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Travis Becomes "The Teddy," Germany (1963-1964)
In April, 1964, I attended the Kinderfest held at the German Army base on the outskirts of town. We marched in behind the Children's parade and Frank made sure I sang a few songs for the townsfolk and troops. When I finished, I was briefly mobbed by the kids, some of whom proudly claimed me as their American friend from the Ice Cream Parlor. The posters above show that I was double-booked on the weekend of the 16th of May, 1964. It isn't immediately obvious, but "beiden Pfingstagen" refers to both Whitsun religious holidays, one of which was May 16th. I knew about the booking at the Koralle in Plön, but was unaware of being booked with the Vampiros in Behrensdorf until Ernst-Gunther Schröder, son of the owner of Gasthaus Schröder, came to me in a panic. He had already sent out all the publicity posters announcing that I would be appearing there that Saturday night with the Vampiros -- and they were being put up as far away as Hamburg! He insisted I had agreed to it at the Kinderfest.

Perhaps I had. However good my German was becoming, with a crowd gathering around me and all talking at once, I may have agreed to something, or led someone to believe I had agreed to something, without ever knowing what was under discussion. I told him I was sorry, but I had to honor my commitment with The Nightstars. He asked if I would play his room if he could come to an arrangement with The Nightstars and the Koralle? When I agreed, Ernst-Gunther introduced me to rock promoter Werner Hingst who was to drive me back and forth between the clubs so I could play both locations
The first gig of the night was with "The Nightstars" at the Koralle in Plön. Werner watched the show while Ernst-Günther waited to drive us to Gasthaus Schröder for my first set with The Vampiros. Then, on the way back to Plön for my second set with The Nightstars, Werner told me his proposition. He was convinced I was a super talent, but equally convinced I needed a manager. Under the circumstances, I could hardly argue that. He asked which band I preferred. I said both had good players. He then asked who I would choose from each band if I was putting together a group of my own. He was certain that with a top-notch group behind me, he could land me a recording contract with either Polydor or Phillips and book me all over Germany. It was a dream come true, but there was a hitch. I told him I was on active duty in the U.S. Navy and my availablity was necessarily local and uncertain at best. Undaunted, he proposed to book the band independently, with me as the guest star whenever I was available. That way, we could start getting ready to record right away. I told him I'd have to get permission from the Navy to sign a recording contract, but by the time I got to my second set, I was mentally auditioning the players in "The Nightstars." And by the time my last show ended, close to three in the morning at Gasthaus Schröder, I'd chosen the lead singer/bass player and the singing drummer from "The Nightstars" and the lead guitarist/lead singer, rhythm guitarist/back-up vocalist and saxophone player from "The Vampiros."