Rob Moitoza on The Chord Lords
As for the Chord Lords, I can tell you that we were just a young cover band. I had left the Swingin’ Deacons with John Cipollina to join them, because they were a little more “mainstream.” We all wore these red coats… a style in those days. In retrospect, I might have stayed with John…. a more innovative player. But at the time I opted for Dean and the boys.
I don’t think any of us had started writing originals yet. We were just kids learning from the bands that were popular at the time. The band was basically a guitar band, two guitars, bass and drums. We did a lot of Ventures, Duane Eddy, Link Wray, some Chuck Berry songs, and guitarist, Dean Ferguson, was a big fan of Mickey Baker. (Of Mickey and Sylvia) So, I remember doing several Mickey Baker songs, including one called “Chloe”. Mickey was a great, but very under-rated guitarist in that era.
For me, the most memorable Chord Lords gig was opening for The Ventures when our drummer, John Kinsell had a drum battle with the drummer for The Ventures. The Ventures drummer eventually won, but it was close…almost a draw as I recall. Anyway, lots of fun. That might have been the first big act I got to open for.
I don’t think I had begun singing yet. In fact, I don’t think anyone in the band sang. Maybe Dave? I can’t recall. But we had many guest artists that sang with us all the time. I remember a young blonde named Barbara Moyer who sang things like “A Thousand Stars” and “Angel Baby.” Promoter Ralph Pepe used to sing once in a while. Our most popular singers were Chris Clark, who went on to sign a deal with Motown a few years later… and Little Henry, a handsome young Latino guy who sang songs like “Candy Kisses”. I remember doing a gig at San Rafael High School and the girls screaming over him. In those days you didn’t have to tell the audience to scream… they just did it spontaneously! I’d love to know what ever became of him…