Sons of Adam: Brace for the Obscure (60s rock)! — September 1, 2022

THE GREATEST SONGS OF THE 1960s THAT NO ONE HAS EVER HEARD

569) Sons of Adam — “Saturday’s Son”

A classic garage B-side from kings of L.A.’s Strip (see #187) about an outcast so screwed he would have given everything to have been born under a bad sign! “Saturday’s Son” is a “killer track, with cool ‘bad seed’ lyrics . . . manic fast-paced drumming and . . . scorching lead guitar work.” Fred Thomas notes that there is both a “raved-up live rendition as well as a studio version, calling on both Byrds-y vocal harmonies and aggressive fuzz guitar leads.” (https://www.allmusic.com/album/saturdays-sons-the-complete-recordings-1964-1966-mw0003744451)

As to the Sons of Adam, Fred Thomas tells us that:

A wily garage band with surf roots, the Sons of Adam existed for a brief window in the mid-’60s, with bandleader, guitarist, and songwriter Randy Holden going on to be part of Blue Cheer and other members playing roles in groups of their era like Love. They only publicly released a few singles before disbanding . . . . The Sons of Adam formed in Baltimore, Maryland in the summer of 1963, existing first as an instrumental surf-rock combo called the Fendermen led by guitarist . . . Holden [who had] spent a few years with co-guitarist Joe Kooken and bassist Mike Port going through different drummers and developing their surfy sound, eventually cutting a few singles as the Fenders IV. By 1965 they had relocated to Los Angeles and changed their name to the Sons of Adam [and] embrac[ing] the British Invasion rock sound . . . . [T]he band played constantly on the west coast, sharing bills with many of the era’s other bands that found fame as beat music quickly morphed into psychedelic rock. They released two singles with Decca before Holden left the band in August of 1966, allegedly quitting on the spot at a San Francisco show . . . when Port yelled at him to turn his amp down. . . . Holden would play with the Other Half before joining Blue Cheer in 1969 . . . .

https://www.allmusic.com/artist/the-sons-of-adam-mn0000501988/biography

I don’t have the band’s new compilation album, but Greg Prevost & Mike Stax wrote an utterly mesmerizing article about the Sons. I offer a few excerpts, but you owe it to yourself to read the whole thing:

From late ’65 until early ’67, the Sons of Adam were one of the most happening bands on the Sunset Strip, playing to packed houses at clubs like Gazzarri’s, Bito Lido’s and the Whisky A Go Go. They had the right sound, the right image, and some of the most talented musicians on the scene. They even had their share of lucky breaks, including an appearance in a major Hollywood movie and a deal with Decca Records. Arthur Lee even gave them one of his songs. Yet somehow the Sons of Adam never managed to lift themselves out of the Hollywood club scene and into the major leagues. Today they’re mostly remembered as the band Michael Stuart was in before he joined Love, or the band Randy Holden was in before joining Blue Cheer. What’s too often overlooked is that the Sons have a proud legacy of their own: three enormously great 45 releases . . . .

It was at the Beaver Inn that the group encountered Kim Fowley [who] apparently liked the group but thought that the Fender IV was a “dogshit” name . . . . He came up with a new name for the group on the spot: The Sons of Adam. . . .

As the Sons of Adam they continued to build a following on the live circuit. As Michael Stuart remembers it, “we began to attract more of a hip crowd.” Their growing reputation led to a residency at a Hollywood club, Gazarri’s on La Cienega, and, later, its more high profile location on the Sunset Strip. . . . [O]ne night the movie director Sydney Pollack caught the band and asked them to appear in a movie he was shooting, The Slender Thread, starring Sidney Poitier and Anne Bancroft. “We said, ‘Okay, we do lots of things like that,’” quips Randy. The band’s scene, set in a nightclub, was shot on a soundstage at Paramount. “Actually, it took twelve hours to film three seconds,” complains Holden. “I hated it. It was absolute misery. They kept blowing this smoke that you have in movies-it’s beeswax. . . . It’s horrible to breathe that garbage all day long. It’s also horrible to lip-sync something repeatedly, over and over. . . . As for the high-energy guitar instrumental they’re miming to: “That wasn’t us!” confesses Jac. “We recorded a whole bunch of stuff and apparently none of it worked out. . . . so they got some studio guys to do that track. It was probably Glen Campbell.” . . .

With a powerful single in the can, the band felt confident their fortune was about to change, but then word came back from New York that the executives at Decca were concerned about one of the lines in [the A-side, a cover of the Yardbirds’] “Mister You’re A Better Man Than I.” “Decca gave us a hard time about the lyric ‘The color of his skin is the color of his soul,’” explains [Jac] Ttanna, “and they wouldn’t put the record out because of this line, which is so lame. Then finally Terry Knight & the Pack put it out. Then after that Decca decided it was OK to put it out. Terry Knight had already taken off with it by then, so we lost our chance of possibly having a hit record.”

http://ugly-things.com/the-sons-of-adam-saturdays-sons-of-the-sunset-strip/

“Thirteenth child of a thirteenth child. Born in the back streets and growing up wild. Thirteenth son of a thirteenth son. What was my sin? Oh what have I done? Why am I cursed to walk alone? Where is the love that I’ve never known? No hand is open, there is no one, for the thirteenth child, Saturday’s son. Thirteen letters spell my name. Born with a shriek and a scream of pain. Thirteenth hour of the thirteenth day. Left with a mark that will stay and stay. Why am I cursed to walk this land searching for one friendly hand? There is no pleasure, not one bit of fun for the thirteenth child, Saturday’s son. Somebody somewhere, help me please. And say just one kind word for me. And let the spell come undone. For the thirteenth child, Saturday’s son.”

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Here are the Sons in The Slender Thread:

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