Lobo...in his own words

Phil Gernhard Phil first approached me as I took a break when the Sugar Beats were playing in a bar in Tampa. He asked about a song we had played and wondered if I had written it.

It was a song by a local band named The Rockers called "Would I Still Be Loving You". He explained that he had produced Stay by Maurice Williams.

The next week, when we were playing, he came back. He asked if we would back some guy who wanted to record and ,if we did ,we could record something for free. The guy never showed up, and the studio only made Phil pay for supplies, so we recorded a song Phil picked out called “What Am I Doing Here With You.”

Phil had It pressed and, with 500 records in his trunk, promoted it to all the local stations, and we became local stars The reason I knew we were famous was we went from making $60 a night to $250-$300 per night.

Nothing else happened after that until a few years later, after doing active duty in the army reserve, I got in touch with Phil again. He had all the success with the Snoopy records and the money and position in the music business.

It was then that my commitment to music became serious.

Phil explained that the only way I could ever expect to succeed was to become a writer.
Writing songs became my job, my hobby , my obsession and my joy. My favorite time to write was early mornings when my mind was clear of other thoughts. All of my hits were written before breakfast.
The next three years, I wrote every day and took the songs to Phil whenever he was available. One day I took him a funny little song called “Me and You...... Boo.”

Phil, as a person, was very complex and troubled. After our years together, we finally parted ways. A few years ago he committed suicide "Number One With A Bullet," and it was sad but not surprising.
Phil had an uncanny knack for picking hit songs, he selected and produced all of my charted songs.

I will always be sad that I never thanked him, because without Phil Gernhard there would never have been Lobo.

Jim Stafford Jim and I were both from Winter Haven and had played together for a short time.

One day he got in touch with me and asked me to listen to some songs he had written. One of them was “Swamp Witch,” and, because I thought it was a hit, I took it to Phil Gernhard, my producer, and we got him a deal at MGM records.

Mike Curb was the president of MGM, and he personally asked me if I really thought that Jim could have a career as an artist. I told him that not only did he have the talent but he also had a wonderful work ethic.

We had three top 10 records, Spiders And Snakes, Wildwood Weed and My Girl Bill  as producer/publishers.

Billy Aerts - The Third Above

Billy Aerts and I were playing in a cover band in the 60 s when he was drafted into the army and sent to Vietnam. He came back a decorated, but somehow still fun loving and spiritual man, learning to cope with life after war.
I had an extra house on Clearwater Beach, Fl, and Billy lived there one summer while working with a friend, David White, in a local club.
Billy was, and still is, an enormously talented and extremely funny entertainer. Billy is also an excellent songwriter, his song "Faithful" is an inspiring dedication of love to his wife, Stormey.
After traveling with me on several Asian tours , and more or less keeping everything under control, I offered him the job of handling everything as :
manager, road manager, travel agent, record producer, songwriter, guitar player, and singing the closest harmony part to the lead: the third above. He was way over-qualified to be just a backup singer, but he accepted his role as sidekick and comic with dedication.
For over 30 years Billy booked me, negotiated recording contracts, performed in hundreds of shows, always made me laugh, and was a true friend.
After finishing a show in Toronto a few years back, we both decided it was time to hang up the old guitars.
I miss the understanding, the friendship, and mostly the laughs. If the singer is the heart of a song, the third above is the soul. For me Billy will always be the third above.

Billy is still active in the music business. please visit him at https://www.facebook.com/billy.aerts.3?fref=ts

Sam Vetovich A special thanks to Sam Vetovich for creating this website. I will always be in his debt for the countless hours he spent gathering information and presenting it with professional dedication. He did something for me that I would never have done for myself. He has become a true friend.

Gram Parsons Gram was a cousin of a friend of mine. He was several years younger and used to just hang around with the older guys. He was moody and very serious about life. Gram had an aura about him that was hard to explain. He could seem to be looking straight through you as if you weren't even there.

Gram, Jim Stafford, and I played a few gigs as a band one summer. There was never a big commitment by any so us we just played songs we knew.

I never saw Gram again but did hear about his success and of course his tragic death.
Fame It seems that I have always operated in a vacuum that doesn't allow people to get too close, so the idea of becoming a star was so foreign to me that, when it was offered, I turned it down. Inside, I knew that I could only go so far without putting myself out there on display, but I did the best I could.

When the pressure became too much, I would sit in some quiet bar and escape. I spent way too much time escaping. One day, in 1980, I just stopped drinking and never have gone back. That was one of my greatest accomplishments.

The Love of My Life It was ironic that I had written all these love song and never really felt the real emotion of my songs. Like most people, I thought I had been in love, but until I really found it I didn't have a clue.

In 1975 when I met my wife Susie it all became clear to me. We have been married for 39 years. She had three, I had one, so we had a mixed family of six. We have 5 grandchildren and had the joy of having three of them be a big part of our lives.

Marriage is like songwriting. You start working on it as soon as you get up, and it's the last thing you think about before going to sleep.

Susie is the love of my life.