Brute Force, born Stephen Friedland in Jersey City, NJ in 1940, was first drawn to the stage at the age of eight after watching his mother act in numerous plays at the Jersey City Jewish Community Center Theatre. Friedland continued to hone his performance skills throughout high school both on-stage and off, frequently improvising songs and sketches at parties or at home on the piano. In the early '60s he met Billy Gussak, a studio drummer who had played with Bill Haley & the Comets, and began collaborating with the seasoned musician -- and father of his current girlfriend -- on songs. One of those tracks, "My Teenage Castle," wound up as the B-side of Peggy March's 1963 "I Wish I Were a Princess" single. His success at RCA eventually led him to the next phase of his career, playing keyboards and guitar for the Tokens. During that time he composed songs for Del Shannon, the Creation, the Cyrkle, and the Chiffons -- the latter scored a minor hit with "Nobody Knows What's Goin' on in My Mind But Me."