January 2, 1976

Where: Long Island, NY (Carle Place High School)
Band: Steve Vai solo performance

There was an annual Gong Show at my high school so one year I entered it. I had this Fender Bandmaster amplifier that I had to bang on the top to get it to work. I played the Star Spangled Banner a la Hendrix and won the 1st Prize of $50. This performance was videotaped, but after I watched it, it got erased by the AV department of the school. I believe it was the first time I was ever videotaped, and also the first time I ever witnessed myself in motion.
$50 was an unbelievable sum of money and my friend Joe Despagni & I were stunned at all that money. We would normally have to drink the cheapest, most disgusting beer, or worse yet…Apple Ripple wine, on the weekends. Oh God I can still smell that stuff.
This night I treated a bunch of us to a few cases of Michelob, in the bottles. Ahhh…the good stuff.
There were three schools within an area of approximately 250 acres. The Carle Place Cherry Lane (K-3rd grade), the CP Rushmore school (4th-6th grade), and the Carle Place Junior High / High School (7th to 12th grade). These schools were situated in a big triangle, leaving a huge field in the middle. As we were growing up, so many things happened to us in this field that it was known as “the Ocean Of Emotion”.