Pete Rowland

on cruise ship

It all started in a small town outside of Jacksonville called Baldwin. Music was always a big part of my life and, at the age of 5, I sang in church for the first time with my Mom and Dad.

I played in my first band at the age of 12. It was a true "garage band" called The Phantoms and was made up of three school buds and myself. We did a lot of playing for local events i.e., grocery store openings and other such events usually on the back of a flat bed truck. I was the front man until our drummer's bad school grades caused his mom to make him quit the band. We had our biggest gig coming up in three weeks with no drummer! I pleaded with my mom to buy me a set of drums and after much begging and pleading she relented and got me a starter set. I set them up in our garage, put on some "Ventures" records, turned my little stereo full blast and taught myself to keep a steady beat on the drums. We played the gig and I became a "self taught" drummer.

I was graduated from Baldwin High School (grades 1 - 12 were all taught in the same building at that time) and became a student at Lake City Junior College where I met Billy and Larry in the college chorus. They invited me over to see their band - Mouse The Boys & Brass and, after several attempts, I finally got to see them at the Beaches Auditorium. I was totally blown away by the group, became an "instant groupie" and was determined that I would be a part of it one day. I started traveling around with them just to be a part of it all, sometimes driving my car and sometimes riding with the equipment in the band's van.

To jump ahead. . . . after a few months, the band decided they wanted a new "gimmick". They asked me if I would like to become their second drummer along with Ted. I, of course, jumped at the chance! My first appearance with the band was at the Beaches Auditorium in Jacksonville Beach. I remember my knees were shaking so badly that Billy had to steady me with the neck of his bass. I think we got to play a total of 2 to 3 times with both drummers before "Uncle Sam" invited Ted on a trip to Vietnam leaving me as the only drummer. Seems like all my life I've been fortunate enough to be in the right place at the right time. God's been good to me. The rest, as they say, is history. I was lucky enough to spend the next few years with six of the best friends any guy could every ask for . . .doing something that I truly loved !

When Mouse left the group to go into the ministry, we tried a couple of other "front men" but, eventually, I moved from behind the drums to take over the microphone. The band became more of a "club" band at that time. We settled in a place on the North side of Jacksonville known as Sonny's Lake Forest Lounge for a few successful years doing tribute shows . . . Elvis, Tom Jones, Neil Diamond, The '50s, the '60s and even a comedy show.

While visiting Panama City Beach I met a booking agent from that area - once again, at Mark Brunel benefitright place . . . right time - who asked if I would consider letting him build a group around me and go out on the road again. I spent six months putting together a nine piece show band that became known as Music Machine. We traveled all over the country opening and backing such acts as Jackie Wilson, Ray Charles, Ray Stevens, Rufus w/Chaka Kahn and the AVerage White Band, among others.

After the death of my dad in 1976 I decided to leave the road, get out of music and come home to be with my Mom and sister. I was out of music for about 18 months when I joined a local Jacksonville group called Raintree. I worked with them for about 3 - 4 years in local clubs before "bar burn-out" set in and I decided enough was enough

After years out of the business I heard that Larry had a group and I decided to go hear them and say hello to Larry who I hadn't seen in years. Once more - right place . . . right time - the band was losing their drummer and they asked if I would "fill-in" for a couple of weeks. Those two weeks became almost ten years until I finally left the band in early 2000.

Now I am a member of the Music Ministry for Southpoint Community Church in Jacksonville. I thank God every day for the wonderful life He has given me and I hope that it will continue for many years to come.

I am so excited about Mouse The Boys & Brass getting it together again. I have been asked so many times by so many people what everyone in the group is up to and when we were going to do a reunion concert. Well friends . . . once more. . . it's the right place and the right time!!!

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