The county seat of Wharton County, you can find this town of less than 10,000 folks smack in the middle between Victoria and Houston on Highway 59.
Though the rest of the band was in high school, lead guitar player Herb Warner was only in the 6th grade when the band started up circa 1965. Herb played an orange Royal Artist 12 string guitar which he purchased at Navratil music shop after hearing The Byrds. The high string action on the instrument would frequently cause his hand to bleed after playing their frequent 4 hour sets.
The bands tour radius consisted of other mostly even more minuscule towns within a 45 minute radius:
East Bernard, Klute, Boling, Hillje, Taiton, El Campo, and Bay City. Most of these towns didn't have their own proper teen clubs, so renting out the local dance halls and renting a cop for the door would be the way. Even in the tiniest communities, hundreds of kids would come out and the band would make good money each night.
Occasionally, the guys would sneak out at night by stealthily rolling one of their parents cars in neutral out of the driveway, driving down to the gulf coast, and playing on the beach in Freeport.
The band broke up somewhere in the late 60's, when band members Joe Pedia and Rudy Anzuldua were drafted into military service.
Drummer Ernie was later in an a local psychedelic rock band The Experience and after that played as the 2nd drummer in Krystal Blue.
The photo above was taken at the Sons of Herman Knights of Columbus Hall in Wharton, TX circa 1968. The member line up from left to right is Rudy Anzuldua (bass), Herb Warner (lead guitar), Joseph Pedia (lead singer), Eddie Zescoda (rhythm guitar), and the back on drums is Ernie Sprta.
|Herb with his 12 string guitar|
Thanks To Herb Warner and Ernie Sprta for sharing their memories! Keep your eyes peeled for the story on neighbors The Mechanical Switch- coming soon!