SAC back for another shot of Whisky

Sunset Strip psychedelic club

The Strawberry Alarm Clock is headed back to the Sunset Strip for a Jan. 27 headlining gig at the Whisky A Go Go.

It’s the third Whisky appearance in a dozen years for the veteran psychedelic music band out of L.A.

The group will be joined by longtime collaborator Steve Bartek (Oingo Boingo). The psychedelic liquid backdrop will be provided by the Wizzard Light Show in collaboration with the Midnight Sun Light Show.

It’s the first gig of 2018 for the Strawberry Alarm Clock, which plans to debut some new material. The band’s most recent album is “Wake Up Where You Are.” That CD will be available at the show, as well as fresh band merch such as psychedelic logo T-shirts and coffee mugs.

Also on the Saturday night Whisky bill are Wrecking Crew Express (“a ’60s experience”), Karim K, Pulse Rate Zero, Austin Mo, Jamarage and JC Covey.

Buy tickets for the Jan. 27 show starring the Strawberry Alarm Clock.

Strawberry Alarm Clock to rock Venice

Strawberry Alarm Clock at Venice festivalThe Strawberry Alarm Clock’s 50th-year celebration continues with a late-summer appearance at the Venice Beach Music Fest.

The band is headlining the Saturday, Aug. 26, event, supported by Barry “The Fish” Melton of Country Joe and the Fish Fame.

The Venice Beach Music Fest runs from 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Windward Plaza (1 Windward Ave.) in the famed Southern California beach town. The Strawberry Alarm Clock goes on at 6 p.m. and tickets are free.

The appearance is another that brings back memories of the Summer of Love: SAC played Venice’s hippie hotspot the Cheetah Club in 1967, during filming for the movie “Psych-Out.”

The upcoming festival appearance comes on the heels of 2017 Strawberry Alarm Clock shows at the Whisky A Go Go, the Starry Nights festival in Santa Monica and Bogie’s Bar.

Multi-instrumentalist Steve Bartek again will join the band for the upcoming festival show.

Barry Melton started Country Joe and the Fish with Country Joe McDonald, first finding fame with the psychedelic music classic “Electric Music for the Mind and Body.” His All-Star band includes Roy Blumenfeld (the Blues Project), Peter Albin (Big Brother and the Holding Company), David Aguilar (Big Brother) and Greg Douglass (“Jungle Love”).

Other performers include Champa 51, appearing as the Champa 67 Experience; Grateful Dead covers act Cubensis; and Cristina and the Blue Vanes.

> Read George Bunnell’s memories of playing the Cheetah Club.

SAC sets three gigs in Southern California

Strawberry Alarm Clock posterThe Strawberry Alarm Clock is wound up to celebrate its 50th anniversary with a trio of 2017 shows in the Southern California area.

Saturday, July 22, finds the Strawberry Alarm Clock headlining back at the Whisky A Go Go in Hollywood. Scheduled support are Write Minded, Three Sides and Return of the Leech. Buy tickets for the Whisky show.

(View 2012 Whisky show photo gallery.)

The Strawberry Alarm Clock plays a pair of shows the next night, Sunday, July 23, at Bogie’s Bar in Westlake Village. The shows, which have separate ticketing, are at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m.

The band — joined by Steve Bartek — played the Starry Nights music festival in Santa Barbara on Saturday, March 18. SAC made its first appearance in Santa Barbara since 1967. Headliners for that night were the Kills.

The band has been hard at work rehearsing for its 2017 concert run.

Stay tuned for news of more gigs.

Pair of SAC shows: Valley and the Whisky

The Strawberry Alarm Clock opens its 2015 gigging with a “slightly unplugged” concert in Canoga Park, followed by a trip back to Hollywood’s famed psychedelic den the Whisky a Go Go.

Strawberry Alarm Clock posterFeb. 7 sees SAC at the Guitar Merchant on Topanga Canyon Boulevard. It’s a “semi-acoustic set,” says band member Mark Weitz, who’s going to be playing a grand piano. The Guitar Merchant, a music store, seats about 100 people in its concert mode, so it’ll be a great chance to see the Strawberry Alarm Clock in an intimate setting.

The Guitar Merchant show is at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 7. Admission is $20. Support from Brad Lee Swanson and his CF Band. (map to venue)

On March 26, it’s back to the Sunset Strip and the Whisky a Go Go, where the Strawberry Alarm Clock tops a busy bill. The band played a well received set at the Whisky in the summer of 2012 — surprisingly, it was the first time the veteran L.A. band played the famed rock club.

Longtime SAC collaborator Steve Bartek (Oingo Boingo) will perform with the band at both shows. Listen for some new Strawberry Alarm Clock songs at the shows, in the vein of the band’s recent CD “Wake Up Where You Are.”

Also scheduled to play at the Whisky are Their Only Dreams (“throwback psychedelic sound minus the ego”), Slow White, the Shag Rats, the Night Times, the Electric Magpie, the Wandering Gypsies and Major Minus. All-ages show; doors at 7 p.m. (get tickets)

The Sunset Strip venue is rich with psychedelic music history, of course: 1960s rock groups that made multiple appearances at the Whisky a Go Go include the Doors, the Byrds, Love and Buffalo Springfield.

SAC live at Sherman Oaks Street Fair

strawberry alarm clock 2012The Strawberry Alarm Clock tops the bill as the Sherman Oaks Street Fair revisits the psychedelic 1960s on Oct. 19.

The band’s set will be bracketed by performances by a couple of Beatles and Doors tribute acts. The Strawberry Alarm Clock is the real deal, of course, with original members performing new songs from their latest CD, “Wake Up Where You Are,” as well as its classics such as “Incense & Peppermints,” “Tomorrow” and “Sit With the Guru.”

Video update: Check out the show:

The Strawberry Alarm Clock’s set is scheduled for 3 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 19. It’s a home turf show for the band, one of the best known rock acts out of the San Fernando Valley.

The 24th annual Sherman Oaks Street Fair sprawls across nine blocks of Ventura Boulevard, running from Van Nuys Boulevard to Kester Ave.

Sixties nostalgia is a major theme for this year’s Street Fair. In addition to the Wild Child and Paperback Writer tribute bands, organizers have set 50th anniversary tributes to the surfing film “The Endless Summer” and the 1960s sitcom “The Munsters.” Also look for appearances by actors from “My Three Sons.”

The Street Fair bills itself as the largest event in the San Fernando Valley. It runs from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., featuring more than 100 vendors, classic cars, arts & crafts and carnival rides.

Sherman Oaks Street Fair 2014

Love Ride: SAC goes whole hog

strawberry alarm clock performs for bikers

The Strawberry Alarm Clock woke up the SoCal motorcycling elite with a “short but sweet” set at the charity event Love Ride 29.

This time out, the band kicked off with “The World’s on Fire” (opening track of their first album) and closed with “Mr. Farmer” (opening track on their latest album).

The early-morning charity show was produced by Walter Roland Moore and his wife, Annet Peairs. “They are longtime friends of the band — great people!” bassist/singer George Bunnell said. SAC performed at Harley Davidson of Glendale.

Love Ride is billed as the longest-running motorcycle fundraiser in the world. It benefits the USO.

Bunnell says the potential for the band to put on its best show ever was there Oct. 21 — but the tech gremlins had other plans.

(Text continues after concert photo gallery)

Motorcycle charity event

The Strawberry Alarm Clock performs at Love Ride 29 in Glendale on Oct. 21, 2012

Of the 30 or so microphones on stage, none actually worked in the wake of a digital board synchronization snafu. One thing led to another, and the band ended up with only two microphones. The show that was supposed to start at 7:15 didn’t get going until 8:15 or so.

Here’s the set list:

“The World’s on Fire”
“Sit With the Guru”
“Lose to Live”
“Incense and Peppermints”
“Mr. Farmer”

The show was “short but sweet,” Bunnell says.

Longtime band associate Steve Bartek (Oingo Boingo) performed, as did Robert Cowan of the Neville Bros. band on harmonica.

L.A. Councilman Tom LaBonge presented the Valley rockers with certificates marking the 45th anniversary of “Incense and Peppermints” hitting No. 1. Jay Leno and the mayor of Glendale were on hand as well.

The band accepted the L.A. honors for Lee Freeman, who died several years ago, and for Ed King, who now lives in Nashville.

After the show, the band headed north to ride destination Lake Castaic, where they were part of the celebrity introductions. An emotional Randy Seol, the band’s drummer/singer, told the crowd of how the musicians grew up together and were lucky to still be performing as friends.

Also performing at Love Ride were Canned Heat, and George Thorogood and the Destroyers. Leno and Peter Fonda were event “grand marshals.”

The Strawberry Alarm Clock have been performing in support of their new CD, “Wake Up Where You Are.” The album is a mix of new SAC songs and reinterpretations of their classic psychedelic hits.

More new Strawberry Alarm Clock songs are in the works, keyboardist/singer Mark Weitz says.

Photos by Claire Bunnell and MacMac

Other band performances in 2012:

View more Strawberry Alarm Clock photo galleries

SAC lights up San Diego: photo gallery

The Strawberry Alarm Clock’s show in San Diego kicked off in dramatic fashion:

A young Dick Clark introduced the even-younger band — the time travel courtesy of vintage video projected behind the band. For a few seconds, the Strawberry Alarm Clocks of 1967 and 2012 played together. The song, of course, was “Incense & Peppermints.” (View the video.)

The Adams Avenue Street Fair crowd roared its approval of the psychedelic light show and the dazzling go-go dancers from La Bella Danza Burlesque.

The Sept. 29 event continued the psychedelic vibe with a performance by Kofi Baker’s Cream Experience (Ginger Baker’s son). Text continues.

SAC in concert -- San Diego 2012

The Strawberry Alarm Clock performs at the Adams Avenue Street Fair in San Diego on Sept. 29, 2012

Adams Avenue is one of the largest free music festivals in California. The event also included a reunion of local crazies Mojo Nixon & Skid Roper, blues guitarist Coco Montoya and a reunion of rockabilly specialists the Paladins.

More Strawberry Alarm Clock photo galleries!

Fan has Strawberry Alarm Clock covered

signed strawberry alarm clock album cover

Click image to view larger version of cover.

Strawberry Alarm Clock fan Jerry Bozajian writes about his quest to have his copy of the first SAC album cover signed by all band members from that time:

About 10 years ago, I wanted to buy a fish tank for the house. My friend told me that his uncle, Mark Weitz, had a fish and aquarium store close by.

I had heard stories over the years about Mark, how he was in the band Strawberry Alarm Clock, and how he played those awesome keyboard riffs in the song “Incense And Peppermints.”

So before I went to buy the tank, I found a copy of the Strawberry Alarm Clock’s first LP — I figured it would be cool to have him sign it. The cover is a classic, and the signed album looked great on my wall.

Several years later, in 2007, I heard that most of the band was getting back together for a show. I did a little research, and I discovered that in addition to the six guys on the cover of the LP, there were actually three more guys that played on the album.

I wasn’t exactly sure yet who did this or that, and I didn’t know who would be appearing at the show either. But I figured what the hell, so I grabbed my album off the wall and went to see the band in Malibu that June.

That night I managed to get five more signatures on the album. George Bunnell, Randy Seol, and Lee Freeman are pictured on the cover. Gene Gunnels and Steve Bartek are not on the cover, but they’re playing on the album.

So at that point, I had six out of nine. Mark pointed me in the right direction for the next two signatures. Greg Munford, who isn’t on the cover but sang lead vocals on “Incense,” was on the East Coast. Ed King was in Tennessee.

One left, with no real leads to go by. After a bit of searching, Gary Lovetro was the final piece, and I was lucky to find him too.

Three different times I packaged up the album and mailed it out, and three times it came back to me with a beautiful signature added on.

Everybody was glad to sign the LP, and I am thankful for that.

So 10 years later, the quest is over.

Jerry Bozajian

Review: SAC’s ‘fantastical wonderland vibe’

Linda Rapka’s review of the Strawberry Alarm Clock’s show of April 25 first appeared on L.A. Record’s web site and is reposted here with permission.

george bunnell of strawberry alarm clockThough they weren’t delivered to the stage upon mystical Persian rugs, as was their usual mode of transport in the late 1960s thanks to some hulky roadies, Strawberry Alarm Clock did conjure plenty of magic at its show at the Satellite.

The vintage psychedelic rockers, best known for their 1967 gold hit “Incense and Peppermints,” which saw newfound revival thanks to the stellar musical taste of Austin Powers, performed a rare live show at the popular Silver Lake club in support of its first album of new material in 42 years.

“Wake Up Where You Are,” released in March, keeps in the vein of guitar-fuzzy peace and love pop and sounded pleasingly fitting alongside the band’s classic ’60s gems like “Rainy Day Mushroom Pillow” and “Sit With the Guru.”

gene gunnells of strawberry alarm clockWith a live lava-lamp light show appropriately flooding the stage, drummer/percussionist Gene Gunnels (the only remaining member of the band’s earliest incarnation when it was known as Thee Sixpence) donned his signature magician’s top hat, further adding to the fantastical wonderland vibe.

Accompanying Gunnels was madman percussionist Randy Seol and a wall of junkyard metal drums so high it all but obscured him from view — because the only thing groovier than one drummer on stage is two drummers on stage.

mark weitz of strawberry alarm clockHowie Anderson, who joined as lead guitarist in the 1980s, played alongside SAC mainstays Mark Weitz on keys and bassist George Bunnell. Sitting in on flute and guitar was Steve Bartek, formerly of Oingo Boingo and Danny Elfman’s current orchestrator, who began writing songs and playing with SAC in his early teens.

The band made touching remarks on friends gone but not forgotten: former SAC frontman Lee Freeman, who died in 2010, and dear friend Mark Tulin, bassist of the the Electric Prunes, who died early last year.

It may have just been the special “incense,” but as they sang “There’s no place that can be better, when you’re up in clouds forever,” a certain presence filled the room, and the band’s pure magic was fully realized.

Photos by Linda Rapka

Fan review: ‘Wake Up Where You Are’

Longtime fan David Chirko wrote this online review of the Strawberry Alarm Clock’s new CD “Wake Up Where You Are.” It’s reposted here with his permission.

strawberry alarm clock album coverThe Strawberry Alarm Clock’s 2012 “Wake Up Where You Are” CD sports a front cover with the slogan “Its (sic) About Time” and the band’s moniker, in big green/blue/red shagadelic lettering, with small, coloured flowers atop and (of course) centrepiece alarm clock with black Roman numerals encircling a large strawberry in its face, and outside of it left and right, more, smaller berries, all over an orange background.

It conjures the blissful musing of a sultry summer day. The also orange back cover showcases a top-right-corner photo — interestingly, the album’s name above it — of our minstrels gazing down, but somehow back, into a time tunnel. It, as well, under the group name, lists down the left side the album’s 14 songs; all but a handful penned by Clock alumni and most being rerecorded numbers from their earlier albums.

Listening to this new SAC CD I mentally ensconced myself back in the 1960s, when I first heard them. I asked myself: Would the same sound landscape I found so captivating then, recrudesce now, crafting an ariose déjà vu?

Whether SAC does psychedelic, sunshine pop, jazz oriented pop or rock, there is always something irresistibly arcane reflected in the cogency of their poetic/musical renderings. Their lush, often gossamer, vocal meshes are adroitly combined with taut harmonizing of a plethora of florid instruments, delivering a flower power orchestra. Like scintillating keyboards and warm, inviting, fuzz tone guitars that evoke what has become de rigueur in the Clock’s oeuvre: calm confidence.

Strawberry Alarm ClockSome of the disc’s works have a heavier, but pleasant, grittiness to them, while some pieces are served with aplomb, in cocktail lounge phraseology. Let the listener delve this mature band’s derring-do by comparing the originals with the redone tracks, whose altered tempi and newly inflected lyricism are yours to discover. To absorb the total impact of this more delicately performed album — with a hitherto unrealized dynamic range — it must be played LOUD.

Let me now exemplify, what I’ve asseverated thus far, with a few of my favourite opuses on this disc:

“Charlotte’s Remains”: Can’t you just envision go-go dancers in shimmering short shorts, gyrating in their cages? Okay, the captivating tale of a femme fatale; her “remains ” being the aftereffect upon the men she jilted. And where did Charlotte disappear to? For the answer, we’re taken into the psychedelic wonderland of ghosts.

“Drifting Away”: Commences with calescent tintinnabulation. The melody echoes, like a condor sailing over a bluff. The elocution, well timed. “Drifting away and taking my chances … ” — ah … dreaming leads the smitten awry. Drift away at the end as the volume decreases with strumming akin to a slowed clock or metronome.

“Hummin’ Happy”: The chorus opens this chestnut ballad of a “sadist” (long “a” this time) visually transforming the felicitous sights of an impetuous downtown into devastation: “Evil things make me laugh so … ” Compared with the old version, this offering is more liquid, without sacrificing SAC’s ebullient sardonicism.

“World Citizen”: Behemoth songwriting effort. A paean to the wonderment of camaraderie. Its enchanting flute is like the serpentine rising of a hand, there to sonically seduce us. The redolent percussion escorting us to a tribal culture.

I’ll stop here, leaving the rest up to you, curious listeners.

Yes, “It’s About Time,” as this comeback album’s subtitle announces, we, as SAC aficionados, “Wake Up Where We Are” and savour this fresh Strawberry treasure; praying there is a follow-up in the offing.

David Chirko is an abstract artist from Sudbury, Ontario, Canada. He has published three poetry books and is an international affiliate member of the American Psychological Association.

More about the Strawberry Alarm Clock CD: