Thursday, July 23, 2015

Stone Garden - s/t 1969-1971

The Speer brothers Gary (guitar), Paul (guitar), and Neal (drums and piano) were at the core of what would eventually turn into Stone Garden. The Lewiston, ID pre-teens from a musical family, took up their instruments in the early 1960's. Their father built them makeshift amplifiers out of old stereo equipment and the Three Dimensions were born. Still barely teens they were scoring paying gigs. The trio took on Junior High schoolmate Dan Merille as it's full time bass player, and with his addition, adopted English style ruffled shirts as well as a new name, The Knights of Sound. The quartet made its first studio recording in 1965, and began to play regularly around Lewiston, eventually drawing the attention of aspiring manager Don Tunnell. With psychedelia in full flower, Tunnell renamed the band Stone Garden in 1967 after seeing a poster with the name. They began growing their hair long and ditched their Carnaby street duds for Nehru jackets and the quartet developed a repertoire loaded with songs by the Doors, Hendrix, Cream, the Beatles, and the Stones as well as a smattering of it's own original material. By 1969, Stone Garden was ready to record the latter, and a friend with a rather sophisticated basement studio helped put out the "Oceans Inside Me"/"Stop My Thinking" 45 single. A pressing of 300 that actually earned significant local airplay and got the attention of DJ Chris Adams, who became a vocal supporter of the foursome, eventually getting them time in a professional recording studio in Vancouver, WA. While there, Stone Garden recorded the remainder of it's original material, which went unreleased until re-issue label Rockadelic records collected it for a 1998 eponymous release. Once Gary left for college in 1969, the band went through a number of line-up changes, and due to constant instability, broke up in the early weeks of 1972.

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