Friday, 1 February 2008

Scott - Peachnut Brandy

Scott - Peachnut Brandy (Kent 4533. 1970)

Scotti Passen started taking piano lessons at 5 years old and in 1963 aged 10, met Scott Krane at High School in Hollywood. Scott taught Scotti guitar and soon they started writing and playing songs together, with Scotti moving to organ and piano in the band a year later. Aged just 12 and in the grips of Beatlemania, Scotti & Scott cut their first demo.

The duo regularly played dances throughout the Hollywood area, performing with a back-up band. As the 60s moved on they become more influenced by the heavier sounds of Steppenwolf, The Doors and the Rascals.

At 16 they scored their first record deal with Cadet (Kent) through legendary R&B producers and Modern Records founders Saul and Jules Bihari. Their sole 45 release at the time coupled two originals “Peachnut Brandy” and “Miss America”, with Scott and Scotti playing all the instruments. Unfortunately the 45 bombed and only sold in the region of 500 copies.

Not to be deterred for the next few years they continued to gig around LA, until 1974 when they headed out to Tokyo looking to score a lead on a record deal with Victor Records. After some success they returned to LA they once again hooked up with Kent Records, recording two albums, both of which have yet to see the light of day.

Despite plugging away the big break never came their way and in the early 90s Scotti took on the management of a rejuvenated Crabby Appleton as well as backing up Spencer Davis during some LA gigs.

Scott passed away a few years back but Scotti, now free from the Hollywood excesses and living in Florida, continues to play music the local church.

Me and Dem Guys - She Cried

Me and Dem Guys - She Cried (Pyranees MDG-4. 1968)

From Grand Rapids, Michigan. Cool psych number, with a freaky middle section. I believe Pyranees was the bands own label.

* Update

Thanks to singer Keith Seccombe for getting in touch hipping me to the bands other recordings and sharing stories of the band.

From the Grandrapidsrocks website:

The group was born in Jackson during 1964 and comprised of 5 players: Jan Porter (keyboards-vocals), Bobby Stiles (bass-vocals), Frank Eimer (guitar-vocals), John Jennings (horns-vocals), and Lynn Riggs (drums). As the band became popular playing club dates throughout Michigan they decided they wanted to make records and in 1966 travelled to Nashville to cut their first records: "black cloud" (their first hit ), "don’t bug me," "little sweetheart" and "gone gone gone." In 1967 they decided to expand the group and hired Doug Cassens, one of the finest sax players in Michigan, wanting to broaden their strong sound and added Keith Seccombe, an Englishman who had been playing with a band out of New York (the Dead End Kids). now, not only had the band grown to having 3 front line horn players (Keith also played) but now had six vocalists! This line-up was not to last long though unfortunately. John decided he'd had enough of playing on the road and quit to return to Jackson for a 9-5 lifestyle.

In 1969 it was time to go back to the recording studio where the hits "smiling phases," "simple thoughts of love" and "she cried" came to fruition, and to add a stronger vocal/guitar sound terry Kay from Kalamazoo was added to line-up. As with most bands there was some internal strife, with Frank leaving and being replaced by Donny Rogers who brought with him a strong R&B/jazz background. The band's popularity continued to grow expanding further across the country letting the band not only continue to be a very successful club act but became an opening act for such national artists as the box tops, Bobby Sherman and the Ides of March. Still the guys wanted their own national success and started recording original material ("da man," "the end is coming," "return to reality," "holes in soles") on their own record Pyrenees label, but without national success.

In 1971 things changed drastically. Lead singer Keith lost his voice and returned to England, Terry decided he'd had enough and returned to Kalamazoo, and founding member Jan felt he too wanted a break after 7 years on the road. What now? The band continued! They hired keyboard/vocalist George Voss and cut their last record as a five piece: "mr elevator/ separation" (probably the best thing they ever recorded). But all good things come to an end and in 1972 Me and Dem Guys hung up their well worn rock and roll shoes with Keith (who had returned from England) booking their last gig (East Grand Rapids high school prom).

Where are they now? Jan lives in California and drives truck for a living. John continues to live and work in Jackson as does bobby. Frank continues to earn a living playing and singing and lives in Manistee. Terry lives in Kalamazoo still. George the last we heard was playing cruise ships in Japan. Donny moved to Florida to be close to his daughter and works in the automobile leasing business. Keith still lives in Grand Rapids and has been in car sales for 30 years also doing photo, video and voice over work on the side. Lynn is also living in g.r. having made his niche in the car business (after some scary health problems he's okay now). Finally, Doug lives in Southfield and after a long career with Amway now has his business but still keeps his chops up playing weekend gigs.

To get hold of an excellent CD with the complete output of the band drop Keith a line -

Chaps - Wait A Minute

Chaps - Wait A Minute (Soft 1032. 1969)

Here's a later cut from the Pine Bluff, Arkansas guys. There was a three year gap between the Paula 45s and the first Soft release, what were they up to in those years? They were quite the profilic band over the years and surely have a story to be told. Has anyone ever tracked these guys down?