This expanded edition collects every important fact about this iconic period in music history. It features an A-Z listing of relevant artists with discographies, personnel details, band histories, comments on the music and personal recollections.
All over America thousands of teenagers started rock’n’roll bands which were initially influenced by the British Invasion sound, which itself had its roots in American rock’n’roll Most of these bands were full of average teenagers who could only manage a few chords on a guitar but they transformed thousands of kids into weekend stars among their peers.
The better ones got to play at local fraternity parties, dances, shopping centres… anywhere the opportunity allowed really … the really good ones made it to bigger venues.. the lucky ones got to cut a record (often a one-off recording deal was the prize for winners of local Battle Of The Band’ competitions, which were a regular feature at weekend dances in most American towns and cities in this era), the more enterprising ones raised enough bucks themselves to have a record pressed. A minority of these got played on the local radio station and those that caught on became local hits maybe …. the big national labels were always searching for exciting new talent and, as you’ll notice when you delve into the meat of this book, some of these local releases were picked up by major labels for national distribution. This offered the opportunity of a hit record, indeed a few of these discs became million-sellers. The 45 discographies in this book show the highest placing in Billboard’s Hot 100 of all discs listed (and the equivalent placing for all albums listed in Billboard’s Top 200 Album Charts for that matter) so you can see the discs and artists that really won through to, (so far as most garage bands are concerned) short-lived stardom. Sadly, most discs and the artists who created them remained in total obscurity.
The term ‘garage’ band referred to the space where many of these bands rehearsed and to a musical phenomenon. In fact, the music they played was very varied but more than anything else the timely invention of the fuzztone box in the mid-sixties helped mould this sound, which in its purest form was a crudely-recorded, raw (even savage), primal three-chord sound, thrashed out on Vox guitars and cheesy Farfisa organs laced with lots of Tuzz and snarling vocals. Lyrically, they tended to deal with the problems of teenage life social restrictions and uncooperative parents and girlfriends (for the American garage band was almost exclusively a male phenomenon as rock’n’roll had been before it). 1965 and 1966 were the prime years of the ‘garage’ band.
Around the Spring of 1966 marijuana and LSD were introduced to college and high school campuses, and by 1967 they were in widespread use among America’s youth. When these naive teenage bands began experimenting with psychedelic drugs the results were interesting…