Los Angeles in 1966 was the epicenter of everything regarding pop culture. The scene was festooned with peace and love while Hollywood’s glitz was its show piece. Bands would play and regardless of their genre audiences were receptive. One such band that epitomized the Psychedelia movement were the he Electric Prunes. Guided by singer/auto harpist James Lowe they recorded the song that spoke to the “Generation of Love” and that was “I Had Too Much to Dream Last Night”. It not only was a hit record but it became the interplanetary soundtrack of influences for many groups to follow.
It didn’t sound like anything ever heard on the radio at that time or before. Reviewing the notes from the studio there were lots of over dubbing and turning over. Those parts played forward were cool but “backwards” it was more amazing. The song reached #11 on the Billboard singles chart in the U.S. and #49 in Britain. The song is about a guy who is suffering from symptoms of a hangover after having an affair with his girlfriend claiming he had “too much to dream” the previous night. The pun obviously coming from having “too much to drink last night”. Those in the “in crowd” considered it a metaphor for drug use; and probably in those days it sounded pretty fuckin’ bitchin’ and far out.
Dick Clark..”A gassy thing.I Had Too Much To Dream Last Night”
During the Fall of 1966 the Sunset Strip was besieged by riots with L.A. County Sheriffs enforcing curfew laws(You don’t fuck with the L.A. County Sheriffs Department) the Club owners were in a quagmire on what to do. Heads were cracked, the streets a blazing with cars set on fire yet the music played on.
Rock Bands of L.A. com fave band, Jigsaw Seen wrote a song that told the story with all its glory, “Open Up The Box Pandora”..
“The Prunes” were a band formed at Taft High School in the San Fernando Valley; which is a moderate bus ride from Hollywood. American rock at this time had to find its own way considering that The British Invasion was in full swing. The perfect storm was in the band’s favor considering that their record label Warner Bros. wanted into the rock business bad at this time. Considering Warner’s roster could boast of having Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Don Rickles and Alan Sherman they thought by signing a young local rock band would be their ticket for the next decade.
Warners’ Records stars.”.Mr. Warmth”, Don Rickles. Alan Sherman..The King of the Boardroom… Deaan Martin
Little did they know that the story would not be told if it ended here? “Dream” was the second single from the band and they didn’t even write it! Initially working with studio icon Leon Russell nothing was gelling so their producer David Hassinger was convinced that the band could not write their own songs. As Hassinger found imperative he sought outside material from the professional songwriting team of Annette Tucker and lyricist Nancie Mantz. The song that came was “I Had Too Much to Dream (Last Night)”, a song that, according to some sources, was originally conceived as an orchestral piano ballad. However, according to Ms. Tucker, “I came up with the title one day and called Nancie. She loved it and we wrote it the next day in one half hour….The words were there and my melody came easily. I was influenced by the Rolling Stones at the time and that is how I heard that song being recorded….Nancie and I envisioned this as a rock song.”
It embodied the Garage Rock that Channel #21 on SM/Sirius with the guidance of Little Steven and has proclaimed this anthem their “ground zero” for the station. This spark of success enabled the band to tour, and to release an album with a successful follow-up single “Get Me To The World On Time”. The band is also recognized for the song “Kyrie Eleison“, which was featured on the soundtrack of the epic film Easy Rider. After a period in which they had little control over their music, they disbanded for 30 years. In 1999 the band reformed. By 2001 the members had resumed recording and touring and remained active until 2011. Here in 2014 the vortex of The Electric Prunes has perfectly assembled again within the parameters of our galaxy: As offered by James Lowe personally. “The Electric Prunes invite you our closest friends to a new adventure! WaS. That WaS the Electric Prunes! It has been a long journey here and we have waited till the planetary alignment was correct for a new release. The lunar eclipse signaled the start of something that no one is sure of exactly what? We offer WaS as the saucer to fast forward you to the cosmic finish.” There is a fine line between ‘IS’ and ‘WaS’. If what you did is more important than what you are doing, you WaS. One moment you is and then you was. Somehow I’m thinking of channeling MC Hammer’s hit “You Can’t Touch This”. 1967 doesn’t seem much different from today; tastes change but I think people are always on the lookout for some fresh ideas from the ‘is’ that makes them remember the ‘WaS’.
James Lowe in all sight and mind has brought back the band for an upcoming 15 track C.D. Music that is the “earwash for the initiated.” Lowe best describes the intention and intricacies of this present endeavor. “Our legitimate recordings represent our thinking and, in some cases, lack of thinking. We were never main stream enough to fret over what went on the records; witnessed by some of the goofy cuts we have released, we were just happy to be able to record our thoughts. It seems fitting that we release this 9th offering with the same abandon. This is a garage band and is not meant to be taken seriously. The music here is from all layers of the band from 1966 to 2014. This is a cool album, maybe the last we will ask you to support. But we do hope you will post it on the web and dance to it in the moonlight on 11! There is even a music video by the band for TOKYO floating around!”
The Electric Prunes.. Tokyo.
Please bring your friends because the band wants to go out and play live one more time and we need you for that. Tell your local club to invite us. We will come…. We WaS but we still Is ….” My greatest advice is to listen to this with those new “Beat” headphones that cost you a bundle and wear your 3D glasses