I know – I say this just about every week – I’m so fickle. I’m a short-arse with even shorter attention span, but if there’s a band out there right now likely to grab my focus and lock it in a strangle-hold, then it’s Psychlona.
Formed in Bradford, England seven years ago, this is a band whose career is most definitely on a steeply upward trajectory. With two full length releases under their belt, I really don’t know how I’ve failed to hit upon their music before.
Psychlona are billed as a ‘stoner’ band, but that doesn’t do them proper justice. They have so much more in their locker. For instance, ‘Blast Off’ as you can hear, leans more to a ‘space rock’ vibe, with, I think shades of krautrock peeking through.
This track is taken from the band’s second album, ‘Venus Skytrip‘ which was released on Ripple Music / Cursed Tongue Records in 2020. On the same LP, there is the growling doom riffs on ‘10,000 volts’ and album closer, ‘The Owl’; the chugging, driving, heavy rock and infectious chorus of ‘Blow,‘ and the simple out-and-out rocker that I could envisage Motorhead playing – ‘Star.‘
And then there’s this, which just about covers all bases!
What initially attracted me to the music of Psychlona was this ability to meld various sub-genres of music, not only onto one LP, but at times within individual songs. On their debut album, ‘Mojo Rising‘ from 2018, opener ‘Stone‘ is pretty doom laden, but it also rocks along big time, mid-section. The following track though, ‘Ride‘ is much faster paced and believe it or not actually reminded me of The Damned and ‘Neat Neat Neat‘ with the throbbing bass line and vocals at the start of each verse. ( I know – I live in my own wee world sometimes.)
This though is what I’m getting at – Psychlona are not simply a ‘stoner’ band. Well,, they are … but you know what I mean. Their ability to move effortlessly between space rock, stoner, heavy rock and desert rock is certainly to be admired.
Now, having recently signed with Las Vegas label Psycho Waxx, the in-house label for the famous Psycho Las Vegas festival, Psychlona are set to embark upon a U.S. tour with other scene luminaries: Church of the Cosmic Skull; Black Box Revelation and Lord Buffalo. Dates include shows in Oakland; West Hollywood; Costa Mesa; Phoenix; San Diego, and winding up at the aforementioned festival in Las Vegas.
More! They have a new album due for release on August 19th. ‘Palo Verde‘ is their third album, and though I was fortunate enough to pre-order one of the remaining four from seven hundred Limited Edition vinyl copies, I have only yet heard the excellent ‘1975‘ which plays at the top of this post.
You know that feeling as a kid on the run-up to Christmas, or your birthday? Sometimes it never leaves you. Roll on August 19th!
I didn’t realise until now just how much the psych scene of Toronto has shaped my record collection!
Some time ago, in an earlier incarnation of Loud Horizon, I received a promo copy of and album by Canadian band Quest for Fire. I loved it, and played it more for pleasure than I did for review purposes.
A few years later, I came across an album by Nordic Nomadic. Reading the album’s sleeve notes, I noted this was side project of Quest for Fire‘s guitarist, Chad Ross, and so shelled out for a vinyl copy.
Turns out Chad produces a lot of music I like, because he later, and still does, play guitar in Toronto based psych band, Comet Control, along with fellow ex-Quest for Fire member, Andrew Moszynski.
(As an aside,Comet Control‘s drummer was at some point, Jay Anderson, also of Stonegrass and Lammping fame, albums of both which are in my collection.Toronto definitely rocks!)
And it’s this seemingly eternal connection that has led to Chad Ross’s latest project.
Initially intended as another solo acoustic project, the new album ‘Skull Creator‘ morphed into something a bit more substantial when Chad was approached with offers of involvement by Joshua Wells (drummer with Vancouver band Destroyer); Earthless guitarist Isaiah Mitchell and Aaron Goldstein renowned and revered exponent of the pedal-steel guitar.
“I had it in my head that I was gonna make an acoustic record, with the sole purpose of making fun of myself, reflecting on a few of my past wasted lives and just generally taking the singer/songwriter thing out with the trash. The lyrics all made me laugh at one point, but when Josh and Isaiah got involved, things got elevated…. as they tend to do with musicians like that.”
The resultant eight tracks of folk-psych are a spellbinding mix of the music that connects the three of Chad’s bands / projects mentioned earlier.
Remember Venn Diagrams from our schooldays? I’ll not attempt to draw one here as I failed my Maths Higher twice and would surely get it all wrong! But think of three overlapping circles, one entitled Quest for Fire, one, Nordic Nomadic and the other, Comet Control.
‘Skull Creator‘ falls into that part shared by all three circles. The biggest contributor to that area would be Nordic Nomadic, the smallest, Comet Control.
(Is that possible, or am I still crap at Maths?)
Generally speaking, it’s a fairly downtempo album, with some tracks rising and soaring in intensity. Opener ‘Buzzin in the Bush‘ has a warm, desert-rock feel about it, while ‘Takin a Dip’ is quieter, more acoustic based with a pronounced bass-line and a lovely, harmonious and catchy chorus.
Third in is ‘Wrong Side of the Sky.’ It goes like this:
The title track lines up fourth in the order. As you’d likely expect ‘Skull Creator,‘ is a bit darker that the preceding songs, but retains a haunting warmth. If my memory serves me right, it reminds me a bit of the band Sleepy Sun from some years back.
‘The Stranger‘ has a gentle refrain, backed by an unobtrusive string section. This one quietly just seeps into your subconscious. My favourite (I think – I have changed a couple of times!) is ‘On Golden Pond.‘ I can just imagine the steam rising from a swamp-like pond as the sun starts to set. It’s another track with a lovely warmth to it, Chad’s hushed vocals sounding the perfect accompaniment.
(I cannot think of a band more polar opposite to C.Ross than Oasis, but I do hear little echoes of ‘Champagne Supernova‘ in parts. Sorry if that offends anyone – it’s just an observation. And not a bad reflection by any means.)
Of the final two tracks, ‘Way Too Nice‘ is the ‘heavier’ and more psych-rock as I like it, while ‘Tracks in the Snow‘ brings the album to a bit of a downbeat climax. I’m just not sure about this being right for the ‘closer’ but hey! What do I know?
‘Skull Creator‘ definitely sits more on the ‘folk’ side of the Psych Rock fence, but within that, there’s plenty variation to explore and with musicians the pedigree of those involved, then it has to be a winner!
** ‘Skull Creator’ can be bought through Bandcamp and streamed through various streaming services.**
On occasion, though, some bands and artists stand out even above the ‘good’ music. It’s hard to define, but some just have that extra ‘something.’
This Liverpool based, psychedelic rock band may have only released three tracks to date, but I’ll stick my neck out right now and predict you’ll hear a lot more of Cothel. With band members from United States, Mexico, Korea, Norway and England, there’s a lot of diverse influences being brought to bear in their music – and it seems to be working a treat.
Latest release, ‘And You Know’ is a slow burning, psych anthem with prog tendencies, moving through different moods and levels of intensity. This is not one to be judged from listening on your phone. It really should be belted out with the benefit of at least half decent speakers for the full effect. It’s also a ‘grower,’ so don’t be too quick to judge either. It has yet another different feel to the first two tracks released by the band last year, illustrating the band’s versatility.
‘When You’re Insanely High‘ was Cothel’s second release, in November 2021. It’s an eclectic mix of rock riffs and funky beats, delivered with spiky, punk attitude. Think along the lines of a heavier version of Adequate 7 from the early noughties, and you’ve got it.
This though, contrasts with the sneering vocal delivery and more grunge feel of their first release, ‘That Feeling You Get.’ I say ‘grunge’ but there’s more – there’s also a manic sixties, psychedelic sound to this. It’s like a swirling nightmare … in a good way of course.
Haymarket Square are yet another example of the brilliant, psychedelic sounds coming from the USA musical underground of the late ’60s through the early 1970s..
Like many other bands featured here on Loud Horizon, they would record only one LP in their time together. But boy – what a doozy! Copies of the original pressing have been sold via Discogs from between £1500 and £2700!
The band came about with the demise of Chicago garage band, The Real Things. As the young band parted for college and other personal reasons, drummer John Kowalski and rhythm guitarist Bob Roma decided to form a new outfit.
Auditions were advertised in their University of Illinois newspaper and other local rags. Guitarist Marc Swenson immediately impressed with his ability to play in the style of The Kinks‘ Dave Davies. No question – he was hired right away!
With an impressive guitarist in place, Bob moved over onto bass. There was now just one integral position to be filled – that of vocalist.
Desperation was setting in on the three young players (John & Bob were 18, Marc, just 17) when out of the blue, Bob received a phone call from the twenty year old, tall, blond Gloria Lambert. She was at that time singing in a Folk band but was looking for something a bit more ‘electric;’ something more raucous and exciting. Gloria, as you can hear on the tracks here, was so strong in her delivery and had that sort of Grace Slick, psychedelic feel to her tone.
It was the perfect match.
This was 1967, and female singers taking on lead vocals in rock bands was at this point, still relatively unusual. The band were already almost one step ahead of other Chicago bands.
Now for a name. Civil disobedience was rife amongst the US student population at this point, and when John Kowalski saw a statue marking a labour riot back in the early 1900s he adopted the name of the location – Haymarket Square.
It wasn’t long before the band’s name and reputation grew to such level that they were opening in the city’s larger venues for established acts like, The Yarbirds, Cream and H.P. Lovecraft.
Shortly thereafter, they were writing their own material with subject matter ranging from various psychedelic topics to the occult. Their sound has a very distinctive feel with the guitar, bass and drums all sharing the heavy load. What struck me though was the drumming – at times very ‘surf’ inspired, and others, more of a pounding, hard rock style. The guitar wails with a fuzzy tone throughout and the bass is played with a real, distinctive bounce. And of course, there’s no getting away from Gloria’s vocals giving an air of Jefferson Airplane.
Only one of the tracks on the album is a ‘cover’ – an outstanding version of Tiny Bradshaw’s ‘Train Kept-A-Rollin’.’ This version tops those of Johnny Burnette and Aerosmith in my opinion.
There are only six tracks on the album too – but with only one coming in at less than seven minutes, there is that wonderful sense of tripped out jamming on the others.
The album is a direct result of the band liaising with two professors from The University of Illinois who put together the ‘Baron & Bailey Light Circus’ which was a dynamic combination of music with changing light patterns. In the summer of ’68, they teamed up with Haymarket Square and the album was exhibited as a living work of art at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago.
However, shortly after the album was recorded, original member Bob left the band and was replaced on bass by Ken Pitlik. At the same time, they decided to augment their sound with the addition of a rhythm guitarist, Robert Miller.
Haymarket Square continued as a five-piece for another six years before they finally broke up in 1974, the members all going heir own ways.
Sadly, and I’m afraid I don’t know why, there were no more recordings. But if you’re going to leave just a one-album-legacy, then I guess ‘Magic Lantern‘ is about as good as it gets.
(*Band details and history have been gleaned from the additional sleeve-notes to the ‘Magic Lantern’ album, written by drummer and founder member, John Kowalski.)
Gloria Lambert – Vocals John Kowalski -Drums Bob Roma – Bass (’til late ’68) Marc Swenson – Guitar + from late ’68
Five Proud Walkers were initially an R&B band from North London. Formed in 1963, they gigged around the city, establishing a good, strong, reputation and developing their sound to include some of the Jazz and Beat influences that were emerging around the capital.
When vocalist Terry Elliott left in early 1966, he was replaced by Dave Terry from The Impacts. Dave was more of a showman and the band’s stage show became much more theatrical and image conscious.
By the end of that year, the band were in demand not just within the London scene, but across the country. The decision was taken to pack in the day jobs and go full time professional band. Bass player John Treais couldn’t commit, and so left at this point, being replaced by John Ford.
It was now 1967. With their more extravagant stage show and appearance, and the music scene in general taking a more psychedelic turn, it was agreed a new era for the band merited a new name.
Guitarist Colin Forster explains: “It came out of the dress sense, really, with the clothing an the hair. John Ford worked in a shop in Carnaby Street, so he started getting some interesting clothing, so various things developed from that, like Regency styles of clothing. Elmer (Dave Terry) got this hat and cape and somebody said that he looked like Burt Lancaster in that movie ‘Elmer Gantry,’ and we just added ‘Velvet Opera.’ We never knew about the Velvet Underground, but velvet was ‘in’ an ‘Opera’ was the fact that we were doing an act on stage.”
(Dave Terry hadn’t actually planned on becoming ‘Elmer Gantry’ but as the frontman, people would just make the assumption. The band found it funny and would take the mickey, and so the name stuck.)
The band’s first single, ‘Flames,’ gained a lot of radio play and was a favourite of the young John Peel on his ‘Top Gear’ shows. Although it didn’t quite chart, the track was included on the CBS ‘sampler’ album, ‘The Rock Machine Turns You On,’ which also featured Bob Dylan, Moby Grape, Spirit, The Byrds and The Zombies.
Selling at half the price of a standard LP, the compilation reached the Album Chart Top 20, ensuring the band’s music was now being heard by a massive new audience.
Impetus created and momentum building, the band headed into the studio to produce an album of their own. The eponymous named debut is a fantastic mix of psych-pop, raga, soul, harder rock and Vaudeville, I don’t think I’d be far off saying Elmer Gantry’s Velvet Opera were like a proto Sensational Alex Harvey Band. They were also ‘punk’ before Punk formally announced itself nine years later.
Sadly, this would be the band’s only album release with this line-up, with guitarist Colin Forster leaving in April 1968, his place being taken by Paul Brett. They continued gigging but the chemistry had been upset and having been coerced by their label into recording a single ‘Volcano’ that did’t really meet the band’s profile, Elmer himself left.
Elmer Gantry’s Velvet Opera were no more, though Hudson, Ford and Brett added Johnny Joyce as singer / guitarist and recorded one album, ‘Ride a Hustler’s Dream‘ in 1969 as Velvet Opera.
Elmer himself formed the Elmer Gantry Band before joining the cast of ‘Hair,’ then in the Seventies joining the band Stretch and recording with the likes of Jon Lord, Cozy Powell and the Alan Parsons Project.
Hudson and Ford would go on to success with The Strawbs, before their #8 hit single, ‘Pick Up The Pieces‘ as Hudson-Ford. They also had another two top 40 singles and released several albums as a duo.
ELMER GANTRY’S VELVET OPERA
Elmer Gantry – Vocals Colin Forster – Guitar John Ford – Bass Richard ‘Hud’ Hudson – Drums
Stone Harbour were a duo from Ohio who typified the DIY ethos of rock’n’roll in 1974 with the original release of their now critically acclaimed album, ‘Emerges.‘
Aspiring songwriter and multi-instrumentalist writer, Ric Ballas owned a 4-track reel to reel recorder; singer songwriter Dave McCarty could also play a bit on drums. Additionally, he had ‘a pleasant voice’ and so between them, with all bases covered, they began to write collaborate in writing some music and recording.
Though their equipment was not exactly state of the art, they recorded a few songs to tape – more or less all in one take, with the occasional over-dub.
These recordings were taken to the Peppermint Productions studio in Youngstown, Ohio where they were mixed down to two-track. The aim was these tracks would form a demo that the lads could hawk around to impress and recruit others to join their band.
Most players didn’t have reel-to reel facilities, however, so Ric decided to have five hundred copies of the resultant tracks transferred onto vinyl – this was the minimum run amount.
With their very limited budget now blown, Ric sketched a few picture, had it reproduced five hundred times and then pasted them to cardboard jackets.
And that was about it. A full, live and touring band did come about. They played to mixed responses and after a couple of years, disbanded. (A follow-up album was partially recorded, but the studio was destroyed by fire, and the master tape with it.)
But as happens so often with these ‘lost’ LPs, somebody somewhere is impressed, word gets around, and original copies become sought after treasures. A copy of this sold on Discogs for over £1000 last year!
The music is varied in nature, ranging from folky psychedelia to rock-out proto grunge style. It’s pretty lo-fi in nature, but has a real innocent charm about it.
The album has been re-leased, most recently by Geurssen Records’ Out-Sider imprint. Definitely one to check out.
Bliss was born from the ashes of U.S. garage band, The Sect, who were formed in 1966 in Mesa, Arizona by high school students, Brad Reed, Rusty Martin, Corky Aldred, Tom Smith and J.R. Lara.
Initially, the band were very much influenced by the sound of the British Invasion bands and were soon taken under the wing of radio DJ and producer, Hadley Murrell who introduced them to the recording process in his studio.
Two years down the line, all five members had graduated from school and decided to call a halt to the band. However, a short while later, Martin, Reed and Aldred got the bug once more, decided to reform as a power trio, and rechristened themselves, Bliss.
Still with producer Murrell guiding them, they recorded one album with the Los Angeles based Canyon Records in 1969. This does seem a strange choice of label to align with as they were more focused and famed for producing R&B, soul and funk artists, rather than psych and heavy rock.
Inevitably, through lack of promotion and given such low priority by Canyon Records, the album simply fell through the cracks. (So, it would seem, did much in the way of information about the band.Photographs too.)
The album resurfaced over twenty years later, when collectors of psych records picked up on the heavy, bluesy sound and original copies began to change hands for increasingly high sums of money, in some cases over four hundred pounds.
Of course, when this happens, albums are given a new lease of life via reissues, which allow the likes of you and I to add them to our collections.
‘Bliss‘ the album is nowadays considered a cult psych classic, and some tracks do certainly have that feel to them. Of the nine tracks, six are originals ‘ Ride The Ship of Fools, features hard, fuzz-wah guitar, driving bass and pounding drums. ‘ ‘Cry For Love‘ has a feel of The Zombies‘ ‘Time of the Season’ and ‘Visions‘ echoes Cream.
There are a couple of weaker tracks, it has to be said. ‘Make My Old Soul New’ in particular. But there are also three pretty solid covers: ‘Gangsterof Love‘ I recognised from Johnny Winters‘ version of this Johnny Watson song; ‘I Want to be Free,’ a Joe Tex original and a good interpretation of B.B. King’s ‘Rock Me Baby.’
Overall, this is a decent, solid, heavy rock album, I think boosted some years ago by attaining ‘cult’ status.
Originals worth £400+? I’m not sure. Certainly on rarity and ‘collectible’ tag, then probably. But if like me you buy records for listening to, then I think the regular album price of £20 – £25 is more in line with the content.
Formed in Orlando Florida back in 2008, brothers Andy and Edwin White, as Tonstartssdandht are set to release their eighteenth (!) album, ‘Petunia,’ on October 22nd 2021.
From Wikipedia: Commenting on their prolific output, they have said, “Even a shitty recording can possibly be salvaged or used in a different way, but we generally justrecord record record. Just hit that button and don’t worry about it. Do it or never do it.” Andy has a long term interest in archiving and documenting the band’s live shows, which he began recorded with a 4-track. Recently he has been recording most of their tours, including dates across Europe,Russia, South East Asia, and Australia. When recording “studio” albums, they aim for a warm, room sound, using the close mic technique, and usually recording in their own apartments, with ambient sounds (including microwaves being turned on) apparent ininstances
Renowned for playing shows in which their psych infused set goes a little ‘off piste’ and the songs become longer, languid jams, they view the album as the bare bones of future live sets.
Where most Tonstartssbandht albums come together slowly over years, recorded on the fly whenever the Whites have a few spare moments on the road, ‘Petunia’ was largely written and recorded in their home city of Orlando in 2020.
Many of the tracks had been played live, but in extremely rough form, and hadn’t yet developed into any kind of mature stage. With plenty of time on their hands thanks to the lockdown, and no shows to play, Andy and Edwin decided to pack some flesh onto those skeletons and bring them to life on their own.
‘Petunia’ is the first Tonstartssbandht album to be created in a sustained manner and in a consistent environment, written and recorded in a single place over a focused period of time.
It was recorded at the brothers’ home studio in Orlando between April and August of 2020, but was mixed by Joseph Santarpia and Roberto Pagano at The Idiot Room in San Francisco. This was the first time in eighteen albums that ‘outsiders’ have been brought in at the mixing stage, the result this time being that ‘Petunia‘ is brighter, punchier, and more direct than its predecessor.
If the single, and indeed the following video from five years ago, is anything to go by, then we’re in for a treat.
Edwin White – Drums / Vocals Andy White – Guitar / Vocals
***** Tonstartssbandht‘s discography is ‘complicated’ by different formats of some recordings being released by different labels.
***** Rather than produce a table here, perhaps it would be be simpler to check out the band’s releases here on Discogs.
The recent post about Jet being billed as Glam Rock’s first ‘supergroup’ set me thinking as what would be my ‘Fantasy Supergroup’ in various genres.
The principle is the same as with selecting a fantasy sports team – nobody is saying these are / were the very best in the world in their position, but how good they would play together as a unit. And there can be no more than one member representing an established act.
Of course, you’d have to cut some slack regards egos and some rather eccentric personality traits , but I reckon these guys would have produced some awesome noise.
JIM MORRISON (Doors)– Lead Vocals The iconic frontman had everything needed to be the focal point of this band: the looks; the mystique; the presence, and of course – the voice.
DAVE BROCK (Hawkwind) – Guitar / Vocals I’ve gone for Dave partly because of his endurance (the only constant member of Hawkwind) and still playing today. In the following clip, taken from the band’s debut album, he’s playing 12-string acoustic guitar. He’s never been one to grab the limelight (it was murder trying to find a decent video, showing him play in the 1970s) and if you want someone with experience in the ‘space rock’ sound, then he’s yer man!
JACK CASADY (Jefferson Airplane) – Bass Adaptable in style, Jack would moonlight with other bands of the era, including Jimi Hendrix Experience and Grateful Dead. He was inducted into the U.S. Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame … and he looks like a hippie. That’ll do it for me.
MITCH MITCHELL (Jimi Hendrix Experience) – Drums Another Rock ‘n’Roll Hall of Fame inductee, Mitch started out more as a jazz drummers with Georgie Fame & The Blue Flames. Playing with Jimi Hendrix though would have given him plenty ‘experience’ of holding the band together during lengthy, improvised jams, which would prove invaluable in our psych unit.
VINCENT CRANE (Atomic Rooster) – Keyboards Just a bit of personal bias here. Vincent Crane made his name with Atomic Rooster, of course, but had previously played with The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown. His distinctive playing of the Hammond organ is an abiding memory of me getting into ‘rock’ music as a kid.
There you have it – my Psych / Spacerock Fantasy Supergroup. Now – all I need is a name; one that will keep everyone happy and preserve their egos.
I know …. how about: HAWKWIND’S ATOMIC AIRPLANE DOOR EXPERIENCE. …. or HAADE for short.
Formed in 1964 while still at school in Fort Wayne, Indiana, The Serfmen would quickly change direction from their surf- sound roots and build a strong local following, with gigs booked every weekend. They would be asked to open for more established local bands and some nationally famous groups.
On the strength of this interest, Al Russel, a local DeeJay of the time invited the band into his studio to record a couple of tracks. The result was this, ‘A Man Can’t Live Without Love.’ (A copy of this was sold through Discogs in June 2020 for £72)
Another single followed a few months later, ‘Chills & Fever.‘ The band were by now playing all the top venues in northern Indiana and northwest Ohio, and with both singles having received extensive airplay, they attracted the attention of Indiana based agency, Dino Enterprises.
With the ‘British Invasion’ of America now in full swing, the agency suggested the lads followed in that direction. Vocalist and lead guitarist explained the transformation from The Serfmen to The Olivers:
“On the south side of Ft. Wayne was Oliver Street. Oliver. Oliver Twist. It sounded old and British. Bang. That was it. The kids seemed to like it better also. We grew our hair, had old fashioned outfits made and wrote songs we thought sounded British.”
With their increased popularity, and working with an agency, touring further afield and a whole-hearted dedication to the band became essential. Bass player Greg Church couldn’t make that commitment so left, leaving a space to be filled by a fan of The Serfmen, Billy Franze. And so late in 1965, the first line-up of The Olivers was complete – see below.
Early in 1966, DJ Al Russell arranged a recording session in Portage, Michigan. Two songs were recorded, neither taking more than fifteen minutes!
The result was the following, frantic an exciting ‘Beeker Street’ / ‘I Saw What You Did‘ which was released initially through Phalanx Records, and shortly after picked up by RCA Victor who took on the distribution.
This new, settled line-up however wouldn’t last long, for in September 1966, less than a year after their formal inception, vocalist / lead guitarist, Jay Penndorf, was drafted into the U.S. military, and replaced with Mike Mankey.
When Mike and Billy joined, they were only eighteen years old. The other members, Carl Aldrich (vocals / organ) and Chuck Hamrick (drums) were both just twenty.
For such a young band, they landed some some pretty big bookings in 1967, touring extensively and opening shows for likes of The Rolling Stones; The Hollies; The Yarbirds; The Byrds; The Standells; Bob Seger, and The Who.
Moving with the times, The Olivers found themselves changing musical direction again, as the British Invasion influences had run their course. Now, they looked to Hendrix, Cream and other heavier acts as well as James Brown and lots of R&B.
Organ player Carl Aldrich was not so keen on the heavier scene. In late ’67 he moved on, Rick Durrett the keyboard player from local Indianapolis band The Cardboard Bachs, taking his place.
Their sound developed a more psychedelic edge and fans would now be standing and watching rather than dancing. They became an established name and top draw in Indiana and surrounding states, so much so the constant gigging left no time for hitting the studio to record.
Something had to be done, and through bass player Billy’s contact with Pete Steinberg of Candy Floss Productions, an invite was secured to record at the Dove Studios in Minneapolis.
By now, early 1969, Jay Penndorf had completed his draft obligations, and joined the band for the sessions. Seven songs were recorded, all written by the band members, principally Mike Mankey and Billy Franze.
Dove Records contacted major label Sire with a view to a wider release, and it seems they were indeed interested. But for whatever reason the deal was never secured and in 1970, Dove Studios closed their doors and sold all the equipment.
The resultant disappointment felt by the band turned to disillusionment. Jay, who’d by now formally rejoined, was not really into the new music the band were performing, and when his equipment was stolen, he opted to forsake the music business for a career in the army.
The Olivers were no more.
Mike and Billy subsequently teamed up with Kent Cretors on drums and recorded one 7″ single as Triad. But again, distribution was poor and sales subsequently disappointing. They stuck around til 1971, but then called it quits.
And that, it seemed was that. One of Indiana’s finest had been let down, for what reason, nobody really knows, and they were to disappear without much more than local acknowledgement.
Until, that is, 2011, when a reference acetate of the album recording session was offered in an internet auction in California. Mike Dugo and Tim Cox, both of whom are avid collectors and run much respected ’60s based music sites, had their interest piqued, tracked down band member Mike Mankey and conducted their ‘due diligence’ to authenticate the find.
The result is that now the album has been given a full release by garage and psych label Break – A – Way Records.
Check out the immense, trippy guitar work on the two tracks posted here. I’d go so far as to say this album defines the ‘true unknown classic’ description and is well worth checking out in full.
THE OLIVERS Mike Mankey – Guitar / Vocals Chuck Hamrick – Drums Rick Durrett – Keyboards Billy Franze – Bass / Lead Vocals Jay Pendoorf – Guitar / Vocals
*** Much of the information contained within this post has been gleanedfrom the sleeve notes of the Break-A-Way Records release of ‘Lost Dove sessions. ***
ADDENDUM – JANUARY 2022
It’s lovely to know people actually read this blog – even more so when they take time out to write in response to the post. I was pleasantly surprised in early January 2022 to receive the following e-mail fromKent Cretors who drummed for The Olivers (subsequently re-named ‘Triad’) 1969 through 1971. Though he did have some sad news to impart:
Hello CeeJay, Thank you for the great article that you published regarding The Olivers and Triad. They were fantastic bands live. I joined them when I was 19 years old. Lol way back in the day. They rocked big time. They had connections and signed with major labels but there was no astute and proficient management. I remember going to Winnipeg Canada and recording with Randy Bachmann’s producer back in the day, but I didn’t know him or any of the business then ( Franklin Records). The manager was worthless as a manager as I recall. Anyway, I wanted to mention that my good friend and band mate Billy Franze passed away. I have so many memories with those guys. The band could have been a big-time national act because the sound was there as well as the writing. If you care to know more I would be happy to inform you. Again, thank you for your attention to a great band that should have been a national success! Sincerely,
Kent Cretors (Drums)
Music: Punk, Rock, Psych, 60s Garage, Blues, Reggae & Ska..