teenager in Odessa, TX Larry was a fan of Roy Orbison, who
lived 20 miles away and played at local VFW's. Little did he know
that he would one day go on tour with Orbison and the Rolling
Stones before ever thinking of writing songs.
But his biggest hero early on was James Dean, whose
influence lured him to knock on many closed doors in Hollywood
before disillusionment drove him to the oil fields of
Louisiana. He toiled as a wire line serviceman in New Iberia
while refueling for his next challenge, still intent on
pursuing his dream of stardom.
As fate had it, while visiting
relatives in Shreveport, his brother in law pulled a prank on him by
telling the Diamond Head Lounge's house band, The Dean and Mark
Combo, that Larry was "famous". After being coerced onstage he
was invited that night join the band, and also offered a contract by
an agent from Mercury Records who happened to be in the crowd. (Only
later did he sign a contract with Hickory.) After getting his feet wet in Shreveport clubs he
ventured to Nashville, where he cut his first singles. He was then
ready to make the next obvious leap: New York. There he donned a
tuxedo and perfected his stage presence in smoky Village nightclubs.
That training underfoot, he returned to Shreveport and rejoined the
Mathis brothers to form The Newbeats. The trio outgrew the
restraints of a small town and transferred to Nashville, where they
may have remained fish out of water in that Country stronghold if
not for the British Invasion demanding attention across the ocean.
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