls began to notice. I think I had a crush on just about every cheerleader in school! And some of them actually liked me...for a while.
The only problem is that I didn’t have any money to go to the movies with them. And most of them were from well-to-do families. All I had was a stupid paper route.
By ninth grade, I joined up with another set of more advanced musicians (Mark Wenecke and Mick Austin) and we began to form our own sound.
After a few months, and a couple more musician changes (Ron Reedy, Charlie Cook and Steve Crockett), we actually had a group that was being asked to play at after game dances and special events. We named ourselves THE ETERNAL SOUNDS.
I remember spending hours upon hours in my room recording popular songs on my Dad’s little reel-to-reel tape recorder. I would speed up the record to the next highest level and then record the song. It was the only way to really hear the bass part clearly.
Then I would play the tape over and over until I had the pattern of the bass part. Once I had it down, then I would play the record and get the key in which the song was recorded. I would do the same with the harmonies and melodies of each song. It was important to me to get it right, just the way they played it.
We entered a battle of the bands at the Hillsboro Armory, and came in second place. That event brought to us our manager, Bud Garrison, a former member of a very popular local band (Mr. Lucky and the Gamblers) that had just disbanded.
He was working for Sunn Musical Equipment at the time and he had connections. He entered into a contract with us and began booking us through an agency, professional picture shoots and all. We were off and running!
THE ETERNAL SOUNDS
From top clockwise: Bob Claycamp, Mick Austin, Steven Crockett, Charlie Cook, Ron Reedy
After a couple of years and a couple of changes to band members, Paul Stanton and John Dalrymple (The Southmen) joined the group and we became THE MUSIC BOX.
We began traveling all over the Northwest part of the country on weekends. Two of us were now in our Junior year of High School, the drummer was a Senior, and the two other guys were in college at the University of Portland. Because our manager worked for Sunn, we became loaded with state-of-the-art amplifiers and sound systems.
Our manager got us in to a very unique opportunity to be a part of a televised battle of the bands on the local CBS station in Portland. That was in the spring of 1968. We won! The grand prize was a trip to Hollywood and an audition with Capital Records. So off we went to California.
The newpaper article on the winning of Battle of the Beat, sending us to Hollywood. The one side of the demo disk is WHAT PRICE LOVE; the second side is FREE THINKER.
The MUSIC BOX from top right: John Dalrymple (Keyboards, lead vocals), Mick Austin (lead vocals), Bob Claycamp (bass, vocals), Steven Crockett (drums), Paul Stanton (lead guitar, vocals)
We had spent considerable time in the recording studio putting together a demo tape of songs we had written over the past year. The engineer at Capital Records wanted to re-record one of those songs.
But because we were so tired of it after playing it again and again and again over the past year, we argued with him that this brand new song we had just written was far superior to that old tired song. After about thirty minutes of going back and forth with him, he finally agreed to record the new song.
Eight hours or so later the song was finished and so were we. They stuck us in the back files, never to be heard from again.
We continued playing venues around the Northwest, being warmup band for various well-known rock groups.
At the end of my Senior year in High School (1969), I moved into the house the band had rented in Northwest Portland (1717 NW Hoyt St.). Now we could really hone our sound and climb back up to recording status.
It was then that three young college students (Sue Welch, Stephen Thomas, Cindy Harrington) also moved in to help with the rent. These “hippies” were friends of the college guys. But there had been a radical change that had taken place in their lives. They had become “born-again” Christians. That change ended up affecting me in dramatic ways.
My girlfriend (Jeanne Wyatt) and I eventually prayed to receive Christ as our Savior and Lord. And within a month, I knew that I had to make the hardest choice of my musical career... I resigned from the band.
There was just no other way I could go on the way things were. My heart was changing and being purified in so many ways. Once the decision was made, the group broke up and the other members moved out of the house. They continued on making music, and are even now playing together in a band called SEYMOUR.
Now we had a house full of Christians, and we began our journey of serving the Lord full on. We tried to form a Christian band, something that was kind of unheard of up in the Northwest. But, we ended up floundering through indecision, false doctrine, and lack of direction.
Eventually we met some other young people who had recently moved up to Oregon from Southern California. They were from a church called Calvary Chapel. Their ministry was called Shiloh. One of them (David Kirby) moved into our house and things began to settle down doctrinally and musically.
I picked up a guitar and began to learn how to play the thing. I had been around one all these years and just didn’t take the time to learn. But a bass player on his own is a boring venture. As I began to put chords together and lyrics to those melodies, brand new songs started to come forth.