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.

Still ticking: SAC set for 3 fall gigs

L.A. psychedelic music festival poster with Strawberry Alarm ClockThe Strawberry Alarm Clock continues its 2012 revival with a trio of fall shows in Southern California.

The band returns to Silver Lake on Sept. 8 for Echoes West, “a psych music fest” featuring a dozen bands. SAC, no doubt, intends to show the new wave of psychedelic music rockers how it’s done.

Then it’s down to San Diego on Sept. 29 for the sprawling Adams Avenue Street Fair.

And the Strawberry Alarm Clock revs up for an appearance at Love Ride 29, billed as “the longest-running motorcycle fundraising event in the world.” Almost two dozen Harley-Davidson dealerships combined for the Castaic Lake-based event.

At the Love Ride, SAC will perform on the same Oct. 21 bill with Canned Heat — both L.A. bands with rich histories beginning in the mid-1960s. Like SAC, Canned Heat is no oldies act — both bands continue to evolve in the new century, performing songs both classic and new.

George Thorogood and the Destroyers headline, with Jay Leno and Peter Fonda as the event’s “grand marshals.” The show and ride benefit the USO.

love ride concertAlso getting top billing at Echoes West are hard rockers Dead Meadow and road-tested garage band Lords of Altamont.

Other bands at the psych music festival include Sleep ∞ Over, Spindrift, Sterling Roswell (Spaceman 3, “The Psychedelic Ubik”), Gram Rabbit, Silver Chords and the Electric Flower Group.

View the Echoes West lineup of bands.

Other acts confirmed for the Adams Avenue Street Fair include local crazies Mojo Nixon & Skid Roper, blues guitarist Coco Montoya and rockabilly specialists the Paladins.

The Strawberry Alarm Clock expects to play about 8 p.m., Sept. 29, at the 33rd Street Rock Stage.

SAC performed at the Satellite in Silver Lake on April 25, rocking a youthful and appreciative audience, with longtime band collaborator and new album producer Steve Bartek sitting in.

The Strawberry Alarm Clock are 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 psychedelic rock hits.

They also played the Whisky a Go Go in July. They also performed live and unplugged on K-EARTH radio.

(Updated Aug. 18 with the Adams Avenue info.)

Fan bulletin: SAC on K-EARTH

los angeles radio station logoThe Strawberry Alarm Clock will perform a bright-and-early unplugged set on K-EARTH 101 this morning (Friday).

The occasion is the 10th anniversary of the L.A. station’s Morning Show With Gary Bryan. The broadcast begins at 6 a.m. and the Strawberry Alarm Clock is set for midway through the 7 a.m. hour.

All band members are performing, along with longtime collaborator Steve Bartek (Oingo Boingo).

The Strawberry Alarm Clock, fresh off the release of their new CD, “Wake Up Where You Are,” also performs next Thursday night at the Whisky a Go Go.

The band has done several performances in connection with morning host Bryant. Also set for this morning’s broadcast are Peter Asher (Peter & Gordon), the Nelson Twins (Ricky Nelson sons) and Ron Donte of the Archies (“Sugar Sugar”). SAC and Asher played together several years ago at Love-in: A Musical Celebration in San Diego.

The broadcast originates from Gladstones in Malibu, and there will be cake.

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

New Strawberry Alarm Clock CD is out

strawberry alarm clock CD 2012“Wake Up Where You Are,” the first new album from the Strawberry Alarm Clock in over 40 years, is now available.

The CD can be purchased via the “Wake Up Where You Are” product page (Global Recording Artists web site). Or via Amazon..

The album is a mix of new SAC songs and reinterpretations of their psychedelic rock classics. “Wake Up Where You Are” kicks off with the Strawberry Alarm Clock’s blistering cover of the Seeds’ “Mr. Farmer.” The album was produced by longtime Strawberry Alarm Clock collaborator Steve Bartek.

Ed King, the Strawberry Alarm Clock guitarist who went on to fame in Lynyrd Skynyrd, had this to say about the album: “The album is a labor of love. I wish I lived closer so I could take part. The guys play better than ever and the addition of Steve Bartek makes it now the way it should’ve been. I think his parents wouldn’t let him join the band! ‘Mr. Farmer’ is my favorite track. Mark Weitz NAILED it.”

The band — currently Mark Weitz, George Bunnell, Randy Seol, Howie Anderson and Gene Gunnels — will perform a rare L.A. concert on April 25 in support of the CD. The Strawberry Alarm Clock last performed publicly in November 2010.

More about the Strawberry Alarm Clock CD:

Strawberry Alarm Clock rocks Silver Lake

strawberry alarm clock in concertThe Strawberry Alarm Clock will ring in another era with a rare L.A. show on April 25.

“We are gonna kick some psychedelic ass,” keyboardist Mark Weitz vows.

The concert is in support of the iconic rock band’s new album, “Wake Up Where You Are,” released in March.

(Update: Read a review of the Strawberry Alarm Clock show in L.A.)

The band last performed publicly in November 2010.

(Update: The group played the show before a youthful and appreciative audience, with Steve Bartek sitting in.)

The Strawberry Alarm Clock are Mark Weitz, George Bunnell, Randy Seol, Howie Anderson and Gene Gunnels.

The concert will be at the Satellite Club, in the Silver Lake area. The venue used to be known as Spaceland. Show time is 9 p.m. with support from Swedish psych-rockers La Fleur Fatale.

Get tickets for the Strawberry Alarm Clock concert. Get directions to venue.

New Strawberry Alarm Clock CD

New Strawberry Alarm Clock band recording CDThe Strawberry Alarm Clock has a message for fans: New music is on the way.

Under the guidance of producer Steve Bartek, the band has been busy laying down tracks for a new CD.

(Update: “Wake Up Where You Are,” the first new album from the Strawberry Alarm Clock in over 40 years, is now available. It was released in March 2012.)

The album includes brand-new songs, a killer cover song and rerecordings (or reinterpretations) of some tunes from the band’s classic period — the late 1960s. (Read a track-by-track breakdown of the CD songs.)

Unlike some other ’60s rock acts, however, the SAC has no intention of leaning on songs from their younger days on future releases.

“These new songs were done to test the waters,” says SAC keyboardist Mark Weitz. “It’s a springboard to a second new album of all-new original material. We now are dedicated to recording new music.”

(Photos: Top of page, from left: Mark Weitz, Randy Seol, George Bunnell and Howie Anderson. Below: Weitz takes a break in the studio.)

SAC bass player George Bunnell says the original plan “was to embark on a recording project by revisiting and recording some of the old material ‘just to see if we could work together’ — and also to see what we sound like this many years later. Like, do we still sound like the SAC?

“Our real intention was to write and record new songs. We just wanted to get back to our roots a bit, establish a method and move on from there.”

musician Mark Weitz in Steve Bartek's studioWeitz says of the producer: “Steve (Bartek) had a tremendous role in the new recordings (for the CD). Without his patience, knowledge, vision and experience — not to mention his studio and the massive amount of donated studio time — this project never would have happened.”

Bartek (Oingo Boingo) has a long history with the band, dating back to before they hit the charts in 1966. He last played as a member of the Strawberry Alarm Clock during 2007-2010, but left due to his insanely demanding schedule scoring films with Danny Elfman (his Oingo Boingo bandmate).

The core band members — Bunnell, , Weitz, Howie Anderson, Randy Seol and Gene Gunnels — played live in the studio, just like in the old days. “We try to record together,” Weitz says. “Everything is mic’d, and we play and sing as a group. We try to musically overdub as little as possible.”

Bunnell recently answered a fan’s question about “Incense and Peppermints,” which is MIA on the CD: “The song is a difficult act to follow. There are so many serendipitous reasons for that original track coming together as it did, as well as a healthy amount of disdain over the mishandled writer’s credits and the possibility of us adding more revenue to that handbag.

“I think the track was doomed from the get go. We did have a nice (new) arrangement for it, but the original version is is what it is, because it is what it is. So we let that be.”

There are two alternate tracks on the CD. Both are extended versions of songs on the disc. One is the surprisingly psychedelic Seeds cover “Mr. Farmer.” (Appearing on an upcoming Sky Saxon memorial tribute CD set.) The other is the SAC classic “Sit With the Guru” revisited with a long drum solo.

Here are the songs on the upcoming CD in the projected running order:

1. Mr. Farmer (single version)*
2. Strawberries Mean Love
3. Hummin’ Happy
4. Birds in My Tree
5. World Citizen*
6. Drifting Away*
7. Lose to Live
8. Barefoot in Baltimore
9. Charlotte’s Remains*
10. Sit with the Guru (classic version)
11. Tomorrow
12. Wake up*
13. Mr. Farmer (extended with psychedelic jam)*
14. Sit with the Guru (extended with drum solo)

* = New