The Kingston Trio

During the early 60’s, there was one reason that thousands of high school and college students ran out and bought acoustic guitars and banjos. There was one reason they stayed glued to the radio. The reason for all this commotion was a group called the Kingston Trio.

While we were still freshman in high school, my friends, Ron Floegel, Timothy B. Schmit, and I started a Kingston Trio tribute band… long before there was such a thing as “tribute bands.” We faithfully learned all the songs. We wore the black loafers, white socks, dark slacks and matching striped, short-sleeve shirts (it’s where the Beach Boys got the idea, too).

Timothy played a cheap Harmony tenor guitar. It was similar in looks to Nick Reynold’s Martin tenor guitar. I had a cheap Kay banjo just like Dave Guard’s beautiful long-neck, Vega banjo. Somehow we got a Martin D-18 and it was Ron’s job to be the Bob Shane of the group. It never would have entered our minds that, some 55 years later, Nick Reynolds would invite Timothy to his home in Coronado, California and give him the iconic, Martin tenor guitar that had been on all the hit records and had gone around the world many times over.

Eventually, Timothy would go on to become a member of the biggest recording group in history, the Eagles. It was well known that Timothy had been a big KT fan, so when John Stewart, Dave Guard’s replacement, passed away in 2008, Timothy was asked to perform for John’s memorial service. Nick Reynolds was there and Timothy was thrilled to finally meet the man who had started us all on our musical journey. One thing led to another and after a few months, it was decided that Nick was going to give his tenor guitar to Timothy(!). This was incredible news. How could it be?

I knew there was a good possibility of this happening, but I was surprised when I got a phone call from Timothy inviting me to fly down to LA and drive with him to Nick’s home in Coronado in order to pick up the guitar. These pictures were taken during that visit. We had a lot of fun talking to Nick about his Trio days, and it turned out Nick was a big Eagles fan, which made for good conversation.

Sadly, a few months later, Nick died from respiratory disease. Nick’s lovely wife, Leslie, asked Timothy and me if we would play for the memorial service that was held oceanside in Coronado. What an honor. The picture of Timothy and me playing Nick and Bob Shane’s guitars was taken just before the event.

The day we visited Nick and Leslie will last in my memory forever, as well as the memorial service. I’m so glad there are pictures to chronicle the event.