The Starfires of Long Beach, from left: Al (surname?) on sax, Pete Wilson, John Cameron, and Dave Christopherson

The Starfires from Long Beach

The Starfires of Long Beach, from left: John Cameron, Pete Wilson, Dave Christopherson and Al (surname?) on sax
The Starfires of Long Beach entertaining at the Terminal Island Officer’s Club “Shipwreck Party” in 1967. From left: John Cameron, Pete Wilson, Dave Christopherson and Al (surname?) on sax

Starfires Long Beach business cardA couple years ago I posted some business cards from the Los Angeles area music scene, including two cards from the Starfires. I assumed these were from the Downey group that had six singles, including the famous “I Never Loved Her”.

The Starfires Garrison Recording Studio demo, never released
The Starfires Garrison Recording Studio demo, never released
It turns out that at least one of those cards belongs to a different Starfires group, operating out of Long Beach, only 15 miles to the south. Apparently this town was big enough for two groups of the same name!

Chris Robere sent me the photos and scans seen here with a little info on the group.

In 1965, the band members included:

Pete Wilson – lead guitar
John Cameron – bass and rhythm guitar
Don Schraider – sax
Dave Christopherson – drums

The band seems to have been popular with the Naval base in Long Beach. They had at least one recording session, as an acetate demo exists from the Garrison Recording Studio in Long Beach. I haven’t heard of “No Hair McCann” before so I expect that must be an original song.

John Irvin Cameron passed away on September 15, 2015.

John Cameron's business ard
John Cameron’s business card

The other Starfires, from Downey, deserves to be covered on this site. That group included Chuck Butler lead vocals, Dave Anderson lead guitar, Sonny Lathrop rhythm guitar, Freddie Fields bass guitar, and Jack Emerick on drums. Freddie Fields seems to have done most of their song writing.

Starfires Long Beach Naval Station Officers Mess Monthly December, 1965
The Starfires featured in the Long Beach Naval Station Officers Mess newsletter in December, 1965

6 thoughts on “The Starfires from Long Beach”

  1. I interviewed most of the Downey based Starfires back in the 1990s when I tried to jump-start a compilation of all their 45s plus some other tunes.
    Sonny’s dad was their acting manager. They played Las Vegas every so often, that is how their Live At Teenbeat A Go Go LP came about

    1. hello, I would like to contact the members of the Starfires from Downey. When the drummer, Emerick, was drafted in 1965, I joined the band and played with them until I enter the Marine Corps in Jan. 67. They were all in my wedding and Chuck sang at the wedding.

      You can contact me at


  2. Sonny Lathrop and I were great friends and neighbors in Yorba Linda, California as kids. In College he was on the water polo team. When he was first with Sweet Marie I had tried to contact him, however, never heard back. If Sonny sees this I hope he contacts me out here in Colorado Springs. Friends forever Sonny…Kenn. ..aka KC.

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