met Bobby Darin at the Crescendo night club on Sunset Strip in Hollywood
around 1962. I was the accompianist for a folk group called "The
Chad Mitchell Trio." We were opening up for Lenny Bruce, and
Bobby had come down to the club to see Lenny, but was there during
The trio was composed of three singers who didn't play instruments.
I was the only musician, and I stood behind them. While they would
sing, just to keep from being bored, I made funny faces. The audience
would laugh, and the trio thought it was for them.
Bobby liked this. He came back stage after our set and told me that
he planned to incorporate folk music into his Las Vegas act. He asked
me if I would like to play guitar, and sing harmony with him. I told
him that I had a job. Bobby asked how much the trio was paying. When
I told him, he offered to double the salary. I gave the trio notice
and went to work for Bobby.
Bobby was a mentor to me. He gave me a sense of what the old school
of show business was all about. He was meticulous, suit pressed, shoes
shined and always on time and in tune. He had worked with George Burns,
and had learned the vaudeville approach to performing. He had mastered
singing, dancing, mime, impressions and many musical instruments.
I asked him for tips on succeeding in the music business and he was
generous with his advice. One tip was to get in front of audiences
as much as possible. He said it didn't matter how good you were in
front of a mirror, you had to test it under fire. I took his advice
and performed in as many clubs and coffee houses as I could to develop
my confidence as a performer.
Another tip was to get into Rock and Roll. I did that as well and
the result was my band The Byrds. So I owe a lot to Bobby Darin. He
was a true hero to me.
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