History

Vern received his first Eko acoustic guitar when he was 11 years old for Christmas while his family was stationed in Aviano, Italy, where his father was a U.S. Air Force jet engineer. His father asked “Now play me a song”, and with no training he played “We Three Kings” on one string.

Later it was his birth place of San Anton, Texas that called to him, and he returned to live in Del Rio, Texas, home of famous radio DJ "Wolfman Jack", and that is when he began to excel in his guitar playing. His neighbor, Bobby Martinez, who was in a local band named “Thee” taught him some Hendrix chords and songs his band played, “Born to be Wild” (Steppenwolf), “No time” (The Guess Who), “All Right Now” (Free) and many others. Within 6 months Vern learned the whole set list for the band.

He first came to Catalina Island in the year 2000 for the Catalina Blue's Festival sponsored by Fender at the Casino Ball Room. He lived in Malibu, California and the most popular site for live music was at the Trancus Restaurant Bar and Grill where he played in a band called the "Malablues". The Trancus was also where Eddie Van Halen and Leon Russel, just to name a few, played also. Tim Bogard (bass player for Jeff Beck and Vanilla Fudge), was the host for open jam nights, and various other professional artists like Richie Haywood (drummer for "Little Feet") would also play. The performers would play their first set and then invite musicians who signed up on their list to join them. Vern signed up and played a few blue's songs along with them. Eventually, Vern also hosted these open jam nights and this is where he envisioned an idea he would later bring to Avalon, where other musicians are welcome to sit in with the band.

Vern continued his music in Topanga Canyon. It was where he met Richard Ludwig known as "TD", better known as "Topanga Dick", who was the manager for the "Corral" since 1968. TD talked about the best guitarist that ever played at the Corral and it was Mike Pinera, the guitarist for the "Blues Image". The Corral closed its doors in 1994 but TD told Vern to continue the music and there was another bar and grill not far from the Corral which was the only place in Topanga for live music. There were musicians who came from everywhere to join Vern in the open jam night sessions he hosted.

Vern moved to the Catalina Island in March of 2003 and teamed up with Malcolm Jones, bass player for the (Blues Image/Ride Captain Ride) , and with that they formed a band “Harpo  Flip and Jones” at Flip's Comedy/Sushi Bar and later the band was named, “Flip ‘in the Birds”. They played together with Vern on lead vocals and guitar, Malcolm on bass and Flipp on drums. After their first set, any local musician was allowed to sit in and this kicked off frequent live music in Avalon. He later teamed up with Spencer Davis (The Spencer Davis Group) and Roger Connelly (The Blues Merchants) who became the drummer for the band and the name was changed to “The Mix” because they never knew who was going to show up and sit in.

Since then Vern has been a driving force in Catalina Island`s club scene. His band "The Island Time Band" plays at the Marlin Club on Catalina Island every Friday Night from 9pm to midnight and on Saturday at Pete’s Café from 6pm to 9pm. The Island Time Band performers include Vern on lead and vocals, Mike King on bass and Scotty Rohlfsen on drums.

Vern also has another mix of musicians called the "Catalina Island All Stars" who will occasionally appear during these nights, or at other times. The Catalina Island All Stars include along with The Island Time Band musicians, some of the locally known musicians on the island, and at any time that he is playing, the musicians who join him, some of them traveling from afar, will be a surprise to all.

VPA Music also rents sound and backline equipment which will be set it up, monitored throughout the event, and broken down for transport. Catalina Island is unique in that most equipment from mainland bands has to be put on a barge and shipped over. His equipment is here on the island which makes it convenient for anyone, without the hassle of shipping and transportation.