The history of the Count Five begins in 1964 in San Jose, CA with two friends Roy Chaney (born 1948) and John “Mouse” Michalski (born 1949). They formed a surf band known as the Citations. An additional member was Skip Cordell who played drums. In 1965 Roy and Mouse wanted to add a lead vocalist and change the direction of the band so after auditions they added as lead vocalist a long time friend Kenn Ellner (born 1948) and a piano player Phil Evans. All of the members went to Pioneer High School in San Jose, CA except for John Michalski who attended Blackford High School but later also attended Pioneer for a short time.
How “San Jose” can you get? The eye-popping, black-and-white 1966 press photo for San Jose’s newest rock ‘n’ roll sensations-Count Five-was taken on the front lawn of the Winchester Mystery House with all five of the boys decked out in Count Dracula capes and puffy white shirts. You could almost see the ghost of Sarah Winchester in the background, rolling her eyes, then lowering her veil and tiptoeing back into her 160-room refuge.