Garrett Harris noon, Nov. 8
Mac Staten: Vocals | Dwight Bement: Saxophone | Lew Fay: Saxophone | Bill Rittel: undetermined | Dick Blackwell: undetermined | Bruce Hitch: undetermined | Dave Sleet: undetermined | Greg Finley: undetermined
RIYL: King Biscuit Blues Band, King Curtis, Boots Randolph, the Barons
Inception: San Diego, 1957
The Nomads began as a late '50s/early '60s doo-wop and dance band. Featuring horn player Doug Meyers and saxophonist/horn arranger Lew Fay, the Nomads played every summer Wednesday night at the La Mesa Youth Center, stepping out with multiple singers and a full horn section doing choreographed stage moves.
Meyers later left the Nomads and joined the Accents (soon to become Sandi and the Accents), and sax player Don Beck left the Accents to join the Nomads. The band also featured sax player Dwight Bement (formerly of the Fydallions, later of Gary Puckett and the Union Gap and Flash Cadillac & the Continental Kids, the first band to appear on American Bandstand despite having no record out), Bill Rittel (1959), Dick Blackwell and Bruce Hitch (1960), Dave Sleet (1961), Greg Finley (1964), and Don Beck.
Known mostly for their single "Ooh Poo Pah Doo," they released several other '45s on small labels like Prelude Records, including their own songs like "Do the Freeze," "Icky Poo," and "Last Summer Day," the latter considered an early psychedelic gem with spacey sax played by Lew Fay. Some singles like 1963's "There She Goes" b/w "Do the Freeze" were credited to Mac Staten & the Nomads.
Don Beck, who played the same tenor sax obtained in 1959 for his whole career, later toured with Loretta Lynn and spent years with King Biscuit Blues Band before passing away in April 2007. Surviving Nomads were still playing around town under that name over the next few years.
Lew Fay (a 1959 Lincoln High grad) released a concert CD of the Nomads' 1998 Old Mission Bay Athletic Club Coming Out Party, mostly featuring vintage covers alongside four original Nomad songs.