Chapman ~ Guitar
Tom Costanti ~ Saxophone
Tom Hume ~ Drums
Rich Koch ~ Guitar
Dave Maddux ~ Piano
In Memory of
d: January 2013
My name is Tom Costanti. I was the leader of "The Princetons" who played most of the venues in the Tacoma area. We started out about 1959 and played for about 3 years. We played at the Tacoma Armory, Midland Hall, Crescent Ballroom, Evergreen Ballroom, Odd Fellows, Eagles in Auburn, Other halls in Olympia and probably others that I have forgotten about. I played with the Wailers occasionally, when they need a 6th man at the Spanish Castle. Our guitar player, Rich Koch, played later with the Wailers after our band broke up. We even cut a record (never got out).
Tom Costanti, January 2001
The Princetons formed in December 1959 when Dan Chapman and Tom Hume met at, where else but, a Wailers dance. Dan had just finished playing football for Lincoln High School in the Turkey Day game, hoping to feel better after a disappointing loss. After hearing Rich Dangle play with The Wailers, football was history forever. We entered a talent contest only one month later on Channel 13 and won first place. The next Tuesday we played at the Salishan gym and had to sign autographs… memories.
The following year we fronted such bands as The Wailers, Little Bill and the Blue Notes, The Frantics, and The Champs. One dance at The Fellowship Hall included a battle of the drums between Mike Burk of The Wailers and Tom Hume (more memories).
We played the last Auburn Days street dance (got too wild). Shortly after our beginning, Marilyn Lodge joined us with her great vocals.
Many, many thanks to Jeff Miller from Golden Oldies in South Tacoma.
Dan Chapman, Langley, WA, July 2005
Dan Chapman's NW Musical Visions
Available at CD Baby
Watch a related Video of the CD on You Tube
On Thanksgiving Day, 1958, I was playing what I would soon determine to be my last football game for Lincoln High School, Tacoma, Washington. The field in Lincoln Bowl was frozen solid. We were playing Stadium, and towards the end of the 4th quarter the ball slipped out of our quarterback's hands, went into the end zone, and a Stadium player fell on it. Since no one could stand up on the ice, the game ended, we had lost.
After the game, we were all feeling pretty low, but someone had told me about a dance that night in the South Tacoma Community Center, so I went and for the first time saw a band called The Wailers. I had never heard anything like that before. From that point on all I wanted to do was learn to play guitar so I could be one of the guys on the bandstand. I bought a $10 Harmony guitar and took three lessons.
I was at another Wailers dance the next weekend and met Tom Hume, a drummer for a band called The Twilighters. Tom said they played mostly standards (Blue Moon, etc.) but were thinking about changing to rock and roll. Tom said they wanted to add a rhythm guitar and asked if I played. Of course I said yes. At that point I had had 3 lessons on an acoustic guitar. They set up a try out for me the next week. That next week I bought an electric guitar, a small fender amp, and practiced almost 24 hours a day. I showed up to the try out with sore fingers. I must have played ok because I was hired. Since a couple of the members had Princeton haircuts we decided to call ourselves The Princetons.
We practiced all through the next two months and decided to enter a talent show on Channel 13 in Tacoma . We won the contest and the following Tuesday we were playing the Salishan Gym in Southeast Tacoma. I remember the stage being surrounded by girls and having to sign autographs when we got off the stage. I figured this was what I wanted to do, and I didn't play football again much to the chagrin of the Lincoln High School football coach. I had been slated to play college football.
Little Bill and the Blue Notes was also playing there that day and did a song that would become a major hit for him called "I Love an Angel."
The next couple of years were very exciting. The Princetons were playing all over Southwest Washington in such rocking places as The Tacoma Armory and the famous Spanish Castle. We fronted The Fabulous Wailers, Little Bill and the Blue Notes, The Frantics, and many others. For many, it was the most exciting time ever in Northwest music history.
It was the practice in those days to have four or five bands play at a dance. There would be as many as 5000 kids in attendance. Except for the occasional fight and a little beer, that was about as wild as things got. The main focus was on great dancing, the bands and their music, and above all, one hell of a lot of fun.
I'm happy to say all of the members of The Princetons are still kicking and most are still playing gigs, including myself. We are still in touch and they are a great group of guys. I've also had the pleasure of talking to some of the other musicians who were in great bands back then, some of whom I have credited in the '59 Northwest Rock video... Walt Rattenbury, Bob Christensen, Sam Carlson and Dan Moyes (a drummer from "The Night People" who I played with in Seattle).
Long live old Northwest Rock
Dan Chapman, March 2012