While we would have been happy to do frat parties forever, Wally encouraged us to record and stretch our abilities. Very early on we signed a contract with Dunhill Records(1966-67) and recorded a number of songs – three of which were released but didn’t make any big impact – “Try and Stop Me,“ “Looking Around” and “Hold the High Ground.” (These can be heard on the "InRhodes" page).
“Try and Stop Me” and “Hold the High Ground” has some really interesting and innovative musical hooks. On “Try” we were trying to use a fuzz tone (brand new toy!) to emphasize the bass part but it sounded too thin. I suggested splitting the signal so we sent a second line into the board (one “dry” and one with the fuzz tone). It worked great except our producer liked it so much that it’s almost all you can hear at the beginning of the song. “Hold” was unusual, . . . well it would be easier if you just listened to it! Some of the other bands on Dunhill at the time were The Grass Roots, Steppenwolf, the Mamas and Papas, and Three Dog Night. Odom got to know the guys in the Grass Roots and that friendship continued for many years.
The contract with Dunhill was the result of us being “discovered” by Pat Boone and Norm Ratner. Yes, THAT Pat Boone. Norm, or “the rat” as we lovingly called him, had produced The Leaves hit “Hey Joe.” Oddly because we wore suits and ties (think early Beatles) and had relatively short hair we were identified as a “clean cut” band, - one that Boone not only liked in terms of our music, but our image. We performed live (well, lip-synced “Lookin Around”) on national TV in 1967 on Pat's show – the Pat Boone Show. Boone/Ratner produced our first few records.
In case you can't tell, these black and white photos were taken off a TV screen.
Way too many stories to tell here so to keep it short, played at all the major clubs in LA – notably the Hullabaloo where we shared the stage with Paul Revere and the Raiders (“Kicks,” “Hungry”), the Everpresent Fullness, among many others. One of the cool things about the Hullabaloo was that as an old theatrical stage, it had a turntable built into the floor so while one band was playing another could be setting up - then "rotated" to the front to play.
We also played lots of special events. A frequent place we played early was Palisades High School where Dave had attended. They hosted monthly "Sports Nights" which began with just having the gym open for kids to do something on a Friday night but quickly turned into a major "west side" event when they added bands. We played there with the Doors among others. It’s not of a stretch to say that we were one of the most popular local bands in LA from ’66 through ‘69.
One of my favorite stories in the category of “recording” is the Gordon Jenkins story. Somehow Wally connected us up to the famous arranger/composer Gordon Jenkins. At the time Jenkins was best known for working with Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald. Gordon lived in Malibu and had just built a recording studio at his home. As I recall somehow we were going to exchange some recording time - for him to learn how to use his equipment. Sounds reasonable eh? Anyway, we arrived at his home/studio, got set up and started getting mics and other equipment ready to go. Now I have to get a little technical. The Farfisa Combo Compact I was playing at the time had a built-in “reverb” unit. It was a “spring reverb” and hung underneath the keyboard where if you wanted to you could reach down and touch it. There would be no musical reason to do that, but if you happened to “tap” on it it makes a terrible crash sound. You’ve probably heard guitar players bang on their amps to get this sound. Anyway, it was getting boring waiting for everything to get setup, so I tapped on the reverb as a joke. Well Mr. Jenkins came running into the studio from the sound booth yelling “what did you do to my equipment??!!” He didn’t get the joke. Explanations were of no use, he hustled us out of the studio and we were not invited back. Here’s a sample of that sound.
While pulling this together I found the documents below: a telegram confirming our travel arrangements to Hawaii for the Yardley Beauty Bash we did in Honolulu, and a ledger page from Dave Defore looking at Spring 1966, our first year together with Dave as drummer for the InRhodes. Just for fun, looked it up and the $20 a night we each got in 1966 is the equivalent of $131 dollars in 2019. Hey, I'll work for that much today!