KCBS About The Bay with Mike Sugerman

HAYWARD (KCBS) — A lot of kids and teenagers who grew up watching The Ed Sullivan Show in the ’60s were influenced by The Beatles national television debut. Just because he was deaf, Steve Longo was no different.

“When The Beatles first came to America and I was watching on TV, I wanted to play guitar like everybody else,” the Hayward resident said.

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Now Longo is the guitarist for Beethoven’s Nightmare— described as the greatest deaf rock band in the world—likely to be one of just a few.

Sophisticated hearing aids came long after Longo first fell in love with music during that initial exposure to the British invasion.

He couldn’t hear the TV broadcast, but he was just a kid who wanted to fit in. Everyone else loved the music. He wanted to, also.

“My mom goes out and buys a cheap guitar from the flea market for five bucks. She was hoping I would forget about playing,” he said.

Longo defied the odds and kept at his newfound passion and as hearing aids continued to improve over time; he started to hear what previously he could only feel.

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In college he found other deaf friends who wanted to play music and the band was born. They have CDs and videos and they even tour, but they live in all different parts of the country now.

When they do get together, audiences are given big balloons they can hold to feel the sound.

“That’s an important part of our music, to be able to feel the music,” said Longo.

With the latest generation of hearing aids, he can hear some of the sounds he makes, but it’s vibrations and frequencies he can calculate in his head that he also relies on to bang out the head-banging tunes the band makes.

Logan’s proud of the mark the band has made. “The other people look up to us and we want to be able to open doors for them,” he said

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It turns out that $5 dollar guitar his mom bought was a sound investment.