Current Presents: Garage Rocks 3

by Jon Schober

Garage Rocks 3 on 89.3 The Current
Garage Rocks 3 on 89.3 The Current (Jon Schober)
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For the 3rd installment of Garage Rocks on the Current Presents, "Girls Got Rhythm" co-founder Dana Raidt joins me in the studio for a road trip across the United States. We're stopping in as many states as we can and uncovering past and present bands who have been instrumental in the development and progression of garage rock throughout the decades. Read about each of the artists and utilize a handy interactive map to see just where we're going.

Tune into 89.3 The Current on Sunday night from 9-10 p.m. to hear the freakbeat play out.

Connecticut

Stamford — The Madhatters: "Just Won't Leave"
The Madhatters were a group of high-schoolers who traveled to New York City to record their only 45 in late February of 1966. With college on the horizon, the band broke up. They were 15-years old when they formed.

Virginia

Richmond — Peace Beast: "Unlike You"
This four-piece, Richmond-based band formed in 2011 and calls their sound "victory pop."
Website

Tennessee

Memphis — Jay Reatard: "Trapped Here"
Punk/garage artist Jay Reatard was the founder of Lost Sounds, Angry Angles and The Reatards. He was also a prolific solo artist and released a slew of singles, EPs and full-lengths before his untimely death at the age of 29 in 2010. His last album, Watch Me Fall, was released on Matador Records in 2009.
Website

Georgia

Atlanta — The Swingin' Apolloes: "Slow Down"
Active from 1965 to 1967, The Swingin' Apolloes were all students at Middle Georgia College and played the Atlanta circuit frequently. They opened for The Rolling Stones at a frat house, but when Mick Jagger insulted the audience, the band was booed off and the Apolloes were called back on.

Florida

Tampa — The Surprize: "Too Bad"
The Surprize are more famous for a song they wrote for a different band: Mercy's million-seller "Love Can Make You Happy." Founding members James Marvell and Buddy Good later had many songs published by the well-known Isley Brothers in New York City.

Alabama

Tuscaloosa — Omen & Their Luv: "Maybe Later"
Founded in 1966, this band was known for its residencies across the state in various clubs. They did a brief east coast tour in 1970, but by that time, the line-up had basically collapsed and the band was no more.

Louisiana

New Orleans — The Local Traffic: "Second Century"
This single by The Local Traffic was only recently unearthed after an original release in June of 1968. It has since attained huge sums of money at auctions in both 2009 and 2010.

Arkansas

Jonesboro — The Esquires: "Sadie's Way"
Formed in 1964 in Jonesboro, The Esquires lived in a town closer to Memphis rather than Little Rock, and the rockabilly is evident in this song. They didn't last long; the band broke up in 1966 when two members enlisted in the Marines.

Oklahoma

Oklahoma City — Harvest: "Almost Cut My Hair"
Harvest was formed in the '60s out of the ashes of the (appropriately named) band Phoenix — not to be confused with the late '70s Christian band Harvest.

Texas

Dallas — The Gentlemen: "It's A Cryin' Shame"
This Dallas-based four-piece was active from 1964 to 1968. Heavily influenced by early Rolling Stones, Animals, Kinks and Yardbirds records as well as soul and blues, they even opened for James Brown at the Dallas Convention Center in 1966.

New Mexico

Portales — The Beckett Quintet: "No Correspondence"
This band gained popularity for their 1965 cover of Bob Dylan's "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue" (which is the A-side to "No Correspondence"). It garnered them a record deal with major label A&M.

Arizona

Phoenix — The Caravelles: "Lovin' Just My Style"
The Caravelles caught the attention of AM soul station KCAC and specifically DJ Hadley Murrell, a popular producer who worked with Eddie and Ernie, The New Bloods and many others. They then relocated to San Francisco which we now know as the modern hub for garage rock.

California

San Diego — The Plateaus: "Do It For You"
This new band out of San Diego just put out a 7" on the esteemed Hozac label. They've only had one previous release and their shows are mostly relegated to California boundaries, but "Do It For You" has caught the attention of national press.
Website

Hawaii

Honolulu — Val Richards V: "Dancing With My Girl"
They were one of the top acts in Honolulu at the time and served as the house band at a restaurant in town. We know: garage rock in Hawaii!?

Oregon

Portland — The Kingsmen: "Louie Louie"
The lyrics to The Kingsmen's 1963 version of Richard Perry's "Louie Louie" were unintelligible enough that the FBI investigated the band for obscenity. The charges were dropped, and the song ended up at the #2 spot on the Billboard charts for six weeks.

Washington

Seattle — The Spits: "Flags"
This punk/garage group formed in 2000 and often performs in costume. Their latest album, V, was released in 2011.
Website

Idaho

Boise — The Warlocks: "You Keep Me Hanging On"
Not to be confused with the contemporary LA-based psych band — or the name used by early incarnations of the Grateful Dead and the Velvet Underground — The Warlocks of Idaho released this cover of the Supremes' hit with a B-side called "Banana Soul."

Montana

Butte — The Wanderers: "Don't Pity Me"
This obscure, low-budget record was released around 1965 or 1966 on Billings-based label Warrior Records, a pet project of "Hippy Hippy Shake" singer and Ritchie Valens contemporary Chan Romero.

Minnesota

St. Paul — Men At Work: "It's All Right"
This isn't the famed Australian band, but instead one in our own backyards. Originally called The Exiles, the members of Men At Work were based out of St. Paul but came from Chisago City, Center City and Taylors Falls. They also played with the likes of The Castaways and The Trashmen. This is a cover of The Rolling Stones song "I'm Alright."

Missouri

Poplar Bluff — The Modds: "Leave My House"
The Modds, fronted by brothers (and Southern California transplants) Steve and Eddie Simone, were only active for one year in the mid-'60s.

Illinois

Chicago — Disappears: "Magics"
This four-piece has toured the Midwest extensively in the past five years on the strength of several releases. Lead singer Brian Case is also a member of The Ponys. Disappears is a "Dana and Jon" favorite.
Website

Indiana

Muncie — The Chosen Few: "It Just Don't Rhyme"
Some of the members of this band went to Ball State and were originally named The Invincibles. They were known for enigmatic frontman Hadji Baba and released four 45s on Denim.

Michigan

Detroit — The Dirtbombs: "Ever Lovin' Man"
Founded by garage-punk pioneer Mick Collins in 1995, this Detroit band was largely responsible, along with the White Stripes, for the city's garage resurgence in the early 2000s.
Website

Ohio

Dayton — Tommy James: "Draggin' The Line"
65-year-old Tommy James is known for many hits, including "Crimson and Clover," "Draggin' the Line," "Hanky Panky," "Mony Mony" and "I Think We're Alone Now." While many of those songs were successes on the pop charts, there are gritty, soulful Rust Belt undertones to nearly all of them.
Website

Washington, D.C.

Washington, D.C. — The Juveniles: "I Wish I Could"
We can't forget our nation's capital. Even within the small borders of Washington, D.C., they had an active band from the southeast portion of the city called The Juveniles. They mainly played firehouse dances and battle of the bands during their time as a group.


View Garage Rock Road Trip in a larger map

Thanks to Garage Hangover for providing information on many of the artists we've profiled for this episode of the Current Presents.