Bassist with The Robbie Limon Band ( Best Music of the '70s)
by Ken Wissmann
Denny and I were in our first band as teenagers called 'The Knights' in Rockland County across the Hudson River from NYC. Rockland was still rural in the late 50s and 60s; almost every other performing group was C&W. We had Denny on guitar and vocals, drums, sax, plus my bass and did a mix of blues/top 40 early rock. Our first rehearsal was in 1959 in the drummer's Nyack home listening to 'Tom Dooley' by the Kingston Trio. We acquired a manager, 20 yr old Anita Arietta, who had a car and could take us to play every Sweet 16 party and CYO dance in the county. We went into the city and bought lapel-less shiny sport coats to wear with pegged pants and ankle-high boots. We were (relatively) cool for this pre-Beatles era.
Three stories: naive as we were, we went to the Brill Building in NYC to shop a tape recording of two Leroux songs. After many dismissals we hooked up with one studio which had us return for a recording session. For $100 we schlepped all our gear into the studio and each received a vinyl 45 for the effort. I don't believe any of the original group has the recording.
In the Summer of 1960, we played a Sterling Park concert as the local 'rock and rollers' opening for blind jazz pianist George Shearing. We had burgers and fries with Mr. Shearing after the show and he gave us the expected advice....practice, practice, practice.
In the Summer of 1963, we relocated to western New York and lived in my college frat house playing four nights a week at a local bar and local roller skating rink. We earned $15 each per night. We rehearsed new material during the daytime and drove back to Rockland County after the Sunday night gig so we could see family. We returned on Wednesday to start the cycle again.
A great beginning to a lifetime of fun and satisfaction with music. Denny Leroux is the only player I have known who made a successful career with his abundant talent.