In 1980 I joined a band in Santa Barbara called FX (later ƒX then A ƒew Circles). I played piano from a young age, but I had never been in a band or played with other people before. I had recently purchased an electric keyboard and was planning on joining a band eventually, but I ran into Dave Fontana in a bar and he said his band FX was looking for a keyboard player. I had seen FX play at George’s and liked them so I agreed when they asked me to join the band. At that time the band was Dave Fontana on guitar, Joe Dean on bass, Tracy Hall on drums and me on keyboards and synthesizer. Dave and Joe wrote the songs and sang lead vocals, I mostly just sang backup at first. We rehearsed for a few months, then on March 28th, 1981, I played my first live performance with them at the Process Theater in Santa Barbara. Later we added a few songs for me to sing. The first song I sang lead on by myself was a cover of “Venus” by Shocking Blue (that was before Bananarama did it) but then I started cutting my teeth on writing songs and eventually had a few songs that I wrote with the band.

This post is a work in progress

Messed up clip of old VHS capture of local TV News spot of ƒX playing at Empty Space Theater in Santa Barbara, California in 1981.
This was actually before I joined FX but not too much before. You can see me at 2:12 in the video hanging out in front of George’s standing between Brad Nack and Paul Bergerot of The Tan. George’s was a tiny but wonderful live music venue and hangout on lower State St. in Santa Barbara. Video by John Young.