The Kandy Kolored Konspiracy came from Waco, not Dallas as has been written. Despite staying on local charts for a couple months, their 45 is now a rare one. “One Million People” includes some sharp lines like:
“Well I see reality is just an imperfection of the mind,
What they do, and what they say is locked in a velvet wall of time,
All they have is their lies and their cotton candy alibis…”
Gary Anderson, who wrote the songs on the single, tells the band’s full story below. If anyone has a photo of the Kandy Kolored Konspiracy, please get in touch.
Gary Anderson – lead guitar
Rick Connor – rhythm guitar
Don Bolan – bass
Jimmy Campbell – keyboards
Nick Connor – drums
My name is Gary Lane Anderson, and I was the songwriter and lead singer/lead guitar for Kandy Kolored Konspiracy — one of my early bands.
I developed the band name from a combination of Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby, a collection of Tom Wolfe’s essays that I was reading at the time, and a sense of the racial tension and paranoia of the times (the Konspiracy and KKK references).
I had taught myself to play guitar since age 14 and lived in the Waco, Texas, area at the time. The band’s drummer was Nick Connor, the rhythm guitar player was his brother, Rick, the bass player was Don Bolan, and the keyboard player was Jimmy Campbell, all of Waco.
The band played constantly all over the Waco area and surrounding towns. We played for the opening of a Super Slide and a $.10 hamburger place in Waco. It was held in a huge parking lot. There were hundreds if not thousands of people there. All the local radio stations were present. This was during the time our record was out and we were a hot item in Waco. We also staged our own dances by renting a hall setting everything up ourselves. We did this at a large hall on Franklin Street in Waco owned by the YWCA. One time we drove to Dallas to open for Kenny Rogers and the First Edition.
I played a white Fender Mustang through a Fender Deluxe Reverb sitting on a Bassman 212 cabinet, I no longer own any of this equipment. The rhythm guitarist played a red Fender Mustang through a Fender Bandmaster. The keyboard player used a red Farfisa organ, I don’t remember what amp he used. I don’t recall the bass player’s bass or amp. The drummer played a set of Ludwig drums, the Hollywood set in a psychedelic color. This is the same equipment we recorded with. I don’t recall what we used for a live PA.
I wrote the music and lyrics for “One Million People,” and the music for “Konspiracy “68”– the B-side instrumental, in 1966 when I was 16 years old.
Robin Brian recorded us in late 1967, just after I turned 17, at the Robin Hood Studios in Tyler, Texas. On their website, www.robinhoodstudios.com is a picture of the recording equipment installed in 1963 and used to record our 45.
The drummer’s family had resources and arranged for the recording. The producer was Arnold Joseph “Joe” Poovey, known at the time as “Johnny Dallas,” and later as “Groovey” Joe Poovey. Joe had just produced the hit, “Heart Full of Love,” so we had high hopes for our 45. The only time I saw Joe was at the recording studio. The label was Media, and the publisher was Giant Publishing, but the only person we had any contact with was someone whose name I can’t remember, an associate of Joe’s.
The record was released in late 1967, but neither Johnny nor the label or publisher promoted it. I think we pressed 500.
When the record came to us, the credit on it was Gary Alexander, instead of Gary Anderson. Poovey’s associate said it must have been a printing mistake since he called in the information to the printer, but he never offered to correct it. I wondered later that the mistake was made on purpose to steal my copyright, in case the record took off, but at the time, I didn’t know things like copyrights existed. On the other hand, it could have just been an honest mistake. I do know that neither I nor my parents signed any contracts, so the legal handling of the project was sloppy at best, and I have not been able to determine who actually held the copyright, which would have expired around 1992 under old copyright law.
Although it was registered with BMI and played on the radio in and around Waco, Texas, and remained in the local Top Ten, as reported weekly in the Sunday newspaper for at least six weeks, as well as being Number One for several weeks, I never received a penny from them. We sold a few records in and around Waco, but the proceeds went to repay Nick’s family. I still have a couple of the singles. I also have an original psychedelic-styled poster, which was hand-painted by my girlfriend at the time, but we never had copies made of it. (Sidenote: She is now Lea Lisa Black (nee Douthit) on The Real Housewives of Miami.)
To my knowledge, nothing else ever came of the record until the A-side song got picked up by garage band web sites and placed on compilations from Germany and Australia. “One Million People” plays in rotation on several underground and garage band music stations around the world.
After high school the Kandy Kolored Konspiracy members went their separate ways. As far as I know, Nick, Rick and Don gave up music after the band broke up, and I don’t know about Jimmy.
Another player I went to high school with was playing in a band. They needed a guitar player and asked me to play. David Hall was the drummer. We had been aware of each other since elementary school because our parents took us to the same church. Playing in this new band we became friends. This band did not last long so David and I decided to form another band. This was the beginning of Warlock.
My high school friend had a girl friend named Gill. She and my friend from high school broke up and she started dating Buzz Gilleland from the band Society. On a side note, I played many years later in a band with the drummer from Society who had switched to keyboards. His name is Jesse Day. In the sixties he was known as Pucky Day. We played together in a country band called Fire Creek.
Gill got Buzz, David and I together. David knew a bass player named Mike McKissic. And Warlock was complete.
I continue to play, sing, teach and write in Austin and central Texas. To see and hear my current work and bio, please go to www.reverbnation.com/garyanderson4 or facebook.com
For more on Warlock see On the Road South. Thanks to Don Julio for transcribing the lyrics and to Mark Taylor for the label scan.