Bass Mission: Calico

Somewhere between the Walnut Groves of the San Fernando Valley and Old Rancho Hollywood, three wayfaring strangers made their first acquaintance.

Juniper "Juni" was a slender, fair, auburn tressed farm hand from Tujunga who ventured out on her weekly trip to the Van Nuys Feed store to buy grains for her increasingly agitated ranch boss. While lazily browsing the isles, Juni heard a song coming from beyond the store window. She wandered outside....there, perched on a stump sat a young blonde troubadour, Perry Rose, strumming a six string in the late morning sun. Juni dropped her sack of feed, and headed in Perry's direction. Just as Juni began to introduce herself, two blind bandits came flying out from behind the feed store and snatched the ole guitar from Perry's hands!

The bandits flashed rusty knives at Perry, and with empty eyes, stared at Juni who had come to Perry's aid. The bandits gave a sly grin and started their escape, when out of the blue, like a hurricane, a beautiful and mysterious brunette came flying at the bandits snapping away the guitar in a single blow, knocking the taller bandit down to half his size. Perry fought off the other with a sycamore branch while Juni grabbed a snaggled broom handle from the feed store porch and chased the bandits away. From the cloud of dust and grunts, the bandits staggered away licking their wounds.

Dr. Fred, the Van Nuys Feed storeowner, came out fuming at the mess made on his porch. He threatened to call The Briggs Sheriff and proclaimed, "I banish you hooligans from these lands!" Not having time to properly explain the scuffle, the three girls fled to an old barn in the hills of The Crescent Valley known only to Juni since Tiburcio Vasquez abandoned it in 1854.

The dark brunette finally had opportunity to introduce herself by her acquired name, Snap Dragon. The girls soon discovered they had much in common. All three were orphaned gypsies, originally born of traveling musicians from the rugged canyon country.

They began to sing a tune of their journeys around a crackling bonfire one night at Vasquez' Hideaway. The first song penned was their anthem called "Lone Ranger." To follow...they forged the tune "Fools Gold" in homage to Snap Dragon's parents who had perished in a mining accident in the San Francisco area while she was just a toddler. Similarly, Juni's folks died in a bar fight in one of the mining camps, while Perry's family had been swallowed by the earth in a massive earthquake known as "the big one" hence their third tune "San Andreas Shake."

As the band of girls made a new home in the hills, a young calico kitten with a broken hip came wandering into the hideaway for shelter and food. Perry, not having previous experience with cats, turned to Snap Dragon and Juni for advice and permission to keep the kitty as a "band cat." Oddly enough, the colors of its fur reflected back the colors of all the girls' hair spun together. The kitty began to speak of her long trek through the San Bernardino Mountains from where her ancestors once settled in a ghost town called Calico. From that moment, a new family formed...Calico The Band.

Juni never went back to her mean old boss at the chicken farm and the group survived off grain alcohol and bunch grass, until they had a set of songs to perform at local hootenannies and barn raisings where they were given food and board in trade for song and dance.

Their three-part harmonies, tales of trial and triumph, guitar-slinging skills, and dashing good looks garnered the troubadours local fame. Before long, an Italian Hollywood promoter offered them a deal they couldn't refuse. He organized a few proper shows for the new group in the booming district of Downtown Los Angeles where they became the talk of the town. And, as they say, the rest is history...

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