"How you look is as important as how you sound."
As much as we wanted to be appreciated solely for our musicianship, we understood that Job One was to stand proudly before the public as representives of the Navy.
Throughout the fall of 1977, Navy Band Newport's rock group Long Island Sound achieved a perfect balance of appearance and musicality. Consider the opening of our typical high school performance:
- Principal introduces band.
- Soundman plays tape of "The William Tell Overture."
- From various corners of the auditorium, band members rush to stage, creating the impression that they're thrilled to be playing a 0830 show at Podunk High.
- Fog machine pours smoke onto stage.
- As Lone Ranger musics fades, band opens with "Theme From Rocky."
- At beginning of trumpet solo, students in front row begin choking on airborne chemicals from fog machine.
- At final, sustained high F# of trumpet solo, performer decides to jam bell of instrument directly against the microphone "so it'll cut through."
- At final, sustained high F# of trumpet solo, soundman decides to maximize gain on trumpet microphone "so it'll cut through."
- Final, sustained high F# of trumpet solo cuts though 500 pairs of eardrums like a machete through a wet pack of Lucky Strikes. Freshmen run crying from their seats, math teachers drop to the floor with heart attacks.
Undeniably, Long Island Sound looked as good as it sounded. It is noteworthy that we played in many schools, but never in the same school twice.