It all began back in 1964 when a group of southern California high school students left their respective well-known surf bands, deciding to expand their talents and repertoire and take advantage of the emerging popularity of the “British Invasion.”
They wanted to perform the music that was booming from the radio and rapidly capturing the fancy of teenagers throughout the U.S. – music by groups like the Rolling Stones, the Beatles, the Animals, the Kinks, the Who, the Dave Clark 5, and the Yardbirds.
The new ensemble decided to call themselves the Mustangs, a suggestion by the drummer’s father, who told him, “You’re all young, wild, and untamed – that’s what a mustang is. And since Ford is going to be investing millions in promoting that name, you might as well take advantage of it.”
Over the next three years the Mustangs gained great popularity, performing the best rock and roll of the 60’s throughout Southern California, eventually releasing their own 45rpm single, “That’s For Sure,” with “Nova Blues” on the B-side. Since its release, this one hit wonder has struck a nerve in the psyche of music fans throughout the U.S. and even in Europe. The song resurfaced on vinyl 60’s compilation albums in the early 80’s and became more widely distributed when it was included in the late 80’s on a vinyl and CD release from Crypt Records titled “Back From the Grave Volume 7” that continues selling in the U.S. and Europe. On the collectors’ market, an original 45rpm single of the record sells today for $800 to $1,000.
In September 2009 Rhino Records requested “That’s For Sure” for a 4-CD collection of southern California rock classics, “Where The Action Is: Los Angeles Nuggets 1965-1968,” which has been distributed worldwide and includes tunes by such well-known artists as the Doors, the Byrds, the Mamas & the Papas, the Beach Boys, Sonny & Cher, the Association, and Buffalo Springfield.
The Mustangs continued to perform for many months after the release of their single, but like so many popular groups of the 60’s, other pressures and commitments such as the military draft, academic careers and family life resulted in the members going their separate ways – though all continued to hone their respective musical talents, performing in various groups throughout their adult lives.
Fast forward to spring of 2005. Music magazine publisher and writer Mike Stax, whose Ugly Things Magazine covers the vintage music scene, was surprisingly able to assemble most of the original band members for an interview to be published in his magazine. After a few hours of recording the interview, the former band mates asked each other, “I wonder how we would sound today?”
And the rest is history! One band member said, “It was like we never lost touch, picking up from where we left off; there is a strong, inherent sense of trust with this group, just as there was back in the day. It felt downright providential.”
Since reforming as The Legendary Mustangs (“We’re legends in our own minds”) the band has played to large public audiences and corporate and private-party clients in Las Vegas and throughout California, and continues to wow their audiences with the hard-charging energy of classic 60’s rock and roll.
The band today consists of John Tavaglione on vocals and guitar, Dennis Lisonbee on keyboards and vocals, Ted Trujillo and Allen Wald on guitar and vocals, Bruce Tucker on bass, and Terry Wade on drums and vocals.
John has been elected to five terms on the Riverside County Board of Supervisors; he is the group’s only politician. Dennis has had a career in the film and television business and is now an Associate Professor in Digital Media at Utah Valley University. Ted is Operations Manager with Riverside County Fleet Services; he also performs with Psalm 150, a Christian ministry band. Allen has played guitar all his life, starting as a pro in recording, touring, and studio work, later moving into the music products industry managing leading music and
audio technology companies. He now owns and operates several companies involved with guitar technologies and brands. When Bruce is not playing bass with the Legendary Mustangs or Runnin’ Blue, a rhythm and blues group, he designs, implements, and supervises the development of information systems for a school district in northern San Diego County. Terry works as a Senior Analyst with Riverside County Human Resources and also operates an Internet franchise development business.
Who knew that after wandering around in the musical desert of college, various careers, and family life that this band would reunite to rock on even more, one of the few southern California classic rock groups to survive into the 21st century? Is it déjà vu? Or synchronicity? Or destiny?
For the Legendary Mustangs, it feels like all three . . .
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