Spotlight Band - The BluCoats
Larry Caird: Vocals
Wade Johnson: Drums, vocals
Medardo Canales: Guitar
Tom Boyce (not pictured): Bass, vocals
(Name was also spelled Bluecoats.)
One afternoon in 1965, fifteen year-old, Thousand Oaks drummer Wade Johnson began combing his neighborhood, tracking down someone he heard playing Herb Alpert's The Lonely Bull on a guitar. He had to find whoever that someone was.
"I had never been in a band before, but I had been paying off a brand new Ludwig Super Classic drum set for about six months. I found Medardo Canales in a garage surrounded by tiny kids listening to him. I asked him if he would be interested in starting a band and he said yes."
Medardo told Wade that he knew another guy down the street who also played guitar. Enter Jim Peretti, who brought with him Larry Caird and, about a year later, Tommy Boyce (not to be confused with Tommy Boyce of Boyce & Hart fame). This could so easily be a typical story of the typical start of a typical band, but this one has a deeper element, and that's about friendship, personal ethics, and loyalty.
From1965 to 1969 the BluCoats wrote original music while covering songs by the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Paul Revere & the Raiders, the Monkees, the Byrds, Bob Dylan, and many others. Wade and Larry beagn a songwriting partnership that wrote most of the band's originals, and Jim also became involved with the song writing process.
Jim recalls, "A Hollywood record producer signed us and we began to record our original music in the same recording studio that Phil Spector had worked his musical magic in."
In 1966 Tandym Almer (who'd written Along Comes Mary for the Association) and Eddie Hodges (Knock On Your Door), came to hear the band in Wade's garage. The band played several tunes for their esteemed visitors, who, afterward asked Wade and Larry to take a ride in the limo that sat out by the curb.
Undaunted, the band played throughout Ventura County, continuing to work on their original songs as they grew not only as musicians, but as tried and true friends. They disbanded in 1969 when Wade moved to Memphis to pursue a recording and songwriting stint with Dan Penn at his studio, Beautiful Sounds, and joined Freedom Street.
The following video was shot over a period of years on an 8mm movie camera by Jackie Peretti, Jim's sister. Remembers Wade, "The song is called Hazardous To Your Health and was written by myself and Larry, and we both shared the lead vocals on it. We didn't ever have a lot of money and when we went into the studio to record it, I'd broken the heads on my two tom-toms (couldn't afford new ones). It was recorded with a snare, kick drum, and cymbals only. The recording has picked up noise over the years, but the original recording was very clean."
Thank you to both Jackie and the BluCoats for this video, which, for me personally, brings back the feelings of the times: the youth and excitement, and all the possibilities we cherished.