Public Nuisance was, until the early 2000s, unknown to all but the most fervent 1960s garage rock fanatics, mostly for the very good reason that they never released a record. The Sacramento outfit did play quite a bit live in California in the last half of the 1960s, and did a lot of unreleased recordings in 1968 and 1969 that never saw the light of day. This condition was remedied in 2002, when an astounding full, double-CD of tracks was issued, Gotta Survive, mostly taken from those unissued late-'60s sessions. These revealed them to be a respectable, though hardly phenomenal, group that integrated raw garage rock snarl with more experimental psychedelic guitar textures and song structures, with the occasional pop/rock influence as well. In these respects, they were akin to numerous California groups of the time, perhaps retaining their punkier elements more strongly and for longer than most. They got into not only some ambitious sounds, but also some ambitious lyrics that reflected the era's rebellion and questioning of established values, as well as expressing more conventional romantic sentiments.
Public Nuisance's roots were in the mid-'60s garage band the Jaguars, who changed their name to Moss & the Rocks. Under that moniker, they recorded a folk-rock-flavored garage single, "There She Goes"/"Please Come Back," for the small local Ikon label. Later that year, they re-recorded both tunes for a single on Chattahoochee. Both 45s are very rare and by 1967, they had changed their name to Public Nuisance and gone in more psychedelic directions without forsaking their garage energy.
Public Nuisance opened for acts such as the Doors, Buffalo Springfield, Sonny & Cher, and the Grateful Dead and did some unreleased recordings at Fantasy in San Francisco. However, they didn't have a record deal until some demos in late 1968 helped get them a contract with Equinox, run by noted Hollywood producer Terry Melcher (who had worked with the Byrds and Paul Revere & the Raiders). At the end of 1968 and the beginning of 1969, they recorded an album's worth of songs, but nothing was ever released, on Equinox or elsewhere.
Public Nuisance disbanded around 1970, with guitarist David Houston producing and playing keyboards with the new wave band the Twinkeyz in the 1970s and going on to produce Steel Breeze and Club Nouveau. The unreleased 1968-1969 sessions sound almost anachronistically unpolished by the standards of the day's psychedelic acts, and perhaps none of these would have been released if the band had been granted a chance to officially issue an album. However, in 2002, they were retrieved and issued by Frantic Records on a well-packaged archival release that will be of interest to intense fans of the late-'60s garage/psychedelic sound and is more diverse and eclectic than many other reissues of such bands. ~ Richie Unterberger