New Jersey’s oldest ‘teen’ still making music at the Jersey Shore after 60 years
The summer is just about here at the Jersey Shore, which means aspiring musicians and young bands will be looking for gigs at bars around the shore.
And one of those bands has been doing it for six decades and they are still at it.
“Look at the girls coming out of there now. They’re still wearing those short shorts,” says Tom Austin, of the Royal Teens.
Austin, 82, and his fellow members of the Royal Teens wrote the song “Short Shorts,” which rose to No. 3 on the charts in 1958. Austin and bandmate Bob Gaudio were inspired when they saw two girls in cutoff jeans walking out of Luhmann's candy store in Bergenfield in 1957.
“Then we toured with people like Buddy Holly and Sam Cooke,” Austin says.
Gaudio went on to join the Four Seasons and co-wrote and produced a slew of the group's biggest hits. The Royal Teens pumped out a few more hits, and in the ensuing years, Austin became New Jersey's oldest teen.
“I think it was about in 1959 we played in that building [the Asbury Park Paramount Theatre] And two or three years ago we played at Tim McCloone's super club up there. So what a span of time. And we're still here. Thank the Lord,” Austin says.
The Royal Teens are still at it, with Austin on vocals and drums. He has a rotating cast around him. The youngest Royal Teen is in his late-60s.
Forced from the stage by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Royal Teens went back into the studio last year to record a new song. It's a Bergen County boy's ode to the Asbury Park, Atlantic City and all the sand in between, called “Party Down the Jersey Shore.”
You can hear the Royal Teens' new song on most streaming services, including Spotify and iTunes.