Sunday, October 21, 2007

San Jose Rocks: People video, Greg Kihn, Mikel Herrington and Dean Markley honored

Check the video for a touch of the largely unknown band People.

San Jose Rocks second annual concert was a great event for a town that gets too little live music love.

Greg Kihn, the headliner, rocked harder than I've heard him in a while. The band was tight and disciplined, with heady orchestrations, a stereo mix that had Ry Kihn's guitar doing David Gilmour effects and sublime dynamics, from a whisper to a scream.

They ran through the Kinks-like "Madison Avenue," "Jeopardy" and "The Breakup Song" hits that have become classic to a new generation.

People, who had only rehearsed once in 39 years, was a pleasant surprise. Psychedelic one minute; cheery pop the next.

Here's what I wrote about them for Premiere's radio prep service for disc jockeys.

For the first time in almost four decades, the original members of the psychedelic pop band People reunited to play their hit “I Love You,” at a music awards show in their San Jose hometown.

Two of the septet’s founders, Geoff and Robbie Levin, hadn’t even talked in 30 years, but now say they may make another go of this much anticipated reunion.

Unlike so many “Behind the Musics,” it was religion, not drugs that split this band. The Levins, drummer Dennis Fridkin and keyboardist Albert Ribisi became Scientologist. Singer Larry Norman became a born-again Christian and has had a successful career in Christian music. Singer Gene Mason became an air pollution inspector.

Members of People have kept their riffs sharp by playing bluegrass music, something they started before switching to folk and rock in the sixties, some as far back as jamming with Jerry Garcia in his preDead jugband.

They were brought together as part of San Jose’s second annual awards concert celebrating the city’s music scene, which is often overshadowed by musicians in San Francisco, 50 miles to the north.

San Jose has produced a slew of one or two-hit wonder garage bands that mixed cheery pop with psychedelia. Last year Syndicate of Sound (hit, “Little Girl”) and Count Five (“Psychotic Reaction”) were honored.

This year’s inductees to the San Jose Rocks branch of the city’s history museum also included Greg Kihn.Smashmouth and the Chocolate Watchband also hailed from the suburban city which has more garages open for practice than more urban San Francisco.

The area may be better known for its technological contributions to music, which are also being honored. It's been the birthplace of Dean Markley strings; the iPod; Gallien-Krueger bass amps; and Dolby and Memorex labs.

Shay Quillen wrote an interesting review here.


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