“During the days,” recalls former Hedgehog singer Ray Brandes, “we’d practice for hours on end at 2378 Presidio Drive, while at nights we’d drive around in Carl’s family Suburban, wander the streets of Mission Hills, or hang out at Julio’s Mexican Restaurant — all the while clad in black leather vests, skinny ties, and Beatle boots. Within two weeks, we had mastered the Beatles’ entire Hamburg Star Club song list and were well on our way to becoming an authentic beat group. Ron [Silva] was a veritable encyclopedia of Beatles trivia and could play and sing any Beatles song Carl or I would suggest.”
Brandes arrived in San Diego in 1963. At Point Loma High School, he played with various combos and performed at parties. After graduating in 1980, he formed the Hedgehogs.
With a repertoire based on the Beatles’ Live at the Star Club set list, the band included Ron Silva (the Crawdaddys, the Saturn V), Paul Carsola (the Tell-Tale Hearts), and Carl Rusk (the Nashville Ramblers). A big hit on the then-burgeoning teen dance circuit, no official recordings were made, but live tapes do circulate.
Brandes has also been a member of the Mystery Machine, the Tell-Tale Hearts, and several other San Diego outfits.