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It wasn’t until February of 1963, when the Beatles appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show for the very first time, that I was totally hooked. I can still remember walking into the school cafeteria for a record hop. I walked up to a lunch table strewn with different LPs. I saw the “Meet the Beatles” album and became totally mesmerized. It was at that point that an idea came to me. Why not put together a mock Beatles group as a skit for the upcoming American Field Service (AFS) variety show. Joining myself and Fred Hadler were Jerry Schneider, playing the role of George Harrison, and Rick Wolf as the McCartney character. Fred payed Ringo, and I played John Lennon. We went so far as to get Beatle wigs that were so popular at the time, as well as Beatle collarless jackets. Fred and I were the only two that actively made any music. Rick and Jerry just mimicked doing so both instrumentally and vocally. And in the group, I was the only one who had genuine long hair rather than just a wig. There’s more coming on this later.

The school was so concerned about possible charges of trademark infringement over unauthorizedly using the Beatles name, that the name “Cleolatra Four”(Beatles in Latin) appeared in the printed program. Both the Friday and Saturday performances of this event were extremely successful. The audience threw jelly babies (aka jellybeans) on stage, just as enthusiastic fans had thrown at the Beatles. And by the way, getting hit by flying jellybeans can hurt.

Reed Gives Birth to the Destinations

After the Saturday night’s final performance, we were asked to perform for a post-show party. That marked the birth of what would become known as “The Destinations.” From that point on, Rick Wolf became the lead singer, I became the rhythm/lead guitarist, and Fred was the drummer. From time to time, various people filled in on bass guitar.

For a while, we also had a member whose name was Mike Davidson, son of Walter Davidson of Harley-Davidson notoriety. Mike, nicknamed Harley, wanted to be part of the band. He was a good friend who bought a Fender Bassman amp and an SG Gibson bass guitar. We thought, “Wow, what a cool guy.” He had all the gear. We started getting phone calls from the neighboring schools, such as St. Cecilia in Thiensville, to play to play for Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) dances. Unbeknown to the audience, Mike would turn on his amplifier, displaying the red light. Actually, he kept the amp on standby. Mike turned his back to the audience, gave the physical appearance of playing, and remained as quiet as a church mouse. I found out later on that Stew Sutcliffe, the close friend of John Lennon in the Beatle’s early days, had essentially done the same. Unfortunately, Stew died of a brain disorder due to a fight. In any case, Mike’s career with our band was short lived.

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