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Harbinger Complex

A garage band from Fremont, CA, the Harbinger Complex are best remembered for their 1966 fuzz-punk classic "I Think I'm Down" (Brent 7056). The quintet centered on lead vocalist Jim Hockstaff and his songwriting partner B. Hoyle III. Hockstaff's Dionysian exploits -- the siring of several love children -- got him banned from Fremont's Washington High, yet his musicianship inspired student Jim Sawyers (later of the Topsiders, Otherside, Vejtables, and the Syndicate of Sound -- to hone his own nascent guitar skills. The Baytovens and the Harbinger Complex backed Paul Revere & the Raiders at an Oakland Auditorium concert in April 1966, and both headlined again at a KRFC-sponsored gig at the College of San Mateo on October 15. The Complex's publicity shot for this pair of performances shows Hockstaff sitting astride a barnyard mule, microphone in hand, looking like a half-crocked itinerant preacher, surrounded by his four bandmates. The accompanying blurb -- a load of pretentious, pseudo-psychedelic codswollop -- reads thus: "Five muddy bodies lie upon a desolate street. Sudden inspiration doth lendse [sic] them well. A Harbinger beckons them. Ominous groans -- the anguished sounds of dying animals. Courageous lads, they set forth on a one-way trip. Neglect not your surging blood, pounding pulse, throbbing limbs! Five naked souls untamed, uninhibited, crawl into your head. Walk inside your mind, filling your body with an unknown substance...You have experienced the Harbinger Complex." Kerouac, it ain't.

The Hockstaff/Hoyle composition "I Think I'm Down" is kick-a** proto-punk at its finest. Its folksy flipside, "My Dear and Kind Sir," is a genteel slice of 19th century Americana -- the Harbinger Complex equivalent of the Byrds' "Oh! Susannah." Another 1966 single effort by the group, "Sometimes I Wonder" b/w "Tomorrow's Soul Sound" (Amber 8999), lacked the confident punch of the Brent 45's A-side. In 1967, Mainstream Records (which owned subsidiary Brent) released a various artist's compilation album titled A Pot of Flowers which featured both sides of the Brent single and two new Hockstaff-Hoyle tunes ("Time to Kill" and "When You Know You're in Love"). "Kill," with its Vietnam double entendre, is somewhat pedestrian, while "Love" is sparkling, syncopated, and snappy. A Pot of Flowers (Mainstream S-6100) was reissued in the '80s as part of Mindrocker, Vol. 10. "I Think I'm Down" has also appeared on the compilations Nuggets, Vol. 12: Punk, Pt. 3, Sound of the Sixties: San Francisco, Pt. 2 (with its flipside, "My Dear and Kind Sir"), and Rhino's four-CD box set: Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era, 1965-1968. ~ Stansted Montfichet
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-1970

Disc 1

2. I Feel Like I'm Fixin' To Die Rag

3. You Were On My Mind

6. Don't Talk To Strangers

7. Anything

8. It's No Secret

9. Johnny Was A Good Boy

10. Free Advice

12. Stranger In A Strange Land

13. Who Do You Love

14. She's My Baby

15. Coffee Cup

16. Live Your Own Life

17. Fat City

20. Section 43

Disc 2

1. Psychotic Reaction

2. Got Love

3. Satisfaction Guaranteed

4. Foolish Woman

5. My Buddy Sin

6. Streetcar

12. I'm A Good Woman

13. No Way Out

14. Hey I'm Lost

15. I Love You

17. Fly To New York

18. Thing In "E"

19. Hearts To Cry

Disc 3

1. Alabama Bound

2. Carl Street

3. Somebody To Love

5. Two Days 'till Tomorrow

6. Omaha

8. The Golden Road (To Unlimited Devotion)

9. Codine

10. Down On Me

12. White Rabbit

13. Roll With It

14. Why Did You Put Me On

15. Underdog

16. Summertime Blues

17. Glue

18. Soul Sacrifice

Disc 4

1. Evil Ways

2. Red The Sign Post

3. Lemonaide Kid

4. 1982-A

5. How Can I Miss You When You Won't Go Away

9. Murder In My Heart For The Judge

10. Light Your Windows

11. I'm Drowning

13. White Bird

14. Dark Star

15. Fool

16. Mexico

17. Mercedes Benz

18. Get Together

x

Track List: Nuggets: Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era

Disc 1

1. I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night)

2. Dirty Water

3. Night Time

4. Lies

5. Respect

7. No Time Like The Right Time

8. Oh Yeah

10. Moulty

11. Don't Look Back

13. Liar, Liar

14. You're Gonna Miss Me

15. Psychotic Reaction

17. Romeo And Juliet

18. Sugar And Spice

19. Baby Please Don't Go

20. Tobacco Road

21. Let's Talk About Girls

22. Sit Down I Think I Love You

24. My World Fell Down

26. Farmer John

Disc 2

1. Talk Talk

2. Last Time Around

3. Nobody But Me

4. Journey To Tyme

5. No Friend Of Mine

6. Outside Chance

7. Action Woman

9. Sweet Young Thing

10. Incense And Peppermints

11. I Ain't No Miracle Worker

12. 7 & 7 Is

14. Going All The Way

15. I'm Gonna Make You Mine

16. The Trip

18. Why Do I Cry

19. Laugh, Laugh

21. I Wonder

22. I See The Light

23. Who Do You Love

24. Double Shot (Of My Baby's Love)

25. Live

26. Steppin' Out

28. Strychnine

29. Little Girl

30. (We Ain't Got) Nothin' Yet

31. Shape Of Things To Come

Disc 3

1. Let It Out (Let It All Hang Out)

3. At The River's Edge

5. Follow Me

8. She's About A Mover

9. Little Bit O' Soul

10. Put The Clock Back On The Wall

12. Run, Run, Run

13. I Need You

14. Knock, Knock

15. Primitive

16. Psycho

17. So What!!

18. You Must Be A Witch

19. A Question Of Temperature

20. Maid Of Sugar - Maid Of Spice

21. You Ain't Tuff

22. Sometimes Good Guys Don't Wear White

23. She's My Baby

24. Story Of My Life

25. I'm Five Years Ahead Of My Time

27. Bad Little Woman

28. Double Yellow Line

29. Optical Sound

30. Journey To The Center Of The Mind

Disc 4

1. Are You Gonna Be There (At The Love-In)?

4. Are You A Boy Or Are You A Girl

5. Wooly Bully

6. I Want Candy

8. One Track Mind

9. Out Of Our Tree

10. I Think I'm Down

13. Johnny Was A Good Boy

14. Stop - Get A Ticket

16. The Witch

17. Get Me To The World On Time

20. Just Like Me

22. I Live In The Springtime

25. Love's Gone Bad

26. Why Pick On Me

27. Bad Girl

30. Blue's Theme

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"Five muddy bodies lie upon a desolate street. Sudden inspiration doth lendse them well. A Harbinger beckons them. Ominous groans -- the anguished sounds of dying animals. Courageous lads, they set forth on a one-way trip. Neglect not your surging blood, pounding pulse, throbbing limbs! Five naked souls untamed, uninhibited, crawl into your head. Walk inside your mind, filling your body with an unknown substance... Y o u have experienced the Harbinger Complex."

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