The bright lights. The screaming fans. Excitement and fun in the air. My grandpa loved it, playing the drums in a house band out in Pittsburgh. But this is not where his story starts.
It starts here, back in high school.
He played in a band in Union Town, Pennsylvania. There were a lot of really fun gigs for him, and he loved it. One time, he even got the honor of performing with Shirley Jones, also known as Ms. Pittsburgh at the time.
From there, he played in a house band in a supper club in Pittsburgh in the mid 50’s. Almost every week, a person would come to perform with his band. He had so many great, talent filled, and quite amazing performances during these times. Some of these people included:
Nat King Cole
Les Paul and Mary Ford
The Ames Brothers
One year, he even played in a huge rock and roll show in Pittsburgh at the Masonic Auditorium. He had said that this was one of the best experiences he ever had, but a quite nerve racking one. But once on stage, he just let out all his energy and talent on those drums of his. There were lots of people and groups on the show, including:
In 1960-1961, he toured with some of his friends through the U.S.A. They were Sonny Daye (his wife was Bobby Vinton’s aunt) and Tony Rai. He was then nicknamed Billy Jaye because his name was William and his middle name started with a “J”.
Then, he met my grandma and moved to Cleveland, and his band years came to an end to begin a new life as an educator in the North Olmsted School District. Also, for a while, he had a company that sold drumsticks. But, he still remembers how to play the drums, and his band years live forever in history and his heart.