Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Arrested Development

OMG -- Look what I just snagged off of eBay!

I originally got one of these in 1967 thanks to an uncle of mine who worked at Columbia Records, and I wore it proudly till sometime in the mid-70s when it mysteriously vanished, an event I still consider the major tragedy of my adult life (hey -- I'm really shallow.) In any case, thanks to the miracle of the intertubes, it now reposes, proudly, on my guitar strap.

Sometimes, as the frogs say, "La vie est belle."


Mr. Minimac said...

Good snag. The only thing that would make it better would be the inclusion of Don Stevenson's middle finger.

Billy B said...

As I mentioned earlier over at Artois', I didn't hear the band until the early 90s when a buddy turned me onto them. Great stuff. Love "Hey Grandma".

Anonymous said...

There were bumper stickers too. But I seem to remember them and the buttons with the band's familiar logo, not straight print.

Have a love-hate for this band.

Got their first LP at a White Front discount store. I was with my mom. We were both there looking for cheap beach outfits and summer dresses. Also, the sexiest bikinis you could find at a discounter, if any. This wasn't long after Sgt. Pepper came out. I bought The Best of Eric Burdon & The Animals, Vol. II with the Grape debut.

A bit later, the Grape were scheduled to play the Civic with The (Jimmy Page) Yardbirds, Captain Beefheart and a bunch of other happening bands. Moby Grape canceled. A disappointment.

I tried to see them at the Whisky. But on the night I went, they had some Nazi Fuck working the door and he wouldn't let me in. Even though I was underage, I never had a problem getting in. I had the bright eyes and the bod. I knew the doorman. It always worked. But not that night. So, another disappointment. I couldn't waste the night, so I hitched a ride down Sunset past Fairfax and saw Lee Michaels at a short-lived club of the day.

I finally got to see them at the Shrine Expo Hall and it was a total letdown. Between massive equipment problems, they sucked. No tightness. No inertia. It was a blown fuse night. Disappointment #3.

The only time I saw them play well was at a show in Merced. I have a female cousin from Modesto who's the same age as me and we went together with her older brother. My aunt and uncle were on a two-week trip to Europe. My dad was there to keep an eye on my cousins. I went along to further bond with my like minded precocious cousin. Moby Grape were on fire that night. Amazing show.

So I bought tickets to see them at the Cheetah in Venice. Guess what? It was an imposter band! Disappointment #4. At that point I gave up on seeking out Grape shows.

I did go to the Palm Springs Pop Festival at which they and many other bands were booked to play. Embarrassing to admit, but I wore a Native American styled loin cloth to this show. Kids those days. This was post Skippy Moby Grape. Guess what? They canceled. So did the Jeff Beck Group. At least Procol Harum showed.


Anonymous said...


!) Very cool button - glad you have one back in your life.

2) You turned me on to Moby Grape in a feature piece called "Rock Sleepers" that you wrote in the April 1978 issue of The Magazine Formerly Known As Stereo Review. In it, you selected six albums that, although not immensely popular when they were released, you thought were worthy of investigation and one of them was the Grape's classic 1967 debut LP. (I can probably name the other five, if you're interested). You said - and this is correct now as it was then - that "no collection of American music is complete without it". So thanks, after all these years, for recommending it.

J. Lag

Anonymous said...

The Grape's debut didn't go unnoticed at the time. It hit #24 on the Billboard LP chart. The singles didn't perform well, but that's because even the AM stations in my area were playing virtually the whole album. In the summer of 1967, it was a Top Five album on the Wallich's Music City in-house charts. These were based on sales at that chain of music stores in the greater L.A. area.

Lotsa kids had the album and the poster on their bedroom wall. I did. Those guys were really cute. They had a nice spot next to my bed for a time. The Milton Glaser Dylan thing was confined to the inside of my closet door, while it lasted. Never cared much for that one - kinda psychedelitacky. Why couldn't Columbia have put a nice poster inside The Yardbirds' Greatest Hits? The cover on that one pretty much sucked too.

But I digress. What I'm trying to say is that the Grape were pretty big back then. By the time Wow (#20) appeared, these guys were definite headliners. I never considered them a cult act at all. They weren't some kind of inside secret.

The first two Grape albums performed as well as, and more often better than, contemporary albums by The Byrds and Buffalo Springfield.


Mark said...

In NYC, Omaha got airplay on AM stations, and the single was far more rocking than many other AM staples, and was a relief to listen to, along with others of roughly the same time frame such as Little Bit O' Sould, Incense and Peppermints, We Ain't Got Nothing Yet, and Somebody To Love. The friend I had who played guitar all went after the first Moby Grape album.

My friends and I would get or look at Cashbox, Billboard and Record World, and we were fascinated by Columbia's dropping 5 singles at the same time, which turned out to be as big a marketing error as the label's marketing of The United States of America in a brown paper bag because the band, whom to this day I love, was "too dangerous." Also the LOUDEST band I ever saw.

buzzbabyjesus said...

VR said, "I tried to see them at the Whisky. But on the night I went, they had some Nazi Fuck working the door and he wouldn't let me in. Even though I was underage, I never had a problem getting in. I had the bright eyes and the bod. I knew the doorman. It always worked. But not that night."

Seems to me they had some legal trouble over underage girls. Maybe that's why you couldn't get in.

All their albums have something to offer.
Here's a nice one from "20 Granite Creek" (1971)

Anonymous said...

Mark: "Omaha" was top thirty in Berdoo. "Hey Grandma" and "8:05" were in LP track rotation. I pulled out one of the Wallich's Music City charts (printed on school bus yellow legal sized paper) that I held onto from the mid 1960's. It's from early July 1967. The Top Three LP's on this particular week were Sgt. Pepper; Flowers and Moby Grape.

BBJ: I led the crusade against repressive and arbitrary age of consent laws back then. Age ain't nothin' but a number. My mom told me that when I was ready, I'd definitely know it. She was so right.

Peter Lewis was a fox. I lusted after his and Jim Morrison's lips.

BTW, does anyone here know someone who has some of that promo Moby Grape wine? I saw a bottle of it in the early 1990's but hesitated to buy it. What was I thinking? When I returned to the shop two days later, it was gone. Damn!