No. 50: ‘Nuggets: Original Artyfacts’

It's 1972. FM radio is king, with the 23-minute version of "Whipping Post" on heavy rotation. Top 40 radio gets you "My Ding-a-Ling," "Baby Don't Get Hooked on Me" and "Alone Again (Naturally)." The glory days of Top 40 are over, at least for those of us who dug the dangerous sounds of 1966-1969. Songs like "96 Tears," "My Little Black Egg," "Talk Talk." You either owned those gruff one-off records or you didn't. In 1972, there were no rock record collector conventions. No album compilations worth a crap ("20 Original Hits! 20 Original Stars!"). Radio silence enveloped all but the most golden of golden oldies. "No one much cared about music that was even 2 years old, let alone 6," says Bill Inglot, who would help revive "Nuggets" for Rhino Records several decades later. Musician … [Read more...]

Sean Bonniwell of Music Machine dies

Sean Bonniwell, leader of the dark-edged 1960s band the Music Machine, has died. He was 71. The Music Machine had one hit single -- 1966's blazing "Talk Talk" -- and produced only one album with its classic lineup. Still, the fuzz-and-Farfisa band is remembered as a vanguard act -- an important link from garage rock to moody psychedelic rock and then the proto-punk bands. Bonniwell wrote most of the Music Machine's songs and fronted the L.A. band, which was known for wearing all black on stage -- the garb including a single leather glove. Rolling Stone headlined its appreciation of Sean Bonniwell: "The Dark Prince of Garage Rock." Bonniwell, a born-again Christian, left the music business as the 1960s faded away. He died Dec. 20, 2011, of lung cancer, in Visalia, Calif., … [Read more...]

Sky Saxon of the Seeds dies; garage guru

Garage band icon Sky Saxon has died after a long career that included pop stardom with the Seeds and psychedelic explorations as a solo act. He was sixtysomething. Saxon died Thursday in his new home of Austin, Texas, as he was preparing for a '60s tour with the Electric Prunes and Love. The cause of death was not disclosed. Saxon's latest group was called Shapes Have Fangs, reflecting the singer's eccentricity as well as his love of oddly titled songs and curious band names. He adopted the name Sky Sunlight Saxon in the years after the Seeds disbanded. Richard Marsh, his real name, was born in Utah. The Seeds' two albums remain a powerful influence on rock music, ranging from the jukebox hits "Pushin' Too Hard" and "Can't Seem to Make You Mine" to the sex saga "Up in Her Room," … [Read more...]

Prunes, Love, Saxon head East

The "California '66 Revue" brings together three key acts from that pivotal year in rock history: the Electric Prunes, Love and the Seeds (repped by singer Sky Saxon). (Update: Sky Saxon died June 25. He was replaced on part of the tour by Moby Grape guitarist Jerry Miller.) Update of Aug. 6: The tour now appears down to Love, Miller (on some dates) and "special guests." The tour web site announced the Electric Prunes would only play the WPKN benefit on Aug. 6 in Fairfield, Ct. That show also reportedly will feature a Blues Magoos reunion. Love (Baby Lemonade) plan to continue the California '66 tour in venues that want to keep the booking, the web site said. This version of Love is well worth seeing and includes original member Johnny Echols. Recalling the heady days of the … [Read more...]

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