North California Groups : V
The information on the North California Groups pages was compiled by Gray Newell based on research by: Alec Palao, Corry Arnold, Ben Chaput, Joey Dryfka, Mike Dugo, Ross Hannan, Vernon Joynson, Gray Newell, Stephane Rebeschini, Obert Sonsten, Jason Sweitzer Bruce Tahsler and Max Waller.
These pages were originally made available on the North California Groups website which, unfortunately, no longer exists. The pages are provided here as an archive of that site and are currently being updated at irregular intervals.
The information is presented alphabetically by group name:
Group name :
A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | XYZ
THE VACANT LOT
No information is available for this group at the present time.
Birdses/Don't Let It Down - Elektra 45012 1964
Dino Valente - Epic BN 26335 1968
Dino Valenti was a New Yorker who had played the coffee house circuit in Greenwich Village before heading off to the West Coast. His debut 45 for Elektra was Birdses, reputedly the inspiration for Chris Hillman to suggest the name The Byrds to his band mates. Around this time he also for Autumn Records a demo of the seminal hippy anthem Get Together, which later was included on the Big Beat CD Someone To Love - Birth Of The San Francisco Sound. He was in the original line up of Quicksilver Messenger Service but was busted on drug charges and imprisoned before he had a chance to make his mark, although the QMS recorded his Dino's Song on their first album. On his release from jail he started work on his solo album for Epic with arranger Jack Nitzsche but was disappointed with the results feeling the album to be too commercial sounding so he insisted on re-recording all the tracks with Epic bringing in Bob Johnson to produce. The subsequent album didn't get promoted and to add insult to injury it was credited to Dino Valente, perhaps a deliberate miss spelling of his name due to his rubbing the record company up the wrong way. In 1969 he tried forming another group in New York, The Outlaws, taking Gary Duncan from QMS with him, but when that didn't go anywhere they both returned to California and rejoined QMS. He came to dominate the subsequent QMS albums with his distinctive vocals, he died in 1994.
Lisa Marie / I Wanna Twist - Falco 306 1962
Friends And Lovers / Alligator Man - Warner Bros 7289 1969
Silkie / Song For Rochelle - Warner Bros 7368 1970
Solo recordings by the former Beau Brummel and member of Stoneground.
A Reason / I Really Want To Want You - Golden Gate CMR-0009 May 1966
It's Like Now Baby / Wet & Wild / Mustang George - Golden Gate CMR-0011 Aug 1967
Hunter's Fox/American Eagle - Bay Town BT-021/2 1969
From Richmond, together between 1967/69. Recorded material for an unreleased LP.
All of a sudden, there is interest from Europe on this single.... We actually had two singles, but the other was The Vandells as a back up band to another singer. The song was "Meat Rack" and I forget the other side's title. Both singles recorded at Baytown.
The "cool horn section" was actually the "Tower of Power" horns BEFORE they were Tower of Power, or at least before they were famous. (Note: we paid Doc Kupka, Emilio Castillo and the other guy, could have been Mic Gillette, $25 per song.)
Here is a site for you with more info: http://home.comcast.net/~obertson
The guy Obertson had a Richmond reunion about 2 months ago. I went, and saw about 200 of my old pals and other garage bands. Some people I never met before, even though we were at Battle of the Bands together.
The Vandells were actually together from 1965 - 1970 (I joined in 1966 when I was 14). Joe Serb was the main writer and sang both. He died around 1980, pretty much from drugs and alcohol. Paul George, the drummer, became a policeman, and was killed in a helicopter crash in 1976 by the Carquinez Bridge in Crockett, CA. Drew Serb, guitar, owns Pro Media Sound in Hercules, CA, and does sound for Dave Mathews and Goo Goo Dolls, as well as new sound systems for Pac Tel Park and multi-million dollar systems. Mike Raffanelli is retired from Standard Oil Co., and lives in Clear Lake. I, Gary Raffanelli, am still performing, (I am on in 6 hours), www.adbacadabra.com , and I invented a piano that all entertainers are using www.slamgrand.com .
The reunion was eye-opening to me, as all these players who MADE FUN of us and our band (because we were more like a Paul Revere and the Raiders then a Grateful Dead) came up to me and pulled me aside to say, "You know what Gary... I always thought you guys sounded the best! The best arrangements, the best singers, the best live sound, etc." I WANTED to say..."Oh yea?? Then why did you throw rocks at me that one time when we were setting up??", but I didn't...
We did a tour of the Orient in 1969-1970 over the Winter/New Years. That was a huge highlight. We were booked for the Joey Bishop Show on TV, and during our tour, his show was cancelled. That pretty much took our enthusiasm away, and we broke up after the tour.
We would always laugh on the way to jobs, and laugh on the way back. We got along great until Joe, the oldest, started hanging around with the wrong crowd, and they were also apparently making fun of us. So he started getting too heavy in his attitude and personality. It was his downfall. He never achieved anything better than The Vandells. He quit over "tucking in a T-shirt" before we went onstage, just before our tour of the Orient.
We rehearsed at least once, if not twice a week, EVERY week, from 6-9 PM. Usually Tuesdays and Thursdays. We performed almost every Wednesday at Treasure Island in SF, and Fri/Sat were split between TI and schools, colleges, or functions. Girls really never got in the way. A man named Mitch Inouye, has a photo album that goes back to 1966 - through almost 1970. The pics are precious...
I have to go right now, but I will see what else I can give you. My brother actually has a brand new box of American Eagle records...maybe 50 or more.
THE VAST MAJORITY
Played at the Medicine Show, Irwin Warehouse San Rafael 12-13/05/67.
THE VAST MINORITY
No information is available for this group at the present time.
How's Your Mother ... / Something's Wrong? Track VIII X-1002 1969
Bob Bailey - tambourine, vocals
Joe Brackett - lead guitar
Bob Cole - guitar
Rick Dey - bass
Ron Drucker - bass
Jan Errico (aka Jan Ashton) - drums
Ned Hollis - guitar, organ
Reese Sheets - guitar
Frank Smith - bass
Jim Sawyers - guitar
Kristy - drums
Richard Fortunato - guitar, vocals
Roland Oeller - bass
Saul Lewis - organ, vocals
Arthur Penthollow - drums
I Still Love You / Anything - Autumn 15 1965
The Last Thing On My Mind / Mansions Of Tears - Autumn 23 1965
Feel The Music / Shadows, - Uptown 741 1966
As The Book of Changes
I Stole the Goodyear Blimp / Suddenly I'm Desperately In Love - Tower 337
In 1964, when Ned Hollis and Bill Bailey spotted Jan Errico singing and playing drums in Big Al's Gas House, Belmont, they asked her to join them in The Vejetables, a week later they played their debut at Big Al's performing a set of Beatles covers. Before long they had been signed up to Autumn Records and Jan had taken the stage name of Jan Ashton, as she felt it sounded more "British". By January 1965 original bassist Rick Dey had been replaced by Ron Drucker and the band embarked on a long round of live dates at night clubs and teen shindigs. Ron's slot was soon taken over by Frank Smith and Reese Sheets took over from Bob Cole on lead guitar and this line up went into Coast Recorders to put down their debut 45 for Autumn with a second 45 coming out in November. In early 1966 former Other Side guitarist Jim Sawyers had joined the line up and the band continued touring and playing Battle Of The Bands shows alongside acts like The Yardbirds, Beach Boys, Buffalo Springfield and The Doors. A proposed Jan Ashton 45 "Cold Dreary Morning"/ "Smile Smile Smile" was shelved when Autumn went under and their artist roster was taken over by Warner Brothers. Around this time Jan left to join The Mojo Men, closely followed by the departure of Ned Hollis and a short while later Jim Sawyer left to join The Syndicate Of Sound. Another girl drummer by the name of Kristy was in the line up for a short while but left to have a baby, and on the verge of the group breaking up Bob Mosley was added on guitar. He soon left for The Moby Grape, his replacement being Richard Fortunato of L A's The Preachers who brought a couple of his former band mates along with him to fill out the line up. This version of The Vejtables released one final 45 on the Uptown label, the psychedelic Shadows/Feel The Music, other recordings from these sessions later saw a release in 1994. By 1967 the line up had changed again, with Frank Smith rejoining Bailey in the group, which now was calling itself The Book Of Changes, releasing I Stole The Goodyear Blimp/Suddenly I'm In Love on Tower in August, after which the group finally disbanded.
FRANK VENTURA AND THE CRESCENTS
Pain / Terry's Tune - Amber AR 3942 June 1965
From San Jose.
Debbie Binetti - Drums
Ken Czapkay - Bass
Nancy Morgan - Vocals
Dan Sanchez - Lead Guitar, Vocals
Peter Sessions - Guitar
Bard Dupont - Bass
Michele Sevryn - Vocals
Have You Ever/The Note - Jaguar 103 (also released on Mijji 3005) 1967
Based in Redwood City on the S F peninsula, they brought in Peter Sessions from Demon Lover and recorded their lone 45 in mid 1967. When Ken Czapky was drafted Sessions suggested they bring in Bard Dupont who had been in Demon Lover as well. When Nancy Morgan left the band in early 1968 Dupont got his girlfriend Michele Sevryn in as replacement. Around this time they also recruited a second bassist. Bard Dupont left the group when Sevryn embarked on a relationship with the new bassist.
Pretty Girls Everywhere / Double Shot - Ikon 171/2
Formed at High Street House Palo Alto Ca. 1965
Ed Levin - drums
Warren Phillips - guitar & vocals
Patrick Thomas - bass & vocals
Stanley Muther - lead guitar & vocals
Managed by Richard Astle
Notably played at the December '65 mime troupe benefit organized by Bill Graham at the Fillmore auditorium. Ralph Gleason confused the name with the VIP's. Also played for the Vietnam Day Committee Rally in Panhandle Park in 1965. "We ran an extension cord across Oak Street. BB&THC & Janis were there and used our equipment."
Greg Douglas - lead guitar
Dave Carter - bass
Steve Derr - rhythm
Bill Baron - drums
From Walnut Creek, became Country Weather.
Last updated December 2008