I asked the same question of your wife [HM Marilyn McCoo], but what were some of the sights, and sounds, and smells of growing up?$$Well, I would, I would say the, the, I, I, I would say smells of, you know, what, what, in St. Louis [Missouri], you, you know, we, we, we--it was a steel mill. You could smell smokes, you know, the smells of, of steel burning. And 'cause that's what, it was the Scullin Steel was one of the major places where, where a lot men would work, and you would, you could, you could smell it, you know. And, and, and if you were fortunate enough to, to, to live in, in an area that, that wasn't deep in the city, that just had an area where there were trees, and, and, and, and, and, and, and birds, and, and, and the blue jays, and robins, and all those kind of birds, I mean cardinals. That's where the St. Louis Cardinals came from. (Unclear)--cardinal bird, you would see all of them in, in St. Louis, you know. And, and sights, it was just, just, just trains and, and things like that, you know, trucks. There was a lot of, lot of industry there.$$Okay, okay, now was there, was there a lot of music in, in your home?$$Oh yeah, yeah, yeah, it was a lot of music in the house. I mean, my sisters and, and, and, and me, we would sing. We would sing songs. We would sing songs, get together and, and, and harmonize. And I just, I know [HM] Marilyn [McCoo] talked about--we talked about it because we did the same thing in our family. And it was, it was beautiful, beautiful to be able to get together and sing because during those years you didn't have a lot of things to entertain ourselves with, not like they do today. But, but one, one--which I think is missing today because they need to be entertaining themselves with each other instead of with the, a lot of the stuff that they entertain themselves with. But it's brought the family closer together. We, we enjoyed each other. We couldn't wait to get together and sing and show off in front of each other. It was just, it was just a lot of fun. And yeah, so there was always music in the house. I remember listening to albums and old blues songs, you know, like I was, I was, I was a, I was a--[clearing throat]--excuse me--I was the type of kid that I loved all kind of music. I want, I wanted to, to--once I knew I could sing, I wanted to sing everything. And so I would get into, I would listen to jazz. I would listen to blues and, and Jimmy Reed, Muddy Waters, and, and I would listen to all those kind of guys, Memphis, Memphis Slim. And then, then on the other hand, I'd, I'd be listening to Snooky Lanson on the Lucky Strike Parade [Officially Your Hit Parade] and, and people like that. And, and, and then I would, I, I would, I remember my mother would, would take us to the opera out at Forest Park. And, and, and I remember the first time I went and experienced an opera. It blew my mind. You know, it was like wow, these people are on stage, and they're changing outfits. And it's, they're painting a picture, they're paint a picture for us of life and how all these went, what used to be years ago. I remember seeing the 'King and I' in the Forest Park on stage.$$So this is a big park in the middle of the city?$$In the, in the--Oak Forest--$$Yeah.$$--Park is one of your major, major parks in the United States. I mean it's world-known.$$And beautiful park.$$And beautiful park, and plus it's got a world-known zoo, you know. But they also had an opera house out there. And we would go out there and my God, I was just, I mean, to see the opera, it, it, it fascinated me. I mean I couldn't believe all this beauty and all this stuff--[clearing throat]--excuse me--was happening on stage. And, and it was, it was just, it was just, it was just I knew then that, that, that where I wanted to be, 'cause I didn't know if I--but I enjoyed opera. I still enjoy to this day, classical music. I, I, I, I'll tell you, I listen to everything, but, and I enjoy it all. But I never thought I would be an opera singer.$$Now St. Louis is one, but Houston [Texas]--(simultaneous)--$$$$--there's an opera in a park, and I can't think of too many other places that have an opera in the park. In fact, I can't think of any right now, but they were like, what, the Mooney's Theater out there and all that, you know, so--$$Mm-hmm.$$Yeah.$$Well, during those years I didn't know, I, I didn't know it was an opera in the park until we--that my mother [Norris Oldham Davis] took us. And once, once she took us out there, then I wanted to keep going because it interest me. It was the music, you know. And I don't what other parks had operas in 'em or, or nothin'. I never thought about it after that. But it's one of the things that stuck in my mind and my heart, that, that, that, that it was a part of the music that I would love, you know. And so that was a good experience for me for, for preparation for, for what I wanted to do in my life.$Now you left St. Louis [Missouri] in '65 . Now, did you, did you know your friends were out there, you know--$$Yeah.$$--[HM] Lamonte [McLemore] and--$$Yeah, well, well, Lamonte's brother, Donald, he was coming through St. Louis. And I had talked to him, and I had, I had called Lamonte and asked him, you know, if he knew anybody at Motown Records on the West Coast, and he said yes. He said I know the president on the, of the West Coast. I said wow, that's great. I said do you think you can get me a, a, an appointment with him. I said I wanna go, I wanna meet him, so I go see about getting with the company. Lamonte asked me, said well, can you sing? I said, I said yeah, yeah. I say, I said you get the appointment. I'll do the rest, you know, and so he did. And at that particular time, his brother was coming through St. Louis visiting some of the, his people. So that was my ride out to Los Angeles [California]. So Dunk came through--Donald--$$He actually drove, he drove back from L.A. [Los Angeles, California] and was going back, huh?$$Yeah, he drove--$$Yeah.$$--from L.A. coming to see his family. And then we got--he picked me up now on the way back and, and drove back to California. I drove with him--$$How, how--$$And--$$--how many hours is it from St. Louis to Los Angeles?$$Oh it's--$$Or how many days is it?$$It's about a day or so, or, or more. It's according to how long you wanna stay on the road, you know, 'cause we stopped in Denver [Colorado] and stayed overnight in Denver. And then we left Denver and came, came into L.A. the next day. But what, what happened was a, a, a, a, a crazy story happened because the night before I left to come to L.A. [Los Angeles, California], I played in a club with another friend of mine. His name is Jasper Thomas. Jasper used to be the drummer for Chuck Berry. So, so, but, but both of us were hitting the sauce at the time. And so we, we, we, we played, and, and, and when we finished the job that night, I know I was going to be going out to California the next day. So what happened is I had my guitar and my amp, and instead of--he, he packed his drums in the, in the trunk. Usually, I would have put my guitar and amp in the trunk of the car, but I put 'em in the backseat. And drinking, I, I didn't think about it. And so on the way home we decided that we was gon' stop and get some barbecue. So we stopped, and when we stopped somebody broke in the car and stole my amp and the, and, and, and my guitar that I was taking to California, 'cause that was gon' be my working tools. And so, what happened was, I came out of the barbecue place, and they got me home. And I opened the trunk, and I said hey, man, my guitar and my amp's not in (laughter)--so, it was, it was, in, it was in the car that we figured out, so. Anyway, I came on out to California anyway. But once I came out to California without a, without a, something to work with, I knew I had to get a job, you know. So I got a job when I came out there. And then once I got a job, I, I ended up buying another guitar and an amp, so, to start, to start--see, you buying what you need to get started again. Then I started playing in some clubs, yeah.$$Okay.$$And then wasn't long after that that Lamonte and I sat down and started talking about starting a group. But I, I, at the time, I didn't wanna start a group. We talked about it. I said Mack, I said you know, I'm out here looking for a contract. I said now, if we wanna do this for a hobby, that's fine, you know. I said 'cause I like group singing. I've always done group singing. I say but if anything happened with this, with, with this audition, you know, I'm gone, you know, so.