Friday, March 6, 2009

Modify Your Dreams but don't Give up, don't Quit

Music was my entire world. Now it's still a large part of my world but, life has a way of making you prioritize. When you're young and wanting to be a musician cause you've got music in your heart and you don't know or want to do anything else, it's a beautiful time but can be a difficult time. If your parents don't have enough to buy you an instrument and the schools won't let you sign an instrument out or they don't have enough for all the students that need to take one home and practice, this can easily discourage a young mind. But if you are able to acquire the instrument of your choice and have it to rehearse with and you start to feel the confidence and the knowledge of music growing within you well, it just makes your heart sing.

I was fortunate enough to win a scholarship from a national contest to go to Pepperdine College for one year of private lesson. This really helped me stay at the top of my game all through Junior High and High School.

I forgot to mention that I won this scholarship when I was in the 6th grade. The smallest little guy on campus. It was Great! Everyone was very helpful and nice.

My Junior High school music consist of playing in the school band and Orchestra. You could also
find me standing in the front hallway blowing reveille every morning at 8:00 am and the students that were not in there classrooms yet had to stop walking and wait until reveille was finished then continue to class. I think there was a little power tripping going on there, but only in my head though.(smile)

All through High School there was a conflict in my head. I was forever thinking about what school I want to go to when I graduate . I wanted to continue my education but, at the same time there were dreams of joining a popular band and playing on big stages all over the country, recording records and all the other Rock Star dreams. After graduation someone told me of an audition for Trumpet player at P.J.'s on Santa Monica Blvd in Los Angeles Ca. for the "Edwin Starr" Band so, of course being young and enthusiastic about being in a professional band making money, traveling and recording. What do you think I did? Yeah, they gave me the job so off we go.

I wasn't quite as happy as I thought I would be though. The light
dimmed a bit at the audition when they told me they didn't read music.
They spin the 45 record on a turntable 50 or 60 times until the guitar player learns his part, then the bass player,then the horns and so on and so on. It was boring and stupid.

I just graduated and my reading skills are excellent and they want to spin a record. After the audition they were speaking about the up coming shows and venues like the "Apollo Theater" in New York and others so, I said to myself maybe I'll stick around for a minute more. The band was tight even with the learning curve and the first two weeks were cool. Then the money shortage issue showed its ugly face. "I'll pay you next week for this week, then I'll pay you next week for the last two weeks". The band had a meeting and decided that we were never going to see any of our back pay so when we play the "Apollo Theater" next week, we'll let Edwin Starr go to New York to play the "Apollo" by himself and we're going to Canada. So we went to Toronto Canada and stayed there working at a club in Richmond Hill for two or three weeks and never looked back. If Edwin Starr played the "Apollo" that night, he had to hustle up a new band that reads music. ha ha ha
The Band was called "The Houston Outlaws" above, based in Texas so, every time we had some time off we would rehearse in Texas. I lived in Texas for two years with that band staying with each of the members at different times. We backed up "Archie Bell and the Drells" for about a year and then backed up "Joe Tex" for about 4 to 6 months before we went on our own and continued to perform in what is known as the "Chitterling Circuit" (a lot of small clubs across the country) until the groups breakup .

To Be Continued in Part II
Come back and check out the rest of the story.

O.K., Part Two:

After the break up of "The Houston Outlaws" in late 1972, I came back to Los Angeles Ca. where I got a job as a Mold Maker for a Santa Monica foundry and worked there for two years. Making molds of sculptures from many different artist (horses,cowboys,Indian's etc...)and from those molds we would cast the pieces in Gold, Nickle or Bronze. I actually liked working there, then I heard of another audition for a percussionist with the group known as "Side Effect" and i got the job. At the time "Side Effect" was building their status as an up and coming class act, Produced by Augie Johnson under the professional eyes of "Wayne Henderson", the trombone player with "The Jazz Crusaders". This was in 1974 and I started recording with them and traveling all over the country, now it felt like I was a little closer to my dream. After the first couple of years, we named the back up band "The Boppers" and started recording our own album on "fantasy records" out of San Francisco in 1978. We had a #1 record "Something's Missin" on a local radio station for two weeks. I would be at a stop light and hear our record on the radio in the car next ot me and i wanted to yell out "Hey! that's me singing that song" but I was cool, I didn't do it. We later found out that there was another group called "The Boppers" in England so we changed our name to "The L.A.Boppers" for the first of two albums on "Mercury Records" in 1980. We sold 375,000 copies with the lead song being one that I wrote called "Is This The Best(Bop-Doo Wah)". A Gold Record is 500,000 copies sold so we got kinda close. During this time we are still playing concert halls and other venues being the opening act for "Side Effect" and also being their back up band for their shows. We were also the opening act for groups like "The O'Jays", "The Ohio Players", "Natalie Cole",
"The Brothers Johnson", "Cameo", "Frankie Beverly", "New Birth", "Freda Payne", "Dolly Parton", "Donald Byrd and The Blackbirds" and more.
I failed to mention that in 1978 "Wayne Henderson" of "The Jazz Crusaders" started a production company called "At Home Productions". How can I forget to mention that? We were signed to "At Home Productions" and got our first record deal through his company. We were one big happy family back then. "The L.A.Boppers" played on most of the track that were produced by "At Home Productions" and "Side Effect" sang background vocals on almost everything that was produced by "Wayne Henderson" and "At Home Productions" for three or four years.

Lets go back to 1981 where we recorded the second of two albums for "Mercury Records" called "BopTime". There was a problem when our record was released. The record company moved from Chicago to New York and no one was out promoting the album.
Our album got caught up in the move and pretty much, no one heard it. We didn't appreciate it so we left "Mercury Records". We then signed with "MCA Records" in 1982and recorded the album "Make Mine Bop" which was a very good album and showed promise.
When we walk into "MCA Records" to take care of some business, they had our album and stats all over the wall and it looks good and mad us feel good to see that the company is tracking and paying attention to the album and really working it.
Then sure enough "MCA" has internal problems with the president quitting, the VP moves up to President, the A&R guy moves up to VP and of course in the restructuring of the company they drop the ball with our album. We had a couple of meetings after the dust settled but they weren't saying what we wanted to hear so, we Left "MCA" at the same time "At Home Productions" was going through some internal problems.
Finally we said screw this, well get different management and get another record deal, but that never happened. We tried to stay together for a while but we gotta feed our families and pay our bills. So gradually some of us got other gigs with other bands that were already working and making money. We, to this day still work together on some gigs but not as "The L.A.Boppers".

I work an 8 to 5 job and come home every evening to my "Man Cave/Music Room and write, edit and produce my own music. I have posted some of my music on my "Myspace" website at: if you would like to listen.

That's all for now, I will keep you posted of my musical developments as it happen.
Thanks for listening.

Here is a comment from one of my Fans in France.
And don't forget to check out his music at the end of his comment.
Re: Vance maddog Tenort

Damn it's really Maddog ! I'm out of this world...

Ain't it just amazing that just with this incredible technology, i had the chance to find you just because i had that idea in mind and enough care or curiosity...whatever i'm really impressed first you're the good Vance Tenort ! wAoW

So, yes thank you for taking time to answer, it's nice !

I'm really excited to learn that THE BOP' IS ALIVE AND READY to roll for another round...well that's awesome man

My awareness bout your group is a long story, as i bought the Bop time album when i was 13 years old, in a specialized record shop, and i think by the way that it's the most expensive record i bought back in the day ( i'm still a record buyer, and i do know that the L.A boppers's records here in France, are really expensive from a collector's market point of view ( so now you'll know lol)

Thanks too for checking out my music : i truly appreciate your comments, and i'm once again really flattered you did.

There's something about your voice that i've always kept in mind.
Because this is not a ordinary voice at all.
You use that instrument like a snake. It's one of the jewels into this group
and it was unmistakable .
You had that differerent swing and it was refreshing.

Underrated singer & group, stolen tunes ( "you did it good", had been borrowed and rehashed by Lenny kravitz a thousand times)

I must add i'm mad about the Thumpin Slapping bass pyrotechnics by Ed reddick jr, i love his sweet voice too.
I'm really pissed off to know you're not really known by musicians or music lovers i meet everyday.

But the good news are the following :
The 1st L.a Boppers's albums are remastered from a japan company and it can be found now in Paris.
Let's hope they remaster the BOPPERS's album on Fantasy, and of course, Bop Time ( my fave), and Make mine bop...
They should do the same with Augie's group as well.

My question is : Will it be the same lineup including Ed, gerry, kenny, michael...augie ?
Concerts in paris ?

keep in touch
Sorry for a silly long mail
be well

PS /
( check out the titles in my player : Sophie, please & Ethel I - which are in english ! lol )
I made everything on all tracks, enjoy

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1 comment:

  1. Hi Mr. Tenort!
    Just wanted to say THANKS for many hours of listening pleasure when it comes to the L.A. Boppers! Especially your 1980 album (which I still have on vinyl BTW :-)
    When it comes to your 1981 follow-up -- which I personally concider somewhat weaker, I just LOVE your version of the Delfonics classic La La Means I Love You. Every time I play it, I simply have to play it again! ...and that doesn't happen often with most of my other 30.000(!) MP3 tracks :-)
    Keep on Boppin'
    Gunnar (A Norwegian in Spain)