Once upon a time in early 1964, my teenage band, Mark &
the Escorts, met the Beach Boys. It wasn’t the
whole band, Mark & the Escorts, but two of it’s
members, me and Richard Rosas. Richard was the bass
player in the group and I played guitar. Richard and
I used to hang out a lot together outside the band in those
days. On this particularly day, I invited him to come
with me to what turned out to be a serendipitous meeting with
the Beach Boys at Western Recorders in Hollywood, California.
Here’s how we wound up at Western Recorders that evening.
My father, Lalo Guerrero, was hired to write a Spanish lyric
for a song to be recorded by Trini Lopez, who was at the peak
of his career at the time. Trini’s producer, Don
Costa, who had also produced Frank Sinatra, had called my
dad with the assignment. It was a great song with a
cha cha beat, which my dad would name “Chamaka.”
My dad was asked by Costa to come to the studio since they
were recording “Chamaka” that night. My
dad invited me to come with him. I, in turn, invited
Richard to come along. We arrived at Western Recorders
and were led into a big studio, where Trini was about to sing,
accompanied a large orchestra. We met Trini and Don
Costa, which was pretty exciting for me and Richard.
We were only fourteen years old at the time and in some pretty
impressive company and surroundings.
After watching the session for awhile, Richard and I went
wondering through the hallways of Western Recorders.
Coming out of a doorway of a smaller studio were two blond
young men. I asked them if they were Jan and Dean.
(Jan and Dean were a surf vocal duo who were very popular at
the time with their hit “Surf City.”) One of the men
at the door replied, “no, we’re in the Beach Boys.”
Amazingly, they proceeded to invite us into the studio.
We went in and there were the Beach Boys about to overdub
some vocals. This story has gained more gravity for me
over the years because of the legendary status and great
musical legacy the Beach Boys went on to achieve. We
were invited to sit down on a couch in front
of the mixing board in the control room, which provided us
with an unobstructed view through a glass window into the studio. From that vantage point we
got to watch the Beach Boys, Carl and Dennis Wilson, Mike
Love, and Al Jardine, in a circle around a microphone recording vocals for their song “All
Summer Long.” Brian Wilson was at the board, producing
the session. As we realized later, the two we had met
at the door were in fact Al Jardine and Mike Love. We
were there quite a while watching the session. On a
break, Dennis Wilson came over to us and opened an attaché
case. He reached in and pulled out a couple of 45 rpm
singles with picture sleeves. He gave us one each.
The singles just happened to be their brand new, as yet unreleased
and soon to be #1 hit record, “I Get Around.”
(“I Get Around” topped the charts on June 6, 1964.)
Dennis signed the back of the record sleeves and Mike Love,
who was standing nearby, did the same. Richard and I
didn’t think of asking the others to sign. Maybe
we were just too young and shy to do so, but we were thrilled
to get the records signed by two of the Beach Boys.
Eventually, we left the Beach Boys and returned to the Trini
Lopez session, which came out great. It was quite a
night for a couple of teenage Chicanos from East L.A.
I’ve been wanting to add this story to my website for a long
time, not only because it was a great experience I want to
preserve and document, but to give props to the Beach Boys
for being so hospitable and nice to two young Chicano kids
that they didn’t know from Adam. To invite us in, let us watch them record, and give us signed records,
shows what kind of people they are. Sadly, as of this
writing, Dennis and Carl Wilson have passed away. Richard
Rosas, my former bassist in Mark & the Escorts, and all
my other bands through 1974, went on to play with Joe Walsh,
Neil Young, and recently was the bassist on the 2006 Crosby,
Stills, Nash, and Young tour. Trini Lopez and I both
happen to live in the Palm Springs, California area where
we met up again and are friends. (He recorded one of
my songs, “Oh Maria,” in 2004.) To this
day, whenever I hear the Beach Boy song “All Summer
Long,” I can still see them standing around the microphone
singing those great harmonies and it’s hard to believe
I was there when they were being done. I’m still
a great admirer of the music of the Beach Boys and I’ll
always have a warm spot in my heart for them because of that
great night at Western Recorders way back in 1964.
Sides of Beach Boys "I Get Around" Picture Sleeve
The Black signatures
above are printed on the sleeve. The blue signatures
of Mike Love and Dennis Wilson are the ones they signed