Friday, November 6, 2009

One Moment in the Incestuous History of NorCal Rock and Roll

September 17, 1965 - Governor’s Hall, Old State Fairgrounds, Sacramento, CA: The Marauders, The New Breed, The Hide-A-Ways, Group B, The Inlanders, Films

This is a quite remarkable bill for this return to school fundraiser. Although nobody would have known at the time, the performers at this Friday night show would go on to form much of the core of the NorCal groups for several years to come.

First up were The Marauders, a local Sacramento-based teen garage band. At the time of this show the band would still have been sixteen or seventeen year olds – but not too young for bassist Brian Barmby who at the age of 15 successfully auditioned to join the Beach Boys but was blocked from joining by his parents who considered him too young. The Marauders had started out playing covers of the Beach Boys, Jan & Dean and the Ventures before adding a smattering of British Invasion hits. The members were:

The Marauders
Brian Barmby - Bass
Jack Giere - Vocals, Keyboards
Glenn Strawn - Lead Guitar
Mike Lillman - Guitar
Ed Scheid - Guitar
Rick Jagla - Drums

One 45 (Since I Met You b/w I Don't Know How) was released on Skyview in 1966 and an acetate (Our Last Chance) received a release in the 1990s. After Ed Scheid left the band changed their name to Waphphle and signed a contract with Elektra - which led to the release of a single (Goin' Down b/w I Want You (To Be My One And Only Girl)) during 1967. The flipside would turn up on the marvelous History of Elektra box set (also recommended is Jac Holzman's book Follow the Music: The Life and High Times of Elektra Records in the Great Years of American Pop Culture).

Next up are The New Breed, another local Sacramento band that featured Timothy B. Schmidt long before his success with Poco and the Eagles. The New Breed had grown out of a local surf band The Contenders – the name change coming with a change in style to reflect the British Invasion and had made their debut a couple of weeks earlier at the Teen Fair – also at Sacramento’s State Fairgrounds. The Teen Fair ran September 1 through September 12 and it is probable that the band played most days. The line-up was as follows:

The New Breed
Tim Schmidt - Bass, Guitar, Vocals
Tom Phillips – Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals
Ron Flogel - Guitar, Vocals
George Hullin – Drums, Vocals

The band cut four singles and achieved reasonable success on the NorCal hit parade. An album was cut but remains unreleased. Notably for the time, the New Breed were involved in the formation of their own label - World United Records. World United released a number of 45s featuring local bands and brokered a distribution deal with Mercury.

In addition to being a fund raiser, the reference to HELP! on the handbill has significance. I understand that the New Breed's manager Gary Shiro persuaded the band to play the entire Beatles album Help! album at the show. After a week of learning the songs, the band duly obliged.

In addition to the New Breed, Shiro also handled Public Nuisance and The Parish Halls Blue Quintet. Shiro would later go on to manage both Glad and Redwing before some best laid aside circumstances led to him taking his own life in 1973.

By early 1967 The New Breed were being billed as Breed - a managerial attempt to relaunch the band. They got some good support act roles to Big Brother & The Holding Company, The Animals, the Grateful Dead and others, but changes were still needed. In 1968 they changed their name to Glad and moved to Los Angeles – a move which was orchestrated by their new record label, Terry Melcher's Equinox, but would ultimately lead to the failure of the band. Schmidt left in the Spring of 1969 and after a hiatus the band reformed as Redwing – to some success and the support of San Francisco Chronicle Music Critic Ralph J. Gleason.

Next up on our agenda is another Sacramento garage band, The Hide-A-Ways featured:

The Hide-A-Ways
Dehner Patten - Guitar, Vocals
Gary Yoder - Guitar, Harmonica, Vocals
Jim Keylor - Bass, Vocals
Paul Whaley - Drums, Vocals

The band had formed early in 1965 and regularly played wit both The Inlanders and The Contenders (later the New Breed). By early 1966 they had changed their name to The Oxford Circle, releasing their one 45 (Foolish Woman b/w Mind Destruction) on World United. A collection of live and previously unissued studio recordings was released as “Live at the Avalon ‘66” by Big Beat in 1998 – but it was the Mouse and Kelley FD-26 poster that would ensure the Oxford Circles’ place in history. Bruce Turley would be added on organ during 1966. By the summer of 1967 the Oxford Circle was no more. Gary Yoder and Dehner Patten went on to form the underrated Kak, Yoder would later join Blue Cheer, as did Paul Whaley.

Corry once wrote that while Davis never had the history or cachet of Berkeley, it nonetheless served as the fun college town for staid Sacramento. The city was ripe for the British Invasion, and many bands formed there, playing the lucrative fraternity and teen circuits in Davis and Sacramento and surrounding areas. The complicated and incestuous history of Group B, Oxford Circle, The Andrew Staples, Blue Cheer and Kak is more easily understood by the fact that Group B and Oxford Circle were rivals and friends from Davis, and the band members continued to work together when they all moved to San Francisco. And it is to Group B that we turn next. When they appeared on this bill, the band would have featured:

Group B
Jim King - Vocals
Jack May – Guitar, Vocals
Roger Hille - Guitar
Dave Damrell - Bass
Paul Ware - Drums

Davis, CA based Group B had emerged from the garage/surf combo, The Bandits. They managed to obtain a contract with Fantasy Records and would go on to release three 45s on the Scorpio subsidiary – the same label that would release the Grateful Dead’s first single. The first of the Group B releases was under the name of The Spokes – and I would guess that it was the record company taking a dislike to the name Group B that led to this.

Brothers Dickie and Jerre Peterson replaced Damrell in late 1965 or early 1966 – bringing with them the flip side (I Never Really Knew) to the final release.

In an interview with Gentleman John Battles, the now late Dickie Peterson explains: Paul Whaley and I started Blue Cheer in 1966. I'd been playing in a band called Group B, which later changed its name to Andrew Staples. They fired me because they wanted to play four-point Baroque, and I wanted to play Rock 'n' Roll. They'd catch me playing Chuck Berry songs whenever there was a break in practice, and they'd say, "What the Hell are you doing?! You're supposed to be playing BACH!" During the time I was in Group B, I was hanging out with Paul Whaley a lot. He was with a group called Oxford Circle, and I really loved what those guys were doing, Yardbirds, Them, that sort of thing. So, after they kicked me out of Group B, I asked Paul if he wanted to start a band with me, and he said, "Yeah," so, that's how Blue Cheer began.

With the Petersons gone and Danny Mihm replacing Paul Ware behind the drums, Group B changed their name to become The Andrew Staples.

Danny Mihm went on to drum with The Flamin' Groovies, Dickie Peterson later formed Blue Cheer, Damrell would turn up in Kak as Joe-Dave Damrell and Jerre Peterson would play in the post 60s versions of Blue Cheer with his brother before forming Tumbleweed.

The bill was rounded out by The Inlanders who I have yet to be enlightened about. They were regulars on the Sacramento scene in 1965 and the early part of 1966. If they were anything other than a surf/garage covers band, I would be surprised.

[update] thanks to Commenter Dennis Jones, we now have a similar poster entitled "STOKED," from Governors Hall a few months earlier (on February 14, 1965)
A poster from Governors Hall in Sacramento, for a show on February 14, 1965 (thanks to Dennis Jones)

26 comments:

  1. Fascinating! I have a show poster that I bought from a record store in old town sacramento from February 14 1965 that says"Gary Schiro and Dick Leventon -present- STOKED
    The Fugitives
    The In landers
    The Marauders
    The Coachmen
    The Cavaliers
    Plus a special guest Tony Bigg
    Febuary 14 1965
    sunday afternoon Governors hall Starts 1pm ends 5pm
    -Adavnced Tickets at all leading record shops
    Advanced $1.50 At Door $2.00

    do you know anything interesting about that show? It's pretty boss looking, wish I was alive back then to go to all these shows.

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    1. Paul, I too have that STOKED poster. It is a silkscreen, really nice. I played with the InLanders there and since that dance was almost 50 years ago (yikes) I can't say I remember much. It was always fun though!

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    2. Jim Nette is at our house...he's been teaching piano to our son for several years! This is so exciting to read about Jim's musical past. He says feel free to contact him -- 408-378-1263 (or Facebook) -- he'd love to stay in touch!

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    3. Thank you Martin Penney for your post. I called Jim and we have talked a couple times now. I can't tell you how good it to get back in touch, he sounds exactly as when we were playing in The InLanders. Jim sure turned out a true musician, a ton of talent in that guy.
      I sent him an old poster advertising us for hire, it's on his Facebook page.

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  2. Paul - I know nothing of that show but would love to see a scan of that poster. If you go to chickenonaunicycle.com there is a link to our contact details from the index.

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    1. I sent the STOKED poster to Corry and he put it out for us. There are a lot of Bay Area posters on chickenonaunivycle.com If anyone is still out there I must have 10 or more cool dance posters not seen yet and would be happy to show them off.

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  3. My dad was Glenn Strawn..... I remember that poster. Thanks for writing this.

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  4. If anyone knows where I can find posters that would be great. The ones we had in the store were stolen and my father was heartbroken, especially the one where he opened for the Beach Boys....

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  5. Hi Alice
    Didn't Glen go on to play in post-surf Sacramento bands? I take it he is no longer with us. I remember him as a really great musician, and I knew most of the local players circa 66-70. Love to hear more of your recollections
    H.

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  6. A few minor details to add, since I knew several of these people, and played with some...

    Jack May (Group B) went on to play with another short-lived Davis band, Kampf Route, about 1969, and later still, about 1971, in the San Francisco area, with the band Osgoode, which was named after the street in North Beach where the Blue Cheer office used to be: Osgoode Place. I am sure of these details, because I was in both bands too.

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    1. Forgot to mention that Jim Keylor (The Hide-A-Ways, Oxford Circle) was also in Kampf Route.

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  7. Kind of puzzled... I see no mention here of the period a few years later, when Cal Expo became a major venue, and a parade of biggish names marched through the Sound Factory, with a bunch of locals as opening acts, like Wakeforest, Stillborn Time, and a few more. Or the other locals who played numerous gigs but never released any records (AFAIK), like the Bad Seeds, Children of Stone, Benedick's Mixmaster or the Crystal Pancake?

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    1. Almost forgot North, AUM and Wayne the Harp! :^)

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    2. Bob, thanks for the interesting comments and details. In this blog, we generally stick to the 60s, so there's no mention of later events.

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    3. The Sound Factory closed after only being open for a year and change. It never saw the '70s, but that would apply to most of the big acts that passed through Cal Expo. (Not the very earliest ones though! For example, The Moody Blues, Country Joe & the Fish and AUM played Cal Expo in Nov. '69.)

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  8. I was looking for information about the The InLanders and found this page. Is anyone still here? I have a couple of posters from Sacramento shows and a few of the old ones from San Francisco. Gary Schiro was my manager for a while until his demise.

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    1. Dennis, we're still around. We'd love to put up scans of the relevant posters, if you have them (corrarnold at gmail dot com)

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    2. I can send .jpeg of the STOKED poster. What is the process? I'd like to share it.

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    3. If you can send the jpeg to me at corrarnold at gmail dot com (trying to avoid spam crawlers here) I will be delighted to post it here

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    4. Dennis, I added the STOKED poster--thanks so much.

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    5. You're welcome. FYI, The InLanders were Jim Nette-Guitar and Vocals, Dennis Jones-Guitar, Larry Bensinger-Bass and Bruce Turley-Drums and Vocals. We play regularly around Sacramento and you're right about the Surf, Cover Band. We opened shows at Sacramento Memorial Auditoriam for some good groups like The Ventures, Herman Hermits and The Byrds, The Sufaries and more. Paul Revere and the Raiders and Dick Dale we played with at the old Governors Hall. Good times!

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  9. Tell Jim to check his facebook friends request please.

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  10. Checking in finally. Some good times in The InLanders. Watch for them, coming soon!

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  11. Does anyone remember the name of the band that Craig Conat was in? He also worked at Tower Records? He and the band lived in midtown and called their house Big Valley?

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  12. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  13. The Coachmen (Sacramento Legends)
    https://www.facebook.com/thecoachmen1965/

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