The Electric Prunes Biography

Formed in Los Angeles, California, USA in 1965, the Electric Prunes originally consisted of Jim Lowe (San Luis Obispo, California, USA; vocals, guitar, autoharp), Ken Williams (b. Long Beach, California, USA; lead guitar), James ‘Weasel’ Spagnola (b. Cleveland, Ohio, USA; guitar), Mark Tulin (b. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; bass) and Michael Weakley aka Quint (drums), although the latter was quickly replaced by Preston Ritter (b. Stockton, California, USA). The quintet made its debut with the low-key ‘Ain’t It Hard’, before achieving two US Top 20 hits with ‘I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night)’ and ‘Get Me To The World On Time’. These exciting singles blended the drive of garage/punk rock, the rhythmic pulse of the Rolling Stones and the experimentalism of the emerging psychedelic movement. Such performances were enhanced by Dave Hassinger’s accomplished production. The Prunes’ debut album was hampered by indifferent material, but the excellent follow-up, Underground, featured three of the group’s finest achievements, ‘Hideaway’, ‘The Great Banana Hoax’ and ‘Long Day’s Flight’. However, the Prunes were sadly unable to sustain their hit profile and grew increasingly unhappy with the artistic restrictions placed on them by management and producer.

Ritter was replaced by the prodigal Quint before the remaining original members dropped out during sessions for Mass In F Minor. This acclaimed combination of Gregorian styles and acid rock was composed and arranged by David Axelrod, who fulfilled the same role on a follow-up set, Release Of An Oath. An entirely new line-up - Ron Morgan (guitar), Mark Kincaid (b. Topeka, Kansas, USA; guitar), Brett Wade (b. Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada; bass) and Richard Whetstone (b. Hutchinson, Kansas, USA; drums) - completed the lacklustre Just Good Old Rock ‘N’ Roll, which bore no trace of the founding line-up’s sense of adventure.

The Electric Prunes name was then abandoned until 2001 when, following the release of the compilation Lost Dreams, members of the band were once again back in touch. Tulin, Lowe and Williams recruited help from the likes of Peter Lewis of Moby Grape, and released the wholly credible Artifact. Not content to rest on their laurels, a second album of new material followed in 2004.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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