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August 13, 2015

Track Video Feature: The Electric Prunes-Blue Sky / Red Dress

Nobody does it like The Electric Prunes! If its been a while since you heard some vintage Garage/Psych Rock then I suggest you tune in and turn on the video.

Listen to the legendary Electric Prunes do a track of their recent releaes WaS.

Are you ready for some Prunetwang?

Let's rock!

Keith "MuzikMan" Hannaelck-5/5 STARS


More..A Lot More About This Great Band! And This Is Only One Decade..


In the San Fernando Valley, just north of Los Angeles, James Lowe, Mark Tulin and Ken Williams meet and decide to form a band.  The decision is made to concentrate on recording rather than learning cover songs in order to play parties and dances.  Dedicated to their goal from the start, their first drummer, Steve Acoff, is fired for deciding to go surfing instead of attending a rehearsal.  James introduces the band to Mike Weakley, a neighbor from Kansas who brings a real Rhythm and Blues feel on the drums.  A keyboard player, Dick Hargraves, is brought in and Mark switches to playing the bass.  This band becomes "The Sanctions".


"The Sanctions" evolve into "Jim and The Lords".  Dick Hargraves gives way to James Spagnola, who quick earns the nickname "Weasel".  The band now consists of  Ken and Weasel on guitars, Mark on bass, James on vocals and harmonica, and Mike on drums.  They play a few local clubs but remain focused on recording.  An audiophile friend of James, Russ Bottomley, has a home studio and it is here they record what will much later be released as "The Sanctions/Jim and The Lords" (Heartbeat Records).  The music is rough but shows their roots in blues, rock and surf.

The band is rehearsing in Mark's garage when his father invites Barbara Harris, who is standing outside, in to listen.  She likes what she hears and arranges for the band to play the birthday party for a friend (who would turn out to be the husband of one of the women who wrote "Too Much To Dream", Annette Tucker).  It is at this party they meet Dave Hassinger, at the time an RCA staff engineer who works with The Rolling Stones when they came to Los Angeles.

Dave tells the band that before he would consider recording with them he wants them to go home and learn to play Beatles songs like The Beatles, Rolling Stones songs like The Rolling Stones, Byrds songs like The Byrds...This way when they are in the studio they have reference points and will understand how to get certain sounds.  After a few months of intensive rehearsal they all get back together and the decision is made to go into the studio and record a single.  The 45 had "Ain't It Hard" (featuring James Lowe's only recording turn on bass) as an A-side and "Little Olive" as the B-side.  With this record the band got a one release deal with Reprise records, but they needed a different name.

Insert your favorite how they got their name story here.  Grapes...jokes...Mick Jagger...Flying pie plates...Whatever.

When the time comes to sign a recording contract Mike Weakley refuses to sign and quits the band.  Preston Ritter comes on as the band's drummer.

"Ain't It Hard" does absolutely nothing and Warner Brothers drops the band.  Dave gives the band several songs to work up for the next session.  Among the songs is the demo for what sounded like a country ballad, "I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night)".  Dave liked the title and told the group to make it into something they could record.  Another bout of sessions are scheduled, this time at Leon Russell's house on Skyhill Drive.  The recordings included "Luvin'", "Hideaway", and a cover of a Hollies song,  "Way of My Own".

Reprise resigns the band and makes Dave Hassinger a staff producer.  "Too Much To Dream", which the record company calls "the weird one", backed by a Lowe/Tulin song,  "Luvin" on the B-side, starts making some noise in the Pacific Northwest late in 1966.  If it holds on through the holiday season they might have something.


The record continues to grow in popularity and by January they have a full-fledged national hit record;except in New York City, which thought it too strange ("Too Much To Dream" is now recognized as possibly the first psychedelic hit record).  The band hustles back into the studio to record their first album at American Recording in North Hollywood.  It is at American, along with engineers Richie Podolor and Bill Cooper, that the band will do the remainder of their recording in the 1960s.

The band hits the road.  Their first tour is of the Pacific Northwest and it is in Spokane where they first hear their song on the radio.  Their second tour takes them through the South.  Their tour itineraries include performing with acts such as The Beach Boys, Cream, Luvin' Spoonful, Steppenwolf, Jefferson Airplane, and Buffalo Springfield. Throughout the year they remain constantly on the road, only taking time off to record their second album "Underground".

"Get Me To The World On Time" is released and becomes their second hit record.  This time the record is a bigger success on the east coast than on the west coast.

It is during the "Underground" sessions that relations with Dave Hassinger hit rock bottom. The  band and their producer do not agree on the direction to take.  Dave wants to turn out a hit, another "Too Much To Dream"(The best example of such an ill-conceived attempt is "Dr. Do-Good" with Dave Hassinger's "vocal" at the very end). The band wants to take their music even further outside, more experimental (this includes using as many experimental instruments as possible including the short-lived Vox Organ/Guitar).

During the recording of "Underground" Preston Ritter leaves the group and is replaced with the return of Mike Weakley, now known as Quint.    Later on in the year Weasel gets sick and is replaced by Mike Gannon on guitar.

"Underground", when released, is met with resounding indifference.   However, the band, continues to maintain a grueling tour/recording schedule. Before leaving for a European tour the band undertakes what will be their last studio recording sessions for over thirty years when they perform "Mass In F Minor".  Written and arranged by Dave Axelrod, this project marks the beginning of the end for the band.  After recording one track it is decided by everyone but the band that the complete group, with Mark being the only one to read music, is taking too long to learn the songs; studio musicians are brought in to replace Ken and Weasel.  Only Mark and Quint play on the remainder of the sessions.  James, sometimes backed by a Canadian group, "The Collectors", does all the vocals.

The band, now consisting of James, Mark, Quint, Ken and Mike Gannon (replacing Weasel who gets too sick to tour), take off on a tour of Europe. This includes a tour of Europe, where in Stockholm they are recorded by Swedish Public Radio.  These recordings will later be released on Heartbeat Records as "Stockholm 67" and remain the only live recordings of the band from that period.  For the tour a European single is released containing "Never Had It Better" (always a part of the band's live shows) and "Everybody Knows You're Not In Love".   These two songs will not appear anywhere else until 2002 and the release of the compilation CD "Lost Dreams" on Birdman Records.

While still in France Quint decides to quit the band and stay in Europe.  Upon returning to the U.S. Quint is replaced by Joe Dooley, who tours with the band but never appears on any of their 1960's recording.


"Mass in F Minor" garners some national attention, including an article in Time Magazine, but sales are disappointing. The band continues to tour until finally with virtually no existing relationship between the band and their manager or producer, tensions within the group come to a boil.  Following a few weeks of arguing while on the road, James quits the group.

The Electric Prunes, without James Lowe, attempt one more tour.  The band now consists of Ken, Mark, Jeromy Stuart (keyboards/vocals), and Kenny Loggins (guitar/vocals).  This tour is a disaster for audience and performers.  The band has no drummer and incapable of playing any of the hit records.   Upon their return to Los Angeles the remaining members of the band quit.

The original members of the band, the ones responsible for their sound and records, will not play again for over thirty years.


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