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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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!)
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.
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
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.
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.