My senior year my school attendance had become spotty and my mother suggested I join the service.
So I went into the navy and wound up in the navy school of music in Washington D.C.
It was a nine month college accredited course, and I got to study theory and harmony as well as play with some great musicians.
I stayed on after the course to become an instructor.
Out of the service in 1961 into an ill fated marriage from which came two sons: Darin and Jason, both musicians now.
I was tentative about moving to Los Angeles so I played in various groups for a couple of years winding up in Palm Springs where the hotel we were working and living in burned down along with all my instruments and belongings.
With no excuses left I moved to Los Angeles, where I worked with Billy Preston (who was sixteen at the time) in watts at a club called the Sands.
His mother would bring him into the club, and he would do James Brown songs dancing at the organ.
I played electric bass and valve trombone.
The lead trumpet player and I became friends so he turned me on to record sessions.
Also I was doing demo sessions for a producer named Gary Paxton (he produced hits such as Cherry Pie with skip and Flip, Monster Mash and others).
One day I went to Gary's house.
We recorded in his house, the control room was in an upstairs bedroom and we played down stairs in the living room.
There was no "talk back" so we had to communicate through the drum mics.
He had a four track machine so the bass and drums shared a track.
As I was setting up a group of the oddest people came into the room (Hippies).
They were the group "The Association".
We cut their first album which included the hits, 'Along Comes Mary' and 'Cherish'.
'Along Comes Mary' was the first hit record I played on.
That really started my career as a session player in Los Angeles.
Within a month I was very busy. I can't remember half the albums I played on.
I never was into listening to myself.
Even now I have a hand full of albums that I have played on...
Also we are talking about the wild sixties and everything that entails.
I worked a lot with a drummer Jim Gordon, pianist Larry Knectal and saxophone player Jim Horn.
Played on many bubble gum hits, i.e.: Tommy Rose 'Sweet Pea', Bobby Sherman and later Tiny Tim.
We recorded with Johnny Mathis, Johnny Rivers, Neil Diamond, Nancy Sinatra, Pat Boone, Sammy Davis Jr., Bobby Vinton, The Everly Brothers, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, The Ventures, Dionne Warwick, Barbara Streisand, Linda Ronstadt with the "Stone Pony's", "Sky Saxon and the Seeds," Flamenco guitarist Carlos Montoya, Jazz guitarist Howard Roberts, Jim Neighbors, Leonard Nimoy, Judy Collins etc....
I don't remember which albums.
We started in the morning and went from studio to studio, sometimes twenty-three hour sessions a week.
I don't want to get into drug stories but I was influenced greatly by hallucinogens at the time.
I had a bag full of mescaline tabs, and I started nibbling on them in the morning to maintain a certain place during the day.
The first recording session I did stoned, we did a take and went in to listen.
I thought my part sounded like bullshit so on the next take I pared it down.
This went on for a few takes and the producer walked up to me and said, "Jerry, do you realize you are only playing down beats in each bar?".
I said: "Yeah, aren't they beautiful?".
Right about this time I got a call to do an album with The Doors.
We spent six weeks in the studio recording "L.A. Woman", which turned out to be their last album.
They always used keyboard bass live, and I was approached about joining the group.
Jim Morrison went to Paris and died.
One of those things!