John Greek Special Edition: Brace for the Obscure (60s rock)! — May 11, 2022

Who was John Greek? The Louie Report explains:

Years before the Wailers recorded LOUIE LOUIE with Rockin’ Robin Roberts, they were considered one of the hottest rock bands to emerge from the Pacific Northwest. In 1959, when they were still in high school, they were signed to Golden Crest Records, their song “Tall Cool One” peaked the national charts at #36, and they appeared on such television shows as the Alan Freed Show and Dick Clark‘s American Bandstand. For many people in the Pacific Northwest during the late 50’s, the Wailers were THE ROCK BAND to watch.

At the time, John Greek was considered the[ir] leader . . . having founded the band in 1957 with a few other kids whose parents were stationed at the McCord Air Force base in Tacoma, Washington. One year later in 1960, some tension grew to an ugly head within the band, and John Greek left the Wailers. Taking his place was Buck Ormsby . . . . Together with Kent Morrill, these two Wailers created Etiquette Records as a means to release their own material. Their very first record was a 45 single of “LOUIE LOUIE” by Rockin’ Robin Roberts, another member of the Wailers . . . . [which] was considered the archetypal recording that inspired the Kingsmen, Paul Revere & the Raiders, and hundreds, if not thousands of other rock bands from the Pacific Northwest to perform the iconic song . . . .

John Greek . . . was for the most part forgotten by the music industry. . . .

http://www.louielouie.net/blog/?p=240

John passed away in 2006. But his music lives on. He “recorded with . . . The Beautiful Daze; played guitar on The Seeds’ 45 “Wind Blows Your Hair;” and played on four cuts on the [Lollipop Shoppe’s] LP.” (https://fakebands.com/wiki/index.php?title=The_Sacred_Cows)

John’s sister Marsha remembers him:

[John] started playing the trumpet in the 5th grade because he had [rheumatic] fever and was bedridden for a year. The trumpet helped him to strengthen his lungs. That was the beginning of John’s passion and lifelong career in music. He was voted class president at . . . high [school] . . . and the administrators had a fit. Here was the kid who defied authority at every turn. When my parents wouldn’t let me go out at night, John would take me to dances and ditch me at the door. . . . He burned his candle at both ends….. Rock on, John, Rock on.

http://www.louielouie.net/blog/?p=240

John’s one-time girlfriend Christine says that:

He was a very good soul but alcohol was a problem. He didn’t trust music companies at all or recording labels. [L]ots of bad feelings about what happened with the [W]ailers.

http://www.louielouie.net/blog/?p=240

444) The Beautiful Daze — “City Jungle, Pt. 1”

This ‘67 A-side left me dazed, confused and bemused. It is an utterly fantastical “fuzzadelic rave-up” (https://cosmicmindatplay.wordpress.com/2013/07/) and, per Dave Furgess, an “acid-fueled masterpiece” full of “sonic dementia” with “lyrics of confusion and disorientation.” (https://www.headheritage.co.uk/unsung/review/1736/) Of course John Greek was charting the course. As Axel Björnsson comments, the Daze was “one of his projects” and the “song is so before it’s time.. Genius this man. GENIUS! r.i.p.” (http://www.louielouie.net/blog/?p=240)

Cosmic Mind at Play gives some more detail:

This single appeared on no less than three different labels in 1968: RPR, Spread City, and Alpha . . . . [It was] edited into two parts for the single. ‘Part 1’ is the vocal side, with a melody that shows a strong pop sensibility, albeit accompanied by full-on fuzz and punctuated by frenzied raga-like breaks. ‘Part 2’ is the instrumental side, and as the track fades in we are in the middle of a wigged out section that breaks down into feedback before it develops into a mind frying twin-guitar assault on the senses that eventually ends with what sounds like an imitation of police sirens. The City Jungle indeed. Joyous!

https://cosmicmindatplay.wordpress.com/2013/07/

Dave Furgess continues to put the addled into the adulation:

The subject matter is probably a bad acid trip. The guitars . . . are overloaded with effects to the point of delerium, they just hammer away at you until you just can’t take it anymore. Yet despite the song’s sonic dementia, there is a neat little pop song buried inside the wall of fuzz, replete with L.A. sunshine pop harmonies. Side B is entirely instrumental, it basically carries on the acid mayhem at the end of side A, it actually turns up the knobs even further into the red and collapses under it’s own weight, leaving the listener dazed and emotionally spent. . . . [I]t is certainly one of the high points of the very fertile mid-60’s L.A. garage/psych. underground.

https://www.headheritage.co.uk/unsung/review/1736/

“See paper tigers coming out at night and you see when the birds are taking to flight. . . . In the jungle, city jungle. Live in the darkness, darkness at noon, and we singing the songs without any tunes. . . . In the jungle, city jungle. Smoke from a million cigarettes floating up into the sky. I’m all alone in an angry crowd. Nobody cares if I live or die. . . . In the jungle, city jungle. . . .”

Here is Part 2:

445) The Sacred Cows — “Kill, Kill, Kill”

Sacredcows-getsmart.jpg

[The Sacred Cows] were the “[h]ottest rock and roll group in the country” from the “Groovy Guru” episode (01/13/1968) of . . . Get Smart. This drummerless “rock” trio were part of the evil Groovy Guru’s (Larry Storch [F-Troop]) plot to cause the youth of America to run wild, looting and killing. . . . The band was played by session musicians (l-r) Jerry Scheff (bass) John Greek (guitar) and Ben Benay (guitar) They both played the band and recorded the music.

https://fakebands.com/wiki/index.php?title=The_Sacred_Cows

I think the Cows were the hottest band. Man, John missed it by that much!

“Thrill, thrill, thrill. Kill, kill, kill. Make a scene. Knock off a dean. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Bump off a square. That’s what it’s about. Hate is in. Love is out. Kill, kill, kill. Yeah, yeah, yeah.”

446) The Seeds — “The Wind Blows Your Hair”

“The Wind”, a non-album ’67 A-side, is my favorite Seeds song — half psych/half garage — all Sky! Yellow Paper Suns agrees, calling it “a scintillating and spooky 1967 psychedelic non-album single . . . and it is the best song they achieved.” (https://yellowpapersuns.com/2022/04/24/listen-in-7/)

YPS goes on:

”The Wind Blows Your Hair” achieves its odd and unsettling feel by mixing upbeat lyrics about a wedding celebration with a snaky, descending keyboard riff (and Sky Saxon’s provocative vocals) that gives the merry tale a darker and queasier aspect. This is partially explained by the fact that it’s original lyrics were also dark — a sneering put-down in the vein of 1965-era Dylan, with ”Prince Satan” in a starring role. Recording of the song was attempted four separate times by The Seeds. The first was during a January 1966 session, and the other three times were during 1967. For the latter two sessions, ”The Wind Blows Your Hair” had its lyrics re-written (from Satan to wedding), and the sessions were booked specifically to record this song as a single. Three separate recordings have been released officially: the original GNP Crescendo single from October 1967 (with the wedding lyrics), and two of the Satan versions — the January 1966 run-through and a mid-1967 take (in both mono and stereo mixes). . . .

Of the Seeds, Stephen Thomas Erlewine says:

Best known for their rock & roll standard “Pushin’ Too Hard,” [see #116] the Seeds combined the raw, Stonesy appeal of garage rock with a fondness for ragged, trashy psychedelia. And though they never quite matched the commercial peak of their first two singles, “Pushin’ Too Hard” and “Can’t Seem to Make You Mine,” the band continued to record for the remainder of the ’60s, eventually delving deep into post-Sgt. Pepper’s psychedelia and art rock. None of their new musical directions resulted in another hit single, and the group disbanded at the turn of the decade. Sky Saxon (. . . vocals) and guitarist Jan Savage formed the [band] . . . in Los Angeles in 1965. By the end of 1966, they had secured a contract with GNP Crescendo, releasing “Pushin’ Too Hard” [which] climbed into the Top 40 early in 1967 . . . . While their singles were garage punk, the Seeds . . . branch[ed] out into improvisational blues-rock and psychedelia on their first two albums . . . . With their third album . . . the band attempted a psychedelic concept album . . . .

https://www.allmusic.com/artist/the-seeds-mn0000500664/biography

“We’re up the sidewalk running down the street. Showing our love to the world we meet. Your days coming sunshine’s begun. Big machines are starting to hum. And the wind blows your hair. Two little children come walking by. Looking just like you and I. Colored by some beautiful people. Flowers growing round the church house steeple. And the wind blows your hair. I’ve a feeling we’ve been here before. Angels singing as we pass through the door./ Hand in hand we walk down the aisle. See their faces they’re starting to smile They’re starting to smile. In my eyes I’m starting to cry. This is not a dream of you and I. I’ve never been this happy before. Hand in hand we walk out the door. And the wind blows your hair. Rice is falling on us everywhere. The scent of flowers uh fill the air. Children laughing out in the street. Everyone’s happy that we meet. And the wind blows your hair. And the wind blows your hair. . . .”

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