Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Salvation Army – Happen Happened

In L.A. in the early 80’s, the only 60’s inspired bands that were gigging were the Unclaimed, the Last and the Droogs. In a short span of time, though, these bands inspired the next wave of garage groups, many of which far surpassed the originals’ fame. These included the Bangs, the Dream Syndicate and the Salvation Army, who later changed their name to the Three O’Clock due to copyright infringements. In fact, this release is actually titled "Befour Three O'Clock" due to the threatened lawsuit.

Led by Michael Quercio, who coined the phrase the “Paisley Underground” for this new batch of bands, the Salvation Army was a combination of pop, psyche and punk that clicked with a number of fans. Michael started the band as a teen and is continuing to play to this day, still writing and performing memorable psyche-pop.

This CD combines the band’s first album as well as songs from their two singles and some unreleased numbers, making a true retrospective of this era of Michael’s career.

Quercio’s bass and vocals remain constant, but the original guitarist John Blazing was replaced by Greg Guiterrez and later drummer Troy Howell left when the band changed to the Three O’Clock. Troy gave the band a punkier feel, which was a lot of fun, but I have to admit that they were much more polished after he left and they probably wouldn’t have reached the level of fame that they did if he had stayed.

Sound production on these recordings are similar to other low-budget LA punk recordings, so don’t expect pop-polish. While this is highly melodic, it is also pretty punky.

Michael has some damn good songs on here, showing a real talent at a super early age. He pulls from tons of cool influences, including doing a cover of “Grimly Forming” from Grace Slick’s first band, the Great Society.

This is a super document of the beginning of the LA 80’s/60’s pop scene which spanned bands like the Bangs (who were pretty garage-y in their early days), among many other smaller, local groups. Good stuff!