Thursday, December 13, 2012

Even MORE Of Your Garage Band Comments!!!

It's ALWAYS cool to hear from some of the artists who were such an important part of our musical education ... ESPECIALLY when they discover what we're doing, trying to help keep this great music alive.  

This time around, we heard from a few we haven't heard from before ... so we wanted to share!  

Thanks for thinking of me. It was a great time in my life.
I had no responsibilities, I was making decent money and I was touring with John Fred and the Playboys "Judy in Disguise", Alex Chilton and the Box Tops "The Letter" and "Cry Like a Baby". However, Sly and the Family Stone also was touring with us and they had that big hit "Dance to the Music". Our song was all over the radio.
You're only that young once in a lifetime and I made it count.
Thanks for reminding me of some great personal memories.
Mike Appel: Lead singer, writer, lead guitar and leader of The Balloon Farm.
All the best,
Mike Appel   

We're all about the memories here in Forgotten Hits ... and these had to be some very special ones. Congratulations on making our countdown.    

Mike's done a WHOLE lot since The Balloon Farm ... his website points out some of the highlights:  

I started out writing, singing and performing in various bands. The guys that gave me my first big break were Hugo & Luigi. They were the producers of all Sam Cooke's hits, The Lion Sleeps Tonight and they wrote Elvis' "Can't Help Falling In Love With You". Bruce Springsteen even sings that song. In fact, I went to lunch with Luigi only a few months ago.

The first project I did for Hugo & Luigi was The Balloon Farm who had a Billboard Top 40 hit called "Question Of Temperature". I sang, played lead guitar, wrote and arranged it. I had also written several hits for David Cassidy and The Partridge Family. Doesn't Somebody Want To Be Wanted went to number one and sold well over a million copies.

I then went on to produce and write all the lyrics for Sir Lord Baltimore a power trio on Mercury Records. They toured with Humble Pie (Peter Frampton & Stever Marriott) and Black Sabbath (with Ozzy Osbourne). I then discovered Bruce Springsteen and produced his first three records and managed his career as well. I was largely responsible for getting him on the covers of Time and Newsweek in the same week. No one ever duplicated that publicity coup to this day.

I have completed a musical entitled “In The Shadows Of The King”. The musical is broadly about how all of us young rockers, Bruce Springsteen, The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Rod Stewart, myself to name a few, were all trying to emulate Elvis after his first string of successes. However, all of us realized that if we were to make a name for ourselves, we’d have to find our own original unique voice if we were ever to come out from the shadows of The King. It is also about everyone finding out what is unique about themselves and following that unique road wherever it takes them.

-- Mike Appel  

Despite all these career achievements, Mike is still VERY proud of his garage band roots with The Balloon Farm. Thanks again for taking the time to drop us a line here at Forgotten Hits! (kk)    

Mike Rabon of The Five Americans, who also made our Top 20 All-Time Favorite Garage Bands Countdown, has a new book out, available through ...

Michael L. Rabon was the lead singer and writer for the hit 60's group, The Five Americans. He is the co-writer of the million selling hit record Western Union, as well as the Top 40 charted Sound Of Love, Zip Code, Evol Not Love and I See the Light. He has been inducted into the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame History Exhibit located in the Oklahoma City next to the capitol building. He was recognized in 2008 by the Oklahoma State Senate, for contributions to music history internationally and to the State of Oklahoma. He is married with two sons and is currently a technology teacher in the Hugo City Schools system in Hugo, Oklahoma. He holds a Masters Degree in Administration. His website is

Click here: High Strung (9781608300471): Mike Rabon: Books  

We've already heard from a few of you who ordered Mike's book after our piece on The Five Americans ran.  You'll find some excellent reviews for this book on ... now I wanna read it!!! (kk)   

Good to hear other songs by ? other than 96 TEARS which the group did. I had to get out their version of DO SOMETHING TO ME and play it. Always did like that version better than Tommy James' version.
Larry Neal

Dave The Rave turned me on to this one a few years ago ... I missed it the first time around. Yes, it's a great version ... and I always liked this song ... and I always felt that it should have done better on the charts. (Tommy's version peaked at #24 ... and the ? and the Mysterians version didn't make Billboard's chart at all. [It DID reach #97 in Record World however.] This should have been a big hit for them ... and it kind of took them away from their "formula sound", too.) kk 

By the way, after our piece ran on ? and the Mysterians, naming them as your FOURTH All-Time Favorite Garage Band, we DID hear from ? by way of the maker of his documentary, Terry Murphy.  I'm hoping we can run a future conversation with ? on the site!  (kk)

OMG, the Standells! They deserve a spot but this high? 
Again, YOUR guys' call, not mine!  (kk)  

Here's a little know fact for you and your readers ...
This is from a 1975 interview with Lowell George, founder of the world's greatest rock and roll band, Little Feat, and also the best slide guitar player of all time - regarding The Standells:
"I was in The Standells for about two months. I replaced Dicky Dodd, the lead singer, and then I found out that I feared for my life. All these young girls that he had gathered as an audience came looking for me after a gig one night to do me in. They thought that I was responsible for his demise, when in fact he quit because he couldn't stand it. And I finally quit because I couldn't stand it either. It was a very unusual organization. Actually I'm not very proud of that period, but it kept me out of school y'know. One would say that it kept me off the streets, but I have to say that it kept me out of school.
"In a way it was enlightening because it was a band that was on a real decline, and I was watching all the guys that had made all the money. Ed Cobb, their producer, was more responsible than anybody else for their success, by gathering all the material, putting the band into shape, and creating the sort of circumstances whereby the band could make the sort of money they did. And then as it began to decline I was watching the other guys in the band bring their hairdryers and their magnifying mirrors along to gigs – they used to fluff up before the gig. I was stunned. I couldn't imagine it and I still can't imagine it to this day. I mean many's the time I've caught a cold stepping out of the shower and walking to the gig or getting in a cab. I mean I know where a hairdryer fits in at this point, but for some reason I still haven't been able to take one with me on the road. I don't know what that's supposed to mean, but it was very interesting to see that band on its last legs, and the things that they went through. They also had a little money disappear from them for unknown reasons. People were wondering why the contract read $2500 and the band got paid $1800, A little shady. I didn't like that, and I think I precipitated the events that got the band to say 'oh forget it'. See I'd known the bass player from Hollywood High School and he knew that I wrote and sang and all, so he called me up and I auditioned and they liked the way I sang so I got the job. And then after I got it I didn't really want it".
Despite Lowell's comments, which I don't for one minute doubt to be perfectly valid, The Standells, in their heyday, were one of the great 'punk-rock' bands. Singles like 'Dirty Water', 'Animal Girl', and 'Riot On Sunset Strip' are classic punk records, and if you wish to learn more of The Standells and other groups musically related, you can do no worse than pick up the summer 1974 edition of Greg Shaw's Who Put The Bomp magazine, which is choc-a-bloc full of such fascinating grist. The aforementioned 'Dirty Water' is, you'll be delighted to know, available on the famous Nuggets: Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era 1965-1968 album (Elektra) which is again strongly recommended, firstly because of the music, and secondly because of the intelligent and careful way in which it has been put together. And if you see any Standells singles knocking about, grab 'em'. Unfortunately, or fortunately as the case may be, Lowell George never recorded with The Standells, so we'll never know what we missed.
Thank you
Steve Sarley   

Judging by some of the feedback you received on The New Colony Six, it's apparent that many people just don't understand the "garage band" tag. All the arguments made also apply to, for example, The Seeds and ? & The Mysterians, yet nobody disputes they are "garage bands".
Bottom line: There was no such "garage" tag in the '60s. Today songs can be classified as "garage rock", whether or not they were recorded by groups currently designated as "garage bands". The "garage" label no doubt confuses or offends certain people.
Thanks, Kent.
Mike Dugo
We kicked off the series by stating that the line has become "blurred" because of this whole "nuggets" tag not attributed to much of this music. Nuggets USED to be "artifacts from the psychedelic era" ... but now the term seems to encompass the whole garage band sound as well. As we saw, a number of bands that made our All-Time Favorite Psychedelic Songs List ALSO made this All-Time Favorite Garage Bands List. Personally, I've always seen (and heard) a distinction between the two ... and there are quite a few bands on our final list (that did VERY well) that I might not necessarily have considered "garage bands" in my own mind. That being said, the results you saw are the way the fans voted ... and with just over 9000 votes, I've got to hand this one over to the majority.
I think I ran a couple of good examples in defense of the early edition of The New Colony Six. When Ronnie Rice first joined the group, they took on more of a contemporary "pop" sound with hits like "You're Gonna Be Mine". Then once they hit The National Top 20 with a couple of ballads they, like many others, got "typecast" in that role ... and, since it's the "best known" genre for the band, they haven't been able to shake it. But I can assure you that founding member Ray Graffia, Jr., is VERY proud of the band's garage band roots ... and their recent invitation to perform at Cave Stomp in New York, the ultimate garage band concert, only helps to make my point. (kk)    

Hi Kent,
Many thanks for compiling and listing the readers’ favorite garage bands.
With the exception of the Kingsmen and Paul Revere & The Raiders, most of the bands had their hit making runs after the British Invasion. The conclusion being that they were likely inspired by British bands. However not one of the 20 garage bands listed in your survey comes from the UK. Back in the 60s, they had bands in the UK, for sure; they also had garages. So why no UK garage bands? I’d be interested in readers’ thoughts.
Thanks for all your continued hard and dedicated work,
Mike Edwards
The results published were a reflection "of the people, by the people and for the people" ... ALL of the nominations and ALL of the votes came from you guys out there. Artists like The Troggs and Them snagged "runners up" positions ... but that's about it. Maybe it's the fact that the garage band sound was more of a "home grown" thing ... our response TO The British Invasion. Yes, artists from across the pond may have inspired us to pick up our guitars here in The States, but keep in mind that a lot of that early British sound was just a reworking of good old-fashioned American Rock And Roll ... they were simply feeding it back to us with their own spin. (Look at how many of these early hits were simply remakes of US hit records.) That may be the key to your answer right there. The kids who started up bands in the mid-'60's were still trying to find their own voice ... and some of that teenage angst came out in the music. (kk)

Number 1 garage band song?

Yeah ... I can live with that! (kk)