March 14th, 2015

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I got a call one day to play on my first recording session. I was 15 years old and a student at Mackenzie High School in Detroit. The person calling me was Vic Gallon. Vic told me he had two songs he wanted to record because he had his own record label called Gondola Records. He also told me he was a rockabilly singer and rhythm guitarist. He said he needed a lead guitarist, drummer, and bass player to play on his record. He agreed to pay us $15 per song. I called Larry Blockno, the drummer in my band at school and had to find a bass player who was old enough to drive because we didn’t have driver’s licenses. I found Lee Stage, a 22 year old guitar player who agreed to tune his guitar lower and play bass lines. Lee was playing at a bar on Woodward Avenue in Detroit. It must have been a tough bar because he had a girlfriend who carried a pistol in her purse.

Dennis Coffey and his Gretsch guitar

Dennis Coffey at the age 15








The studio was in the basement of a house in northwest Detroit. I had never been in a recording studio before so I didn’t know what to expect. The sound engineer was a young man who had a disability and used a cane. When we arrived at the studio, Lee and I both set up our guitar amplifiers and Larry set up his drum set. The sound engineer set up his microphones and we were ready. Vic got out his acoustic guitar and played the two songs he had written. We learned the songs and did our thing. I took two guitar solos on the fast song called “I’m Gone”. It took us about four hours and we were done. Vic paid us and we went home.
Vic called me three weeks later and told me a country station in Hazel Park called WEXL would be playing both sides of the record the next day at 3:00pm. The next day I tuned in the radio station and there I was playing guitar on the radio! That was an exciting moment for a 15 year old guitar player who practiced eight hours a day during summer breaks. I was certainly hooked on doing recording sessions. I did my first session as a recording artist at the age of 19 while in the army and stationed at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. I will cover that in another blog.

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Dennis Coffey