A Retrospective on our band in the California Fifties, Sixties and Seventies



Despite the limited list of six musicians and singers shown as the Original Players, in Stark Naked & the Car Thieves there were many talented people who played a role in the story of our band. Hopefully, we’ll find out more about them as this site expands and they’ll find their place with us as we develop our story in this medium. Four of the six listed original players started in music in the Midwest and escaped to California in spring of 1965. Leonard, the drummer, and resident court jester, joined the band in northern California later that year and Mickey began playing bass with the band relatively late in the original band’s existence in southern California. Of course, like most things it wasn't quite that simple. In fact, there was another guitar player, Mickey Smith, who drove west with Les, Dave and Mac in the great migration while Larry came in the second wave by jet plane a couple of months later. Les almost wasn't part of this band after getting to California and Chuck Tunnah was like the seventh Beatle, missing the boat altogether. But before we get ahead of ourselves, the band that left Indiana in early April of 1965 to become Stark Naked & the Car Thieves were then known as the Checkmates . These were the players who survived the baptism of fire in the First Tour, and continued on to the west (sounds like LOTR) to became that band of brothers. Despite their common upbringing in the midwest, however, they came from very different backgrounds. They shared one thing, a love of music. Each discovered their inner music, developed it and came to the band through different musical paths.

So, to begin ...

WHEN LARRY MET SALLY, errr… DAVE For me, it is really easy to pick out that specific point in time when music became a dominant force in my life. It hit me like a thunderbolt in the winter of 1957 ...

COLLEGE YEARS Larry and Dave go to school and Larry starts a family, oops! A quartet becomes a trio for awhile and then a quintet.

THE “INDY” SOUND & JAN HUTCHINS – Dave, Larry, Chuck & Pat have a hit!

LES & THE MG’S – How Les discovered the Ukulele and the guitar and helped create the “Indianapolis” sound.

MEANWHILE THE CASINOS ROCK OUT – Mac and the boys hits the road

A FATEFUL NEW YEAR’S EVE – The decision to be a band instead of a group. The Checkmates are born, or so we thought …

THE PORTUGUESE DRUMMER – a rose grows in Oakland


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