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The Flamin' Groovies

The Flamin Groovies are a band who built a career out of demonstrating the positive aspects of living in the past. While they first rose to fame in San Francisco in the late '60s, they had little interest in the psychedelic music that was all the rage in the Bay Area. Instead, the Groovies celebrated the joys of first-era rock & roll and vintage R&B, as well as the greasy raunch of early-'60s rock. They later evolved into British Invasion obsessives whose songs echoed the glory days of the Beatles, the Stones, and the Kinks. But they never let go of their passionate belief that rock's formative period was where the music spoke most clearly and powerfully. And at their best, the Flamin Groovies could match their influences for sheer passion, power, and songcraft.

The Flamin Groovies story began in 1965, when Cyril Jordan, a guitarist who dug Chuck Berry, the Beach Boys, and the Beatles, was a high-school sophomore. Jordan had been playing in a band with drummer Ron Greco when he met like-minded teen musician George Alexander, who played bass. Alexander was working on music with his friends Roy Loney (vocals and guitar) and Tim Lynch (guitar), and they invited Jordan and Greco over one evening to jam. Over the course of the evening, the five musicians learned 20 songs, and decided they had the makings of a real band. Jordan and Greco teamed with Loney, Lynch, and Alexander, forming a combo first known as the Chosen Few, and then the Lost and Found. This edition of the band played teen dances and Battles of the Bands, but briefly broke up before reassembling in August 1966, with drummer Danny Mihm replacing Greco. (Greco would later play bass with pioneering San Francisco punk band Crime.)

The Flamin Groovies had a hot-wired sound and retro outlook that put them on the outskirts of the San Francisco scene at the time. (It didn't help that the group's original manager had a prickly relationship with local rock impresario Bill Graham.) The band scared up gigs at bars and small clubs, and in 1967 they self-released their debut recording, a 10" EP called Sneakers. The EP sold out two pressings of 1,500 copies each and was close to clearing out a third when Epic Records offered the band a contract. The Groovies went into the studio with producer Steve Goldman, and with their contract giving them unlimited recording time, the bandmembers took their time polishing their first release for Epic. Released in 1969, Supersnazz was significantly glossier than Sneakers, but it successfully communicated the group's manifesto of energy and real rock & roll kicks, and earned positive reviews. However, it didn't come close to recouping its costs, and Epic soon dropped the Groovies. Undaunted, they soon found a new home at Kama Sutra Records, which released their second album in 1970. Flamingo was a significantly more straightforward and powerful set, and found the band writing better and stronger original tunes. Arriving in 1971, Teenage Head added a bit more precision to the Groovies' formula, and the band seemed to be making commercial headway. But Jordan and Loney were increasingly at odds over the group's creative direction, and by the end of 1971, Loney had quit the band. Tim Lynch soon followed. (One of Loney's last shows with the Groovies can be heard on Norton Records' 1997 release The Flamin' Groovies in Person!!!!)

With Jordan now the group's unquestioned leader, he assembled a new Groovies lineup, featuring singer and guitarist Chris Wilson and guitarist James Farrell. The Groovies began recording new material with producer Dave Edmunds, and they were poised to sign a new record contract with United Artists. But the UA deal fell through, and the group remained in limbo for the next few years, with a few songs sneaking out on small-label singles in Europe. During this period, Danny Mihm also left the Groovies, and David Wright came aboard as their drummer. It wasn't until 1976 that the Flamin Groovies once again had a reliable international label behind them when Sire Records released the album Shake Some Action. The title track would go on to become the band's best-known song, and it won a new cult following for the Groovies, even if they failed to break through to the mainstream. The moody British Invasion-inspired sound of Shake Some Action and rough-and-ready energy of their earlier albums both proved to be influential on the nascent punk/new wave scene. For once, the Flamin Groovies appeared to be in the right place at the right time. But the group's next two albums, 1978's Flamin' Groovies Now and 1979's Jumpin' in the Night, were inconsistent and didn't connect strongly with fans or critics. (The two LPs also documented another lineup change. James Farrell left the Groovies, and Mike Wilhelm, formerly of the San Francisco pre-psychedelic combo the Charlatans, became their new lead guitarist.)

By 1980, Sire had dropped the Flamin Groovies, and Chris Wilson resigned from the band. While the Groovies played occasional live shows, they didn't release any new recordings until 1987. One Night Stand was a live-in-the-studio effort that, as the title suggested, was cut in a single evening during a grueling tour of Australia and Europe. Jordan, Alexander, and some guest musicians released a Flamin Groovies album in 1993, Rock Juice, but the band folded not long after.

However, interest in the Flamin Groovies never entirely went away, as a steady stream of reissues and archival releases appeared from labels large and small. In 1995, Cracker recorded a cover of "Shake Some Action" for the soundtrack to the movie Clueless, which provided a windfall for Jordan and Wilson, the song's writers. And as Roy Loney recorded occasional albums and toured, the band's core fans never lost their love for the Flamin Groovies. In 2009, Roy Loney and Cyril Jordan appeared together for the first time since 1971 at the Ponderosa Stomp Festival in New Orleans, backed by members of the A-Bones. (A-Bones drummer Miriam Linna headed up the Flamin Groovies Fan Club in the '70s.) The show sparked a short tour with Loney and Jordan, and put Jordan back in touch with Chris Wilson and George Alexander. By 2013, Jordan had reassembled the Flamin Groovies, with Wilson, Alexander, and new drummer Victor Peñalosa. After several rounds of touring, the Groovies began work on a new album, and in April 2016, they released a new song online, a Jordan/Wilson original called "Crazy Macy." ~ Mark Deming
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Slow Death

1. Sweet Little Rock And Roller

2. Slow Death

3. Let Me Rock

4. Dog Meat

5. Blues From Phyllis

6. Jumpin' Jack Flash

7. Roll Over Beethoven

8. Shake Some Action

9. When I Heard Your Name

10. Tallahassee Lassie

x

Track List: Absolutely The Best

1. Slow Death

2. I Can't Hide

3. Money

4. Shake Some Action

5. Teenage Head

6. Slow Down

7. Tallahassee Lassie

8. My Yada

9. You Tore Me Down

10. Milk Cow Blues

11. Shakin'

12. Million Miles Away

13. Somebody's Fool

14. Bittersweet

15. In The U.S.A.

x

Track List: Groovies' Greatest Grooves

1. Shake Some Action

2. Teenage Head

3. Slow Death

4. Tallahassee Lassie

5. Yeah My Baby

6. Yes It's True

7. First Plane Home

8. In The USA

9. Between The Lines

10. Don't Lie To Me

11. You Tore Me Down

12. I'll Cry Alone

13. Please Please Girl

14. Down Down Down

15. Yes I Am

16. Teenage Confidential

17. I Can't Hide

18. Absolutely Sweet Marie

19. Don't Put Me On

20. I Saw Her

21. All I Wanted

22. Jumpin' In The Night

23. There's A Place

24. River Deep, Mountain High

x

Track List: Jumpin' In The Night

1. Jumpin' In The Night

2. Next One Crying

3. First Plane Home

4. In The U.S.A.

5. Down Down Down

6. Yes I Am

7. Werewolves Of London

8. It Won't Be Wrong

9. Please Please Me

10. Tell Me Again

11. Absolutely Sweet Marie

12. 5D

13. Lady Friend

x

Track List: Flamin' Groovies Now

1. I'll Feel A Whole Lot Better

2. Between The Lines

3. Up's And Down's

4. Move It

5. Take Me Back

6. Reminiscing

7. Good Laugh Mun

8. Yeah My Baby

9. House Of Blue Lights

10. Blue Turns To Grey

11. Paint It Black

12. All I Wanted

13. Don't Put Me On

14. There's A Place

x

Track List: Shake Some Action

1. Shake Some Action

2. Sometimes

3. Yes It's True

4. St. Louis Blues

5. You Tore Me Down

6. Please Please Girl

7. Let The Boy Rock N' Roll

8. Don't You Lie To Me

9. She Said Yeah

10. I'll Cry Alone

11. Misery

12. I Saw Her

13. Teenage Confidential

14. I Can't Hide

x

Track List: Teenage Head

1. High Flyin' Baby

2. City Lights

3. Have You Seen My Baby?

4. Yesterday's Numbers

5. Teenage Head

6. 32-20

7. Evil Hearted Ada

8. Doctor Boogie

9. Whiskey Woman

10. Shakin' All Over

11. That'll Be The Day

12. Louie Louie

13. Walkin' The Dog

14. Scratch My Back

15. Carol

16. Going Out Theme (Version 2)

x

Track List: Supersnazz

1. Love Have Mercy

2. The Girl Can't Help It

3. Laurie Did It

4. A Part From That

5. Rockin' Pneumonia And The Boogie Woogie Flu

6. The First One's Free

7. Pagan Rachel

8. Pistol Packin' Mama

9. Brushfire

10. Bam Balam

11. Around The Corner

12. Rockin' Pneumonia And The Boogie Woogie Flu (Single Mix)

13. The First One's Free (Single Mix)

14. Somethin' Else (Single Mix)

15. Laurie Did It (Single Mix)

Comments

Report as inappropriate
Boring. They sound like a cover band in a Howard Johnson's Lounge in some mid western nondescript city that you wish you weren't in.
Report as inappropriate
jfdavenport
Great energy! They remind me of another fantastic band, The Small Faces. Who influenced who?
Report as inappropriate
Amen. Teenage Head is an incredible recording and definitely my favorite from the FGs. I've played the hell out of it over the years. Great band. Too bad they never got the recognition they deserved.
Report as inappropriate
iramoe4
marchenawake n s r o m a n c e 9 4 . . . would you believe Warren Zevon?
Report as inappropriate
i love there song werewolfs of london
Report as inappropriate
I agree with James. Teenage Head needs to be a focal point in the discography. Teenage Head is a great record and is basically the Groovies' Exile on Main Street.
Report as inappropriate
This sound makes me wanna writhe around in grease and comb my hair with a fried chicken leg. Goddamned groovy!
Report as inappropriate
We like Loney era Groovies, but Sire era is where it's at. Shake Some Action, Revolver, Younger than Yesterday, -- same breath....
Report as inappropriate
Don't Put Me On has been one of my top ten favorite tunes since I first heard it about thirty years ago (even if the guitar solo goes on WAY too long!).
Report as inappropriate
johnnyohania n
Holy S H I T. There Chris I said it for you. You gotta know how to fool the goddam Pandora computer censor.
Report as inappropriate
San Francisco, 1965, HOLY $&!%, these guys cant be compared to the Ramones IMHO, and their style plus guitarist Jordan are legendary. Go Groovies!
Report as inappropriate
One of the greatest bands to ever exist. "I Can't Hide" is the greatest slice of reverbed Rickenbacker riffing ever recorded IMHO.
Report as inappropriate
jimfet50
Love this band is it necessary to play thes dumb ads during the song...moron s
Report as inappropriate
107565037
If there was any justice in this world these guys would be as big as the Ramones!
Report as inappropriate
it beats their original name, "the groovy flamers"
Report as inappropriate
mj93401
I'm lookin' for "Gonna Rock Tonite" off the Flamingo album. Why no love? Last.fm has it...
Report as inappropriate
ambrosewrite r
No Teenage Head?
Report as inappropriate
ggarrzaa1
Why no 'Teenage Head' in the selected discography? That is one killer disc!
Report as inappropriate
What happened to these guys? They sound pretty good.

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