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Before LA
Reprise/Warner Bros Albums
Reissued CDs keep returning...

The Final Incarnation
Warner Bros./Reprise Records

The Electric Prunes - '68-'70
Mark Kincaid - John Herron - Richard Whetstone - Brett Wade

Forty plus years ago,
in a world far removed....

Richard Whetstone - Drummer- by Richard Whetstone

Too naive to know that being recruited by The Electric Prune's producer, Dave Hassinger, would amount to albeit,  a brief  "fifteen minutes of fame," I moved to LA the summer of  '68.  From this time forward, the truth becomes 'Stranger Than Fiction.'

What precipitated the move was the fact that the original Prunes 'mysteriously' broke up after completing two albums for Warner Bros/Reprise Records. We received a phone call from a fellow Denver musician, Rich Fifeld who was then living and recording in Los Angles. He was in the process of recording an album for Capitol Records being produced by David Axelrod. Coinsidently Rich's band, Hardwater, was managed by the same manager of the Electric Prunes, Lenny Poncher.

Three of the band members  I was working with in Climax were invited to move to LA and replace The new Electric Prunes 1967them.   It started when we  received a call from, a fellow Denver musician, Rich Fifeld then living and recording in LA.  Rich's band, Hardwater, The bands manager (Lenny Poncher) also handled Stevie Winwood, Ten Years After, and The Electric Prunes. They were in search of  musicians to replace the original band members and continue the Reprise recording contract with Dave Hassinger's production company, Damo Productions. At this point the Prunes had become a 'brand' and the name, at the time was owned by Poncher and Hassinger.

John Herron, Mark Kincaid, Bob Brandenburg, and I were working Colorado and surrounding stats in band named Climax.  (not, The Climax Blues Band)  The group had been together for over a year, yet Bob Brandenburg, bass player, didn't make the trip the trip to California.   We were wide-eyed and innocent - ready to tackle Hollywood (or so we thought)

Upon arriving in LA we went searching for a base player.   One in particular that we attempted to recruit was a great singer and player named  Randy Miesner.  We first met Randy when he was fresh out of  Scottsbluff, Nebraska, gigging in Denver with a band named The Poor.  Moving to  LA he landed a spot backing up Ricky Nelson in the Stone Canyon Band.  But, he turned down our offer to join the 'Prunes' only to later join some 'unknown band' (unknown at the time) called Eagles.

Brett Wade was eventually hired to play bass. He came recommend by a legendary Canadian band from British Columbia called The Collectors (later changed their name to Chilliwack)  They were also being produced by the 'Prunes' producer, Dave Hassinger.   [Note: The Collectors also performed on 'Mass', but that's a story for another time] 

John Herron - KeyboardsJohn Herron, Mark Kincaid, Brett Wade and I rehearsed in a old theater in LA in preparation for live performances and studio work.  Months later, after many other live performances,  we performed at a concert the  Las Vegas Convention Center.   Upon returning, John suddenly quit the band, shortly before the release of "Good Old Rock & Roll."  The stress and pressure effected us all.  It was expecially difficult seeing John leave the band, he  was a strategic foundation in the band....a powerful musical force.   John continued living  in the LA area, writing and recording at his Reseda, CA studio - Recordio.  John's career lead to worldwide tours  with a number of incredible acts.  He received several gold albums, including one as a co-writer for a Doobie Brothers song.   John has performed and recorded with some of the top artists in the world.

 [editor's note: A talented/creative musician and artist who remained prolific until he passed away on July 11, 2003 after being comatose for six months, following an automobile accident in the Los Angles area.]

After John left the band, a  replacement was found in Ron Morgan, who at the time was playing guitar with Three Dog Night.  We knew Ron from a Denver band (called Superband) that included Jimmy Greenspoonon keyboards.  The two of them landed a gig with the original version of  Three Dog Night - prior to the first album release.  (Greenspoon remains, to this day, a member of  Three Dog Night)  Ron was anxious to play in a less structured band - he wanted more solos!   In between working with Three Dog Night, Ron was  recording with the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band.   Ron was a world-class guitar player.   He joined us in time to help finish the last tracks on the album and began touring with us, along with his Harley.  Ron lived to play  music, but the lifestyle contributed greatly to his death in the mid 70's.

Reissues of all the Prunes original recordings were offered on CD in 2007 from Collectors Choice Records.Electric Prunes - The Complete Reprise Singles - Reissued 2012 - damprock.com

Again in 2012, Real Gone Music/RHINO Records reissued The Electric Prunes - The Complete Reprise Singles. This is one of the best packaged collections of singles originally recorded on Reprise/Warner Bros. between '66
and '68.

Collage/graphic reproduced from the 2012 CD package
by R J Whetstone







Before the Prunes...Climax

Photos from Richard Whetstone's personal archives
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Richard Whetstone - all rights reserved - no duplication allowed

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