HIMALAYA…Then & Now
The group formed in 1986 when Landers Pierce (percussionist) met Morris Beeks (keyboardist/writer) at a Los Angeles music store. They exchanged phone numbers and Morris reached out to his writing partner Keith Andrew (guitarist/writer).
After a listening session of what Beeks and Andrew had written Landers and Morris knew that we had something to build on. We took a meeting with Bob Gooding, National Marketing Director at Qwest Records and explained to him what our intent was to assemble a group which was the right move come back to present material for signage well you know how that works time waits for now one in this business. when things don’t happen accordingly you don’t mash the gas pedal, you keep going or at least that’s what we did. The good thing we understood how this works, timing, and a little talent.
I met a gentleman named Michael Kimbrough and told him what I was doing, and he took it upon himself to reach out to an associate Richard Woods back on the east coast, told us about a drummer out here that worked as a manager in the drum department at The Guitar Center in Hollywood. This opened up the introduction to Robert (Jake) Jacobs (drummer) who told us about a jam session that takes place every Monday by the name of Josephines. Morris, Keith, Mike and I started to frequent a spot in Los Angeles by the name of Josephines where we met an abundance of musicians every week. That led to meeting Bill Sharpe (Bass) and finally Paul Weber (Sax) from a Robert (Jake) Jacobs tip. Before we knew it, we had a band that was hungry that wanted something more than doing gigs around town and a manager Michael Kimbrough that complimented that same thought process.
Himalaya rehearsed extensively and when our first performance was over, we knew that this was something that we enjoyed. Los Angeles promoters Stanley Stain, Don Dirbaney, Herman Regusters, Steve Gable, Roland Wirt, Marc Gaspard, Darn Oldham and Marvin Menzies were very good in booking Himalaya at all of their special events which were every week
After Bill and Jake moved on, we had the pleasure of working with Sam Simms (Bass) and Stanley Smith (drums) and when Stanley was not there Donnell Spencer. when subbing for Jeff’s chair we had Tefere Hazey and Thad Correa again complementing the music with their talents. They gave the material a different groove that just worked out for live performances and transitioned in the recording studio on Himalaya’s debut release of “Friend to Friend”. We cannot thank them enough for their talents and being a part of this whole process.
That gave Himalaya heavy airplay in Los Angeles and around the country which led to a college tour and festivals. Songs like “Sharlene” and the ballad “I’ll Get By” featuring Morris Beeks on vocals was always a crowd pleaser. Sam and Stanley were extremely busy and in demand we knew that for what they had laid down was complimentary to our sound along with their producing skills it fit like a glove. However, the way the songs were written back then years later are still relevant to what you hear now it would always attract that musician… enter Jeffery Suttles (drums/producer) and Erick Burdette (bass/producer) to keep the vibe alive. Their dedication on how to approach and execute a tune was priceless to us. Jeffery Suttles was at the time very busy touring with numerous pop and R&B acts so when he was referred by a fellow musician Morris and myself were invited to an outside performance in San Diego with Taylor Dane. After coming out of the change on the first song we knew this is the guy. Same thing happened when we met Erick Burdette, he came into the rehearsal space in Venice and Morris had given him a couple of songs to check out and through the first song we looked at each other and we knew, this is the guy. That was 28yrs ago, it’s a great feeling establishing so many relationships with musicians along the way supporting us. When 2020 rolled around up Erick suggested we should get into a room and just jam. Prior to us getting back together we had not played as a unit for 10yrs. and we were looking forward to it then the pandemic hit. Needless to say that did not stop us, we're putting up a couple of songs from our CD “Friend To Friend” through Zoom and other social media platforms along with the possibilities of some new material. This was by no means was planned out, we all are in an agreement to do this for the music and most importantly fun.
Meet The Band
Jeffery B. Suttles