I have to admit, nostalgia can be both good and bad. I look at the photo of my first band, Black Page, and I look like such a dork. My sister took the photo at our rehearsal spot and I remember being a little nervous because of my acne that I’d tried to hide with makeup. It is a good thing this photo is black and white.
The band started in junior high school with my two best friends, Matt Taynton and Bill Lescohier. We grew up together and jammed in Bill’s house while his parents were at work. We’d play Jimi Hendrix, Led Zepplin and The Doobie Brothers (yes, the Doobie Brothers, who were one of Matt’s favorites) and tried to write riffs. It wasn’t until our singer, Joe Hamilton, joined the band that we started to actually write songs. Then, naturally, it was time to choose a name. We went through a list of names, like Rage, then Enraged, but both were taken so we had to change our name (that kind of thing still happens today; we had to change ZAVALA into ZAVALAZ since the first one was already spoken for). We named ourselves after a famous Frank Zappa composition called The Black Page. a song notorious for being super difficult to pull off. We thought that was cool but also liked the name because it was dark, like “…it was a black page in history.”
We did local gigs, built drum risers and did our best to be the next Van Halen. We eventually broke up because we were all going to different schools, but we remained good friends- I was even in both Matt and Bill’s weddings. Now, they both have kids and are still married to their lovely wives; I married a few years after them and have been touring ever since. Although our lives went in different directions, I still look back fondly on Black Page and know it was the starting off point for the career I have today.
—Update— Black Page opened for a few bands in the bay area, one being an early Les Claypool band, Blind Illusion!
What was your first band like? We’d love to hear about it in the comments section!