Memories of the Mrs. Cory
Her full name was Jean Cory, but we all called her Mrs. Cory.
Mrs. Cory was our first booking agent/manager, and she was a very busy person, as she booked all of the talent out at the county fair. This is when the county fair was really a big deal. She booked dancers, jugglers, rock bands, singers, comedians – basically, anyone who would be performing at the county fair would have gone through Mrs. Cory to get a performance spot.
Honestly, I’m not even sure where she saw us first, but she took great interest in us. I think she thought we were a bunch of cute kids.
She had a lot of children of her own (not sure how many, but a lot – I’m talking like eight or nine kids), so in addition to her own extremely large family, she also served as the Nitecaps’ matriarch. Once Mrs. Cory took an interest in us, we were constantly playing.
We started off as a surf band in the early days before we became the soul band that everybody remembers, and for a while, we actually had no bass player – we all just played guitar. With my knowledge of music today, it seems kind of hard to believe that we played for awhile with no bass player at all but we did, and I have video and newspaper clippings to prove it.
As time went on, we realized that one of the guitar players should be playing bass; Tony Coronado was the first (later it was Butch Martin). Tony was playing guitar before he was playing bass, but truthfully, even then he was playing bass parts on the guitar and it really didn’t sound that bad, as many of the other bands of the day were doing the same thing.
So, with the Nitecaps’ lineup consisting of four guitars, drums and a saxophone player, Mrs. Cory started booking us all over the place. In addition to the show at the fair, we did several free shows at shopping malls, supermarkets and even on flat bed trucks.
We loved every minute of it. Mrs. Cory, being the person she was, knew right away that we should be presenting ourselves in proper attire. We needed to be stage savvy and know how to talk and communicate with an audience. The importance of that may seem obvious now, but it was all new to us at the time. Mrs. Cory definitely was an influence and a mentor early on and was very much responsible for the opportunity to play a lot of performances before we were seasoned performers.
All of those early performances contributed to what would happen when we started to compete in band battles.
Mrs. Cory also drove us around to all of those performances. She had a panel truck – basically a mini-van of the time – and we all used the pile into it with one or two of us up front with Mrs. Cory and everybody else in the back with all of the equipment. The truck was small, but so were we; we were all able to crowd ourselves into Mrs. Cory’s minivan and off we would go to these wonderful musical adventures.
Mrs. Cory definitely had an impact on our early performances. She was also a total mom so it was like being out there with your mom taking you to performances. The band was very lucky to have crossed paths with Mrs. Cory.