Celebrating 100 Years of Oakland Technical High School
Darryl Grant ’65
I was a singer in high school, in Boys’ Glee. I used to sing with my brother and we planned on being a duo after our military careers. I remember drama class with Mr. Whayne. Anita Pointer and Ted Lange were in the class too. Mr. Whayne was inspirational in a lot of ways. He was a great human being and I will always remember him. He was helpful in my career. In 1983 I was in touch with Ted Lange who inspired me to pursue an acting career. I had speaking parts on Days of Our Lives and The Jeffersons, in some soap operas, and situation comedies like Zack and the Fat Man, Hill Street Blues, Different World. Mr. Whayne gave me the impetus to follow that line of work. I spoke with him once or twice after I graduated. I was in a lull in my recording career at that time, but then I got back into music and moved to Las Vegas to make a living performing.
In 1965 I wanted to join the Marines like Warren had. Maybe it was the flashiness of the uniform, but I wanted to follow in his footsteps. He talked me into the Navy or the Air Force, saying, “I don’t think you would enjoy the Marines.” He probably saved my life in that respect. I would have joined and ended in Vietnam as a Marine. I joined the Navy Reserves while still in high school. After I graduated from Tech in June of 1965, I requested active duty immediately and was sent to boot camp at Treasure Island. From there, I went on a destroyer to Vietnam. I came back and saw my brother for the last time in 1966. We had a reunion in Los Angeles because I was stationed in Long Beach and he was stopping there on his way to Vietnam. We communicated through the mail until he died. The day he was killed, I was off the coast of Vietnam on combat duty on a destroyer. We were ordered to fire shells into battle zones. On July 7, 1968, five days after his death, I got a message to report to the executive officer on my ship and he told me that my brother had been killed. The Red Cross had notified my family in the US and then it reverberated back to me on the ship off Vietnam. I got off the ship that very day. Because I was the sole surviving son, they sent me home. I had an honorable discharge from the Navy in 1971.
I left Oakland in 1973 and moved to Philadelphia. I sang background with the Rolling Stones on “It’s Only Rock n Roll (But I like It).” That kick started my career. I was the lead singer for “Fat Larry’s Band” and then I came back to California and the band continued on without me and did really well. A lot of the hop hop performers sampled our music for their records. I have recorded with a lot of other bands too. I have been living in Las Vegas for many years performing with a Motown and R&B review called Spectrum. We were voted Best of Las Vegas in 2005 and 2006 and got the Las Vegas Living Legends Award in 2009. I have a new CD out called “All I Need is You Tonight” which you can listen to on You Tube, or below.
The way I look at it, if your story helps someone else, share it if you can. Inspire people. That’s what we are here for. That’s why God gave us wisdom so we can make the best of this world. Be ready for the opposing force and maintain some sense of objectivity.