Groove and Soul …they’re feelings that cannot be taught. You either have them or you don’t. They are what get you excited, get you off your ass and on your feet screaming and shouting ‘til the sun comes up the next morning. Groove and soul …that was HIGH NOON!
HIGH NOON was formed in early 1989, when childhood friends and California natives, guitarist Ken Hitsman and bassist Sam Persons, left their previous bands to form one more to their liking. Ken was working at a local guitar repair shop, “Music Works”, when drummer and New Jersey native Mike Patterson came in one day. “I noticed Mike was wearing a Drummers Collective t-shirt,” recalls Ken. He then asked if he wanted to jam and the core was born. The three core members, along with friend and soon to be band manager Jim Foote, came up with the name "HIGH NOON". An ad was placed seeking a vocalist in a local music magazine called “Music Connection” and the audition process began.
In June of '89, vocalist and recent Buffalo, New York transplant, Jim Zappa, spotted the ad, liked the name and made the call. Jim, unlike many others who auditioned, came in and started improvising on the spot. "I remember them running all over the rehearsal studio like it was a show" recalls Jim. “In addition to saying to myself 'who does this at rehearsal?’ I said, ‘this could be fun’ and started singing. That was how I came up with ideas anyway so it was a natural thing for me to do.” It was that skill and great range that landed Jim the gig. The band quickly wrote a set worth of tunes and booked the first of many HIGH NOON gigs on July 31st 1989.
HIGH NOON was soon playing all over Southern California from 1989 to 1993. A majority of those shows were on the infamous Sunset Strip in Hollywood, California. Gazzarris, Whiskey a Go Go, Roxy and Troubadour all played host to HIGH NOON at one time or another. The band would also travel regularly to Orange County to perform at The Marquee. San Diego, Arizona and even Cabo San Lucas played host to HIGH NOON shows. Many of those shows were in support of national headlining acts of the day such as Badlands, Babylon A.D., Hurricane, and Rhino Bucket to name just a few.
The band also established strong friendships with members of Badlands and Great White. Greg Chaison, bassist for Badlands, personally invited the band to open for them at a gig in San Diego. Great White keyboardist and guitarist Michael Lardie would help start the recording of the bands second demo. Later those same tracks were added to by friend and legendary producer Michael Wagener of Skid Row, Dokken and Stryper fame, which also mixed the entire demo. Working with “Wags” was an amazing experience, which the guys are still grateful for to this day.
That demo was shopped to record companies and garnered some interest but unfortunately no deal was ever made. It did, however, gain the band some worldwide acceptance in Europe and Japan, even placing “Have My Heart” in a Top 10 chart in Belgium, Germany.
Unfortunately, like so many bands before and after, HIGH NOON started having internal problems. Original drummer Mike Patterson left the band to attend to personal matters in February 1992. Former Funhouse drummer Jaime Harris replaced Mike. The band carried on with Jaime for about another year and a half, but with the coming of grunge the writing was on the wall. HIGH NOON played its last show on August 15th of1993 and rode off into the Hard Rock sunset.