dave aerni
info from david aerni's home page:

i began my musical career after my honorable discharge from the navy in 1961. it all started as an apprentice in paul buff's "pal" recording studio in cucamunga, california where i had the privilege of working with not only paul, but also frank zappa, ray collins, and other fine musicians.
(paul buff now is a business called paul c. buff inc. with the web site: http://www.white-lightning.com/ )

at another studio in riverside i recorded a surfin' band called the "tornadoes" and we had a top selling record in southern california for several weeks running called "bustin' surfboards", which was in the top 30's nationwide. i co-produced the 45 record with the taunton brothers from upland. we also produced surfin' dances at the local armory featuring not only the "tornadoes", but also the "beachboys" and "dick dale and the daletones".

while working at paul's studio i recorded a rock-a-billy artist named bobby ray who needed a bass player for a gig he had in san bernardino. i had played rhythm guitar about ten years and felt i could handle the bass, so i took the job. bobby was a fine singer, but had a problem with bennies (benzadrine) and soon lost his job because he was unable to sing.

bass players were (and still are) in demand, so i soon had another job backing another vocalist, sonny wilson. about a month after my new job began on a saturday night, sonny took off for nashville with no notice, leaving us (johnny strange or wayne charvel on guitar, and a drummer, whose name i can't remember - the back-up band) to perform. johnny and i were determined to keep this gig because it was the hot spot in "berdo", so we bit the bullet and started singing. we succeeded, and kept the job for quite a time.

during the next few years i played bass with artists like don underwood, eddie kay (klinkhammer), ray peterson, sammy  hagar, ike and tina turner, the coasters, jimmy reed, and john lee hooker.

in the '70's i found myself in san fransisco with sammy hagar playing at the red velvet backing some of these artists. the drummer and myself got busted for smoking marijuana.  the drummer freaked out on the street in front of a policeman who came to the drummer's room in our hotel. his room and mine were joined by a bathroom, and the police followed their nose into my room and arrested me.

while i was in jail for a month, sammy hit it hot with "montrose" and never looked back. when i finally hit the street again i had enough of the big city and headed north to sonoma county. i started playing bass with an acid-rock band called the  "immaculate contraption" (mark ryan, bob bellezza, curt paulson, and minah baker) and lived in the rehearsal barn near sebastopol at a farm called "om hollow". an electric heater shorted out while i was in the main house causing the barn to burn to the ground. not only did the band and myself lose all of our equipment, but i lost all my personal belongings.

from insurance money i bought a couple of accoustic guitars, teamed up with a lady by the name of c. c. dawn (wilcoxen), and began playing folk music. we appeared at the renaissance faire in marin county, then headed south to l.a. to play in the faire there (smile). by the end of the faire we were no longer a team and i headed back to sonoma as a solo folk singer.

for several years i traveled from southern california to oregon to cincinatti singing in coffee houses, street corners, rainbow family gatherings, and to just about anyone who cared to listen. at the rainbow family gathering in wyoming i acquired the name "songbird", which i added to my first name and called myself "david songbird". i finally decided to go to school at sonoma state college while taking advantage of my g.i. bill.

soon after starting school i met tom oleari, who was a great songwriter, and i decided to form a band called "smokin'". the band was moderately successful in northern california selling an e.p. record and touring around the area. the original band consisted of tom on guitar, ira bennett on piano, jeremy cohen on fiddle, and steve puleo on drums.

the only classes i was interested in were music and expressive arts. one of my professors in the music department was arthur hills. arthur left a lasting impression on my life. he was my guru, friend, and teacher. much of what i consider good about myself was because of his influence. i feel very fortunate to have had him in my life.

while in school i had the opportunity to produce a couple of television shows for kqed in an fransisco. the first was the "marijuana medicine show" during the time when the marijuana initiative was in politics; then a show called "music around the world", which featured many different cultures of music in one program.

after 5 years of school i felt i had learned all i could from the institution. i met david sharp who was a disk jockey on a local (santa rosa) radio station, who gave me a job in his record store "the wooden nickle" in sonoma, rented a room at his home, and drummed for the band.
( david sharp is still a disk jockey in the area and writes a great column called the "global music notes" - music reviews of music from around the world. his web site is located at: global notes. or e-mail david sharp at: dhsharp645@aol.com )

this is where i met my wife cheryl. shortly after we were married we moved to eugene, oregon to have a better place to raise her 3 children. two weeks after i arrived in eugene i was working in a bar playing music with a country band. i changed my stage name to david lee, which was more acceptable to working in a bar band. that was in the early '80's.

i had the opportunity to play with some fine musicians during the next 12 years. i started playing with kit pray - vocals, joe evans - guitar, and bruce indicot - drums; then (not necessarily in the following order) with linda gee/marcum/evans - vocals, drums; dave & cathy clark - guitars, vocals; mike anderson - vocals, guitar; pat thurlow - drums, vocals; scott cagle - guitar, vocals; jimmy dupree - drums; neil grandstaff - guitar, vocals; stan becraft - drums; billy mccoy - guitar, vocals; dave cooper - guitar, vocals; john fohl - guitar, vocals; larry blom - steel guitar; petrene moreland - vocals; and mike reed - harmonica; and nameless others that have slipped into the past.

three years have now passed since i decided i no longer wanted to play music in bars and stopped hussling gigs. about the same time cheryl and i moved to douglas county, oregon and i've found a fine blues & classic rock band to express my music in. they are called "homebrew" and perform casual gigs around the area.