This is a tribute to Hicksville's Unsung Hero
Being a teenager growing up in Hicksville in the sixties was a truly, unforgettable experience. You could stand on the corner and marvel at the sound of basement bands doing their thing. Most of us, and me included, were Wannabe rock and roll stars. Our affiliations at the time were limited but there always was a group that was the 'leader of the pack.' One such band was the Commandoes. The leader of that pack was Howie Blauvelt and his group of young, teenage musicians were way ahead of surrounding bands. They were so good, they won the Nassau County Battle of the Bands and made a guest appearance at the New York World's Fair.
Unique talent has a way of circumventing the average and such a talent was Howie Blauvelt. His musical career began in Hicksville but took a road most only envision while asleep and dreaming. His musical ability and command of playing bass was unparalleled and it was his vision of something great that culminated in the formation of the Hassles. Many watched with envy when Howie performed and time spent watching his performance was infectuous.
The Hassles were a rock group in the 1960s, most notable for recording the first releases to feature Billy Joel. The group released two full-length albums and a number of singles. They were very established and played various hot spots in the metro New York area; The Eye in the Hamptons and Steve Paul's Scene in the city.
The original line-up of the group was John Dizek (vocals), Billy Joel (Keyboards), Jon Small (drums), Howie Blauvelt (bass) and Richard McKenner (guitar). Dizek left some time after their first album, at which point Joel took over on vocal duties. Joel and Small eventually formed Attila while Blauvelt later joined Ram Jam. The group toured our great country and published two albums and had two 'hit' singles.
Spending time on the road comes with many penalties. It's a tough life being away from family and that is one major reason why the Hassles disbanded in 1968.
Howie persevered and went on to play with many top-notch musicians and performers such as Billy Joel and Ram Jam.
His untimely death on October 25, 1993 ended the 'tribute to our unsung hero.'
To this day, I drive past the Hicksville Middle School and reminisce. I can still hear the percussive bass riffs pounding through the gymnasium doors. On the other side of the doors is Howie just 'doing his thing.'
His life of music really began when he was playing on Friday nights for the Junior High dances in the 60's.
Is there someone out there who had the same pleasure I had from seeing Howie perform?
I'm certain they will understand what I'm saying!!!
Howie is certainly missed by me and all those who watched with awe when he was on stage.
He is missed by many but not forgotten.
Howie had all the notes of life tucked away and it's our loss that we never heard them all.
Paul ' Coney Island ' Korman
Coney and I have been friends for years. We used to get together on Sunday mornings and have our own doo wop shop. We would play many songs from the Motown era and Paul always expressed a desire to create his own band that would highlight the Motown sound.
Might I say that dream is a reality. Paul is the founder and bassist for Dr. K's Motown Review. They are a class act that performs on the island and in the metro area and they do a gig at the Mohegan Sun in Connecticut .
Check them out at
This is one venue you won't want to miss.
Buffalo Bob Casale