The Human Expression — “Every Night”: Brace for the Obscure (60s rock)! — December 27, 2022


683) The Human Expression — “Every Night

Mesmerizing and haunting ‘66 B-side by a hugely talented L.A. band whose music, as Mark Deming says, “lurked somewhere in between garage rock and psychedelia” and who had “imaginative songwriters with a clever, slightly bent approach, and [a] guitar style [that] was an interesting mixture of traditional folk-rock jangle, tough fuzzy leads, and a willingness to . . . come up with unusual sounds.” (Mark Deming,

Like true nature’s children, they were most assuredly born to be wild. Man, they could have climbed so high and exploded into space, had they not declined to head out on the highway.

Bruce Eder tells us that:

[A]n obscure but beloved psychedelic band from Los Angeles. . . . The band played played local clubs and USOs, and built up a great reputation for their hot live performances . . . an intensely virtuoso musicality coupled with punk defiance and a charismatic projection of all of these elements. . . . A second single, “Optical Sound” b/w “Calm Me Down,” released in 1967, showed the group becoming more experimental, utilizing studio electronic effects. . . . It was impressive, but that single wasn’t the breakthrough that the band had hoped for. The Human Expression’s downfall came with the decision over what was to be their third single. Offered a pair of songs to choose from, they selected a number called “Sweet Child of Nothingness.” The one they rejected was a song [also] authored by Mars Bonfire [see #598] called “Born to Be Wild,” because [singer Jim] Qua[r]les had some doubts about the lyrics.

The Expression’s comp from Collectables tells of the band’s ability to turn a hostile crowd:

[The band began to get bookings at places like Gazzari’s in Los Angeles, as well as playing at USO clubs (not the band’s idea, but the record label’s). For a group like the Human Expression to play at a USO club in the mid 60s was like throwing a match on tinderwood. For example one time the band played a USO gig . . . . [with an] audience [of] about 800 crewcut marines. In walked The Human Expression with long hair, mod clothes and Beatle boots. The marines started hooting and hollering at the group, saying things like “Hey, honey,” or “Look at these fags.” Jim recalls that “we played for our lives, we knew if we didn’t, we wouldn’t get out of their alive!” By the third song, the crowd of marines were going wild with cheers.

liner notes to the Collectables label CD comp The Human Expression: Love at Psychedelic Velocity

Here is a demo, which Deming says “doesn’t reveal much except that the group’s early recordings were done in a really crummy-sounding studio”:

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