The Count five produced one of thee all time great garage classics with their '66 release of Psychotic Reaction for Double Shot Records. Loosely based off of The Yardbirds' Better Man Than I, Psychotic Reaction epitomized the budding garage sound of the United States perfectly.
The band's debut single was 2:56 of unadulterated teen frustration and bravado. The song somehow cracked the Top 10 and allowed for The Count Five to release a full length album, something rather unheard of for a band of their local-ness. The members were Kenn Ellner, Sean Byrne, Craig Atkinson, John Michaski, and Roy Chaney. The oldest member of the band was a geriatric 19. The lead guitarist, Michalski, still in High School. Sadly, Atkinson and Byrne have both passed.
The flip-side is the Sean Byrne composed They're Gonna Get You. It's a funky little beat with incessant guitar noodling and some whimsical vocals that illuminate for the listener just how tough it was to be a long haired, cape wearing freak who stands outside the infamous "Winchester Mystery House".
Growing up in this general area of California in the 80s, I can tell you that the 1966 album, also called Psychotic Reaction, on Double Shot Records, could be found everywhere. There wasn't a record store or Salvation Army in Northern California that didn't have 6 copies in the used bins. An easy find at a low, low price. A garage freak's nirvana. The eleven songs on the album are all written by members of the band, with the very notable exception of the two songs by Pete Townshend (both sides of The Who's third single in the US). All in all, the 9 original compositions are pretty damn solid and give you a sense of how much excitement the Count Five must have brought to the teen hops in San Jose.
Until next time, we'll see you On The Flip-Side!