I was born and raised in Beebe, Arkansas. At around age 10, my Uncle Milbourn Hooper gave me an old beat-up guitar. That started it all!

I  would ride my bareback pony, with guitar in hand, to visit Hollis Allen, a local Professional musician. Hollis would give me guitar lessons and taught me how to play songs such as "The Wildwood Flower", among others.

At age 12, I entered a talent contest at the local annual "Strawberry Festival" and won first place, ($15.-) ! A lot of money for a 12 year old kid in 1955! That  kinda sealed my fate as far as wanting to become a Musician.

In 1960, my cousin, Gerald Hughes, and I drove over to Memphis to visit Graceland and possibly get a glimpse of Elvis! But.....Elvis was in Hollywood filming "GI Blues" So,  Gerald and I hung around Graceland that afternoon talking to Travis Smith who worked as Gate Guard and was Elvis' Uncle.
I mentioned to Travis that I was a musician. Travis then said his son, Billy Smith, was trying to get a band together and asked me if I may be interested in joining Billy's new band.

After meeting with Billy, I decided to go ahead and give it a try. I went back to Beebe, Ark and loaded up my Equipment and some clothes and moved to Memphis and lived with Billy and his family there in Whitehaven.

The first night I met Elvis was a very exciting time! When Billy & I arrived at Graceland, Elvis was  picking up Anita Wood . He wasn't gone long, and when he got back, Billy & I were standing out front when they drove up. Elvis and Anita got out of the car and Elvis came over and Billy introduced me to Elvis and Anita . Elvis was wearing a black suit and had on white gloves. and I remember the white gloves from shaking hands with Elvis that first night. A very Vivid memory!  I was 18 and he was 25.
This was the first night Elvis was back and word hadn't got out yet that he was back in town, so it was just the immediate family and very close friends, ie.,Elvis, Anita, Vernon, Travis, Billy & I, Elvis's gang, (Charlie, Joe, Sonny, etc). I believe Vester and his Daughter Patsy,  were also there that first night. We just sit around and talked and I told Elvis I had played with Teddy Riedel over in Arkansas and he told me he had recorded a song of Teddy's, title "Judy". After that first, peaceful, night, Graceland was crowded just about every night with Elvis' friends & family. Elvis and and I got along very well from the very beginning. When Elvis was in town, Billy & I were at Graceland almost every night. A super exciting time in my life!

One of many highlights of this time was when Elvis called down to Sun Studios and set up a recording session for Billy  &  I at the old Original "Sun Studios".  To top that off, Scotty Moore was in the control room that day!   WOW !!!

Elvis was usually home for 6 weeks or so between making movies. Once a week we would go see some movies at a theater (The Memphian). Elvis would rent the entire theater for the night. We would go in around midnight and sometimes it would be daylight when we came out the next day. The movies were free, but we had to pay for our Popcorn & Cokes, etc.. One night, Elvis & Anita Wood were at the concession stand the same time I was  and Elvis had no money (with him). He said "Ace, (Elvis called me "Ace") do you have any money? I will pay you back later"? I gave him the money, needless to say! Even Elvis had to pay for Popcorn & Cokes, etc. (things were cheaper in 1961) ! Well.. Elvis NEVER paid me back the $2.00!! I started to sue the estate for it, but never got around to it.. };-))

When Billy started to work for, and traveling with Elvis, we broke up our little Memphis Band and I moved back to Arkansas. It was just about this time I started to work with Arlen Vaden of "VADEN RECORDS". Arlen sold records & songbooks all over the USA. Mostly records of him and his wife Jackie. They called themselves "THE SOUTHERN GOSPEL SINGERS". This was in the late '50's & early '60's. Vaden had a few local artists on his label, Teddy Riedel, Bobby Lee Trammel, Larry Don, Joyce Green, Freddy Douglas, to name a few.
Vaden also booked A-List Artist into venues in the tri-state area. While working with Vaden,  I got to meet such artists as: Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Don Gibson, Roger Miller, Conway Twitty, Charlie Rich and many others. One Sunday we went over to Memphis to record 2 sides on Bobby Lee Trammel at the Hi Recording Studio on Lauderdale. It was an old movie theater converted into a recording studio. I remember the old Ampeg Tape Recorders were set up in the control room in the balcony of this old movie theater. Bill Black also recorder some of his hits in the same studio. Anyway, the drummer we brought over from Ark could not cut it, so Vaden called D.J. Fontana (Elvis' old drummer) to do the session. D.J. came over and finished the songs in a short period of time.  This was a Sunday afternoon and when we finished, we took the tape to Pepper Studios to get it mastered and then took the masters down to the pressing plant and by Friday of the following week, we had 600 copies of the record (45 RPM) to get to radio stations and Juke Box distributors. (Try to get something like that done today in one week, even with all the new Tech available!!) I would take a couple of boxes of the new record (45's) and go around to Radio Stations and get them to play the record to see what kind of reaction we would get from it.
Try that now days!! Yea, those were Really, the good ole days!!

I moved to California in the mid 60's and taught Guitar at Peggy's Music School in Redondo Beach until 1969.  In June of 1969, I was called into the Army and was sent to Ludwigsburg, Germany. After my release from the army in 1970, I remained in  Germany and married my German sweetheart, Karin.
I started a band "The Trailriders" and played Military and Civilian clubs all over Southern Germany from 1970 until 1979.

In 1972, I opened my Booking/Talent Agency (Cochran Talent Agency). I booked many other Bands & DJ's in  Southern Germany. I spent 10 years in "The Business" and got out from being Burnt Out. You never get out of Music, but you can get out of the Music Business!!

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In 1979, I moved back to the USA and was totally burnt out on playing music after spending almost 10 years playing 3 to 5 nights a week.

I moved to Houston in 1979 and after being away from music for almost 7 years, I opened the "Cove Recording Studio" in 1987. It was a little 16 track studio doing mostly Demos for songwriters. In 1995 another business opportunity came along. Mike Martini, a good friend of mine asked if I would be interested in becoming partners with him in his business of installing Home Theater Systems, Satellite & Phone systems. I agreed and within two years, I had no time for my studio. The studio was not a big money maker, so I sold off most all the studio equipment in 1997 and devoted full time to my other business (Hi Fi Doc). In 2005, Mike Martini (my business partner) died from ALS so I sold the business and retired.

Wanting to be in/around music in some way,  I started collecting guitars and started  "Jerry's Guitar Boutique"  as a hobby/business in 2005. That kinda brings us up to the present time.

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I have met many Artists & Stars over the years and also worked
with many of them on their European Tours.

To Name a few:

Elvis Presley, Conway Twitty, Jerry Lee Lewis, Charlie Rich, Teddy Riedel, Don Gibson, Carl Perkins, D.J. Fontana, Gene Simmons, Sonny Burgess, Tommy Overstreet, Barbara Mandrell, Hank Thompson,
Tommy Cash, Little Jimmy Dickins. Dottie West, Red Steagall, Hank Locklin, Jeanie Pruitt,
Diana Blair, Jerry Naylor, Roy Accuff, Shot Jackson, Narvil Felts, Albert Lee, Bill Justice, Roy Rogers,
Scotty Moore, Tex & Dorothy Ritter, Billy Jo Spears, Freddie Douglas, Freddie Matthews,
Larry MillerAnita Wood, Troy Cook Jr., Ray Benson & many, many more.

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Jerry, Billy Smith & Travis Smith
at front gate at Graceland 1961
Jerry's first New Store Bought Guitar
in 1955 (A $15.- Stella)
Jerry at Peggy's Music School,
Redondo Beach, Calif  1969
Jerry
Stuttgart, Germany 1978
3804 <> This Page Updated: August 19, 2016
Arlen & Jackie Vaden
Vaden Records  Trumann Ark
Jerry's Biography
Jerry's Guitar Boutique

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