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"The Cutest Kid On The Block"

Memories Of Chico
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On this page you can read some memories that Chico's friends have of him.  A lot of people thought the world of Chico.  He was a great guy.

Doug Kupper -

I went to Emerson College in the 60's with David and we became good friends. We worked on some of my original songs and went into a studio in CT to record them. The rest of the band was Danny McBride (Dirty Dan) and Jesse (Bob) Hendersen from the Rockin Ramrods.
It was my first experience in the studio and it wound up being my career for the last 32 years.
When David left Emerson he worked with the Happenings and another novelty act out of Woodstock. I don't remember their name but they were a sort of jug band. David was always looking for the next good gig and he landed Sha Na Na shortly after that.
As they toured the world they would always have a gig or two in Central CT where I live and I was always invited to the show.
Mostly they would play the old Oakdale Theatre in Wallingford and then we'd wind up at the Yale Motel partying til the wee hours. Many happy memories of those days.
When David was on hiatus from the TV show or off the road he would tour with, among others, Fats Domino. he told me that he played bass for $$ with Sha Na Na and played guitar for fun when he could.
David got Danny his audition with the band and after Danny left he brought in another homey, Glen Jordan, that would also come to house jams at my place in Natick.
I know he had a home in Woodland Hills when the show was at it's peak and enjoyed watching his daughter grow up.He had a very lovely British wife named Susan.
He introduced me to a lot of the musicians that were part of a marketing push called "The Boston Sound". Basically it was one record company that needed to spend some money, so they spread it around Boston without doing much to promote the acts or the product.
It did, however, give a lot of hometown groups a chance to record in those heady days and Puff was one of them.
David was a very positive, hard working and affable person. I was devastated when I read about his death nearly a year after it happened. I felt badly that I never had the chance to pay my respects to his family.

Best Wishes,
Doug Kupper

Len Cirelli - 

I cannot remember exact dates but it must have been around 1966-67. The Ramrods were touring a lot and on the road more and the Surf Ballroom, our home base, needed new house bands. We held auditions at the Surf and The Ramrods were the judges. That was the first time I saw Dave. He was playing bass in a group, I cannot remember the name, and he really impressed us. Dave was one of those people that may seem average to you at first but put a bass in his hands and it all changes. I believe we hired that band to play at the Surf at least once or twice. It was very obvious to us that Dave was the talent in the band.
After we got back from the Stones tour, our bass player Ronnie decided to leave. He still wanted to write songs and produce but did not want to play. We remembered Dave and although we listened to a few other bass players, Dave was the guy we really wanted and at some point we brought him into the group.
Things really changed after Ronnie left. Although Dave brought new and exciting energy to the Ramrods, and new fans also, Ronnie was the leader of the group. I hate to admit it but after he left it was never the same. 
Dave fit right in and was a lot of fun. I remember him coming over to my house and my mom feeding us (she is still alive and is 100 years old and going strong). The fans loved him and as I said he brought a lot of talent and ideas with him.
I will never forget a trip to New York City that Dave and I, and our roadie Buzzy took. We went to a club to see a group called "The British ModBeats" and were just knocked out with the Beatle type look. But then they introduced this guy who came out and sang Secret Agent Man in a high and low voice. Believe it or not he was SO good. You will never guess but it was an unknown Tiny Tim who no one knew at the time. With his pale face and ukelele he was something to see. We had so much fun that weekend. I will never forget it. We spent every dime we had and could barely pay our hotel bill.
Dave continued to bring good things to the Ramrods and never ever grew tired of playing. I was getting older and realized if we had not made it after all the good press we got on the Stones tour, we were not going to make it. Also after Ronnie left we could not agree on anything. I had planned to start a new group but marriage and kids put that away for good. 
The last time I played professionally was with Dave and Sha Na Na at the Surf. All of the old crowd and fans showed up and it was a magical night. I never played professionally again.
He kept in touch and of course I would see him on tv but soon we lost contact. When I saw his death notice in the paper, I could not believe it. So much talent to leave behind. I did not know Dave's family and I did not know until he passed away that he was married. 
I guess what I remember the most about Dave was his ability to have a lot of fun on stage and bring the audience along with him. You never had a "bad " gig when Dave was on stage. I think of Dave often and of course I feel bad we did not stay in contact but I know he had the same fun memories that I do. I wish I could tell you more but that is all I can recall at this time. I am very proud to have known Dave and be a very small part of Rock and Roll history.


Mal Gray -

Chico and I performed together with Bill Haley, including at the Royal Command Performance in London in 1979.  We were also together on two European tours with Fats Domino.  We recorded around 30 songs together in the UK and Germany as well as writing and recording with Bill Haley.  I worked with Chico as a member of Sha Na Na in the UK and USA in the early 70's.  
Apart from being a great singer and performer, Chico also played guitar, bass, and drums and a was a talented songwriter.
I met ShaNaNa on their first European tour (before Chico joined) and played in the band as a guest on several shows. I was invited to the USA the following year to perform with them again. That's when I first met Chico (although to me, he was 'Dave'. Because of my English accent, his mum thought I was calling him 'Dive'!!). The band were much more powerful by this time, a lot of which I put down to Chico's presence. (At this time, both Gino and Joffe were in the process of leaving the band.)  I immediately got on very well with Chico and he organised a recording session in Boston with, amongst others, Danny McBride (Dirty Dan) and Jim Baker. I was staying with Chico's parents when not on the road and they made me extremely welcome. Chico was always full of ideas and he encouraged me to write songs. Our first release (I sung it; he wrote it) was on Decca records 
called 'Tonight.' One time on arriving in Boston, I was met at the airport by Chico in his limousine including a crate of champagne! (The boy had style!)
Chico knew I was an American car fan and arranged for me to have an old Chevrolet, courtesy of a friend of his, a guy called 'Big Ed'. It seemed, everyone thought the world of Chico. Together, we gatecrashed several local bands in Boston. Working with Chico was always fun.
Towards the end of the 70's, I asked Chico to join me on a Fats Domino European tour which he did. Everybody that worked with us thought he was a great guy. We made several recordings (most of which I still have on tape), but none of which have been released as at the time, Chico's contracts would not allow.  The tour was very successful and so I asked Chico to also play with Bill Haley on the 1979 tour which included the Royal Command Performance in London. Bill encouraged Chico to wear his leather jacket on 
tour, although most of the time, it was strictly Comets uniforms. Bill's 
record company at that time, strongly objected to Chico wearing his ShaNaNa trademark leather jacket. But he wore it anyway with Bill's agreement, apart from on TV shows, once again, impressing everyone he worked with.
I visited Martha's Vineyard for Chico's wedding and whilst in the USA caught a couple of ShaNaNa shows. By this time, Danny McBride was on lead guitar.
In the early 80's Chico came to the UK to record with myself, Pete Wingfield ('18 with a Bullet'), Mick Grabham (Procul Harem), and Steve Murray (the Comets). We cut 15 tracks which I also have but they weren't released for the same reasons. I've listed them below. In addition to these are a few songs I wrote with Chico which were recorded with Bill Haley, called:  'Blackboard Rock', 'The King', and 'I Will'. Unfortunately, Bill died before the album was complete. My company (American Music Connection) still owns these unreleased recordings.
After Bill's death, I also visited the Cannes Film Festival and South Africa with Chico. I remember Chico as a very good friend and I never met anybody that didn't like him.

All the best,
Mal Gray

Jesse Henderson -

David was my bandmate in the Rockin' Ramrods... we did alot of recording together too. He recruited me in 1975 to fill in for Jocko for
a month long tour...flew me out to L.A. to do some studio recording with him as well. We were together at David's place in Woodland Hills, CA and watching the Princess Di & Charles wedding. It's great to see you honoring him with your project.
When David was in the Rockin' Ramrods we got a record deal. The producer (alone) decided to name us Puff. We recorded the Puff album in a studio in NYC right off of times square. David played bass & vocals, most notably the lead vocal on "Through My Window" & a few others. We toured but mostly regionally throughout New England.

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