Dr Zoom and the Sonic Boom
My name is Albee Tellone and I was in Dr. Zoom and the Sonic Boom. They
used to call me "Albany Al" when I played the baritone saxophone with the
Sonic Boom. We used to call it the Zoom Band. I was surprised to see Dr.
Zoom on the internet. I didn't think any of that stuff was out there and
that it was forgotten long ago.
This band was a fun band that Bruce threw together when the owner of the
Sunshine Inn in Asbury Park,NJ wanted to hire him but his new 10 piece
band wasn't ready. One day Bruce came over to our apartment to talk to us
about helping him play a show. I was sharing an apartment in Asbury Park
with Steve VanZandt, "Southside" Johnny Lyon and John "Hotkeys" Waasdorp.
He he told us he just wanted to have fun with his friends and maybe make a
little money. We were all starving young musicians back then. He tried to
include as many of his friends as he could. That's why Kevin Connair was
MC and Danny Gallagher played a game of Monopoly onstage with 3 friends.
Almost every night of the week we played Monopoly all night at my dining
room table in our apartment in Asbury Park which was just up the street
from Palace Amusements. We could see the face of "Tillie" the clown from
our front window. The Monopoly game was a reflection of what we did at
night during the week. There was nothing else to do. We actually had four
of our friends sitting onstage at a card table playing Monopoly during the
show. What an inside joke that was. Most of our fans didn't know what that
was all about. We opened for the Allman Brothers, but the place was packed
with Bruce's fans who had never heard of them. Steven loved the Allmans
and thats why we had 2 drummers to show them they weren't the only band
with 2. It was a lot of fun.
Bruce got all of his musician friends from Asbury for this. We had a band
called "Albee and the Hired Hands" because I was into country-rock at the
time. Southside Johnny played bass, Steven on lead and Hotkeys on piano;
Bobby Williams on drums; me on acoustic guitar and vocals. A lot of people
don't know that after Dr. Zoom and the Sonic Boom, Bruce was invited by
Steve and Johnny to play guitar in the Sundance Blues Band after second
guitarist Joe Hagstrom quit. Sundance was Steve's idea. It was basically
Bruce's bandmates with SSJohnny as lead vocalist. They got the name from
the movie "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" which was their favorite at
Dr. Zoom's MC Kevin Connair was a singer-songwriter friend of ours whom
Bruce liked very much. That is why Bruce asked Kevin to be the master of
ceremonies to introduce the band and some of the songs. He also sang in
the Zoom Chorus with the Zoomettes.The "other" Kevin - Kevin Kavanaugh was
later my piano player in "Albee and the Hired Hands"when Steve left and
John Waasdorp took over lead guitar. He also sang in the Zoom chorus with
the Zoomettes. At first we had 2 separate men's and women's choruses but
it became the Zoomettes later. I don't remember if Kevin Connair appeared
at all of the gigs but I do know that Kevin Kavanaugh was at all of them.
He helped me and Tinker set up the PA system for all of the shows. Kevin
Kavanaugh later played piano in the original Jukes with Southside Johnny.
John Waasdorp was a terrific lead guitarist who played with the Jukes in
the beginning but left the band before recording. He suffered from severe
depression and committed suicide a few years later.
We went to a 2nd hand clothes store and got hats and things to wear for
the gig. Southside got an old suit to wear and a fedora hat because he
wanted to look like a Chicago blues cat. We rehearsed at Tinker's
surfboard factory where Bruce and Vini Lopez lived. When we got there
Bruce looked at Johnny and said "Hey man, it's Chicago Johnny" to which
John replied, "From the Southside" (of Chicago). We all called him
Southside Johnny after that. I don't remember why, but Steve started
calling me Al-bany Al-bee during rehearsals. It became Albany Al after a
while even though I have never been to the city of Albany,NY in my life.
So whenever I played the sax I took on the character of Albany Al
Dr. Zoom and the Sonic Boom was not an important or missing link in the
overall picture of Bruce's career. It was just friends having fun playing
music together. Just like any musicians do when they have jam sessions. I
will have more stories available on this website in the future if anyone
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