|When Chris Darrow was asked to join the project that became Kaleidoscope, he brought with him his vocal skills, his songwriting abilities, his facility on several instruments, and, perhaps just as important, his experience playing electric music.
After leaving the Dry City Scat band Chris helped organize the Floggs. Clearly inspired by the British Invasion groups, what set them apart from the other garage bands in the area, all of whom drew on the same sources, was their unique folk-rock vibe.
Though the Floggs never released anything, they did do one recording session. In 2003 Taxim will, for the first time, release these recordings, re-mastered, on CD.
Pulsating Dream is pleased to offer a sneak peek at this upcoming release, a clip from the track "If the Night". This song appeared, somewhat altered, on Kaleidoscope's first album, "Side Trips". Note: the track on offer here is from Chris' archives. Taxim is remastering the tracks & the listener can expect markedly superior audio quality on the CD release. To listen to this sample a Real Player is required.
The following commentary is excerpted from Chris Darrow's liner notes for the upcoming CD.
Thanks to Chris & Taxim for making the clip & commentary excertpt available.
Rock and Roll was so bad in the early sixties, that most of us who wanted to learn how to solo and really play, chose bluegrass, as it was kind of country jazz.
Then something happened, the English Invasion, as it was called, erupted and changed everything. Long hair, skinny ties, pegged pants and the “low spark of high heeled boys” became the norm. The first time I heard the Beatles I said to myself, “Oh, I get it, Everly Bros., Buddy Holly, bluegrass harmonies with a beat. Suddenly Rock and Roll had a purpose and a sound we could rally around. We all got electric guitars or basses and set out to explore this new direction. Bluegrass guys like Chris Hillman and Jerry Garcia got into the Byrds and the Dead. Ry Cooder and Taj Mahal, musicians I knew from playing bluegrass at he Ash Grove in Hollywood, started the Rising Sons and I formed The Fabulous TJ Floggs, as we were originally called in late 1964 and early 1965. A “flogg” was an old high school term that we used with each other that meant “loser” or “slacker”. The band grew out of one of my bluegrass ensembles, The Reorganized Dry City Players, with my best friend, Roger Palos, Bill Stamps and myself. We added my wife’s neighbor, Tommy Salisbury on drums, and a great organ player from Claremont, Hugh Kohler.
Our influences were the English “Rocker” bands like the Stones, Yardbirds, Animals and Them. However, we did do a number of covers of great American songs like, You’re No Good, Tracks of My Tears, High Heeled Sneakers and You Don’t Love Me, to name just a few. But what set us apart from the crowd was our original material, songs that sounded like the ones on the radio. We started to get a following and securing real gigs and were constantly in Battle of the Bands competitions.
By the time we got our steam up, Roger had quit, I moved to bass and we became a tight, four piece machine. Our first week gig was in Ontario, California at a place called the Forum, opening for Manual and the Renegades, one of my favorite bands from high school days. I had learned to play bass over the weekend, as Roger had quit on a Friday and Monday was our engagement. No time to teach someone else the songs. That’s how I became a bass player, by necessity.
We wanted to go to the next level, so a friend of mine, Randy Tiffany, put up some money for us to go into the studio and record a bunch of songs. We didn’t know anything about recording and trusted the studio to steer us in the right direction. It was a studio in Pomona on the second floor over a movie theater, called Audio Craft.
We knocked the seven songs out in one night and mixed them as well. We started about seven and we were out of there before midnight, tape in our hands. Now what? We enlisted the aid of a student friend from my college class whose father was the Broadway impresario, Ray Stark. His name was Peter Stark and we suddenly had someone who wanted to be a manager-type guy. That was new to us and soon there were tapes going around, but no one seemed to bite.
Maybe Peter didn’t know what to do, maybe we were presented to the wrong guys, but nothing came of our quest. The boys soon started getting restless, and school, jobs, girlfriends and cars became more and more important that the music. I eventually quit my own band and went to my art classes at the Claremont Graduate School. I thought that was “it” for me and didn’t have a clue as to where I could go with my songs and the sounds rolling around in my head.
If the Night and Hesitation Blues became part of the first Kaleidoscope album, Side Trips. Move on Down the Line was re-written and became Pulsating Dream. Another Floggs tune, Come on In and Keep Your Mind Open filled out my direct contribution to Side Trips.
Chris Darrow, Claremont, California