Friday, December 31, 2010

The Shape Of Things To Come ... Perhaps The Closest We're Ever Going To Get To The Whole Story

What a GREAT way to end the year!!!

The story behind the Max Frost and the Troopers / One Hit Wonder "Shape Of Things To Come" came up again recently.

As most of you already know, this was the VERY FIRST Song we EVER featured in Forgotten Hits when we kicked things off over the long Thanksgiving Holiday Weekend back in 1999 ... and, over the years, we've featured it again and again as kind of an anniversary tribute to our Oldies Newsletter.

Along the way, we've come both closer ... and further away ... from discovering the truth behind this great recording. But THIS year we took a MAJOR leap forward when we received brand new comments from Davie Allan of the Arrows (long rumored to be the mystery backing band on this track, a rumor we dispelled several years ago) and Mike Curb (the guy responsible for putting together the whole "Wild In The Streets" soundtrack). Unfortunately, despite repeated attempts, we did NOT hear back from Paul Wibier, the guy who SANG this classic hit! (Now THAT would have been the crowning glory!!!) For right now anyway, it looks like Paul is destined to be one of the "ones who got away" ... he is apparently not interested in talking about "the good old days" ... and that's a shame ... because he may be the guy who holds a few of the key missing pieces to the puzzle.

We have ALWAYS prided ourselves on our great love and appreciation of this music ... and have strived to convey that feeling to the artists as well ... EMBRACE your glory ... SHARE your legacy ... with the fans who will appreciate it the most ... because THOSE are the people who religiously read Forgotten Hits! (Oh well, he just ain't buyin' it!!! lol But we tried!!!)

As such, we are proud to present ... for the first time ANYWHERE ... "The Most Accurate Truth" surrounding "Shape Of Things To Come" by Max Frost and the Troopers, courtesy of Mike Curb:

Back in the mid-60s, before I became head of MGM Records, I had my own label, Sidewalk. It worked out to be a very nice arrangement. Whenever it appeared that a single was breaking nationally, I had an agreement with Tower Records to buy the master and reissue it on that label.

I signed a group to Sidewalk Records called The Moms Boys and I believe we changed their name to The 13th Power. I believe the lead singer in the group was Paul Wibier. As you know I had an agreement with American International Pictures to produce and release their soundtracks such as Wild Angels, The Trip, Born Losers, Wild Racers and numerous other soundtracks including Wild In The Streets. In some instances I wrote most of the music; i.e., The Wild Angels, and in other cases we released albums on the Sidewalk label such as The Trip that featured songs that were all created by The Electric Flag featuring Buddy Miles and Mike Bloomfield.

With respect to the motion picture Wild In The Streets, my recollection is that Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil wrote all the songs, and I served as the producer of all the records. Harley Hatcher was the engineer on the records but he made such an important contribution that I have asked that he also be listed as a co-producer even though he wasn’t listed on the original album. I am proud to say that Curb Music is still involved with Harley Hatcher after almost 50 years.

We released an instrumental version of Nothing Can Change The Shape Of Things To Come with Davie Allan and The Arrows, but I think you indicated to me that Davie had said that he did not play on the Max Frost & The Troopers version. When I listen to the record it sure sounds like Davie Allan, but I will defer to Davie’s memory with respect to whether or not he played guitar on the record. I do remember that Larry Knechtel and Hal Blaine, along with other major studio musicians from California played on the record.

The reason we changed the name of The 13th Power to Max Frost & The Troopers was because the lead actor Christopher Jones played the role of Max Frost and we felt that we would have a better chance of breaking the record under the name of Max Frost & The Troopers. The record was a big hit and actually reached the 20s of the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

This is the best that I can do in terms of remembering the details of a record that was recorded over 40 years ago. However, if you have any further questions that would jog my memory, I would be more than happy to answer them. Also, if anyone remembers this differently, I would be very happy to hear that and that might also help me remember as well.
Mike Curb

Davie Allan made a couple of modifications to the above remembrance ... he has stated for a while now that, despite popularly circulated reports, he did NOT play on the Max Frost hit single ... but has recorded "Shape Of Things To Come" several times on his own.

This from Davie Allan:

I was getting the question about "Max Frost" and the song "Shape Of Things To Come" a lot so I saved an answer that I keep reusing.
(I first sent this to a fan in February '05):
(And we've run it in Forgotten Hits several times since as well ... yet numerous OTHER publications continue to credit Davie Allan and the Arrows as being the "mystery group" behind this great recording!) kk

I wish I could say that we were "Max Frost & The Troopers" but unfortunately, it's just not true. I DID play on the "Wild In The Streets" soundtrack along with studio musicians known as the "Hollywood Wrecking Crew" (Hal Blaine, Carol Kaye and Larry Knechtel) but none of us played on "Shape Of Things To Come".
A band was hired to do that one and it was kept a secret as to who the members were (actually "Mom's Boys" featuring Paul Wibier). The mix-up started when my instrumental version was released as the last "Arrows" single on the "Tower Records" label. All I did was play lead on that pre-recorded track so everyone assumed that we and "Max Frost" were one and the same.
I'm on some of the "Max Frost" tracks including the ones that appeared on "The Glory Stompers" soundtrack.
-- Davie Allan

Thanks, Davie ... this only confuses the issue further!!! (lol) Truth is, after 40+ years I'm not so sure we'll EVER get the COMPLETE answer ... but how cool is it to have a couple of guys who were actually involved in these sessions sharing their memories with our readers??? AWESOME! (Now if we could only get Paul Wibier to answer our emails!!! Ah, who knows ... maybe he's waiting for our TWELFTH Anniversary to spill the beans in Forgotten Hits!!!) kk


See you back here in 2011!