Of the many local bands that formed in my neighborhood in the mid-sixties, the only one which could be considered a “rival” of the groups I was in was The Pastels. My bands were the usual male-teen proto-punk groups, playing Louie, Louie, Wipe Out and, later, The Yardbirds and The Rolling Stones. We were geeky, erratic and raw boys. The Pastels were a quartet that sang and played folk music and were everything we were not: Poised, disciplined, and talented girls.
We knew them well, we were involved in many of the same school activities and were competitive in our studies as well. We were a bit jealous of them, for they could play “gigs” we couldn’t- social affairs, school programs, even parades! Their events were “civilized.” We played in fraternity basements and for teen dances where a fight could break out any minute and illicit liquor replaced soft drinks and tea as the beverage of choice.
The final week of of our senior year, there was a “Senior Talent Day” (arranged by The Pastels of course) where several musical acts put on a show for the rest of the school. The Pastels were gracious enough (grace was another thing which we boys lacked) to invite my current band, The Hungry Freaks, to play in the show. The Pastels were on prior to us, and we were last on the bill. They had added a bassist and a snare player, and were excellent as usual. We added rap, feedback, sirens and dissonant organs to ours. For our finale we smashed guitars as some of the band members with Soviet flags overran the stage, “fighting” the other ones.
Thirty years later, we got that old band back together and played for our class reunion. We were better behaved, and we could really play. We invited The Pastels to play, but they declined. In fact, not one of them attended. Later I found out that years ago, in high school, there had been a rift in their group, something about boy, and they had never played again.
That was too bad. I loved that band.