(Day 6) Kingtones Memoirs
February 11, 1964 (Tuesday)
We got up about 10:30 am. It was a beautiful sunny day, and the temperature was supposed to hit 70. We were very excited about the prospect of getting a job. We all piled into the cars, and headed to Captain Joe’s, named after its owner. Upon arriving, we got the surprise of our life. Captain Joe’s was a STRIP CLUB!! We started to wonder if we were supposed to play music while the strippers did their thing. If we didn’t, when would we play? Would there be any couples there to dance? Or would it be just men listening to our music, waiting for the strippers to come on stage?
Captain Joe greeted us, fed us lunch (hamburgers), and then let us audition. He liked what he heard and said we could start that night. He would pay us $250.00 for 6 nights of work. Phil was ready to say yes when I suggested that since we hadn’t even tried the “big clubs” in the Ft. Lauderdale area, and since that was only 21 miles away, that we should go there first to try to audition. I remarked that if we didn’t have any luck there, we could make it back to Captain Joe’s in 45 minutes and start that night.
Even though Phil was the brains of the group, I hoped that a little common sense might provide a more favorable outcome. Not knowing what we would be expected to do at Captain Joe’s as well as the low amount of money he was going to pay us convinced the guys to at least go to try the clubs in Ft. Lauderdale. There were two very “hot” and popular night clubs there: Lenny’s and Porky’s.
Our first stop was Lenny’s. Between the two clubs, Lenny’s was the biggest and the hottest club in town. This was the place everyone would be going to during Spring break. I personally did not like Lenny’s. It seemed too big and unfriendly. The owner of the club was not interested in auditioning our band. He already had a band lined up for Spring break and didn’t want to waste his time listening to us.
Our last stop and last hope was Porky’s. The outside of Porky’s looked a little old and run down. But when we entered the club, the inside was absolutely beautiful, fabulous, far better than we could have imagined. Donald “Porky” Baines was the owner. Our timing to audition for Porky’s was perfect for all of us. He had just gotten in a big argument with his band and wanted to get rid of them. The band’s contract said that Porky could cancel their contract with a two week notice. So we set up our equipment and auditioned. Pete was at the top of his game and the acoustics were good. We sounded great! Porky loved us. He gave his band their two week notice and told us we could start in two weeks.
What Porky didn’t realize when he hired us was that we had just finished playing at the Coral Gables in Lansing, Michigan. The Coral Gables was remodeled three times while we were playing there to accommodate the huge number of Michigan State students that came to see us. When Spring Break came, all those Michigan State kids, who would have normally driven past Porky’s, on their way to Lenny’s, would see “The Kingtones” on Porky’s sign, and that’s all the further they would go. (Postscript by Bruce Snoap: “As you will see later on, in the Spring of 1964, Porky’s became the hottest night club in the Fort Lauderdale area. We believe The Kingtones were the reason why!
One college student, by the name of Bob Clark, who frequented Porky’s, years later wrote and produced three movies pertaining to Porky’s: Porky’s, Porky’s II – The Next Day and Porky’s Revenge. But that’s another story for another time.”)
We told Porky that we couldn’t wait two weeks because we were almost
out of money and we had no where to stay. He said that he owned a
house boat, and that we could stay there for a few nights until we found a
place. He also said that he would get us a couple one night jobs, to give
us a little extra money to tide us over. Since our only other choices
seemed to be to go play at Captain Joe’s or return to Michigan, we
accepted Porky’s offer.
We left and found a cheap place for supper. I really wanted to go eat at
a restaurant called Mia Kia. It was surrounded with Palm trees,
flowers, waterfalls, lighted torches and also had beautiful Polynesian
waitresses. But on our budget, we couldn’t even afford a drink there.
We were starting to NOT get along. We were definitely getting on each
others nerves. We were weary, tired of traveling, felt dirty and needed a
little time away from each other, which we probably weren’t going to
get. We were going to start looking for a place to stay on Wednesday.