At Southwest High School, Denny and Al started their first
5-piece group, Mozart's
Mafia . The two had gotten guitars in grade
school, and convened their first band when one guy said he played piano.
Denny: "The popular song he could
play was "Green, Green" by the Christy Minstrels, so we thought we'd better hang
it up for a while and learn to play before we played. We didn't know anything.
We just thought you had to bang on it and music would come out. We never knew
you had to practice."
They returned home to woodshed. "Al would call me on the
phone, and I got really envious because clean chords were coming out and
I was still struggling with C, F and G7." When Denny and Al
got together after summer, Denny had discovered Al had been
playing his guitar in an open tuning with a pencil. "I almost killed
him when I found outů" Chastened Al switched to drums.
The Mafia was a step up from playing in garages with a wollensak
tape recorder to the beat of a single snare drum. The original Mafia
was an English Invasion group that faked accents on stage - a trick picked
up from some of the "big time" local groups of the mid-sixties.
Al met some horn players in the gym class when he was thinking of adding
a horn section for a school assembly. After the appropriate amount of soul
searching and overcoming parental opposition to their association with
such unsavory characters as Denny and Al ("the black
sheep of the school") they joined. The Mafia's
version of "Harlem Shuffle" and "I Feel Good" went over with the student body,
so the group became an 8-piece choreographed white punk-soul band playing the
standard local bag of "Show Me" and "Midnight Hour."
After graduation the Mafia disbanded and went their own ways.
Meanwhile Denny and Al played country rock and surrogate
Buffalo Springfield with the basement band, Homestead....
Mark Goldstein, after a visit to the
state fair, wandered into the Coffeehouse Extempore and heard Homestead,
Brian Peterson's CSN & Springfield-derived group playing (of
all things) Frank Zappa's "Mudshark." Goldstein
invited singer-bassist Dennis Peterson and
singer-drummer Allen J. Galles home for
a midnight jam. Moore, Goldstein, Peterson and
Galles jammed on some of Moore's
tunes. There was no doubt in any of their minds, this was it. Moore
and Goldstein hired them on the