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Travis Edmonson
Travis Edmonson

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Artist Biography

When the Town Criers first met at San Diego State University, three members were 18 years of age and one was 23. Their first performance was for a woman's group that met in a downstairs conference room in the school cafeteria. It was the spring of 1962 and from that performance, their goal was to record an album of folk songs. Well, life sometimes gets in the way and although a few records were produced, that album did not occur. But the desire to do so never diminished.

Singing in a professional group requires focus, time and a like-minded agreement between all members as to the group's purpose and goals. The Town Criers have always cooperated in that regard. The numerous performances, the change in group membership and how that affected the group's sound and direction, the auditions, recording experiences, endless rehearsals, constant travel, all influenced the group's momentum. However, through all of those experiences, a basic quality of respect between all members always prevailed. Participating in the musical world of the Town Criers created a fundamentally positive experience. Without exception, all that were a part of the experience wished that the group would have continued. Why else would people reunite after 29 years and devote nine years to creating Journey, eight of which were spent rehearsing three weekends per month, every month. This requires commitment. Rehearsing and recording can be grueling tasks; however, those difficulties are amplified when members live over 100 miles from each other. Dan, Bing and Tom are cognizant of that reality.

The psychic and emotional ties that have held the members of the Town Criers together have allowed each participant to remain connected for approximately four decades. That connection provided the motivation for Steve Isaacson to bring the group together after nearly 30 years. Thus, the Journey has been one of individuality and collectivity. Individuality in that each member's life developed and proceeded true to its own path and value system, and collectivity as is demonstrated by the desire to come together again and realize the culmination of their joint goal that began so long ago. Currently, phenomena exist that are part of western psychological culture that speaks to this behavior. Most notably, Jung's Collective Unconscious or the basic understanding, without conscious effort, that we are a part of a greater human condition or spirit, is the phenomenon that is afoot in the Town Criers' latest effort. No matter how long ago the Town Criers began their Journey, or how far apart each person lives (Steve Isaacson lives in Wisconsin and most of the others live in California), or how infrequently some members have interacted with each other, all wanted to be a part of this experience. For all members that participated, it has been a privilege.

Town Criers performing on Journey

Bing Drastrup
Bing has musical experience that includes playing drums for the Varitones and guitar and banjo for The Ballad Men. His work on Journey includes twelve-string lead and rhythm, six-string lead and rhythm, lead and background vocals. Bing resides in the San Diego area and is president of a local steel-fabricating company.

Dan Hale
A student of classical guitar, Dan plays lead and rhythm guitar as well as singing background and lead on Journey. Dan is an art director and graphic designer who has worked in the field for over 30 years. Examples of Dan's work can be seen in the films such as McCabe and Mrs. Miller and The Summer of '42 produced at Warner Brothers Studios. Dan created the graphics for Journey and lives in Los Angeles where he heads his own design firm.

Stephen Isaacson
Steve provided the means and motivation for the group to reunite (getting everyone together during a cold, wintry weekend in Wisconsin). Steve studied folk guitar and played rhythm guitar during the performing years (his instructor was the late Frank Zappa). An institutional bond broker, Steve lives in Milwaukee, and currently serves as the group's business manager.

Tom Scali
A classically trained vocalist, Tom has sung in choirs, madrigal groups, and barbershop quartets. He sings lead and background (and plays bass). In 1969, he was featured on the single, Stay Dawn, released by Capitol Records (with Bing Drastrup on background vocals). Tom is an administrator at a major Southern California university and resides in Claremont, CA.

David Jackson
David began playing bass with the Town Criers in 1962. He and Hoyt Axton wrote the music to Three Dog Night's Joy to the World, and composed the No, No song for Ringo Starr. David plays the bass, accordion, piano, guitar, and tuba on Journey. His work has a musical flow and character that recognizes the essence of a song while finding an additional melody within its structure. David was house bass player at the Troubadour in Los Angeles. He was a member of the Good Time Singers (on the Andy Williams television show), and played with: John Stewart, The New Christy Minstrels, The Back Porch Majority, John Denver, Joan Baez, Joe and Eddie, Barry McGuire, Dillard and Clark, Jennifer Warnes, Sonny and Cher, Cybill Shepherd, and countless other artists. He has performed on numerous major records and is a member of New West, a western group.

James Marino
Jimmy, AKA Vincenzo Francisco Marino, debuted as a professional singer/drummer in 1951 and in 1959 was part of the Strangers, who had a hit record on the Dot Record label titled Caterpillar Crawl. He currently serves as the manager/producer for Frankie Laine, which has resulted in his producing two videos, three CDs, and a documentary of Mr. Laine's life. Jimmy plays drums for the Town Criers on Journey and appeared often with the group during their performances in the sixties.

Past members of the Town Criers

Gary Long
Although not performing on Journey, Gary was with the group for about one year. He has sung with the Townsmen, The Dapper Dans at Disneyland, and the William Hall Choral. A former pilot in the U.S. Marines, Gary works in aerospace and currently resides in New Mexico.

Ken Mansfield
Ken was the Town Criers' original leader, and later found employment with Capitol Records. He ultimately became the U.S. manager for Apple Records and the Beatles' personal liaison for the UK/USA. He held the positions of president and vice-president with several record companies throughout the United States. Currently, Ken resides in Bodega Bay, California. You can read about Ken's experiences with the Town Criers and the Beatles in his book, The Beatles, The Bible and Bodega Bay.

Special Guest Performer

Dick Weissman - Banjo, guitar
Dick was a member of the Journeymen (Capitol Records recording artists) in the early 60s along with the Mamas and Papas' John Phillips and Scott McKenzie (If You're Going to San Francisco, Be Sure to Wear Some Flowers In Your Hair). A prolific songwriter and arranger, he eventually recorded his own solo album for Capitol Records. Dick has written seven books about the music industry. He has performed on four solo original CD's for Folk Era and Wind River Records as well as writing two feature film scores. Occasionally, he performs with the New Mamas and Papas. He has a recently retired from being a professor in the Music Business Degree Department at the University of Colorado at Denver.


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