Bands & Production Partners

Bands and music groups started very early for Magic, partly because he started music lessons so young,
but mostly because his dad, Manuel Moreno, played the piano, guitar and harmonica regularly at home.
His mom Hortense Moreno, was the ultimate stage door mom, pushing him to perform at every party,
get-together or family function. 

"My first band, I constructed from the neighborhood, There are no pictures of this group that I'm aware of, but the names were David and Debbie Eisner on bass and guitar, Magic on keys and Debba Gross, the older sister of Magic's childhood  sweetheart, Dana, sang lead.   Our big song was, 'Angel Baby'".

The Distortions

1964 - This band was the greatest fun. It was guitarist Mike Fleetwood, his brother Allen on drums
and Carl Sharko on rhythm guitar. In the picture, behind Magic is Mike, playing his blue Mosrite guitar. Mike has become a premiere guitar talent, and is now my first call for studio dates. 

The Mitchell Singing Boys

At around 8 or 9
years old, I joined the
'Mitchell Singing Boys',
and oyi, what an adventure
that was. We toured, performed
in motion pictures and radio.
Four hours a day we spent
rehearsing and four hours a day
we spent in school.
Every weekend we stayed over
night, to be up at the crack of dawn
to sing 4 to 5 church sevices
every Sunday. I progressed through the
ranks with Bob Mitchell for
5 years. It was an invaluable
experience in music, professionalism
and showmanship.

                      The Red Skelton Show

Whispering Smith

Upon leaving the Mitchell Boys,
Magic, playing a Farfisa Organ,
joined the band, 'Whispering Smith'.
Pictured is John Porras on drums,
John Sarninski on guitar, and not
shown, Rick Sumber on rhythm guitar.
"This is not the best representation
of the band, we were actually very rocking.

We won the Coca Cola
Battle of the Bands at the 1968
Teenage Fair. Playing at the same
venue with The Seeds, & The
Ventures. Here, we're doing a very
laid-back Masonic Temple
dance party. We usually played
in green neru jackets". 

Sad Apple

"In my junior year of high school, I fell in love with my dream
girl, Linda, and she had a New York long haired guitar playing brother who I
connected with right away. Vietnam was in full swing, lots of
our friends were being drafted, and we formed a semi-hallucinogenic
New York vibed street band, here in L.A.. I wish I had some
pictures of us. We played Doors, Jimi Hendrix, The Animals, Stones,
Beatles, The Who, etc. etc.. Sororities and fraternity parties
were our main gigs".

It was Phil Katz on guitar, Dave Masline on bass,
Chuck Champlin on drums, (and for a short time, Al Jancu on drums),
and Magic on keys. 

"I moved out of my parent's house to go live with
Phil and Dave in our band pad, in West Hollywood. Phil got me my first
non-music gig in the tobacco dept. of a Thrifty Drug Store".

"Oh, and also I can't forget our friend, confidante,
roadie and manger, Walter Mann. He was a great friend who
would drive with me on weekends up to Mamouth
Mountain to ski, and due to his security and police scanner
interests, came to the rescue when the police
were about to haul me and,...(well I can't remember who), away.
I wonder where you are, Walter".

L A Music

L A Music was formed when Phil Katz got real serious
about college and business. He left the band, but still continued to
manage it as booker and agent for a short time. Magic

called in his guitarist from his early band 'The Distortions'. Mike Fleetwood

to fill the guitar spot, with Chuck Champlin still on drums.

Mike had met this bassist at some gig and introduced us to Jerry Field who had a perfect rehearsal space with a giant stereo.

Jerry then introduced us to Gil Walters a drummer / percussionist.

The five of us became L A Music.

Chuck (Gold), Jerry (red), Mike (blue),
Magic (purple), Gil (white).
"These guys became my
closest friends".

"Gil played drums and
percussion, but as Chuck was
back and forth to college,
when he would come back,
 we would use 
two drummers. This how we
toured up north".

"These guys were the
very best. We toured the Pacific
North West, the
Midwest, Texas and  Hawaii. We
played every joint and bar
imaginable. They were the best
men at my wedding,
they endured my step into being a
magician, toured with my
doves and Hammond organ, which
entailed a lot of group lifting".

"Jerry is now a solo performer in Austin, Texas,
Mike is a first-call recording guitarist and Gil is performing with the 'Thin Line'
band, on the East coast. And we must give credit to
Mike's Aunt for making our colorful velour jump-suit uniforms".

"I wish to say thank you to Gil's mom 'Joy', for being
so gracious to us as we grew up. Remembering all the great times at
Rock Hudson's house. She's looking after God now.
To all of our families, Mike's brother Allen, sister Karen and his dad, God rest him.
To Jerry's Mom and sister Morgan. Chuck's sister
Kate and father, congratulations on your star on the Hollywood walk
of fame. So many life and times we shared together,
and it didn't stop there".


"I'm not sure exactly how
it happened but, Gil moved back east,
Mike pursued something or
other in college and Chuck came back
from college. We were now
the infamous trio, 'Surprise'. Again,
we toured all over the
place including Hawaii. A little magic,
a little glitter, platform
shoes, and this keyboard, bass
and drum show rocked
you and kept you dancing".

"We were tres chic, in our
 tummy exposing outfits and antics, we
 held an audience like you
wouldn't believe. Above, I just mentioned
a little magic, well, at about this
time, my own 'little Magic' was just about
to be born. I was the happiest
man on earth".

"As it is said, the birth of
a child brings good luck and success.
and indeed he did. While
we were in the hospital with little
Magic on the way, I got
the call to go out on tour with
Aretha Franklin. I was
handed a stack of string charts and
told to synthesize them". 

Aretha Franklin

Washington DC / East Coast Tour.

"Aretha gets her own credit on this band page. Just after little Magic
was born, I had to leave town for a little bit
to join this tour, and it was fortunate, because as I remember we really
needed the money, to pay all the expenses".

"I was lucky enough to work with
Cornell DuPre, and some of the greats of that time.
In the bus and on the plane, the
guys were helping me cram for the gig. What a pressure!
60,000 people, and one night my
music stand light went out......I was panicked till the stage mgr.
got it back on for me".

"It was at Aretha's music director's studio
that I got my first engineering opportunity. At HB Barnum's studio
in LA, I was asked to put up some rough mixes
and I fell in love with the recording industry".

Gerrit Verstoep

"Just before little Magic was born, a wonderful fellow named Gerrit Verstoep came in to my life. With his 4 track Teac Recorder, we set out to make history". 

"He was an up-beat optimist, and a pleasure to
work with. I think these recordings exist somewhere, maybe some
 day I'll find them. I would really like to reconnect with
Gerret, someday for that too.
((( FLASH)))
As of Feb. 2009, I found Gerrit !!
He's in S. Carolina, a retired programmer/analyst.
What a great reconnection, I love this guy !! 
Pictured on the right, is our make-
shift studio, set up in my parent's living room". 

              Westside Surprise

"At about this very same time,
I ventured off to play a gig with a band that I put together with the
guitar player of the band that  'Surprise' played with

guitarist, Ron Lord, and a charismatic personality of a lead singer,

at the 'Point After' in Hollywood. 'The West Side Kids' were playing
 opposite our slot there, and they had a very showy

Randy Bollet. It was from Randy that we got the idea
to wear feathered boas around our necks on stage. It sounds odd,
but it was rock and roll, and it was cool. Ron was a real
 nice guy, with a colorful and flashy character. I remember he played
through, what was then the new 'Orange Amp' with
a pretty decent sound. One of his favorite styles was that wide
chorused guitar pedal flavor typified by the song
"Who's That Lady" from the late '70's. I would love to catch up
with him and reminisce. One of our only gigs was at
'The Basement' in Oxnard, Ca. Every night it was an hour trip up
from Santa Monica for me, and even further
for Ron and the drummer, coming up from Orange county".

"Now this gig was special because it was one of the
only times in my career where I was featured as a girl in a '50's rock
review we did. I used a strong falseto voice and charmed
out, "Leader of the Pack", "Angel Baby", "My Boyfreind's Back" all
while dressed in a short skirt, heels and a sweater top.
My 50s stage name was Latrina LaFlush, which I have now
been reminded of by Dave Hawley our sax player, who
was also from the 'West Side Kids'.
I didn't look bad,....except for one hilarious point, I had a mustache!
But that didn't stop us, it was actually cool and strangely bizaare
all at the same time. During the act, I shook and
shimmied, and did '50s swing dance schticks with Ron. I wore a
thick Pink Boa around my neck that sort of covered
my stash. One memorable moment, was when my wife at the time,
Monkey, sat in the front row, and when questioned
who she was here to see, she replied, 'my husband,...the girl'".

Live Shot from the 50s Show-1978

Ron Lord - Magic (Latrina) - Gary Lee - Dave Hawley

Dave remembered a couple of memorable moments,....
"There was one night when Magic was playing the final act of
"Teen Angel" laying on the dance floor, when some fellow, completely
drunk came staggering in, and not knowing the situation
thought that mouth to mouth resussitation was required, wasn't
he surprised to see the mustache, and quickly backed off". 

"One night a couple of chaps walked up and inquired "Can we
blow with you guys", It turned out to be Richie Blackmore
and a guy introduced as 'Thumper'. They had been rehearsing
in the area for the band 'Rainbow' after the break up of
'Deep Purple'. When asked, "How did you like the 50's reveiw",
Blackmore answered, "It was very funny, but in all the
wrong places". The typical rift between British and American
humor in those days".   

"Yes, I wish I had pictures of that gig, 
The drummer was Gary Lee, a surfer type dude,
good chops, a little amazed though, by the 50's fiasco, but we
did pack 'em in. The bassist was Rusty Wright, (not pictured)".

I've also just found out that Ron Lord has passed away
a few years ago. God bless you Ron. Thank you for all the joy
and entertainment you gave effortlessly from your
heart to so many. You are greatly missed.

"After the fifties revue run ended,
the band disbanded, but the club owner still wanted to hire us.
So we got Jerry from 'LA Music / Surprise', to
come and play yet another 6 week stint at that club. Myself
on keys, Jerry on Bass, Ron on guitar, and
my bestest 'ol friend, Gil Walters, (pictured above),
came out to play drums".

                    Surprise  (reformed)

Due to some contacts I had made with
the 'Rubens' restaurant and club chain, there were more gigs
and more opportunities for pay. One of our dear friends
who the band had met at the Cerritos Rubens in '76, was
Marilyn Neaves. She was a happy go lucky gal
with an outrageous sence of humor. She, Monk and myself and
the band hit it off right away. She introduced us
to her friend, Bart Ping, who was a solo guitarist ala the flavor
of 'John Denver' one of his signiture songs was
"Wild fire". I needed a bass player and a drummer to continue.
And I was already used to covering all the melodic
parts of the arrangements, so I talked Bart into taking the gig
as bassist. And also, again calling on my aquaintence
with the 'Westside Kids', but this time their drummer, Irvin Argenton.
Irv, was a solid drummer, and had a voice that killed. Just
a powerhouse of energy, with a super vocal range. He sang the
song "Fooled Around and Fell in Love" so powerfully
and on the money, every night consistantly sounding better
than the original artist.

So Bart, me and Irvin played a number of gigs
here in LA and then we were off to Portland Or. To play the 'Ruebens'
up there. The place was a paradise, set in a suberb
called Silvan. Irvin brought his girl friend Carol from the 'Point After'
in Hollywood, I brought Monk and the kids, (Brittain was
three and little Magic still a baby. Blayne was seven). And Bart brought
Sharon, our friend who he was now dating. The Bar tenders
and club personnel were wondeful to us, taking us out to the falls
along the Columbia river. Wonderful day trips, and evenings
at the Rose Motel were we stayed.

I remember little Brittain
singing all of 'Boheomian Rapsody'
by himself from start to finish
out by the swing set. And the hotel manager's giant black cudlely
New Findlander dog
hanging with us.

*Side Note, The boys have all
grown up to be performers. Blayne
& Brittian appear in their bands,
'Insight 23', 'Groove Psychosis' and
'Idiot Stare'. Little Magic is
a renaissance performer,
martial arts master / instructor, and
a spiritual and philosophical guide.

Crazy adventures took place when Marilyn and
Sharon's cousin Carrie, drove up from L A to be with us. It wasn't in
Portland, but at another gig in the LA area, maybe the
'Boar's Head Inn" were the infamous 'Grave yard excersion' took
place. It was Halloween, and we had just finished
at about 2:00 AM. It just so happened that the club was right
near an old grave yard. So Marilyn, Me, Monk and Bart
climbed over the fences to go commune with the dead, (we would
drink alot at the gigs),.....obviously!  And we had Bart
convinced that a spirit was chasing us. We were running all over
the cemetary, until we saw what looked like night
watchmen flash lights in the distance. I think bart peed his
pants as we scurried to find our way back to a fence
we could climb. This was just one of tons of hillarious adventures
with Marilyn.

Or the time when Bart was so hung over
from the night before, that I had to pull his head out of the toilet
to get him into the car to go back out to the gig, where he
promply, during the first set, with his bass on him and plugged
in, fell right off the stage, face first in to the crowd,
pulling his amp and everything over with him.

Bart is now a camera man in Hollywood,
(I wonder if he still drinks?), and Marilyn is still my good friend,
and Christmas carrols with me yearly. 

 Surprise (reformed) Again!

A little after the Portland tour Bart left the band.
And again there was the bassist spot to be filled. This time, who joined
the band, was non other than Freddie Mooney, a long
haired rocker type referred to me by Sterling at 'Musicians Contact
Service'. Freddie was a character and a half. He wore
military or marching band type outfits with curly blond hair down
to his waist. He was an excellent bassist, and was
hyper, I mean really hyper, it was hard to get him to stay on one
subject for more than three minutes. Much in contrast
to when we rejoined one another ten years latter. Then he was
gentle, relaxed and focused. But thats for the story of
'The Magic Moreno Band' to come. At this point he was crazy, wild
and quite a personality on stage.

I Just got this photo in. This is the
younger Freddie.  He had longer curly hair, almost
down to his waist when I first met him.

We, being Freddie, myself and 'brother Irv"
as Freddie would call him, played at the 'Sadleback Inn', the 'Cruched
Grape', and some other places.

Freddie had played with some big names like
Albert Collins, Rick Springfield and Billy Preston before coming
in to the band. After a season around the
club scene with us, he was off and on to some other bands, but his
style and sincerity always stuck with me.

About eight years later we started our own
original project together, which has grown to be the 'Treason Publishing
Catalgue' with over 60 original compositions, being used in
theatrical, television and video markets

Who knew, that back then, when Freddie answered
my ad, that I would come to love and appreciate his superior artistry
as a consumate bassist, song writer, performer and friend.

This shot is again, from one of our original project
performances. Freddie is now a first call session player in Tennessee,
and occasionally is seen in the Memphis club circuit
He's a masterful site reader, equally proficient on 5 string,
frettless, and stand up bass. His time with me, was just a grain of
sand, in a most coloful and successful career.

                    Magic   (The Band)

Alan was a delightful character, large as life,
with an Olympian God type of profile and persona. A very regal
and proper fellow, and just a monster of a bassist.

When Freddie departed the band, we were already
booked for a return vist to the 'Reubens' in Portland. And Monkey, my
wife at the time, had been cultivating her vocal chops,
with an eye twards making two shares of the the bands proceeds.
Brother Irv was pursuing some original projects and
wanted to stay in town. And Gil Walters, the drummer I had had so
much history with in 'LA Music', was back in town from
San Francisco. So,....

I took this opportunity to reform the band as the band
name 'Magic', with Monkey as the up front female vocalist, doing
light percussion and being my magic / illussion assistant.

Yes little Magic was now a little older, and I felt the
need to delve into the art of stage magic. The Universe brought me
an illussion instructor in the form of Luis Turner, the
'Modern Magician' from  the Magic Castle in Hollywood, to train with.
At first it was just small stuff like a few scarf productions
and candle vanishes to add to the act. It wasn't till latter that I got
into larger forms of stage illusions.

Back with the band line up, it was Monk singing,
Gil on drums, myself on keys, and we acquired a tremendous
talent of a bassist, Alan Kuehne, that Just happened to
be out of work, a quick study, and would travel to
portland with us.

We had great times in Portland, once again arriving at
the peak of a beautiful summer time. Lakes, waterfalls, and good
music was shared by all. There was a few hickups in
program though. one night Alan couldn't hear out of one ear
and spent the night at the emergency hospital.

Driving back, with the kids, Monk, myself, a Hammond B3,
two Leslie speakers and PA in a VW van was okay, relaxing and
fun, untill, while crossing the Golden Gate Bridge, the motor
decided to give out. There we were in the middle of San Francisco
rush hour traffic, pushing the Loaded VW van across
the bridge. What a memory!! Honking, fumes, trying to steer and
push at the same time, and of course, staying calm. The
good news was that when we got back, it lent
it self to purchasing a new Dodge van. 

During the gig in Portland we made some
good associations. One of which was the band 'Mordicai' who
came in to see us play. And who's writing partner
keyboard player, Gregg Arrell, was just recuiting players to
play on his album. Myself, Gil, and Alan all became
the rythm section for the new record. Hense, read below.

The Gregg Arrell Band

It was about 1977 when we became
 'The Gregg Arrell Band', to play on Gregg's
new album. It was an incredible
time at Santa Barbara Sound, And rehearsing
at Greggs house in Ventura was a
blast. Gregg himself was a kick, and gave me
lots of freedom on piano and synth.
 The other players were from his portland based
group,  'Mordecai'. One person in
particular, who was just a superb person, was
the guitarist, Rob Hochstetler. I sure
would like to find him, or the tapes we recorded
with 'Morecai' in Portland.