By Patrick Ahern
I’m sure no one under the age of 50 will recognize the personages mentioned here, but an old friend reminded me of an event in my past that kind of tickled him, and myself too. Back in my college days, I was in a rock and roll band that played all over the State of Oregon, called HB and the Checkmates. Oh, it was great fun; we were popular, not very talented, and played at great volumes. I was elected the lead singer, probably because I drank the most beer.
During this time a very popular singer, Bobby Darin, was on the airwaves with several songs, Splish Splash, If I were a Carpenter, and Dream Lover, to name a few. He was a fairly handsome man, but to his consternation, was fighting a receding hairline and thinning hair, much like myself. A great talent though, so I was quite flattered when several young women (well three, actually) came up and told me that I looked a lot like him!
We left Eugene for the big time in LA, and there met with some success. Bookings followed, and one night we were scheduled to play at the Golden Bear in Huntington Beach as the opening act for Arlo Guthrie. We played our set, and as we were waiting for Arlo to arrive, a young woman came up to me and said: “You really look familiar to me....someone famous.” Of course, I knew she was referring to Bobby Darin, as he had become quite a famous Vegas player by this time. I didn’t say anything, of course, and let her struggle for the memory of his name. After a minute or so, I started to tell her about Bobby, but she said: “wait, wait, I’ve got it. I know, you look just like Don Knotts!” And that was just about the zenith of my career!