The Dynamics

by Ken Arnold ('65)

Original Band Members

            

             Arnold                           Rosica                        Weick                      Deveau

Other Members

            

          Barcellona                      Olsen                     Weinand                   Leibowitz

Jimmy Rosica  and I, Ken Arnold, both lived on Wellesley Lane in Hicksville since we were five years old.  We were friends throughout elementary school, played Little League ball and attended scouting together, and we both had an interest in music.  I took piano lessons and Jimmy enjoyed watching his uncle play guitar at family gatherings. 

In 1960, at the age of thirteen, while riding our bikes around the neighborhood, Jimmy asked me if I wanted to take up playing the guitar with him.  Rock and Roll was just taking off at the time and we both enjoyed listening to it.  We bought our first guitars soon afterward, started taking lessons from a guitarist named Hy Rosen and began listening to guitar based groups such as Duane Eddy, Johnny and the Hurricanes, the Fireballs and especially The Ventures.  We would sit around Jimmy’s stereo Hi-Fi for hours and try to figure out the licks, note-for-note.

After having learned a few songs, we would play for our neighbors and friends.  On one clear summer day, we brought our Silvertone amps into my backyard, which happened to face Plainview across the borderline of South Oyster Bay Road and attracted many onlookers.  In 1961, we formed a group with a neighbor, Ricky Weick who played bass guitar and George Deveau on Sax.  Our first drummer, Joe Puiatti was from Plainview .  We called ourselves the Dynamics.

At the time there were other bands like ours in the Hillside Terrace area.  Some of the other local musicians were  Bobby Leo ‘65, Jeff Altman ‘64, Vito Marrone ‘66, Jimmy Lhotan ‘65, and Johnny Barcelona ‘65.

                      

       Bobby Leo          Jeff Altman       Vito Marrone     Jimmy Lhotan

                           During our two-and-a-half year existence in ninth, tenth and eleventh grades, we played as the Dynamics at many venues in and around Hicksville including private parties, weddings, K of C functions, and church dances.  We changed personnel a few times, including drummers, Vic Olsen ‘65, Mark Leibowitz ‘66 and Roger Weinand ‘65.  Johnny Barcelona ‘65 replaced George on sax and he also sang and played flute and guitar.  At one point we all went to Bonds Clothing store in Mid-Island Plaza , bought suits and had a photo-op.  The picture was displayed in the store for all to see

One of my fondest memories was playing at the High School “ Battle of the Bands” in 1963.  There were about ten bands set up in the gym and each one played a couple of songs and was judged by volunteer adults.  At the time most combos played instrumentals.  Some of the other bands were The Rivieras, The Jesters, The Imperials, and the Majestics.  The winner was The Imperials  with Tommy Sullivan singing a great rendition of “Hound Dog.”  Some of the other musicians in the house were: Denny Dias (Steely Dan) ‘64, the late Vic Brunette ‘65, Ken Pohl ‘64, Jimmy Walker ‘65, Don Dixon ‘65, Bruce Enos ’65, Joe Grimm ’65, Steve Swanson ‘65, Jimmy Gorman ‘66 and John Werthessen ‘65.

       

    Denny Dias         Vic Brunette         Ken Pohl          Jimmy Walker

 

                      

                 Don Dixon           Bruce Enos         Joe Grimm

 

                          

               Steve Swanson    Jimmy Gorman    John Werthessen

It was after Tommy’s wild singing performance that we realized instrumentals were fun for us to play, but we had to include singing in our repertoire to keep our edge as a band.  So, we found some Beatles wigs and refocused our efforts by adding Beatles, Stones and others to our play list.

We disbanded as a group in our junior year in HS.  After that, Jimmy and Johnny Barcelona started another group called Johnny and the Jaywalkers who did quite well in the night club venues.

After graduating High School Jimmy, my brother Roger and a HHS English teacher, the late Neil O’Doherty, who was a family friend, started singing Beach Boys' songs together.  We would go to Jones Beach with some of our neighbors’ families and sit around a campfire and harmonize using the parts Jimmy taught us.  After the beach we would pass through the tunnel and serenade the passersby.

What a great echo!

Jones Beach State Park

We thought we sounded pretty good.  So with Mr. O’s new Chevy Wagon, two guitars, a tambourine and a tent, we took our show on the road across the country; all the way to California and back.

 

It was the trip of a life-time.  Nothing beats singing “Sloop John B” to a diner full of skeptical Southerners and having them give you a round of applause.  We had a repertoire of about twenty-five songs and sang in the car, in campgrounds, and even stopped alongside the Las Vegas freeway to sing for a mother and her two teenage daughters.  After the three week trip, Roger and I went back to College at Oswego , Mr. O went back to the HHS and Jimmy continued in his music endeavors.

Jimmy, along with five other graduates of Hicksville High School went on to become founding members of the Rhythm Method, which subsequently morphed into Johnny Maestro and the Brooklyn Bridge . 

It’s now over forty-five years since the Dynamics was formed.  I still play guitar regularly as a hobby and occasionally get out and play in public.  The last time was with Bobby Leo in a tavern in East Quogue . 

Jimmy has a music business, which is called “The Very Cool Music School.”  We still socialize and occasionally play Ventures’ tunes together.

http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Very-Cool-Music-School/242318000144

Johnny B. moved to California many years ago.  He earned his doctorate in music and is the Director of Woodwind Studies and Professor of Flute at CSULB and flautist with the internationally acclaimed Westwood Wind Quintet:

http://www.csulb.edu/depts/music/woodwinds/john_barcellona.html

He is world renowned as a flautist and even has a flute model named after him.  The last time I saw Johnny was in the year 2000 when he flew in from CA and invited Jimmy and I to a family gathering on Long Island .

I still see Bobby Leo on a regular basis and we play guitar at the annual October Ventures' Fan Jam in Pennsylvania .  Also, I have corresponded with Jimmy Lhotan and Vito Marrone over the past couple of years.

Most recently, Vic Olsen contacted me in early 2012 and is attempting to organize musicians from our band and others of that era to play at our 50th reunion in 2015.   It will be great fun for me to see acquaintances from the past and be able to relive my youth playing rock and roll with "old" friends.

I am now retired from teaching and live with my wife, Joanne ( Tracy ) Arnold ’67 in East Quogue , NY.  We have two daughters, Tracy and Danielle, one granddaughter, Zoey and a grandson, Austin.

  
Joanne

Pre-Dynamics:
Elementary School
Woodland Avenue


Ricky,John,Jimmy,Ken

Dynamics:
HHS