Johnny and the Rebels


Columbus, 1963-6

"Johnny and The Rebels started in March 1963 when Dean Richards went to a pawn shop in downtown Columbus and purchased a Kent electric guitar and amplifier. During the same week in 1963, Chuck Mascari bought his electric guitar at Western Auto. I was there and I know John Palmer was with us. John Palmer took this information, put together a set of drums and became the driving force behind Johnny and The Rebels. With Dean Duffey's purchase of a bass guitar, they were ready to play. Still the band needed some brass and a great lead singer. John Durzo was auditioned and hired on the spot. His voice and saxophone were the missing piece. Later on, the group got together and hired one of their friends to be the manager what a lucky guy I (Phil) was."

"The Ventures, The Kingsmen, Booker T and the MGs, The Isley Brothers and several Motown groups provided a musical style the band liked to call "the Finest Popular Music for Dances and Parties". They began playing fraternity parties and bar mitzvahs. Soon they were doing at least two gigs a week and charging more money for each one. The play list got longer and longer and the instruments got better. The Western Auto guitar became a Fender and the Kent became a Gibson." (Phil Pence and Chuck Mascari)

John Durzo - "We played pool parties, bar mitzvahs, high school dances, and did a few radio station sock hops with WCOL personalities (Bob Harrington and Johnny Hill). It was fun while it lasted. The band broke up after John Palmer, the Deans, and Chuck graduated and went off to college and the service. Phil Pence also graduated, but stayed in Columbus and went to Ohio State. He and I went on to form St. John's Mod in the summer of 1966."