Sonny Charles with Steve Miller Band

With Steve Miller Band, Sonny Charles moves out of a career Checkmate

Sonny Charles of Checkmates fame with Steve Miller in concert

By John Katsilometes · May 20, 2010 · 5:28 PM

For a long time Sonny Charles sensed that his long friendship and musical partnership with Marvin Smith was coming to an end. “Sweet Louie,” as Marvin forever was known onstage, was not a healthy man as he reached his late 60s.

There were times when Sweet Louie struggled to finish shows. There were times when he struggled and couldn’t finish shows.

Still, the duo forged ahead as The Checkmates, or rather, “The Legendary Checkmates!” as they were known at such Vegas haunts as Arizona Charlie’s Naughty Lady Saloon and Sahara’s Casbar Lounge.

Finally and without fanfare The Checkmates, who for five decades were featured in Vegas lounges and in clubs across the country, quietly passed away.

Read more at: Las Vegas Sun, March 16, 2011

 

A friend who always talked about you

Back in the early 80’s, I lived in the Los Feliz/Atwater area. I spent many a night walking my dog with my neighbor Bud Mason, ne Wayne Mason, who told me stories about growing up in 50’s and 60’s. He seemed to have a story about everything. To give you an idea of how wacky his childhood was, when Oregon went to the Rose Bowl in 1958 they found out Bud had a pet duck. They gave him free tickets in return that the duck could be their mascot for the game. That was the kind of stuff that happened to Bud, and I spent a lot time cracking up at his escapades. He spoke of his days in the navy, hot rodding up and down San Fernando Road, ordering Zombie’s from a black bartender named Ben at Gazzarri’s, and rocking out to a band named “Stark Naked and the Car Thieves.”

I was just a kid back then, but the name was instantly cool to me and remains so to this day. I decided to google your band for kicks, and it is nice to finally be able to put a face to the name. Bud has been gone for a few years now, but every once in a while I think about him fondly and laugh. I have regaled my own son with some of Bud’s stories… and yes, about a band called Stark Naked and the Car Thieves.

Thanks – Anthony

Stark Naked In Waikiki (1968)

Mon 2/14/2011 5:06 PM

Hi Guys:

My name is Steve and I live in Honolulu, Hawaii.

I recall reading in our local newspaper in 1968 that “Stark Naked And The Car Thieves” opend at a nightclub called “The Lemon Tree” in Waikiki on March 26, 1968. The group members at that time were Larry Dunlap on organ, Dave Dunn on vocals, Les Silvey on guitar, Mac Brown on vocals, Leonard Souza on drums and Mickey Borden on bass.

The main rock and roll radio station in Hawaii at that time was K-POI. I was wondering if the guys were ever interviewed on that station while they were in town. I was quite young at that time so I did not get to go to the nightclub to see them. Did the group have any singles out during the time that they were performing in Hawaii?

Best Wishes,
Steve