Early photo of the Sloths, from left: Hank Daniels, Michael Rummans, Jeff Briskin, Steve Dibner and Sam Kamarass
|Hank Daniels – vocals|
Michael Rummans – rhythm guitar
Jeff Briskin – lead guitar
Don Silverman – lead guitar
Steve Dibner – bass
Mick Galper – bass
Sam Kamarass – drums
Recorded by actual Neanderthals in their cave studio. OK, I’m exaggerating, but that’s the image the Sloths’ “Makin’ Love” brings to mind. The sliding guitar rhythm doesn’t really mesh with the other guitar part. The production is so muddled the drummer’s Bo Diddley beat on the toms produces a constant hum that drowns out most of the bass notes. The sound is a turgid, dense r&b, like the Stones’ take on “Not Fade Away” turned inside-out. Hank Daniels shouts his lyrics in a hoarse, slobbering voice: “I wanna be with you all night, makin’ love, good good good lovin’ baby, makin’ love”!
This was not commercial music, but Impression’s owners actually had another group re-record “Makin’ Love” in the hopes of a hit the second time around. Long before I’d heard the Sloths, I knew this song from the version by the Dirty Shames, cut a year later, also for Impression. The Shames’ singer doesn’t have Hank Daniels’ wild incoherence, but the band actually plays together and in tune. Both releases credit Hank with song writing, and publishing listed with Vendo (BMI) on the Sloths and Vendo-Ramhorn (BMI) on the Dirty Shames.
Marty Wons of the Dirty Shames told me there was no connection between his band and the Sloths, and Michael Rummans of the Sloths confirmed this: “I was the rhythm guitarist for the Sloths. Your information is correct – no shared members between Sloths and Dirty Shames.”
The flip, “You Mean Everything to Me” is much tamer but also very good, with twelve string guitar, accomplished playing and clear production. (Thank you to Mike D. and Freddy Fortune for sending clips of this in). It’s another original by Hank Daniels.
This was the first rock release on Al and Sonny Jones’ Impression label, just before they relaunched it with a new design (there had been two or three soul singles before the Sloths). It’s a rare 45 now, with one copy recently selling for over $2,200, and that was without the even rarer picture sleeve!
Sloths logo on drumhead hand painted by Hank Daniels
Mick Galper on Gibson EB3 bass
Sleeve to their Impression single, with original lineup of the Sloths
From left: Michael Rummans, Hank Daniels, Steve Dibner, Sam Kamarass and Jeff Briskin
|Michael Rummans wrote the following account of the band, aided by Steve Dibner’s recollections:|
Michael Rummans with his first Gibson, Hank Daniels with Electro Voice microphone
Sam Kamarass on drums
Smaller b&w photos originally taken by Julie Olen
Early photo of the Sloths, from left: Hank Daniels, Jeff Briskin, Steve Dibner, Michael Rummans and Sam Kamarass
What we needed next was material. Hank had some backround in acoustic folk music; me and Jeff with surf music but, just like most of the kids of that time, we were all enamored with the music of the British invasion. One of the things that distinguished our group from many others was a realization that we had to develop originality to have success.
Wallach’s Music City
Michael Rummans at Pandora’s Box, 16 years old!
Bandmaster amp stood on side, Vox style
Michael Rummans, Hank Daniels and Don Silverman
|Michael will be adding more about the band at a later date. He left the Sloths and joined the Yellow Payges for a time in 1968. In the ’70s he played with the Hollywood Stars and then the King Bees, among other groups.Michael kindly responded to some of my questions about the Sloths and their record:|
Q. How did the record on Impression happen? Did the label sign the band?
We were approached by the brothers at one of our shows. At first I thought they were kidding. I don’t remember signing an official recording contract, but I’m pretty sure we signed an agreement. I do remember them bringing in a copyist to write down lyrics and melody.
Q. Do you remember specifics of the recording session?
Regarding the actual session, I remember the studio quite well. It was an old-fashioned large room, similar to the one used in “The Buddy Holly Story”. It was located on E. Sunset Blvd near Western. The brothers let us do pretty much what they heard on stage, with one exception. One of them suggested the repeating high E on the guitar near the end of the song. I asked why, and he refered to it as a “sensation note”. He was right – it works.
Hank Daniels with Don Silverman (?) to his left
October Country with Sloths graffiti in the background – is this CBS studios at Columbia Square?
|Q. I was watching a film on October Country in a studio in ’67, and noticed graffiti: “Sloths” and “Jeff”. The studio may have belonged to CBS Records at Sunset and Gower in Hollywood, California.|
I see my name below Jeff’s as well. It may well be the one we recorded the single in.
Q. Did the label do any promotion for the record?
I don’t remember much promotion, other than what we did ourselves. One thing we accomplished was getting it played on KRLA and KFWB, just by having our friends call the station a lot. Some of us even went to KFWB on Argyle & Selma and banged on the door!
As for the record, I only know of three copies; mine, Steve Dibner’s (original bass player) and my sister’s (which she gave to Hank’s son). Jeff Briskin had a box of 100 records in his garage and threw them out a few years ago. However, he’s going to check and see if he can find any other memorabilia-pics, articles, etc. I must have given away most of mine for promotional purposes, which is what they were intended for. We’re going to collaborate and finish the story I started, so I’ll be able to give you more info on Impression and the recording.
Q. Any chance of a Kingbees reunion?
The Kingbees still get together and perform from time to time, but Jamie doesn’t want to hustle gigs any more. Maybe we can find an agent in the future, because the band still sounds great. Unlike the Sloths, I still have a large supply of Kingbees memorabilia.
Don Silverman on Gretsch Country Gentleman, Mick Galper on bass
Friends of the Sloths, the East Side Kids
from left: Joe Madrid, Jimmy Greenspoon, Dennis Lambert, Dave Doud,
Mike Doud and Danny Belsky
Below, photos of the Sloths playing Hollywood au Go Go, October 28, 2011
Photos taken by Angel Jason Peralta. Thanks to Elva for sending the photos in.