In May of 1975, I heard a rough mix of Lab ’75 over at Roger’s house (one of my best friends who was lead alto in the One) and decided I wanted to go to North Texas and play that new sounding music from the One. This video is from a KERA TV show we taped in May of 1976 playing the main tune that sent me to North Texas 40 years ago this month. Lyle Mays had written all the music for Lab ’75, and I loved all of it.
I had been working at Six Flags with many of the current and past One O’Clock members, and a few really encouraged me to come to school there. The time seemed right—there were 4 trumpet openings in the band the next fall, and I had not been able to get a band directing job. Since my graduationfrom TCU in 1974, I had taken a year of business courses, but it felt all wrong to me. Nothing was working, and I was at a crossroad in my life.
I decided to put everything on the line and try out for the One, telling myself that if I didn’t make it into one of the top three bands, I would quit trying to be a player. As it turned out, I had the choice to play lead trumpet in the Two, or second in the One. I took the One to be with the better players, and had the most fun I’ve ever had.
I honestly went there to play in that band and for Leon Breeden. Getting my Master’s degree in Music Education was secondary. Learning from Mr. Breeden and the other exceptional players in that band was worth more than any degree I could have earned. The band made you a better musician because of all the great players in the band, who were all giving it 100% every day. There was an atmosphere of learning that was unique, and we all put pressure on ourselves to be the best we could be. It was contagious.
This was recorded outside on a KERA parking lot in Dallas one night in May of 1976. The band would be leaving for a five week tour off Russia the next month, but I decided not to go. I had already been to Europe twice with musical groups, and I had no desire to go out of the country for that long. The best compliment I ever received while being a member of that band was when I met the band at the airport when they arrived back from that very long, hard tour of Russia. One of the trombone players greeted me saying, “You’re the smartest guy in this band”. The conditions in Russia were probably worse than I had imagined, but what a nice compliment. I’ve never regretted not going. The lead trumpet player in the Two took my place, and I was able to not miss any work from Six Flags that summer. It all worked out well for everyone.