By the end of 1971 I had taken five years worth of piano lessons. Mostly Classical stuff. I was learning how to read and write music. I had also learned a few chords and lead licks and I was playing some Beatles and Stones songs. I could even play the entire overture to Tommy on the piano, so I thought I was pretty cool. I wanted to be in a band soooo badly, but I all I had to play on was the acoustic piano that my parents had bought me for my lessons.

Me with Bernie Duck at Nazareth High School gig. Gene & Harris in background - 1972

Then by some stroke of luck I met another keyboard player named Neil Goren. Neil was a great rock Keyboard player. He had a Farfisa Organ & RMI Electric Piano (a set up that I could only dream about). He was in this really cool band with this great drummer named Mark Garfinkle. They did a killer version of Santanas "Soul Sacrifice" and were the winner of battle of the bands at Canarsie High School in 1971.

Neil had taken me under his wing and when I told him that I had I chance to join this new band that was forming he agreed to let me borrow his RMI piano for rehearsals and for the big gig at Nazareth High School that was coming up. Anyway, I got the gig with my first band "Bernie Duck". Now Bernie Duck was originally as a rock blues band with two guitar players, bass & keyboards, but the old duck had it's Allman influences and we were one of the first bands in the neighborhood to have two drummers, Larry Alexander and Mike Fleisher. Now Mike had also been to the Fillmore concerts and all the other NY shows and was a big Allman freak so he and I got along real well from the start. It was only natural that we cover a few Allman tunes. We did stuff like "Done Somebody Wrong" and "Elizabeth Reed" along with some Hendrix, Traffic and Blues songs. Well, the gig at Nazareth went fine, but Bernie Duck did not last long and before you knew it I was back playing my acoustic piano again.

Now after Bernie Duck broke up Fleisher & I became friends. We would hang out together at Scott's house with Harris and the four of us became close friends. We would listen to the Live At Fillmore East album over and over and over and over again along with The Grateful Dead and Moody Blues. By this time we were starting to experiment with psychedelic drugs and we spend days hangin out in Scott’s room freaking out on some type of drug. Mescaline, acid, peyote. What ever we could get our hands on. We were totally out of our minds! We called Scott’s room the "space ship". It was the cool place to go. Scott’s parents were very liberal and did not care about the house stinking of pot and all the people that would come and go all night. We could go there as a refuge from all the schoolwork. We could care less about that. We just wanted to play music.

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Left to Right - Mike Fleisher, Harris Lewinn, Harry Apfel, Me, Scott Hyman