Get Your Kicks With California ’66!

The psychedelic ‘60s come alive once more as The Electric Prunes, Love and the lead singer of the join up for the .

Sometimes you don’t know what you have until it’s gone. Sure, these groups had their heyday over 40 years ago, but fans, musicologists and rock historians all look back in awe at the groups, citing the bands as early examples of garage rock, that sub-genre featuring loud, mind-expanding guitars that Steven Van Zandt champions on his Sirius XM radio program, “Little Steven’s Underground Garage.”

Photo: Courtesy of California ‘66 Revue
(Clockwise from bottom left): Mark Tulin, James Lowe, Steve Kara, Walter Garces, Jay Dean

For The Electric Prunes, mainstream success came in the form of their 1966 single, “I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night),” an electrifying mash-up of feedback and fuzz that heralded a dynamic shift in that era’s music. Even today musicians look back on the record as one of the first examples of psychedelic music. Another Prunes’ track – a cut from their Mass in F Minor concept album – was picked up for the “Easy Rider’ soundtrack, thus furthering their 1960s street cred.

When news of the California ’66 Revue first emerged, the most-asked question was about Love, or more specifically, who’s filling legendary showman Arthur Lee’s shoes. After all, Lee was Love, a man whose name is often mentioned on the short list of rock’s greatest performers of all time. Lee passed away from acute myeloid leukemia in 2006, leaving some mighty big shoes to fill. Fortunately, Love’s founding guitarist / songwriter Johnny Echols is up to the task, along with Lee’s longtime backing band Baby Lemonade.

Photo: Courtesy of California ‘66 Revue
From left to right: Mike Randle, Rusty Squeezebox, Dave ‘Daddyo’ Green, Johnny Echols, Dave Chapple (not on this tour).

Along with The Electric Prunes and Love is Sky “Sunlight” Saxon, who led another great ‘60s psychedelic band – The Seeds. Like The Electric Prunes’ “I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night),” The Seeds’ “Pushin’ Too Hard” is also a grade-A example of early garage rock. Another Seeds track – “Mr. Farmer” – was included on the “Almost Famous” soundtrack, plus Saxon appeared in the Jack Nicholson flick “Psych Out.”

The California ’66 Revue tour kicks off in Philadelphia at Johnny Brenda’s on Aug. 4. From Philly it’s a short trip to Hoboken for a gig at Maxwell’s on Aug. 5 followed by a benefit in Fairfield, Conn., on August 6. Other stops include Montreal at Theater Plaza August 8; NYC at B.B. King’s Aug. 9; Chicago at Double Door Aug. 12; Toronto at Lee’s Palace Aug. 14; Detroit at The Magic Bag Aug. 15; Pittsburgh at the Hard Rock Café Aug. 17 and Alexandria, Va., at the Birchmere Aug. 18.

Photo: Courtesy of California ‘66 Revue

For more information about the California ’66 Revue, please click here for the tour’s official Web site.

For more information on ‘60s garage bands, click here for Little Steven’s Underground Garage.