- Tommy Thompson
5th Movement: Tommy, Vince, & Lou
Updated: Jan 25
“Brevity is the soul of wit.”
-- William Shakespeare
We were back to Square Three: Tommy, Vince, and Lou. Though - truth be told - I went by “Tom” back then. Geez, what was I thinking? Maybe it was the poison in the zits slowly melting away my decision-making processes and disrupting my normal adolescent ego-flow. Who knows? But, really now. What kinda geek keeps a name like “Tom-Thompson,” when he’s got “Tommy Thompson” waitin’ in the wings? I mean - zits aside - who would you rather date? I guess it’s just that one kinda sounds more like a shoe salesman. Rather than an entertainer, ya know?
But, shucks. I digress again. Gotta stop that nonsense, Tom...
It was now still mid-1969, and so we forged ahead without Glenda and continued on as a 3-piece power trio. Performing at public high school dances. Yacht clubs. Teen clubs. Military bases. And Catholic high schools in Alameda and Oakland. St. Elizabeth’s in Oakland being one of the “Crown Jewels of Big Gigs” at the time.
We were doing cover songs from Cream, Hendrix, Yardbirds, Zep and assorted SF hippie bands like the Grateful Dead and Quicksilver Messenger Service, as well as trying our doggone white-boy-best to sing like an old black bluesman. Any old black bluesman.
Furthermore, it was during this same period that we penned our first original tunes. Which - honestly? Were some of the worst pieces of drivel to ever be performed by any band in private. Much less in public.
"Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding,
but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly."
- Proverbs 14:29
Also, with Glenda gone, our on-stage banter had sorta gone to hell. Our gal Glenda, for all that I’ve already sorta nailed her on, really did know how to talk to a crowd. And get ‘em hot n’ goin’ n’ out onto the dance floor.
I, on the other hand, was a verbally angry youth for most of my teen years. And though as obviously demonstrated in this li’l missive’s “3rd Movement," not much of a pugilist as such. I nonetheless was still prone to boneheaded onstage verbal ejaculations of my own.
At any given time. Any given place. And to anyone who might innocently and/or accidentally wander into range of my rather unstable internal targeting software.
And after “JEG,” the last thing we needed was a new front-man like me
who was a hotheaded, ticking time bomb.
Enter “Louie the Lip.”
“Pleasant words are as a honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.”
-- Proverbs 16:24
Lou Sarrica had a natural gift of gab. That’s all there is to it. That boy could riff on anything, anytime, anywhere. Plus, he wasn’t foul-mouthed like me. But, where the hell did Lou get the nickname…hmm? Well, he hasn’t entered the picture yet in this li’l tale. But the guy who bestowed that sobriquet on ol’ Lou was none other than our future horn player:
Marine's Hall - 1969
L - R: "Louie the Lip," Vince, and Tom