dwight bement

in 1961, ronnie williams asked dwight bement to join his band, called the blackouts.  (which he did.) at that time, frank zappa played guitar in the blackouts.


dwight bement (* 1945/12/28, san diego) his first band was called the fydallions (1). it started in 1957 and ran to approx. 1959 and featured ronnie williams on lead guitar.  after the fydallions (1) dwight bement was in the nomads for a while.

sometime after the nomads, around 1960, dwight bement moved to sacramento and formed another band called the fydallions (2)dwight bement left the fydallions (2) in 1961 and moved back to san diego.  a couple of days after that, ronnie williams called and asked dwight bement to come to ontario to join his band, the blackoutsronnie williams was living with his parents at the time and dwight bement moved in.  bement was in the blackouts in 1961 and 1962.

at the end of 1962 or the beginning of 1963, tommy kendall came up to ontario and asked dwight bement to go back to san diego to start another band, the gentrysronnie williams joined the gentrys shortly thereafter.

in 1965 or 1966, dwight bement joined the outcasts. Early 1967 gary puckett and dwight bement started the union gapbement left the band in 1972 and joined flash cadillac in 1973.

from time to time, dwight bement is also playing with a band called johnny and the jukes, a blues, jazz, cajun band.


info from bob:

dwight & i visited fz's house in cucamonga a couple of times that i remember. that was before god was born. he (fz) had shot up some film of flashing neon signs totally out of focus. he showed the film coordinated with music. fascinating to say the least.

info from dwight bement:

our first band was called the 'fydallions', started in 1957 and ran to 1959, (approx).  i played tenor and ronnie played lead guitar. the other members were frank baker (piano), eddie esquivel (guitar), duane sawyer (drums), raul camacho (alto sax) and ruben sarmiento (tenor sax). i wish i would've kept in touch with these guys over the years, they're all  great people.  i didn't play in the 'ramblers' but i was in the 'nomads' for a while.  that band is still working in the san diego area. the 'fydallions' and the 'nomads' played various 'battles' with other bands including the 'ramblers', the 'velvetones', the.....etc, (what a mind).  one of your sites mentions jr. madeo, a san diego guitarist.  i remember him.  he was my favorite, very good.  sometime after the 'nomads', i moved to sacramento (1960) and teamed with steve baptiste, dave erwin, ross owen and denny (?). we called  this band the 'fydallions'. after i went back to san diego in 1961, the 'fydallions' went though several changes, eventually becoming the 'spiral staircase'.  i think i was in san diego about two days when ronnie called and asked me to come up to ontario and join his band. i didn't hesitate. he was living with his parents at the time so i moved in. this is when the infamous 'green window' project was launched. you can read about it elsewhere.  his band, the 'blackouts', included frank zappa, joe perino (piano), al sarratt (drums) and possibly, a large guitarist/blues singer/harmonica player by the name of 'restless' rex jakabowski, (i wonder where he is, he was wonderful). i was in that band in 1961 and 1962. during that time, we were ocassionally joined by jim sherwood and others to play up in lancaster at the community center.
these events were usually 'battles of the bands'.  the photo of me on one of your sites and the photo of me in 'the real frank zappa book' (page 45), were taken at that time, during a rehearsal, possibly at the franklin home east of lancaster.
the end of 1962 or the beginning of 1963, tommy kendall came up to ontario and 'shanghied' me back to san diego to start another band, the 'gentrys', not the band with a hit record.  ronnie either joined at the same time or shortly thereafter.  in 1964 and 1965, i played with a variety of people including jimmy nixon, gene lamar and some of the above mentioned people again and many others.  in 1965 or 1966, i joined the 'outcasts'. a super band that included gary puckett (guitar and vocals), bobby brown (bass and lead vocals), willy kellogg (drums) and bob salisbury (tenor sax). i played a little sax but mostly, hammond b3.
the 'outcasts' exploded in a ball of fire up in san francisco, right before playing our first road job. that's another story altogether.  gary and i started the 'union gap' in early 1967 and i left in 1972. i joined flash cadillac in 1973 and i'm still with 'flash' today. we perform with symphony orchestras around the country and it's wonderful.  i'm also playing with a local group called 'johnny and the jukes'. blues, swing, jazz, cajun, very challenging. 'music of a greater complexity'.  john wise (bass and lead vocal), chris cain (guitar and lead vocal), dave innis (piano and vocal) and dave deason (drums).  i thank you for your interest
and i hope i haven't bored you with too much detail; once you get started, well, you know.

more info from dwight bement:

on working with frank:
when i first joined fz, w/ronnie, joe and al, we played in a bar in pomoma. 7 nites a week, for 3 months. $9 a nite each. i guess i'm not sure of the band's name, but ocassionally, we would drive up to lancaster and play a battle against some other bands that fz knew. we would add some different players and this band was the 'blackouts'. the old photos of me were taken at these rehearsals in lancaster, possibly out east at the franklin home in sun valley or sun something...
i eventually moved from ronnie's to monterey park, near east l.a. w/al sarratt and his wife. al got me a job where he worked. abc fairco, an aircraft bolt factory. we still worked w/ fz.
al claimed to be related to mary sarratt, a co-conspirator in the abe lincoln assassination plot. check it out.
on pigeons:
frank lived in this house in ontario a few blocks up the street from ronnie. there were 2 huge palm trees in front that were infested with pigeons. fz made a blow gun out of tv antenna tubing and fitted it w/ a pistol grip and a mouthpiece. he made some darts out of sharpened nails and paper cones. we would sit on his porch in the afternoon and kill pigeons up in the palm trees. we became very good at this sport. we kept score. i don't know who was best at it. i'll bet there are still some pigeon bones stuck up there to this day.
on weenies & poots
when i lived with ronnie, we must have had a lot of time on our hands.we showed fz the benefits of burnt weinie sandwiches. we smoked up ronnie's kitchen pretty good during these sessions. we also enjoyed burning poots (farts). one time fz was over so we decided to show him the fine art of burning poots. we were in the kenny's bedroom, if i remember. ronnie jumped up on the bed and took off his pants. the seat of his underwear a big hole w/ threads hanging down. when he put the zippo to it, there was a nice balloon of blue flame and the threads caught fire. the flame traveled up and set his anal hairs on fire. fz fell against the wall in a fit of laughter. i guess he never forgot that because he wrote a song about it.
on the turd
one time, when i was living w/ ronnie, i was in the bathroom taking a dump. i noticed the turd was not breaking off so i made an effort to keep it in tact as 'long' as possible. when i finished, i yelled at ronnie to come have a look. when he saw it, he let out a whoop, ran and got a rag and lifted the turd out of the toilet, took it outside and laid it on the porch. we measured it at 21", swear to god. he called fz and told him about it. frank rushed over w/ a camera and took a picture.
on "the world's greatest sinner'

it took fz 2 months to write 15 minutes of music for the soundtrack. the recording session took 11 hours w/ the pomoma valley symphony. frank conducted and one mic was used. it was placed above the podium. aside from al sarratt and myself, i don't remember who else played. maybe ronnie, but i can't be sure.
i played several instruments during the session including clarinet, rhythm guitar, marimba, snare drum and contra-bass saxophone, a very rare instrument. i have no idea where frank found it.
i spent a lot of time w/ fz and timothy carey during post production both at carey's home in el monte and in hollywood at the sound company, glen glenn, i think. i'm not sure of that spelling.
while fz was writing the soundtrack, he would dip his pen in the ink and then wipe the excess off on his pant leg. he always wore the same pants, gray w/ thin black stripes. it ended up looking pretty cool. he told me that he cut out the section of pant leg with the ink on it and framed it and sold it for $500.
on the last time
the last time i saw fz was in the late ''70s or early '80s. it was in chicago. flash cadillac opened for him. i talked w/ frank in the dressing room and he told me to call him when we got back to l.a. he said he had always liked my sax playing and wanted to do something together. like a fool, i never called.
when flash cadillac began performing w/ symphony orchestras, i attempted to contact frank seeking advice, but apparently by this time, he was ill and no one would allow me to speak w/ him.
on the nomads
the members included: lew fay, tenor sax - bill riddle, alto sax - clark gault, piano/trombone - artie elam, guitar - merv hyde, bass - bruce ??, drums - and myself on tenor sax.
jim sherwood and ronnie lived together for a while in a boarding house on 4th street in national city. sometime around 1963-64-65?
i seem to remember being on a local tv show w/ 'captain beefheart'. a saturday music/dance show of some kind. channel 8, kfmb-tv, san diego. regis was w/ the station at the time and may well have been the host, but who knows?
so, jim sherwood is still around, huh? nice to hear that. i always liked him. a good guy. 
on union gap
when two of the original members quit, i decided to hold auditions for trumpet, sax, trombone and hammond b3. this took place at studio instrument rental in hollywood. one of the gardner brothers showed up, i don't remember which. i asked, 'aren't you w/ the 'mothers'? he replied, ' yes, and i'm staying w/ them. i just wanted to sit in and jam'.


frank zappa  / musicians timeline



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