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The Story of Pat and Lolly Vegas

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Published on Nov 28, 2012

Brothers Pat and Lolly Vasquez were born in Fresno, California. Boasting Yaqui, Shoshone, and Mexican blood, the duo reputedly worked in cotton fields and apricot orchards in the migrant camps surrounding Fresno. Developing as musicians at an early age, the brothers played with Canadian jazz pianist Oscar Peterson at the Monterey Jazz and Pop Festival before relocating to Los Angeles in 1963. Calling themselves the Avantis, the brothers attempted to cash in on the surf craze popularized by Jan and Dean and the Beach Boys, with such songs as "Gypsy Surfer" and "Wax 'em Down" on the Chancellor label, and "The Phantom Surfer" on the Regency label. The Avantis featured future Beach Boy drummer Mike Kowalski, and their recordings earned them an opening slot on a Beach Boys' tour. The Vasquez brothers also recorded the singles "Let's Go" as the Routers, "Surf Stomp" and "Batman" as the Mar-kets, and "Hotrodders' Choice," "Dawn Patrol," "Double A Fueller," and "Satan's Chariot" as the Deuce Coupes. The 1963 Deuce Coupes' sessions featured impressive session help from Glen Campbell, David Gates, and Leon Russell. In 1964 the Vasquez brothers recorded as the Sharks, releasing the singles "Big Surf" and "Robot Walk." By the time they had made a musical appearance in the film "It's a Bikini World" in 1965, they had changed their last name to Vegas. They also became members of the Shindigs, the house band on the hit television program Shindig, where they performed weekly with band members Leon Russell and Delaney Bramlett. During this period they also performed session work with pop duo Sonny and Cher, and provided instrumental support to Elvis Presley on the soundtrack to the film Kissin' Cousins. The brothers also managed a residency at the Los Angeles venue Haunted House, which prompted the release of their first full-length album, Pat and Lolly Vegas at the Haunted House, produced by Leon Russell and Snuff Garrett. They became soughtafter session musicians and song writers following their studio work on Dobie Gray's hit single "In Crowd" and the 1967 P.J. Proby single "Nicky Hoeky," which was also recorded by Bobbie Gentry and Duane Eddy. The Vegas brothers met guitarist Tony Bellamy, collaborated on Jim Ford album Harlan County, 1968; trio hired drummer Pete DePoe and signed band Redbone to Epic Records, 1969; released debut and second album, Redbone and Potlatch, 1970; released third album, Message from aDrum, featuring hit single "Witch Queen of New Orleans," 1972; Arturo Perez replaced drummer DePoe, 1972; Butch Rillera replaced Perez, 1973; released Wovoka, featuring single "Come and Get Your Love," 1973; released final studio album for CBS/Epic, Beaded Drums through Turquoise Eyes, 1974; released RCA debut, Cycles, 1977; group appeared as presenters at Native American Music Awards, 1998. Redbone was inducted into the Native American Music Association Hall of Fame in 2008.

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