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INTERVIEW BY STEVE KELEMEN

How did a 15 year old kid from Queens, New York pull this off? Must have been fate.

I have played it a million times over the years and I never tire of it.

I was born in 1942 in Bayside, NY, in Queens County. I have a sister, brother, two wonderful children, Heather and Tom Jr., and I am especially proud of my four grand children, Tommy, Katie, Brenna and Jack.

First, just to clarify, there was no such thing as rockabilly in New York City. It was just good old Rock and Roll and like a million other guys, I wanted to be a rock and roll star ... it was that simple.

Our local scene consisted of hanging out in "candy stores" while listening to Alan Freed and Murray the "K" on the radio. I would go to Manhattan and Brooklyn to hear and see rock and roll shows that they held in the big movie houses such as the NY Paramount or Lowes Fox in Brooklyn. I saw all of the great stars - you name them and I saw them - Paul Anka, Jerry Lee Lewis, The Everly Brothers, Gene Vincent, The Del Vikings, Little Anthony and the Flamingos ... too many to name. They were great shows and unlike today, everyone was close enough that you didn't have to look at a scene to see them.



"BABY OF MINE"

I never had a band - just my good friend Doug Smith who played that terrific lead guitar on "Baby Of Mine". We met at Babe Ruth League Baseball when we were 13 years old.

I barely knew the drummer, Joe Diolosa. As you know I sang and played guitar on the recordings and recorded the demo at the Dick Charles Studio which was on 7th Avenue & 48th Street in Manhattan, NY.

I rented the studio for one hour and we recorded both songs in 20 minutes - I was 15 years old. We also recorded an un-issued song called "All The Time"

. Fast forwarding to six or seven years later, I was married with two kids. My brother took the demo to someone he knew in St. Johnsbury, Vermont, to a man named Loren Phelps, whom I have never even spoken with. After sending him the master tape he pressed up about 3000 copies and that was it. He loved the record 'as is' from the demo.

Of course, I never made a dime from "Baby Of Mine". It is difficult to comprehend that it sold on Ebay and is worth $700, and I cannot figure out why there are so many separate records in circulation. My guess is that there must be 15 or 20 different releases of the song.

And of course, how did I make my way to the Rockabilly Hall of Fame? I don't know, but it's great!

Posted January 2, 2008





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