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Wachtel Band

Waddy Wachtel
Discography, Credits, Gigs

By Year1960's 1970ís1980ís1990ís2000ís2010ís2020ís


Waddy Wachtel - the 1960's

After getting his father to buy him his first guitar when Waddy Wachtel was 9 years old, he realized quickly that he would need a teacher to learn how to play the instrument the way he wanted to. Even though Waddy was left-handed, his first teacher, Gene Dell, wouldn't allow Waddy to play that way and insisted he learn to play with his right hand. Waddy was always a very determined person, even from that young age, and proceeded to learn to play all the lessons in the books well before Gene even got to them. Not being satisfied with just learning from the books, Waddy started picking up guitar parts from recordings as well.

Waddy tells about the first band he played in:
"The Nocturnes, an odd line up, this was in 1961... I was 14. We had a trumpet, an accordion, drums and guitar. The trumpet player Alan Mendelson asked me to join the band. We grew up in New York... we played weddings and bar mitzvahs. Later we replaced the accordion with a friend Leon Salem who played vibraphone. The drummer's name was Nat Schneider, but i'm sorry to say i can't remember our accordionist's last name... Nicky."

By the age of 16, Waddy was writing his own tunes and hooked up with a fellow guitarist, Carl Wilkenfeld, in his home town of Jackson Heights, New York. They played and wrote songs together, performing at local clubs during high school with a band they put together.

Waddy: "I had a band when I was about 16. I was working with these guys. We had like a little surfiní band. And when The Beatles and Stones came out, then we had a surfiní band/Beatles and Stones Band. You know, weíd do Beach Boys songs, Beatles, and so on. And this one guitar player - the guy that I wrote with - the other guyís name was Carl Wilkenfeld. It was him, a guy named Bob Munz, my bass player that came from Queens with me, and this other guy was a friend of Carl Wilkenfeldís named Jerry Birnbach. And this (Jerry) guy was one of those goofy kind of guys that would always be making mistakes, always be screwing up . . . and I was always yelling at him. And I was always, like, up his ass about stuff. And all of a sudden - one day, I was firing on him - and he goes - he just turned around (and I was always 'Bob' up until then) and this one day he just turned around and went - to shut me up, he went (in a whiny voice): 'Iím sorry Waddy.' And I turned around and went, 'Whoa! What the fuck is that?' And he goes, 'Iím sorry Waddy.' 'Donít call me that!' And then after a while, I went, 'Well . . . Waddy. That sounds better than Bob.' "

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Waddy and Carl then formed a band called The Orphans who played mostly cover songs at clubs in upstate New York.

The original Orphans band consisted of:
Waddy Wachtel - Guitar, Vocals
Carl Wilkenfeld - Guitar, Vocals
Bob Munz - Bass
Bob Meinzer - Drums

Click picture to ZOOMWaddy: "Orphans played mainly covers...everyone did back then.....I don't think we did any originals per se....I did sing...everything basically.....it was that time in NY when every band was doing the same kind of big arrangements of cover tunes...slowing down the tempo and making 'em big sounding..."

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That band eventually broke up and they parted ways as Wilkenfeld and Meinzner were attending college and Waddy wanted players who could devote all their time to the band. Waddy and Bob Munz decided to get a new band together so they went in search of musicians to join them.

They retained the name The Orphans with these members:
Waddy Wachtel - Guitar, Vocals
Bob Munz - Bass
Billy Kinzie - Drums
Tommy DiMedia - Organ

Waddy: "Kinzie was a very good drummer ...actually after you mentioned them, i remember Munz and I going to hear Billy play in the band he was in and we decided he had to come play with us...so we stole him...hehe.."

"He [Tommy] had a Vox organ...and then they convinced me we should have a Hammond organ. I was all for it.. until we got it....they are soooo heavy..it was very funny.....what the fuck do we do with this fucken thing now?? Now we have to carry it?? Great!!!!"

The "new" Orphans played gigs in Connecticut while Waddy attended New Haven College until the band broke up, leaving Waddy wondering which direction to go in next.

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Click picture to ZOOMWaddy returned to New York and started taking lessons with a man who he still has much respect for, Rudolph Schramm. Soon after, he formed a new band called Twice Nicely. They played gigs in Vermont.

Twice Nicely consisted of:
Waddy Wachtel - Guitar, Vocals
Judi Pulver - Organ, Vocals
Bob Munz - Bass
George Hickox - Guitar
Craig Benson - Drums

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Waddy: "So Iím up in Vermont, with this band - and allís I could see is nothing ahead of us. There was nowhere to go. We had nobody to help us. We had no connections with anything. And this band was good, but it was floundering."

Bud Cowsill, manager of The Cowsills, had seen Waddy with his band The Orphans and knew instantly that he had great potential. After Bud got The Cowsills a record deal, he managed to find Waddy again in Vermont with Twice Nicely. Bud asked Waddy again if he could manage him, and this time Waddy said:

Waddy: "And I said, 'Yup, get me the fuck outta here!' So he said, 'Alright, weíre going back to New York. Weíre living in New York now, so why donít you guys pack it in up here and come on down there and start rehearsing.' "

Click picture to ZOOMWaddy and the band returned to New York and things were looking good, but the FBI came searching for Waddy and he narrowly escaped being drafted into military service.

Waddy: "And about two weeks later, we moved to LA, with the Cowsills."

Shortly after moving to Los Angeles, Waddy disbanded Twice Nicely.

Waddy: "I said to them, 'I want you all to know, Iím not quitting. Youíre all fired!' Thereís a difference. (Laughing)"

Waddy and Judi Pulver had co-written some songs that were recorded by The Cowsills and Curt Boettcher, but Waddy had the feeling something more important than Twice Nicely was in store for him. And it was.

Waddy had hooked up with producer Keith Olsen who admired Waddy's incredible abilities on guitar and used him on many other performer's recording sessions. And the beat went on.

(Note: Many thanks to Bob Munz for providing the photos used on this page.)

By Year1960's 1970ís1980ís1990ís2000ís2010ís2020ís


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