On December 28, 2008, I checked my email only to find that I had junk mail. Within my junk box was a message re: Earth Shakers. The letter was from an old friend of mine from high school with whom I played in the afore mentioned group. We hadn't seen or spoken to each other for 43 years but that's another story. He turned me on to the Poitiers American High School website and I wrote a letter stating who I was only to find out that my old class mates had been looking for me. I found out that we're to have a reunion in Tucson in October of 2009 and I plan on being there.

I had forgotten that prior to the Earth Shakers aka Panthers USA I was part of another band called Betty and the Tornadoes. This was actually my first group. A friend of mine, Sonny Craven, was "Mr. Guitar" at our high school at Poitiers, France and he took me under his wing upon my receipt of a shiny Silvertone guitar and amplifier. We hurridly put together the group for the 1962 talent show. I had forgotten, but we actually won the contest that netted us a whopping $25.00. I didn't get in the picture but shown are the other members of the group: Bob, Betty, Benny and Sonny.


Courtesy: PAHS Association



Here's a picture of my first guitar. It's a Sears mail-order Silvertone. It still plays just fine. I don't have the amplifier but it wasn't all that great. As I recall, Sonny had me tune to "Open G" so that we could get the band together quickly. This tuning allowed me to play grand barre chords with just one finger. That was a start and I was hooked.

Bette & the Tornadoes
Dan, Bette, Bob, Sonny, Benny, & ? on piano
Courtesy: Sonny Craven

Dan, Bob, Benny, Sonny
Courtesy: Sonny Craven



Copyright 2000-2023 Dan Johnson.