So long Tainted Lady!

On a personal note, this Friday, June 23rd, will be the last time I deejay a garage night at the Tainted Lady Lounge in Williamsburg, which I’m sorry to report is closing at the end of the next week. Come out to hear some of the best djs in New York playing rare and amazing garage! Guest DJs will include the current drummer for the Miscreants – Jeff Cuyubamba, Bossy Boots, and Michael Robinson.

The Tainted Lady Lounge
318 Grand St at Havemeyer
Williamsburg, Brooklyn
10 til late, no cover

For over a year now I’ve had a monthly gig there to play whatever the hell I want. In that time I’ve mercilessly subjected the Williamsburg trendites, neighborhood thugs and slumming pinheads with hours of fuzz-driven vinyl wrecks. For the most part, people stick around, but that’s due to the retro soft-core atmosphere and the charms of bartender Noemi more than any affinity for garage punk. I’ll really miss my nights there and all the fun and mayhem that came with them. Thank you Deb Parker for giving me the dj spot with no strings attached.

The Magic Plants

The Magic Plants were a New York City group connected to Harry Lookofsky, owner of World United Studios.

The only band members whose names I could find are Peter Schekeryk and Tom Finn, but since first posting this, Tom Finn contacted me to say that Mick Wexler was lead singer and also guitarist on the record. The band’s drummer was Warren David Scherhorst who became the first drummer for the Left Banke.

Finn stated in a later interview that he was just 16 at the time, not a good bassist yet, and only sang backup vocals on the record. Very likely then, at least some of the musicians on the record were studio pros. Contrary to prior publications, this record was never released with a World United label, but went straight to Verve in December ’65, making no impression on the public at the time.

While recording “I’m A Nothing”, Finn met Lookofsky’s son, Michael Brown, also just 16, who was working as an assistant at the studio. They started composing songs with Finn’s friends drummer George Cameron and singer Steve Martin. Together they became the Left Banke, managed and produced by Harry Lookofsky.

John Abbott, who arranged this 45, also arranged and played bass and guitar on several early Left Banke recordings done within a couple months of the Magic Plants record. This leads me to believe there’s a good chance that he played bass on “I’m a Nothing”. I had thought maybe Hugh McCracken (another local studio pro) played guitar – though Tom Finn says he did not.

The b-side here, “I Know She’s Waiting There”, hints at something of the future Left Banke sound, and also has a beautiful fuzz guitar solo. Harry Lookofsky, by the way, also recorded interesting jazz discs and provided backing for doo-wop groups under the name Hash Brown and His Orchestra. John Abbott was involved in some of these as well.

Peter Schekeryk passed away on October 26, 2010.

Tom’s comment below is worth including in its entirety here:

I think I can help you with this, as I was in the group. The lead singer of the group was Mick Wexler. The only thing I can tell you about him is, he was from an area of Philadephia called Mount Airy. I don’t think his real 1st name was Mick, because he thought he was (Mick) Jagger. I believe he wrote both songs. Harry Lookofsky did produce them. The reason it got onto a major label so quick is: 1. Harry’s reputation. 2. Longhaired bands were few and far between back then. 3. It was sort of commercial.

Peter Schekeryk was a talent scout for Harry. he also went on to marry & produce the pop star Melanie of 60′s fame. I didn’t play on the record, you are correct there. We also had a blond haired drummer named Warren David Scherhorst, who was the 1st drummer of The Left Banke. No photos exist of Warren or Mick.

You’re right about John Abbott except he wasn’t 45, he was more like 28. Hugh McCracken didn’t play guitar on The Magic Plants recordings. I remember seeing Mick Wexler playing guitar, he was actually a pretty good guitar player. Any way gentlemen, I hope I have been helpful in clearing up any confusion surrounding these classic garage recordings.

By the way, I was responsible for putting together the elements and members of The Left Banke. I met all of the members separately and introduced all of them to each other. I lost power in the group after “Walk Away Renee” became a hit. The money started to come in, and Michael Brown (Then Lookofsky) and his father Harry made a power play to keep only the lead singer Steve Martin-Caro and fire the rest of us. Well it didn’t work. But it did destroy the trust and comradery we had. Good luck, -Tom Finn

Does anyone have a photo of the group?

The More-Tishans

The More-Tishans, from left: Chris Nelson, Roy ‘Pinky’ Herschleb, Dick Schreier and Hugh Kraemer

The More-Tishans were a major live act in eastern Minnesota. Today they’re known mainly for the only song they ever released, “Nowhere to Run” – the other side is the instrumental backing track. What a tune, though, penned by a friend of the band, Mark LeBoutillier.

The band recorded “Nowhere to Run” at Dove Studios in the Bloomington section of Minneapolis. It was produced by Timothy D. Kehr and released on Peak, a subsidiary of Minneapolis’ Metrobeat label.

This is very accomplished garage with fine harmonies. Scott Schell explained to me that after two early lead singers, Steve Peulen and Jim Bancroft left the group, the group needed to rely on their harmony singing to carry the songs. It’s hard to believe they would never cut another record. I find the instrumental worth a listen as well.

Scott Schell has been researching bands from Stillwater, Minnesota and will publish a history of these groups next year. I’ll turn the rest of this article over to him. Scott also sent in the great photos, articles and promotional materials.

The More-Tishans – a history by Scott Schell

From the beginning the More-Tishans were a unique group with almost flawless harmonies, wit, and the ability to work up a crowd. This foursome were all somewhat shy, but on stage a transformation would take place and they would become the impeccable More-Tishans.

In 1963 when the idea of starting a group came about the only one with any musical background was Roy (Pinky) Herschleb. Pinky had been playing drums in the school band for some time, but as for the other three, Hugh Kraemer, Tom Cafferty and Chris Nelson, it would be bloodied fingers, hours of practice and determination.

With the help of their parents the More-Tishans set up a four-way partnership that would include being responsible for bank transactions, deciding on payment, and of course IRS tax and writing off equipment as needed; not bad for high school kids not yet old enough to drive!

The very first job that they would play would be a turkey trot at a local church, at this point they only knew about six songs, but would indeed entertain the crowd for several hours nonetheless. One member of the group went the whole night with his amp on standby, because he wasn’t quite there yet on guitar. As time went on and after hours of grueling practice after practice things began to take shape.

As the musicianship grew so did the image as well. The More-Tishans would not only work their songs to perfection, but also the way they looked: wearing matching suits of which I think there was four or five different ones, and the posters, the pictures, the top of line equipment and last but not lest the hearses; of which over time there would be three.

Time would prove that the hearses wouldn’t be all that practical. The weight of the equipment added to the weight of the hearse itself was very hard on tires and universal joints; as a result the group would have to carry along with them a number of spare parts and two jacks. The two jacks was the only way the hearse could be lifted with all that extra weight.

The next vehicle the group would own was a brand new Ford wagon the boys would lay down cold hard cash for. In the begining these guys weren’t old enough to drive, their first manager Doc Lee would bring the group to gigs in his station wagon touting trailer behind.

Management? Back in the early sixties the venue for live music was big business with over more than likely three hundred clubs, school dances, ballrooms etc. The competition was intense and Doc Lee would prove to be a fierce competitor in the field of entertainment. The More-Tishans would soon find themselves traveling the entire state of Minnesota and all surrounding states, logging thousands of miles a year.

In the spring of 1965 the group was graduating high school. My first job was stocking shelves in a corner store and here these guys are traveling all over the place playing music and learning life lessons from the road, doing what most of the rest of the world could only dream of. Well, so the summer of 65 is upon the More-Tishans and there’s plenty of work to go around before college starts and it’s time to buckle down. As the summer comes to a close and the new school year is upon us, all four of the group have enrolled in college but the More-Tishans are now playing the college circuit. And by now their skills as musicians are honed to a tee. Over the next year it would be school work during the week and rock & roll on the weekends. A tough schedule for most, yes, but this bunch is driven, not just by rock & roll but by life and all it has to offer.

1966 would prove to be a major break through with the writing of, by high school class mate Marc LeBoutillier and recording of (I’ve got) Nowhere To Run on a local record label.

The first blow the More-Tishans would take came in 1967 when Tommy, lead guitar and vocalist, would be drafted into the military; [yet] this was nothing more than a minor setback. A group out of Marshall, Minnesota had a more than qualified lead guitarist / vocalist who would be ready to fill the shoes of Tommy. Dick Schreier came on board and the group continued playing the Midwest, and the college circuit with Dick at the helm.

In late 67 the More-Tishans would suffer yet another blow when drummer Pinky Herschleb would be stricken with a condition that would cause him so much pain in his arms he could no longer play drums for an extended period of time. Once again it seemed as though this might be the end for the More-Tishans, but a young and eager Dan Monson was ready for the chance.

Click to see full article

Now considered one of the top ten of Twin Cities bands, the More-Tishans seem to be unstoppable, yet on Aug. 23, 1968 it would end. In front of a hometown crowd at the National Guard Armory in Stillwater, Minnesota with all six present and past members of the More-Tishans in attendence the band would give their final performance.

I am sorry to say with deep regret that four of the six More-Tishans are no longer with us. Dick was first to leave us in the 90’s followed by Dan, then Tom in 2003 and then in 2004 Pinky would join them. Only two are alive: Chris Nelson and Hugh Kraemer.

As a footnote I would like to add that the success these six individuals showed in the business of a rock & roll would also come shining through in their personal lives, all achieving and excelling in the business community.

The persona of the More-Tishans paid for their college educations and paved the way for what it takes to be successful, so; what many see as youthful fling with sex, drugs, and rock & roll is on the contrary; a lesson in business savvy, learning to be responsible, making the right choices etc.

Talk to any musician in the Valley and they will agree the More-Tishans set the bar for everyone to follow. The More-Tishans gave us much more than their own unique talent and showmanship, they also forced the rest of us to go that extra mile.

Peppermint Club promo from 1964

Sonny Flaharty and the Mark V

Dayton, Ohio’s Sonny Flaharty had been recording since the late 50s. In 1965 he helped a local band called the Rich Kids produce a demo. He ran into them again calling themselves the Mark V “direct from Toronto, Canada”! They asked Sonny to join the band but according to Sonny, “the only problem we had was with my past. I was very well known in Dayton. The band didn’t want to be associated with ‘Old Time Rock and Roll'”!

They changed their names and tried to pass themselves off as English or at least Canadian. They didn’t fool anyone for long, but there was nothing ‘old time’ about their music. Shad O’Shea of Cincinnati’s Counterpart Records asked them to record Sonny’s original, “Hey Conductor”.

There was a nine-month delay between the recording and the release of “Hey Conductor”. In the meantime Mike Losecamp (aka Haywood Lovelace), who played the distinctive organ on the record left to join the Cyrkle.

Once released Hey Conductor was a sizeable hit, selling in the thousands and immediately picked up by Phillips for national distribution. The good times didn’t last long, as its lyrics hinting at drug experiences got it banned on radio before it could break nationally. The song’s frantic pace, strange fuzz guitar and syncopated organ make it an often-heard record at dj nights even today.

Sources include: a detailed interview with the Mark V’s drummer Doug Porter here, and the liner notes to Sonny’s retrospective LP on Dionysius.

The Mustard Men

Really don’t know anything about the Mustard Men other than that they were from Wisconsin.

Wish I owned this business card myself, but I saved $50 by just buying the 45.

The band recorded at Dave Kennedy Recording Studios in Milwaukee and released this on the Raynard label, the same label that featured the Bryds great “Your Lies” among others.

“I Lost My Baby” opens with a perfect guitar and organ intro, settles into a nice groove with good vocals that occasionally get excited, and features a fine bluesy guitar solo which kind of falls apart towards the end as some of the notes miss the intended pitch. Still, an A+ in my book for the overall sound they achieve.

The flip is “Another Day”, credited to Donne & the Mustard Men.

Thanks to Gary Myers for the photo.

The site for '60s garage bands since 2004