Thursday, July 18, 2013

sixteen tambourines

The Three O'Clock rang out from the paisley underground garage with the psychedelic punk of this power pop paragon.  The band began as a trio called the Salvation Army with Michael Quercio (Ricky Start) on lead vocals and bass; John Blazing on guitar; and Troy Howell on drums. They released a single with 'Mind Gardens' and 'Happen Happened' on a small independent label.  Quercio reveals:    "Our original 45 was released in the fall of 1981. We were all still in high school or just graduated. It was on the Minutemen’s label which was called New Alliance. There was a place where a lot of bands played called Alpine Village in Torrance that’s kind of like a German biergarten. Anyways, D. Boon from the Minutemen saw us there and after our show he came up and asked if we had anything and we had just made this little demo tape that we made with money we saved up from our parents and stuff. He liked two of the songs and said he wanted to put them out and he put them out on his label as a 45."

Blazing quit the band and Louis "Gregg" Gutierrez took his place and The Salvation Army signed with another local independent label Frontier Records releasing their self-titled debut album in May of 1982.  That summer, the band went through a legal battle with the actual Salvation Army and decided to change their name to The Three O'Clock, which was the time that they would rehearse.  

Around this time, Howell departed and Mike Mariano and Danny Benair joined the group.   Benair says:      "I actually joined before they changed their name. I joined Salvation Army and then shortly after, we were forced to change our name. For all intents and purposes that kinda made sense, because what Salvation Army was and what Three O’Clock went on to be, even though it wasn’t meant to be, it sort of made a lot of sense in the long run."

The new lineup recorded an EP 'Baroque Hoedown' with producer Earle Mankey, which was released in late 1982.  Their full length debut 'Sixteen Tambourines' was also produced by Mankey with Danny Benair on drums; Louis Gutierrez on guitar, vocals, and percussion; Mike Mariano on keyboards, vocals, and percussion; and Michael Quercio on vocals, bass guitar, and percussion.  'Sixteen Tambourines' established the band as the progenitors of the neo-psychedelic movement, which was described by Quercio as "the Paisley Underground".  Benair recalls:    "I think a scene was naturally brewing. There were a lot of scenes and a lot of bands doing a lot of things. I think we were part of one of those scenes. Michael at lunch at a Denny’s on Sunset casually referred to the four close-knit groups as the Paisley Underground. You know, publicists love that. Now they’ve got a title for a scene...The main bands were us, the Bangles, the Dream Syndicate, Rain Parade. And there were others, but I think initially those were the bands. We kind of played in this scene and Michael made an off-the-cuff remark that he probably never thought twice about but it got picked up nationally very quickly...It was one of these things that, especially for us, it grew rapidly very quickly. We would go and play in a city like Orange, California, and there’d be like 800 mods on scooters and we were just overwhelmed. We would play these kinds of off-the-wall places and we had no idea that so many young kids, especially like kids that were 15-20, were just really into it. We’d show up and it was a lot bigger than we were expecting in the beginning."

Quercio considers:    "There was kind of one period where bands like the Miracle Workers, with the press if you were doing anything 60s you were part of the Paisley Underground. Even if you weren’t part of the L.A. thing they just kind of lumped it all together...We definitely wanted to get that feeling and we loved the sounds from those records but I actually love the sounds more from the 60s’ very produced records like Beatles records or a lot of other stuff that I think is lovely sounding even to this day. I think a lot of those bands went for a very simple sound and you got a lot of independent punk songs in the 60s and whatnot and we were maybe going for a more produced thing."

twitter: @The3Oclock

"Jet Fighter" became a hit on college and independent radio.

In My Own Time

With Cantaloupe Girlfriend

I Go Wild


Lucifer Sam

'Sixteen Tambourines' 
full album:

All song written by Gutierrez and Quercio except were noted.

Side A
Jet Fighter - 3.22 (Mariano, Gutierrez and Quercio)
Stupid Einstein - 2.17
And So We Run - 2.40
Fall To The Ground - 2.27
A Day In Erotica - 4.20
Side B
Tomorrow - 3.41
In My Own Time - 2.03 (Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb)
On My Own - 2.48
When Lightning Starts - 3.31
Seeing Is Believing - 4.27

Their EP 'Baroque Hoedown' was added to CD versions of the album

With A Canteloupe Girlfriend
I Go Wild
Marjorie Tells Me
Feel A Whole Lot Better
In Love In Too
Lucifer Sam  (Syd Barrett)
As Real As Real

'The Salvation Army' was recorded with Michael Quercio on lead vocals and bass; Troy Howell on drums and kalimba; and Louis "Gregg" Gutierrez on guitar and keyboards with H.B. Lovecraft producing.  It was repackaged and released four years later as 'Befour Three O'Clock'.

Happen Happened
For Hours
Fight Songs
Mind Gardens
She Turns To Flowers (Alternative Version)
Grimly Forming
The Seventeen Forever
Going Home
Cellophane Nirvana
She Turns To Flowers
Upside Down
The Seventeen Forever
Mind Gardens
Grimly Forming
While We Were In Your Room Talking To Your Wall
Happen Happened
I Am Your Guru
Going Home

1 comment:

  1. Great article! I've been a fan of The Three O'Clock and Salvation Army since i was a kid back in the very early 1980s and will always be.Their music sounds as fresh and innovative today as it did almost 40 years ago.