It is very difficult to jam 50+ years of history into a few sentences, but here goes. The current group actually had three origins. The first was on the street corners of the North Side of Pittsburgh, where Johnny and Bubba grew up singing a cappella with some of their childhood friends. The second was in Al's bedroom, where he and Ricky practiced guitars together. And the third was in Sewickley, where Pinky played guitar for a group called The Runaways. Three different bands, three different cultures, three different ideas, three different styles of music … but all with something in common. That commonality was the future meeting and lifelong friendship of what was soon to be Johnny Angel and the Halos.
It was May 28, Johnny's birthday, and his cousin, Jim Ehrhardt, invited him to go to a friend’s house in West View. Coincidentally, it was also this friend’s birthday. Johnny agreed and off they went. When they arrived they heard two guitars blasting from the house. They walked in and found Al and Ricky playing some pop and rock. Johnny and Jim, coming from strong R & B backgrounds, were not impressed with the material being played but thought that it could be integrated with the sounds they knew and loved. Since Jim played bass and Johnny was a drummer, they struck up a conversation with Al and Ricky and decided to try forming a band. The band’s home base would be the house of Millie and, pictured at right, Herman Lipp, Al's parents.
The Lipps opened their doors and arms to embrace the young group and experienced many sacrifices to see that the new band had a healthy start. After many rehearsals and failed attempts at becoming rock 'n' roll stars, the band was heading for a nosedive: Ricky and Jim left the band, but Al and Johnny decided to find new members and pursue their dream. Mr. Lipp worked with a man whose son owned a bass, the one and only Pinky. Bubba was not interested in being in a group at the time, so Johnny, Al and Pinky found a DJ (named PJ) who also played guitar and sang. PJ was working at the YMCA dances and was interested in working with a band. He agreed to join, and the CORDELLS was born. PJ was soon drafted and replaced once again by Ricky.
After many years of playing frat parties, clubs and amusement parks, the band landed their first record on the Steel Town Label. The group now consisted of a horn section (Daryl, Gary & Paul) a new lead singer, Eric, Ricky on guitar and keyboards, Pinky on Bass, Al on lead guitar and Johnny singing lead from behind the drums. As the music changed, so did the CORDELLS. The group split only to see Al, Pinky and Johnny in a hard rock band called HAROMBEE. Two years later, they all went their separate ways to perform in various bands. Shortly after, Pinky and Johnny teamed up with Louie and Walt to form a lounge act called HIGHER UP.
Missing the music and friendship of their earlier groups, they added Bubba, Al and Ricky. When Walt and Louie retired, they added Dave Z. on drums and Bill E. on sax, changing the name of the group to SLOW COOKER for a brief period. One of the shows that grew from the earlier days was a ‘50's music skit —"Johnny Angel & the Halos." The name was re-born and so was the band.
Over time, Dave Z. (the drummer) was replaced by Derrick E., who was replaced by Twizzy T., who was replaced by Bobby M. (Taz). Bill E. was replaced by Glenn Q. (Zoot) on sax. Ricky was replaced by Phil L. (Jibbo) on keyboards and Pinky retired only to be replaced by Tony I. (Speedo), who later was replaced by Mark D. (Spike), who later was replaced by Dave M. (Prof. Passgo). We added horns, sound engineers, lighting technicians, a stage crew and a whole lot more props and equipment.
Now you have the band as it is today —10 singer/musicians and three technicians better known as the Halo Family!
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