Kent Whitt and the Downbeats was the first Modesto area rock ‘n’ roll band. Members of the band included Kent Whitt on drums, Bob DeLeon on Keyboard, Danny Toledo on Sax, Bill Gross on Bass, and Connie Hightman on Guitar. Kent Whitt and the Downbeats first formed to play school dances at Modesto High and then became a popular draw in the area, playing the California Ballroom and the Fable Room as well as high school gyms.
The band developed quite a name for itself and in December of 1963 was invited to participate in a USO tour to entertain troops in Alaska, Japan, Taiwan, Korea, the Philippines, Okinawa, and Vietnam. It was a five month tour which lasted until May, 1964. While in Vietnam three members of the band got notice that he had been drafted.
In 2021 during an open house at the Graffiti USA Classic Car Museum Kent Whitt agreed to an interview with the Modesto Radio Museum. Enjoy as he shares his memories with you.
Interview with Kent Whitt
video by Wes Page