HOW DID LAGUNA BEGIN?
Click here to see some more photos of different past Laguna lineups from the archives
LAGUNA was formed in the fall of 1985 by Galen Cram & Kevin Dennis. The two were introduced by mutual friends who were planning to get married and wanted some live music at their reception. These friends (John & Diane Carter) knew of Galen's affinity for always taking the opportunity to lead everyone in camp fire sing alongs at their social gatherings with his guitar and his willingness to sing; and they also knew of Kevin being their other musician friend who was in bands and always brought his guitar with him to all of their outings. They also knew that both Galen and Kevin seemed to sing many of the same songs, by such artists as Simon & Garfunkel; Neil Young, Cat Stevens, James Taylor, Eagles, Beatles, etc. So the Carters took the fateful step of introducing Galen and Kevin so that they may join forces and sing songs together at their wedding.
From the moment they first started singing together, Galen and Kevin knew that they had something special there. Not only did they already know many of the same songs, but their voices blended together in a way that was so effortless that it almost seemed too easy. After a successful debut performance at the Carter's wedding reception (in which they also teamed up with keyboardist Randy McClintick), they decided to continue to perform music together. Many weekends were spent together up at Kevin's family's cabin at Mt. Laguna hanging out, playing music and learning new songs. When the official decision came to become a "band", the name LAGUNA was chosen because of these musical weekends at the Mt. Laguna cabin.
Soon they tramed up with Keyboardist/Vocalist Dave Wickham to become a trio. Many small gigs at private parties and small clubs followed, but ultimately LAGUNA was getting nowhere, and alas, Dave Wickham left the band and was replaced by another musician friend, keyboardist/vocalist Toby Tobias. The band at this point briefly changed their name to "GIT BACK". However, Toby soon left the fold and was replaced by yet another keyboardist/vocalist named Kevin Krohn. Then came the call that changed everything for LAGUNA. During the summer of 1990, a restaurant/nightclub located in Rancho Bernardo (then called THE HUNGRY HUNTER) needed a band to take the place of their house band "B NATURAL" for one Saturday night only due to a conflict in scheduling. Unfortunately, since it was a last-minute call, Kevin Krohn was unable to make it and Dave Wickham returned to the fold and performed the gig with LAGUNA. They did so well and were so well liked, that they were imediately offered a gig playing at HUNGRY HUNTER on the off nights. So LAGUNA got the opportunity to tighten up their act by playing 3 nights a week every week. The seeds of what LAGUNA was to become were being sown here, and Galen, Kevin and Dave were getting so well known that eventually they were asked to be the weekend house band.
It was during this period of time that LAGUNA decided to add a real drummer, because weekends brought people out that wanted to dance. The first drummer to join the ranks of LAGUNA was Fred Kelso (currently the drummer for the band CROSSROADS). He played on a small electric drum kit, which was perfect at first. But as time went on, the small electronic kit was replaced by a real drum kit, and eventually Fred left the band and was replaced by Stephen Shannon. Stephen remained in LAGUNA for a few years, and during this time Galen brought in another member to join the band ~ saxophonist/guitarist/vocalist Jim Becraft. Jim became the fifth member of LAGUNA. Jim, Galen and Kevin also formed a side band at this point to play some of the off nights, joining forces with female singer/guitarist Jacque Major. This side project was known as "REVIVAL" and lasted a little over a year.
With the addition of the saxophone, LAGUNA was able to branch out and play at many different clubs and venues around San Diego, including the BAREFOOT BAR, JIMMY LOVE's, FOGERTY's, and the COYOTE BAR, all the while keeping their residency at HUNGRY HUNTER, which now had been sold and became CARVER'S. In 1995 Dave Wickham and Stephen Shannon left LAGUNA to pursue other musical ventures, so Kevin called up two other long time musician friends of his, Ted Holding and Ed Faulkner. Ted was an accomplished keyboardist, singer, songwriter and sound technician, and Ed was an experienced rock drummer. With the addition of Ted and Ed, LAGUNA was complete once again.
Ed Faulkner soon left the band, and was replaced by drummer/percussionist Paul Horn, and shortly thereafter Paul Horn was replaced by Mike Stone. Mike Stone remained in the band for quite a while, and during this period of time LAGUNA added a sixth member, Andy Tirpak. Andy was a veteran San Diego musician who had played in groups with Kevin many years back. The LAGUNA sound as a 6-piece band was as full and complete as could be, but the stages at the venues that LAGUNA performed at were very small, and it was very hard to fit everyone on stage together. Tensions mounted within the band, and soon LAGUNA had split up into two separate camps. For a brief period of time, LAGUNA was no more. In one camp was Kevin, Ted and Andy, and they called themselves AKT 3; and soon began performing at the 94TH AERO SQUADRON RESTAURANT for their Thursday Happy Hours with drummer extraordinaire Gary Taylor. In the other camp was Galen, Ted and Jim (Ted remained in both bands); and they called themselves ANDREA'S FAULT and began recording their own CD of original music, and also performing the occasional gig at CARVER'S. Eventually, ANDREA'S FAULT recorded 2 original CD's (which you can still purchase from Galen).
Soon the two bands decided to reform into LAGUNA once again, and began playing at CARVER'S and 94th AERO SQUADRON as a complete unit. At this time, Jim Becraft left the band and moved out of town, leaving LAGUNA as a 5-piece band once again. This is the line up that still exists today : Galen Cram, Kevin Dennis, Ted Holding, Andy Tirpak, and Tom Schlesinger. LAGUNA has now been a band for 20 years, and has earned a reputation as one of San Diego's finest classic rock dance bands! Who would've ever known...