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In the summer of 1963, we auditioned several bass players. At this point in time, I can’t recall who they were. We finally settled on Bruce Robertson as bass player and added Sid Rice on keyboards. It was not unusual to interchange musicians based upon their availability. Especially when Bruce could not travel ninety miles away from Milwaukee to Madison in order to play frat-house type jobs, David Zucker filled in on bass guitar. David and his brother Jerry later became very successful film makers. They are well known for their movie Airplane and Naked Gun (with Leslie Nielsen and O.J. Simpson). We also had other substitutes, including Tom Wittenberg from Mequon and Sam Friedman from Shorewood.  Jon Paris, the talented drummer of The Chevelles, always looked forward to filling for Fred Hadler whenever Fred was out for football.  As time moved on, Bruce became more of a fixture in the Destinations as the band’s popularity grew. My brother Patrick managed the band at that time. One of our equipment guys, Dave Spaulding, also acted as our accountant. He was a very close friend and coordinated well with Patrick.

It’s interesting to note at that time, top-forty radio was exploding with sounds of the British Invasion, and it seemed that every high school in the Milwaukee and its outlying area had its own favorite local band. Prospects of venues to play--including CYOs, nightclubs, and so on--made the situation very different from today. There were endless opportunities to perform and make good money. I was consumed by the music; on the other hand, many succumbed to the money.

Reed and the Destinations Win the Milwaukee Sentinel's "Battle of the Bands"

In 1964, the band became increasingly popular and financially successful. We geared up for the 1965 Milwaukee Sentinel newspaper’s Rock ‘n’ Roll amateur band contest. Up to this point, we had previously engaged in 17 local battle-of-the-bands contests and never lost one. The Milwaukee Sentinel’s battle of the bands was a state-wide competition. It is estimated that over 500 regional bands aspired to participate in the competition. One hundred and sixty one bands actually entered the contest. Initially, bands were eliminated via ballots found in the newspaper. Eventually the competition was reduced to just 24 bands. Then live performances voted on by local deejays narrowed the contenders down even further to 12. These were broken down into two age categories, six in the Class A (13 to 16 years old) group and six in the Class B (17 to 19 years old) group. The battle of the bands was staged before a sellout crowd of over 6,100 teenagers on December 30, 1965. The audience vote at the Milwaukee Auditorium on Kilbourne Avenue brought us the number one slot for our performance of “It’s All Right.” A highly collectable LP was made of the entire event. The band’s popularity then exploded regionally, and it became quite successful financially as well. Although the members of the band were still minors, we played local clubs including the Scene, Gallagher’s, and a variety of others, as well as a number of colleges. Also, at this point in time, Sid Rice was replaced by Rick Sorgel, a fellow Mequonite who I used to give guitar lessons to.

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