The story is fairly well-known that Donald Roeser started off his musical career playing the accordion, of all things, before switching to drums. A wrist injury during his time at Smithtown High School in Saint James saw him experiment playing guitar for the first time, after which he got hooked.

He formed a school band called The Montereys and they dedicated themselves to playing surf music. After he left Smithtown in Summer 1965 - and subsequently went away to College in September - the Montereys were no more...

That basically in a nutshell was all I initially knew about this band, but just in the interests of documentation, I'll try and gather together all the information I have about them on this page.

If you have anything to add to this page, please let me ...

In the Goldmine#414 "BOC special" (7 June 1996) the lead-up to the formation of The Montereys was succinctly dealt with:

"I picked up guitar after breaking my wrist playing basketball," Buck recalled. "During that time I didn't play drums, but my brother had a guitar. And I just started playin' melodies on the high string, the first string, just pickin' it out.

And when I got the cast off, I knew a drummer who was actually better than me. So I got him in the band, and I just started playin' lead guitar, with no training whatsoever, I was just figuring everything out by ear."

This always confused me a little - "so I got him in the band" seemed to imply that maybe Buck was already in a band that pre-dated The Montereys, maybe one in which he played the drums before his switch to guitar?

Then again, maybe "band" was too grand a term for what may have actually been the case - just some schoolmates getting together to jam for the first time...?

Then, during a web search, I came across the following post in a thread on "Buck Dharma" on a band gear forum:

Slipsey: His first amp was an Ampeg Reverberocket... at least that is what he used in the high school band I was in with him on Long Island!

It had an accordion input along with a guitar input, and he played the accordion also (but not in the band)!

I actually learned the pentatonic scale from him, I had just started to play guitar... oh those many years ago...

So, I wondered, was "Slipsey" a member of The Montereys or did he play with Buck in an earlier, less formal setting, before The Montereys...?

Donald Roeser

Steve Lipsey was a high school buddy of mine, we both played guitar and we used to get together and play songs. He wasn't in my high school band, "The Montereys." That disbanded my senior year.

I wish I still had the Reverb Rocket. I do have a similar Ampeg combo with no amp but a 1x12 speaker in it. I never played amplified accordian. Most Ampeg combo amps had an accordian input in those days.

Steve is retired and lives in Portland OR now, or maybe Seattle, I forget which. We reconnected a few years ago.

I asked Buck about the line-up of the band, and did they actually play any gigs, or was it just the occasional school disco...?

Donald Roeser

The Montereys did play a couple gigs, doing almost exclusively instrumental music. Never outside the locality.

We played stuff like "Wipe Out", "Pipeline", "Walk Don't Run" etc...

The other guitar player in the Montereys, Bob Dietz, moved to Idaho and was a career postal worker, retiring some time ago.

Here's a link to a photo of the 1964 Montereys:

My first guitar was a Premier jazz box with no cutaways. I later got a Hagstrom. My buddy Bob Dietz is playing a Kay Fender knockoff.

Only the bass player, who's name I can't remember at present, had pro gear. A P-bass and Ampeg B-15. The Drummer was Joe Otterstead.

It wasn't all instrumentals, Joe the drummer sang a song or two. The front mic (in the photo) was mainly for announcements and patter between instrumentals.

The location for the photograph was the patio behind Joe's house, as I recall, maybe the bass player's.

The guitar players both played through a Sears 2x12" guitar amp. The mic was plugged into it too.

Finally, I asked Buck about my earlier thought - before The Montereys, did Buck ever play in an actual band as a drummer...?

Donald Roeser

I never gigged in a band as a drummer. Only as a guitar player. I wasn't in what I'd call a 'real' band until the college band with Albert Bouchard, The Travesty.