Tag Archives: Performers

Tenor Dave Garrett

Tenor Dave Garrett

Dave Garrett is not David Garrett (born David Bongartz, 1981 sept 4 in Aachen, Germany),  a classical violinist and recording artist, though a Last FM link  for Sha Na Na article suggests that.

Woodstock Dave

Tenor Dave Garrett
Not sure if this is Dave or not. The video says it is, but…

This Dave Garrett was a vocalist with Sha Na Na and performed with them at Woodstock.

At the time, Rolling Stone magazine said that he was from Brooklyn and the “…first tenor…majoring in electrical engineering, “due to a masochistic philosophy.” 

Tenor Dave Garrett

Bendix Mouldings

He also, according to his bio at the Sha Na Na dot com site, “owned Bendix Mouldings for 35 years and has recently retired splitting his time between New York and Florida.

Dave was with the band from its inception in 1969 and only through 1970.

On June 3, 2016 eleven of the dozen Woodstock performers were part of the Columbia University Alumni weekend celebration. Member Frederick “Dennis” Greene had died  in 2015.

A George Leonard site article described Dave Garrett as “…a mountainous figure with a pure tenor.”

Here he is doing “Little Darlin’.”

Tenor Dave Garrett

Earth Sound

Tenor Dave Garrett

A Revolvy site article states that Garrett, “ran Earth Sound Research, a Long Island-based musical instrument amplifier company, during the 1970s.” The Farmingdale company closed in the early ’80s.  It may have closed because of  its use of very similar design to Peavey amps.

Tenor Dave Garrett

2016 gig

Hofstra University celebrated its 75th anniversary in 2016 and Sha Na Na was there as part of that celebration.  The San Diego Tribune has a picture of members rehearsing for that gig

Tenor Dave Garrett

More?

If anyone has anything more about Dave, please comment. He deserves more than a few links that all seem to end with that he is in business in New York City.

Methinks there’s more.

Tenor Dave Garrett
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Dr Joe Witkin Woodstock

Dr Joe Witkin Woodstock

Joe Witkin played keyboards for Sha Na Na at Woodstock. According to an undated statement by Joe himself, “Hey, I’m just a guy from Brooklyn, N.Y. who like (sic) to play music. My mom still tells me I used to sing the Hallelujah Chorus in my crib. Piano at age three. Lessons at age six. I’m still learning at forty-nine plus. First guitar in Junior High. Folks got me a funky paisley Hofner 6-string electric in Germany in 1964. And an Ampeg Gemini II. Blue tolex with one 15″. Man, was I in heaven. Heard the Beatles and had to learn bass, too. Robin’s-egg-blue Hagstrom, made in Sweden. My goal was to perfect the guitar AND bass parts of every Beatles song. Still doing the Mozart-Beethoven thing on piano, too. Some fine teachers in New York City!”

Dr Joe Witkin Woodstock

Columbia

He joined the Glee Club at Columbia, also did Beach Boys music, also was in The Soul Syndicate, a 12-piece Columbia-based band.

Apparently he had a plate large enough for a lot of music and in 1968 he joined Columbia’s King’s Men, a sub-part of the Glee Club. Serendipity stepped in one night and with some time to spare, the King’s Men spontaneously started singing 50s songs. Keep in mind that by the late 60s, most of the songs were barely 10 years old.

The student reception was great.

Dr Joe Witkin Woodstock

Grease Under the Stars

As a result of that success, The King’s Men did a special 50s concert called Grease Under the Stars that was so well received that the group, now Sha Na Na, started getting gigs.

One of those gigs was at Steve Paul’s Scene and one night Michael Lang and Artie Kornfeld stopped in, loved what they saw, and offered them $300 to play at a festival. Sha Na Na accepted.

Dr Joe Witkin Woodstock

Woodstock and Doctor

Dr Joe Witkin Woodstock

He wound up with an old Wurlizer electric piano that is now proudly exhibited in the Museum at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts.

After he graduated from Columbia in 1970, he left Sha Na Na. The idea was never to make Sha Na Na a career.  He became Dr. Witkin,  an ER physician (now retired) who did his internship and residency at University California at San Diego. He worked at Scripps Hospital East County and at Sharp Grossmont Hospital in the San Diego area.

The band still exists, but only Donny York and Jocko Marcellino remain from the dozen who played Woodstock that famous Monday morning.

Dr Joe Witkin Woodstock

Corvettes

Dr Joe Witkin Woodstock
Joe on far left

Witkin may have left Sha Na Na, but he didn’t leave music.

In the late-Eighties joined the “Legends Doo Wop ‘n Roll Revue” which a Howard Blank had formed. In 1989, Witkin answered an ad about auditioning for the band. He preferred doing guitar, but that spot was not open. He became its keyboardist. Deja vu all over again.

His wife Carol joined as a background vocalist.

In March of 2003, Legends changed its name to  The Corvettes. Carol became manager.

The band’s site describes the band: “Take a large pinch of nostalgia – that feeling that makes you tingle inside, and brings you face-to-face with the tastes, smells, and feelings of your past. Combine it with the best well-known hits of the fifties and sixties. Stir until totally danceable. Arrange the music on a platter exactly as people remember it. Embellish with glitter, add a helping of wild-and-crazy, and sprinkle with a generous portion of laughs. Serves thousands…

Ladies and gentlemen…Dr Joe Witken.

Dr Joe Witkin Woodstock
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Bruce Bruno Clarke Woodstock

Bruce Bruno Clarke Woodstock

If Life gives allows us enough time, there will interesting intersections. For Bruce “Bruno” Clarke, Columbia University, a doo wop band on a lark, a surprisingly well-received Woodstock performance, and cybernetics all intersected.

Tutti Frutti > Plastic Fantastic

In 1960, a cadet uncle attending West Point gave Clarke Little Richard’s “Here’s Little Richard.” He was 10 and fell in love with rock and roll.

He built a crystal radio and hung an antenna out his McLean, Virginia bedroom. Along came Beatlemania and an acoustic guitar. He replaced it with a Gibson Melody Maker, an amp, and some high school friends to become Fuzz, his first band.

He played rhythm guitar until the bassist’s parents removed the bassist from the band. Along comes bass player Bruce Clarke.

Fuzz morphed into Fantastic Plastic and great SAT scores helped get him into Columbia University.

Bruce Bruno Clarke Woodstock

Columbia

He wasn’t part of Columbia’s a Capella King’s Men, but when its members wanted to do a one-night doo wop show, Clarke became its bassist. The success of the show led to more than one night.

Late June, 1969, the newly minted Sha Na Na got a two-week late-night run at Steve Paul‘s Scene.   Who should stop by one night and happened to see this Sha Na Na? Artie Kornfeld and Michael Lang. A late invitation followed.

According to a video interview,

…I just had this insane crazy good fortune to stumble into a phenomenon which turned into the group Sha Na Na which then became a successful rock act and played at Woodstock when we were three months old. 

In a Wild River Review piece, Clarke relates his story leaving Friday morning for Bethel, finally getting to the site, and experiencing the whole scene.

When they left the stage on Monday morning, Jimi Hendrix “…shook hands all around and, shaking mine, uttered the personal compliment I’ve tried to live by ever since: “You got soul, man.”

Bruce Bruno Clarke Woodstock

Jumps off

In that same video interview, Clarke says “...I did it for four years…I just happened to be there, caught the thing by the tail and took the ride.

I don’t really want to dedicate myself to more years on end, ready to go back, go to grad school, see what happens. So I did. I cut it loose.

Bruce Bruno Clarke Woodstock

Texas Tech

Bruce Bruno Clarke Woodstock

Bruce C Clarke currently teaches in the English department at Texas Tech in Lubbock, TX. According to the Department of English site at TT, “Bruce Clarke is Paul Whitfield Horn Professor of Literature and Science in the Department of English at Texas Tech University. His research focuses on 19th- and 20th-century literature and science, with special interests in systems theory, narrative theory, and ecology. In 2010-11 he was Senior Fellow at the International Research Institute for Cultural Technologies and Media Philosophy, Bauhaus-University Weimar, and in Summer 2015 he was Senior Fellow at the Center for Literature and the Natural Sciences, Friedrich Alexander University Erlangen-Nürnberg. He edits the book series Meaning Systems, published by Fordham University Press.”

It appears that his most recent book was the 2014 Neocybernetics and Narrative. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. His credited list of Special Issues, Book Reviews, Invited Presentations and Book Chapters in Print, Articles, Article Reviews, and Introductions is a long one as well as the awards list for research.

Bruce Bruno Clarke Woodstock
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