From “Tinker and Me,” Castiles.net:
I first met Carl "Tinker" West in 1970 at the Upstage Club in Asbury Park,NJ. I am not sure exactly when but it was early summer. At the time, Steven VanZandt was the Bass player with Steel Mill and he was one of the guys I shared an apartment with. I remember going over to Tinker's surfboard factory to listen to Steel Mill rehearse and just hang out. Bruce, Vini and Tinker were all living there at the time. Later on, Robbin Thompson moved in too when he joined the band.
Tinker is some kind of a genius type of eccentric guy. In his younger days in 1950s California, he had been a rocket scientist, but got disgusted working of the government and started making surfboards in the sixties. He was about 40 years old when I met him in 1970. He knew electronics very well and that's why he was always building sound systems. He always looked to improve what was going on. Tinker and I shared an interest in acoustic guitar music. We both played acoustic guitars and both wrote our own songs. His were very political and mine were just love songs. He always told me I was a good musician but my songs were boring. He was right but I didn't care. Tinker and I sometimes would perform his songs at the Upstage coffeehouse called the "Green Mermaid". His favorite song was one that he wrote about the infamous Clearwater Concert where the police came and shut down the show and attacked the crowd.
Tinker was looking for a new location for his surfboard factory with cheaper rent and he found one in Highlands,NJ - about 15 miles away. It was a large empty building that a mechanic friend and bass player (Dennis Monahan) had been using for a repair garage. (Dennis later played Bass in Albee and the Hired Hands and is now a well respected guitar builder in upstate New York).