The Ban & The Now

The Now band photo: David Zandanotti, Frank Straight, Oliver McKinney and Randy Gusman
The Now, clockwise from top left:
David Zandanotti, Frank Straight, Oliver McKinney and Randy Gusman

Ban Brent 45 Bye ByeThe Ban came from the small town of Lompoc, near the Vandenberg Air Force Base, north of Santa Barbara. Members were Tony McGuire guitar and lead vocals, Oliver McKinney keyboards, Frank Straight bass and Randy Gordon (aka Randy Guzman) drums. The band was managed by Randy Guzman’s parents, which is why he changed his name to Gordon.

The Ban released “Bye Bye” in November of 1965, a magical record with the perfect garage organ sound, see-if-I-care vocals, resounding drums and a crude, energetic guitar solo. On the flip is another original, the moody “Now That I’m Hoping”, written by (as spelled on the label) Randy Gusman and Frank Strait.

Now Embassy 45 I WantWhen Tony McGuire was drafted, the Ban found David Zandonatti to play bass and vocals, while Frank Straight moved over to guitar. They relocated to Los Angeles and became the Now for one fine record on Embassy in June of 1967. “I Want” channels the band’s powerful playing in a very well produced recording. “Like a Flying Bird” is keyboard-driven pop with harmonies that has been compared to the Left Banke. Both songs are band originals.

The Now played shows at major venues like the Sea Witch and Pandora’s Box, but they had limited success until Matthew Katz signed them to a production contract. With another move to San Francisco, they became Tripsichord Music Box, releasing a legendary album and a couple of 45s. But that is a whole other story.

Special thanks to Jason for providing the label scan for the Now 45, and to Gregg McKinney for the photo of the Now.

A bit of trivia – I wonder if the stamp on the label (Denny Zeitler, Independent Music Sales) is the same person who the 13th Floor Elevators thank on their first lp?

8 thoughts on “The Ban & The Now”

  1. Of course, I dig The Ban’s Bye Bye the most. That’s my favorite brand of mind blowing ear slop. But I also dig the most how The Ban became The Now and went from Bye Bye to I Want and Like A Flying Bird. Of course (again), I understand that it wasn’t exactly the very same group of cats doing Bye Bye that did Like A Flying Bird. Had that been the case, it would even be more mind disturbing and boss. I can see how some would call it progress, I agree, it’s progress musically -I dig the harpsichord (and The Left Banke were alright)and all that. All are great tunes.

  2. I wish the Ban put out more singles as the first incarnation before the guitarist got drafted.
    Maybe there are tapes languishing in Bob Shad’s vaults???
    I own the LP with Bye-Bye and Now that I’m hoping put out on TIME records ( a brent subsidary) and the mixes are in TRUE stereo..very worth while to find! Thanks for the single MONO cuts !!! The Now were great too, I have had that single for a while now, but still need the Ban 45!!!

  3. Wow – that’s a blast from the past. Very odd to hear these tunes after sooooo many years. I did notice one thing, the recordings on line are a bit sped up. I don’t think anyone in the band could sing as high as some of those notes. Anyway, it’s very cool to see the record label and hear the songs once again. My thanks to Chas Kit and GarageHangover for the trip down memory lane.
    Oliver Mckinney

  4. Earl, the only member change was Tony, the guitarest was drafted, he was replaced by the kid in the group, Frank Strait who was playing bass. They went through a couple of different bass players over the course of month or two and then landed David Zandanotti, who had been playing in surf bands up around San Luis Obispo from what I understand. Another tidbit of info, while recording in LA, they backed a country & western singer on a 45 with the Sons of the Pioneers… One of the two tracks released was “Marching Through Georgia”. I think I have a copy of this somewhere and I will try to track it down…. Also the harpsichord was a Baldwin Electric Harpsichord that was on hand at the studio. When the guys got the bill from the studio they were charged a tiddy some for the use of it… I think everyone will agree it was well worth the cost.

  5. Olie,
    How are you doing man? What I surprise when I ran into this website. Have you been back to Lompoc? My mom and dad have past away, so the old house you lived in for awhile was sold recently.

    Sorry I lost contact with you guys. I hope we can reconnect sometime.


  6. Excellent to see the photo of “the now” what a treat.

    I can provide (if you want) a scan of my promo copy
    of the Ban single on 45.. the neat thing about it is
    it’s signed by 3 members ! Oliver, Frank, and (i think) Randy.

    Just contact me through my blog if you want scans.

  7. Looking for Frank Straight. A guitarist in California in the 60’s. Around Lompoc, Santa Maria. He was half of Hartman & Straight, with my husband Bill Hartman. Can anyone help me locate him? I’d love to reunite them.
    They were a great team. Thanks.

  8. My husband Bill Hartman and Frank Straight were actually a duo in the early to mid 70’s, not the 60’s. I was mistaken on that. We’re really hoping to be in touch, Frank! Hope you’re out there listening somewhere!

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