It all started as The Offbeats

no 'ma, it's called rock 'n roll

Way back in 1958 six friends came together to play rock and roll as The Offbeats. Henry Pujol (bass), Bobby Hancock (guitar), Chuck Blonde (sax), Jerry Wallmark (drums), John Broaddus (sax), and Ernie Gorospe (guitar) were soon playing all the local hot spots and dance halls in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area.

A slight reshuffling of musicians led to Ernie playing bass. Henry and Chuck left the band to head out west. Dick Heintze joined the band on Hammond B-3. Eventually Bobby had to leave the group and a 14-year old unknown guitar slinger named Danny Gatton took over Bobby's guitar duties. A young singer and songwriter named Ronnie MacDonald joined to handle the vocal and frontman duties. In 1960, this version of The Offbeats went into a small recording studio and recorded history - two original tunes called Beggarman and Trouble In Mind. Band members Ernie Gorospe (bass), Jerry Wallmark (drums), John Broaddus (sax), Dick Heintze (organ), Ronnie MacDonald (vocals), and Danny Gatton (guitar), became the closest of friends and musical partners. When the band moved on in 1967, each member pursued their careers and continued to play music on and off in other bands, including each others' various other musical projects. Both Ernie and John continued to work for the United States Federal Government. Dick joined the United States Army and became conductor of the U.S. Army Orchestra. Jerry worked for his brother's mechanical contracting company. Danny continued his musical career while working in his trade, metallurgy. The members of The Offbeats remained the closest of friends throughout the years.

Let's do it again!

lucky 13 (years later)

In 1980, the original members of The Offbeats (Ernie, Jerry, John, and Bobby) got back together to play the tunes they had played years earlier as teenagers. During the band's hiatus, friend and bandmate Dick Heintze passed on after a long battle with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), otherwise known as "Lou Gehrig's Disease". This time the band played under the moniker of The American Music Company Band. In 1984 Bobby had to leave the group to head south to Florida. Once again, Danny Gatton rejoined his old friends and former bandmates, while still maintaining his individual musical career. This time another old friend of the band, Billy Windsor from The Reasons Why, joined to handle rhythm guitar and lead vocals.

Spinal disc problems forced Jerry to quit playing drums regularly by 1990. Also, Danny and Billy could no longer play regularly due to Danny's record deal and tour obligations with Elektra Records. For the next few years, Ernie and John played on with friends Denny Martin handling vocals, Billy Weeks on drums, and Dave Chappell on guitar.

December 1993 brought members of the original band together again for a Christmas gig at a local American Legion hall. With a break in Danny's recording and touring schedule, Danny and Billy, along with Jerry, John, and Ernie, would unknowingly play their last gig together as The American Music Company Band, as members of The Offbeats, and as old brotherhood friends.

Separated by only a few months, both Billy and Danny passed on to jam eternally.


rock 'n roll is here to stay

In keeping the "family" going, 1997 brought together two generations of musicians to carry on The American Music Company Band tradition. Ernie and John regrouped with the band's second generation: Steve Windsor (Billy's son), who handles vocals and guitar; Steve Gorospe (Ernie's son), who handles guitar and vocals; and Jason Avery, longtime brother-in-arms of Steve G., who handles drums and vocals. For both of the Steves and for Jason, there was no way that growing up around all of this music would not or could not rub off on them! And the rest is...history...still in the making.

Danny always said that if it wasn't fun then it wasn't worth doing. The American Music Company Band family tradition carries on and continues to prove that Danny was right...the music plays on because it sure is fun!

On a side note: Jerry underwent spinal surgery in the latter part of the 2000 decade and now plays drums again with the band at jam sessions and any time Jason loses his sticks.

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