My musical career started in 1968 with my buddies in our neighborhood. We were all just learning, but eventually turned out to be our town's number one party band. We had many names, but I'll always think of us as the Fairview Gang, Chuck and Mike Caudill, Paul D'Angelo, Pat Markham, Harvey Cantrell, and Jim Miner. We all still remain friends and will be for life.
My first professional gig was in a band called Dean Blevins and the County Gold. I backed up a country singer, Gary Miller after that, in a group called the Southern Revue. The Southern Revue made several singles (45s), which were recorded in Beckley, WVa. In the early 70s, I floated around. I played in a band, Passin Lane, with Mike Ault and Darell Bacon. Then I took another job as a sideman with a 40s back-up guy named Kim Soy, the band was called Saucer. The band fired Kim Soy and continued as Saucer. We became the house band from the mid-70s through the early 80s. Saucer was one of the first bands looked at by Virgin Records in England. We made a hasty decision and signed with White Horse Records in Nashville, TN. We released a single," I'm Flying", "Thank You". It was a bad deal, but we learned a lot about what not to do when you sign a recording deal.
In the late 70s , I was performing in The North Star Band. They were ready to go on the road and needed a bass player and I was their man. We went all over the country for a few years and played with every famous country act you could think of. We recorded a live album while I was in the band and we have a studio album that never got released. We had a great management team, which included my father, Oliver Watt Besley Jr. But even with the great people backing us, we could not survive as a band. We broke up in the early 80s. I learned a lot with those guys. I still miss you all, Al Johnson, Lou Hager, Jay Jesup, and Paul Goldstein.
I was a little lost after North Star. I did an open mike night at the Pickett Inn in Fairfax, Va. It was a hell of a party and included notables, Bob Margolin, Heavy Country and Kill Devil. I played in a couple of groups: Ludwell Newton with Ricky Meyer, Billy Mahoney, Danny Menzie, Kevin Ball, and Kevin Kirkman; and Bob Margolin and a host of drummers. I learned a lot from that man. That was also the only time I got a chance to play with my ex-brother-in-law Matt Abts, drummer for Government Mule. Dewhite, Jim Staford, Bob White, Deny Desloge, and Bill Mahoney. They were from my favorite band, Kill Devil.
In 1986, it was time to leave Virginia. I headed to Jekyll Island, GA. I started playing with my brother, Ed Pickett. We had a duo and recorded a cassette that a lot of people talk about and some of the songs are kept alive on Those Guys 1 release. I have since moved to Florida, but Ed remains on the island. When I met Walt Kulwicki and Chris McVey, Ed and I were playing in St. Augustine, FL. They sat in and it wasn't long before Those Guys was a trio. Those Guys released 7 CDs. Two recorded on Last Resort Records and 5 on Eclipse Records.
After struggling with the decision for many years, I decided to leave the band "Those Guys" in September 2010 after 18 years. Wishing them all the luck in the world, I just couldn't continue on the way things were going. My brother Eddie Pickett and I have started playing together again. We have a duo "NorthStar". The name I took from the group I hold with the most respect. Our CD "Keepin' It Real" was released in 2013. Currently, however, I do most of my playing solo. "Believe These Eyes" released in 2011, "Hopeless Romantic" released in 2013. "Mr. Song To Evil People"was recorded at Cave Canem Studio in St. Augustine, produced by Barry Dunaway of .38 Special, my latest release. Count on a lot of new original music from myself and "NorthStar"!!!!