The Sons of Adam
|Origin||Baltimore, Maryland, United States|
|Genres||Garage rock, rock and roll, proto-punk, hard rock, surf rock|
|Associated acts||The Other Half|
The Sons of Adam (earlier the Fender IV) were an American garage rock band, from Baltimore, Maryland, but who re-located to Los Angeles and became a regular fixture on the Sunset Strip music scene, during the mid-1960s. The band, who released several singles for the Decca and Alamo labels, which included the songs "Saturday's Son", "Feathered Fish" and "Baby Show the World", is also notable for the presence of two of its members: guitarist Randy Holden, later of The Other Half and Blue Cheer, and drummer Michael Stuart, later of Love.
The band, originally a surf rock and instrumental group from Baltimore, Maryland, called the Iridescents, then later The Fender IV, was founded in 1962 by guitarist Randy Holden, who had previously played in other local rock and roll bands, and bassist Mike Port. By 1963, they had enlisted Sonny Lombardo on drums, then later Joe Kooken on guitar, to complete the original lineup. Holden, then a fan of Duane Eddy, stated:
- My band was more rock or hard rock-oriented. To define that, you’d have to say Duane Eddy was ‘hard rock’ back then... I wanted to do surf music, because—well, actually it wasn’t called surf music yet. I liked the instrumental vein...”
By the end of 1963, the band's repertoire had become completely dominated by surf influences, so they made arrangements to re-locate to Southern California, in hopes of riding the crest of the then-current surf rock craze to find success in its center, Los Angeles, which was also becoming a Mecca in the recording industry. The band departed in a Volkswagen bus and drove to California, and arrived there on November 22, 1963, the day of John F. Kennedy's assassination.
The Fender IV: California
However, drummer Sonny Lomberdo was not able to accompany them to California, so the band had to find another drummer when they got there and enlisted the services Bruce Miller. Unlike in Maryland, the drinking age in California was 21, so the band members went to Tijuana, Mexico and had fake ID's made in order to be able to play gigs at nightclubs and bars. They were eventually able to get steady work playing gigs at popular thenight-spot, Gazzarri’s.
In 1964 they changed their name to The Fender IV, a move partially motivated by a deal they made with the Fender to provide the group with free equipment. Also there was another group already playing there called Irridescents, from Santa Barbara, who would later become Thee Sixpence and eventually Strawberry Alarm Clock. They signed with managers, Bill Sone and Ozzie Schmidt, who were familiar with surf and the West Coast scene. Sone and Schmidt knew music biz mogul, Russ Regan, who arranged for the group to be signed to the Capitol Records owned Imperial label. In the summer of 1964, they recorded two singles (as The Fender IV) at Los Angeles' Gold Star Studios, the home of many of Phil Specter's recordings at the time. Just several months before they recorded first single, The Beatles had appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show and the British Invasion had swept the music industry, so the flip side of that record, "You Better Tell Me Now" would be a Mercy-inspired vocal track, which would point to the direction of their later work as the Sons of Adam. With the British Invasion in full effect, the band members of The Fender IV began to feel the pull, but, at least initially Randy Holden was reluctant to make the full switch. However, after having a chance to meet and "jam" with Brian Jones and Bill Wyman, a while before The Rolling Stones' performance on the Hollywood Palace TV show, and to a getting to know members of other L.A. rock acts such as The Turtles, Holden's reluctance to embrace vocal rock subsided. He and the group began to favor R&B-flavored rock and started including covers of Stones' songs in their sets.
The Sons of Adam
By 1965, the band's musical direction shifted dramatically with the British Invasion and Beatlemania to a Beat group orientation. The popularity of surf music waned, and their style changed to vocal-based R&B and rock songs. In the beginning of the year drummer, Bruce Miller, was drafted to military service in Viet Nam, so they found Kith Kesser to take his place. Perhaps as a result of their previous time as an instrumental band, they became highly respected amongst L.A. bands, for their musical prowess, and were considered one of the better live acts in town. They became a frequent attraction at clubs on the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles, and were able to land a residency at Cisco's. I was during this time that they changed their name to the Sons of Adam, which was provided by record producer and impresario, Kim Fowley and secured a recording contract with Decca Records. They made a brief appearance playing in a nightclub scene in the 1965 movie, The Slender Thread starring Anne Bancroft. The group recorded their first single, with Gary Usher producing, "Take My Hand" released in mid-October 1965. The song failed to gain any traction on the charts.
By the end of the year, disappointed in lack of record sales, the band broke off connections with Bill Sone and Ozzie Schmidt. They entered into an unwritten agreement with Dick St John (of Dick & Dee Dee) and Mike Post. In 1966 they returned to the studio with producer, Gary Uhser and engineer David Hassinger to record "Saturday's Son," an anthem of alienation, featuring Randy Holden on lead guitar and vocals, which appeared on a single, along with their version of "Mr. You're a Better Man Than I," previously recorded by The Yardbirds, as the flipside. the band believed that they had a strong record that had a chance to break them in the charts, but the single failed to catch on. Around this time the band hired a new manager, Howard Wolf to conduct their affairs.
As the year progressed, Holden's behavior became increasingly erratic, and his relationship with the other band members became strained, so the band pushed him out, a decision they later regretted, and replaced him with Craig Tarwater, on lead guitar. Holden joined The Other Half. The Sons of Adam continued on playing and recording, releasing another single on Alamo records, featuring "Feathered Fish", written by Arthur Lee form Love (band), who was now attempting to convince drummer Michael Stuart to join his band, and the flip side "Baby Show the World." However, without Randy Holden the band lost much of its former musical chemistry. Michel Stuart, after Artur Lee's constant requests, finally decided to join Love as their drummer just in time for the recording of the seminal Forever Changes. Craig Tarwater left to join The Daily Flash. By June 1967, the sons of Adam were no more.
- Randy Holden - guitar, vocals (1965-1966)
- Joe Kooken - guitar (1965-1967)
- Mike Port - bass (1965-1967)
- Michael Stuart - drums (1965-1967)
- Craig Tarwater - guitar, vocals (1966-1967)
- "Take My Hand"/"Tomorrow's Gonna Be Another Day" (Decca, Dec. 1965) - produced by Gary Usher
- "Mr You're a Better Man Than I" (Mike Hugg, Brian Hugg) / "Saturdays Son" - (Decca Records #31995, July 15, 1966) - produced by Gary Usher
- "Feathered Fish" (written by Arthur Lee) / "Baby Show the World" (Alamo Records, 1966) - also recorded by The Other Half
- Randy Holden Early Works 64-66 (included Fender IV and the Sons of Adam period) - Released on Captain Trip Records 1997. Re-Mastered and later released as Sons of Adam - Bytes (included Fender IV period) - Released on Guitar God Records 2007
- Provost, Greg & Stacks, Mike (January 8, 2014). "The Sons Of Adam | UglyThings Magazine". Ugly Things. Retrieved August 16, 2015.
- A history of the "Sons of Adam" is published in Ugly Things Music Magazine, No. 26 (2008)
- Ugly Things. Jan. 8, 2014 http://ugly-things.com/the-sons-of-adam-saturdays-sons-of-the-sunset-strip/
- "Hollywood rockers, Sons of Adam, LOVE, Blue Cheer, Hendrix,Michael Stewart-Ware, Michael Port, Rolling Stones". Hollywoodagogo.com. Retrieved 2013-07-24.
- "The Sons of Adam". bryanmaclean.com. Retrieved May 16, 2015.
- "The Love Group's Michael Stuart, Drummer on Da Capo and Forever Changes, Pegasus Carousel". Pegasuscarousel.com. Retrieved 2013-07-24.
- "YouTube". YouTube. Retrieved 2013-07-24.
- "Rhinoceros - Daily Flash". Rhinoceros-group.com. Retrieved 2013-07-24.
- A. Palao in liner notes to Where the Action Is: Los Angeles Nuggets 1965-1968. Rhino, 2009
- "The Sons Of Adam Discography - All Countries". 45cat. Retrieved 2013-07-24.
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