Triangle Billiards
Bill's father, Herbert "Shorty" Stallings and his uncle, Elmer, owned a pool .....

In Memoriam
Gary Richardson 7/1968 ; Lee Caraway 1979; Virginia Bocock 7/2000...............


    A Personal Memoir

800 E. Sparrow Road
Dick’s father, a very successful South Norfolk physician, died at the age .....

Princess Anne High School Stadium - Dave Clark Five
TSM was on the bill at Princess Anne High School Stadium when The .........

Performances at Virginia Beach’s "Dome"TSM was the opening act for The Byrds when they appeared at the ...........

Able Helpers
TSM was very successful financially. Eventually we became jaded ............

End of a Dream
Gary died tragically in 1968, and TSMs dreams of success died with him. ........

Special People
As mentioned earlier, TSM had a great fan base, the enthusiasm of .................

SPQR Records
When we met Frank Guida, he was working out of a three room ..........

The Swinging Machine

Garage Band

Hampton Roads, Virginia

Epilog
Soon after leaving TSM, Esdras Lubin switched to acoustic bass and began ...

The Ambassadors’ Club and Portsmouth Catholic High School
TSM had a really strong fan base in Portsmouth. Gary and Lee were .........



The Canaries
The summer of 1964? one of the Virginia Beach nightclubs brought over a .............

The Casino - Ras Wescott’s East Coast Lounge
Our first gig at the Casino at Nags Head, NC was for multiple nights, so ...............

Formation - Evolution

Sour Notes
We played a gig at the Nansemond

Hotel in Ocean View which ...........

The precursor to The Swinging Machine (The Chevelles) was formed in 1963 by four friends from Oscar F. Smith High School in South Norfolk (now Chesapeake), VA. The band’s first paid performance was a dance at Willard Junior High School, Norfolk. The band met with little success, but three members Evan Pierce, Jr (lead guitar), Richard (Dick) H. Bocock (drums), and W. Steven (Steve) Curling (saxophone) didn’t let that stop them. Evan had the good fortune to meet Esdras ben Lubin at Old Dominion University (at that time Old Dominion College), where they became friends and, eventually, roommates at an off-campus apartment. Esdras had been with the group The Wanderers as lead guitar, but was looking for a change. Evan was only too happy to hand over lead guitar duties to Esdras and switch to bass with the creation of a new group. Esdras didn’t care for the name Chevelles (naming bands after hot cars had been the rage but was becoming passe) and suggested that we use the title of a tune by Mose Allison: Swinging Machine. We put The at the front of it and that was that. While The Chevelles had played a lot of west coast surfer tunes, Esdras expanded the repertoire of The Swinging Machine with songs by Ray Charles, James Brown, Jesse Hill and other popular black artists. TSM became well known playing for fraternity parties at ODU (especially Imps), with Esdras providing vocals.


​A keystone of the sound of the black groups was the organ, so TSM began the search for an organist. After trying several organists (essentially anyone who had an organ), lucky lightning struck when Billy Gene Stallings sat in.  He was an immediate hit with other band members, fitting in both musically and socially.  Bill was a classically trained, award winning pianist and his experience and knowledge of music theory and keen ear enabled the group to precisely mimic the music of other artists.  To a great extent, that ability to “get the notes right” would be largely responsible for the future popularity of TSM.  Esdras and Evan smuggled Bill into a bar in downtown Norfolk (Bunny’s Trade Winds Lounge) to listen to a great three piece black group: Willie Burnell and the Shades.  Willie played a Hammond organ and Bill, who had never studied organ, picked up a lot of technique listening to him. 


The drawback of the addition of Bill Stallings to the group was that: 1. he was only fifteen years old, and 2. his mother was opposed to him playing rock and roll. The group was still playing frat (keg) parties and bars outside of the main gate of the Norfolk Naval Base on Hampton Boulevard, where Bill’s mere presence was illegal. He became adept at finding hiding places when anyone came in who resembled vice squad policemen (for some reason they always wore sport coats, white shirts and ties back then). We never asked how he handled the situation with his mother (he probably bribed her with the promise of more classical piano practice), but there would have been hell to pay if she had found out the truth while he was still a minor.

TSM maintained this configuration for probably a year or so until Esdras decided to move on. That left Evan, Dick, Steve and Bill looking for new band members. They were able to connect with Gary Richardson (vocals) and lead guitarist Lee Caraway (both formerly of The Villagers). At about the same time Steve decided the band was not for him. With Bob Fisher becoming the replacement saxophonist (and later Wayne Richardson - sideman on trumpet), the group was set for its best performances.

With the British Invasion, another music genre was added to the group’s repertoire, but soul music was a big favorite of fans. Gary’s amazing vocals ranged from the Hollies (Dear Eloise) to James Brown (I’ll Go Crazy), with Lee and Bob doing the backup vocals. Lee’s guitar work provided great renditions of Eric Clapton, Dave Davies, and later Jimi Hendrix. For some reason audiences went wild when Gary did I’ll Go Crazy, completely copying James Brown’s stage act with the swinging microphone stand and falling to his knees, to be comforted and led off by Bob. It was crazy!

Teen dances featuring that dreaded new beast (rock and roll) at high school gyms, national guard armories, Shriner and Freemason facilities, and private clubs became the mainstay of the band’s engagement calendar. Radio station WNOR sponsored a Battle of the Bands at the Norfolk Arena which TSM won (diehard fans - mostly girls from Portsmouth - stuffed the ballot box), bringing more notoriety. There was no lack of work. For important holidays such as New Years Eve, it was not uncommon for the group to get $2,000 for a four hour gig; however, $1,000 to $1,500 was the norm for three to four hours. The repertoire was constantly upgraded with new tunes the moment they hit the charts. The addition of obscure soul tunes surprised fans and kept them interested. Gary would have to sit for hours trying to understand song lyrics from vinyl records, which suffered scratches from having the needle constantly moved by hand.