New Jersey’s Oldest ‘Teenager’ Still Making Music on the Jersey Shore After 60 Years
Summer is fast approaching on the Jersey Shore, which means budding musicians and young bands will be looking for gigs at bars along the coast.
And one of those bands has been doing it for six decades and they’re still there.
“Look at the girls coming out of there now. They always wear these short shorts,” says Tom Austin of the Royal Teens.
Austin, 82, and his fellow Royal Teens members wrote the song ‘Short Shorts’, which hit number three on the charts in 1958. Austin and bandmate Bob Gaudio were inspired when they saw two girls in cut-off jeans stepping out of The Luhmann candy store in Bergenfield in 1957.
“Then we toured with people like Buddy Holly and Sam Cooke,” Austin explains.
Gaudio later joined the Four Seasons and co-wrote and produced a host of the group’s greatest hits. The Royal Teens released a few more hits, and in the years that followed, Austin became New Jersey’s oldest teenager.
“I think it was around 1959 that we played in this building [the Asbury Park Paramount Theatre] And two or three years ago we played at Tim McCloone’s super club there. So what time frame. And we are still here. Thank the Lord,” Austin said.
The Royal Teens are still there, with Austin on vocals and drums. He has a cast rotating around him. The youngest Royal Teen is in his late 60s.
Driven from the stage by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Royal Teens returned to the studio last year to record a new song. It’s a Bergen County boy’s ode to Asbury Park, Atlantic City and all the sand in between, called “Party Down the Jersey Shore.”
You can hear the new Royal Teens song on most streaming services, including Spotify and iTunes.