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
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 them.
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.
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]
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.
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.
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
Collage/graphic reproduced from the 2012 CD package
by R J Whetstone
Before the Prunes...Climax