Mark & the Escorts were born in 1963 when Ernie Hernandez,
age 12, walked three doors down to my house on McDonnell
Avenue in East Los Angeles. He had been playing drums
for a year and had a guitar player friend of his over, a 14
year old African-American named Robert Warren. Ernie
knew I had recently acquired a Gibson electric guitar and
amp so he invited me over to his house to play with them.
I was thirteen at the time and had nothing better to do so I
went over. Soon we were The Escorts, playing all
instrumentals, mostly surf tunes like “Wipe Out,”
“Pipeline,” and various songs by the Ventures and Dick Dale.
Occasionally, we threw in a blues song for good measure.
We started playing parties, weddings and dances for pay,
sometimes for as much as five dollars a piece! After
about six months, we decided we needed a bass player so I
asked my friend Rick
Rosas (then known as Richard Rosas) to buy a bass and he could join the band. Our
next move was to add a lead singer and since I felt my voice
was too young sounding, we added my childhood best friend,
Ricky Almaraz. A few months later, Robert brought a
friend over who played a mean tenor sax for a teenager.
His name was Trini Basulto. Trini had print shop at
Garfield High School and created some business cards for the
band on which he printed “Mark & the Escorts.”
The name stuck. At the time, East L.A. was the home
of countless teenage bands, many had names with the leader’s
name attached such as, Art & the Niteliters and Ronnie
& the Casuals. Our repertoire by this time included
rock & roll, r&b, and British invasion music.
We played at popular venues such as, the Big and Little Union
Halls, St. Alphonsus Auditorium, Kennedy Hall, the Alexandria
Hotel, and the Montebello Ballroom.
It was at this point that we came
to the attention of East Los Angeles manager/producer, Billy
Cardenas. He was managing many bands at the time including
The Blendells, The Premiers, and Cannibal & the Headhunters.
He started booking us into other venues such as, the Belair
Rollerdrome in Pico Rivera and Rainbow Gardens in Pomona.
On February 21, 1965, we performed at the Shrine Auditorium
with all the top eastside bands at a show called the “West
Coast East Side Revue.” An album of the same name
was eventually released on Eddie Davis' Rampart Records containing
studio recordings by the participating bands. By this
time we had lost our lead singer and added Richard Magaña
on baritone sax and Joe Cabral on Farfisa organ to our lineup.
In June of 1965, Cardenas took us into Stereo Masters studio
in Hollywood where we recorded two instrumentals, “Get
Your Baby” and “Tuff Stuff.” "Get
Your Baby" was written by two members of The Mixtures,
Randy Thomas and Wayne Edwards. The Mixtures were a
multi-racial band, as the name suggests, produced and managed
by recording impresario Eddie Davis. "Get Your
Baby" was also recorded during the same era by two of
East L.A.'s most popular bands, The Blendells and The Premiers.
I received writers credit for the flip side, "Tuff Stuff."
In October, we returned to the studio and recorded a vocal
number entitled “Dance with Me,” with a singer
Billy Cardenas brought into the project, and an instrumental
called “Silly Putty.” Strangely enough,
nobody remembers who the vocalist was, including Billy.
"Dance with Me" was written and first recorded by
another East L.A. band called The Fabulous Desires.
It was written by two of its members, Ricky Sanchez and Benjamin
"Spider" Velasquez. The song was also recorded
by The Blendells. I believe Billy Cardenas had us record
it because The Blendells had broken up after recording the
song. Mark & the Escorts continued to perform for
about another year, several members came and went, and then
we changed our name to the Men from S.O.U.N.D.
The nucleus of myself on guitar,
and by now vocals, Rick Rosas on bass, and Ernie Hernandez
on drums, stayed in tact through the mid-seventies.
The Men from S.O.U.N.D., who played the East L.A. circuit
through 1968, evolved into “Nineteen Eighty Four”
in 1969, playing songs by artists such as, Cream and Buffalo
Springfield. Named after the classic George Orwell novel,
we recorded two singles for Kapp Records that year,
“Three’s a Crowd" b/w "Amber Waves"
and "No Matter How Long It Takes" b/w "Baba."
"Three's a Crowd" was written by L.T. Josie, who
the year before had written the hit song, "Midnight Confessions."
The flip side of "Three's a Crowd" was a song I
wrote called "Amber Waves," a psychedelic style
song very typical of the era. I wrote both sides of
the second single. In the early 70’s we added
John Valenzuela on guitar and went by the name of “the
Mudd Brothers,” which was changed to “Tango”
when we recorded an album of my original songs for A&M
Records in 1973.
Mark & the Escorts (1963-66)
Members on GNP Crescendo
Records 45 rpm singles:
“Get Your Baby” backed with “Tuff Stuff”
and “Dance with Me” backed with “Silly Putty":
Mark Guerrero, lead guitar
Robert Warren, rhythm guitar
Rick Rosas, bass
Ernie Hernandez, drums
Joe Cabral, Farfisa organ
Trini Basulto, tenor sax
Richard Magaña, baritone sax
Lead vocal on “Dance with Me”- unknown,
Background vocals on “Dance with Me”- Mark Guerrero
and Richard Magaña
Other members of
Mark & the Escorts:
Ricky Almaraz- lead vocals (1964)
Richard Morin- vocals, guitar (1965)