Jan Tonessen & The Contrasts
One of San Diego's most fabled groups, The Cascades included Dave Sleet '61 on drums.
Jan sings "Greenback Dollar" at his first public appearance, a First National Bank company picnic in 1964. Jan's father was reprimanded because the song included the word "damn".
Says Jan, "This joint was previously a bowling alley where I bowled as a kid: they had pin-boys. The Contrasts played there a few times and I recall they had a great sound system. But the smell of old bowling shoes was pervasive."
The photo above features Bill Keller on sax, James "Skinny" Bolan on rhythm guitar, Don "Little Donny" Arnold on drums, Jan Tonnesen on lead guitar and the late Kenny Jiamba on bass. Apparently they knew each other at Horace Mann. Don Arnold was Class of '69, Jan Tonnesen's family moved and he went to Helix. Kenny may have attended Snyder. All the rest are Class of '68.
Jan Tonnesen "trying to look his rock 'n roll best"
Dance at the Scottish Rite Center in Mission Valley
Recording Session • Gold Star Studios • Los Angeles
Kenny Jiampa (note fingering of right hand)
Jann tunes his guitar
Don Arnold, drummer. The drums in the back belong to The Kingsmen of "Louie Louie" fame, who were recording in the same studio at Capitol Records in Los Angeles.
Jann and Skinny Bolan
Lead singer Skinny Bolan
Jann and Kenny Jiampa harmonize
Jann and Kenny Jiampa
Bill Keller plays sax
2011 Reunion
Jan, Skinny and Don
I attended Horace Mann Junior  High (where the precursors to the Contrasts were formed: The  Avengers!) and then moved to La Mesa the summer before high  school. I attended and graduated from Helix High in 1968. I REALLY wanted  to go to Crawford, where all of my friends (and girlfriend) and band  mates were. But that didn't happen and was part of why I left the  band. I live in La Mesa. I am still in touch with Bill Keller. Skinny Bolan lives in Nashville and is just recently a  grandfather to grandchild #2. I am the proud owner of a James Guitar There was a reunion in January  2011 when the The Contrasts met at my house. In attendance was Skinny,  Bill, Don Arnold and me, along with a few other friends and fans  (including Chuck Piro). Kenny Jiampa passed away several years ago. At  that time we were interviewed by Mike Stax, a local musician and publisher  of the worldwide distributed "Ugly Things" magazine which is dedicated to  all things rock'n'roll focusing on 60s garage bands. The article was  published in issue #32 (Fall-Winter 2011). It was 5 pages long and  included photos; a very nice chronicle of the band. -- Jan Tonnesen

The dances at Scottish Rite were a benefit for Cerebral Palsy.  The host and promoter of the show was the popular radio guy, Art Way.  As I recall he was working for KOGO at this time.  Jan’s photo stream shows our recording session at Gold Star Studios in LA.  My favorite memory:  The engineer told us about his recent session recording Bobby Darin.  Take after take he wasn’t satisfied and kept asking for one more.  Late at night he finally got it, an exhausted Bobby Darin singing If I Were a Carpenter. I also love the Cinnamon Cinder marquee – Fri/Sat The Coasters, Sun The Contrasts.  The band portrait was shot at Colina Rec Center where we played a couple times.  I joined the group in 1963 when it was still called the Avengers with Bob Troop on guitar and Norm Lombardo on bass.  During practice for the Horace Mann Junior High talent show a teacher kept telling us to turn down the volume.  Jan disagreed and was physically thrown out of the auditorium.  As the teacher walked back into the auditorium he mumbled:  Tempermental mujician.  I corrected him saying: "That’s musician".  I was promptly ejected. The Contrasts were pretty tight.  There was a reason – Jan Tonnesen. Thanks for the memories -- Bill Keller ‘68

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