Boy Band Makes Good – the personal experience of Sammy Hasegawa

When I was a teenager back in the ’60s, I played sax and flute in a band that opened two concerts on the same day for the Beach Boys in Mitchell and Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

Even though the guys in our band were good musicians, we were young and disorganized and basically 19-year-old idiots. So after doing the first concert in Mitchell in the afternoon, we ran out of gas on the interstate on our way back to the big performance in Sioux Falls. After much cursing and recriminations, we made our drummer, who was the only one with short hair, get out of the car and hitchhike to find some place with a phone so he could call our booking agent and tell him to call the Beach Boys and let them know they should get another band to open the evening concert.

Much later, our drummer came back with a can of gasoline.

He told us the Beach Boys said they liked the way we sounded and they wanted us to open for them that evening. We should just get back to Sioux Falls as fast as we could, and since they’d used our equipment for their first South Dakota gig in Mitchell, they wanted us to use their equipment when we got back to the Sioux Falls Arena.

That evening, we got back to Sioux Falls about 30 minutes before we were scheduled to start, and ran up on stage with our instruments and plugged into the Beach Boys equipment.

The Beach Boys were way ahead of their time in terms of their sound setup. They used small old guitar amps, those great blonde Fender amps, but all of their amps were miked and run through their huge PA system.

So the sound on stage was quiet and you could hear what you were playing with hardly any sound coming from monitors. But out in front, there was this incredible huge sound going out into the arena. We did one Butterfield Blues Band song, where I played the main solo on flute. I have a big flute sound, but I just about fell over when I heard my playing coming through that PA. I got a huge ovation and didn’t even know how to react, since that was probably the first time any local audience had ever heard what my playing sounded like in a rock gig.

Anyway, like the Beatles, I was a fan of the Beach Boys for years. As a solo singer and pianist, I now do several of their songs, including this one that I’m posting here:

About the Author

Sammy Hasegawa is a writer who lives in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Learn more about him on his website, www.samhasegawa.com.