Thursday, May 7, 2015

Northern California Spotlight: Teddy and His Patches - Suzy Creamcheese/From Day to Day

Day five of our Nor Cal Battle of the Garage Bands has the flipsters spinning both sides of a 1967 single that can only be described as brilliantly depraved.

The record is Suzy Creamcheese which was comped on Pebbles Vol. 3. That's where I first heard it. Not long after I heard it on the low-fi Pebbles comp -- and had it indelibly etched into my memory -- I found the dang record in a little strip mall record store in Sacramento, CA. I recall turning that thing over in my hands time and time again trying to comprehend what I was holding. It probably cost me a buck. Maybe two. Check out the picture, it even came with what I assume is the original paper sleeve from Campi's Music Shop in San Jose. All the way from the Valley Fair Mall. Way cool to a vinyl geek like me.

At the time of my find (1984?) I didn't know much about Teddy nor any of his Patches, but time and the internets has shown the band was fronted by singer Teddy Flores. Teddy, it would seem, had a patch over one eye (the one he apparently lost to cancer as just a wee depraved singer). Suzy Creamcheese and From Day to Day were each written by the keyboard player, Dave Conway. According to an interview in 60sgaragebands.com, the remaining members were Steve Marley on drums, Steve Urbani on bass and Bernie Pearson on guitar. Here is Steve Marley as interviewed by 60sgaragebans.com:
...[the] recording was done at TIKI Studios on 17th Street in San Jose.....'Suzy Creamcheese,' was recorded live in the studio on a four track Ampex, without overdubs. The psychedelic whoops heard on the track were part of the live recording, with Teddy moving from a studio mic to a hand held PA mic that was plugged into an old Fender tape-loop echo feeding back through a PA monitor. The whole thing was recorded without a single overdub or edit...and in just three or four takes total. That record received considerable airplay in California, thanks to helpful independent radio stations and actually charted #1 in Salinas/Monterey and Santa Maria/San Luis Obispo.
I took my load of 7 inches back to the record store at which I worked in a nearby town and spun this gem for all to be subjected. Suzy Creamchee starts with a trippy intro (with a Mothers of Invention reference) which gives way to a pounding beat and a heavy organ. Soon it gives way to a swirling, echo drenched rave-up with space noises and manic drumming. And then the coolest part...it all breaks down to a slow, two chord organ riff as Teddy entices us take a trip on his mind. Then I flipped it over and, for the first time, heard the great Flip-Side, From Day to Day. Damn near as cool. Maybe cooler. I'm not sure. Discuss. Very low-fi.

The funny thing is, sometimes you hear these records and you think, "damn, those guys must have been wild! Hipper than hip." And then you see their picture. 
Until next time, we'll se you On The Flip-Side!

8 comments:

  1. While the flip is very respectable as a kind of disjointed teen run-on rant, Suzy Creamcheese is the clear winner here. Incredible. Demented. They definitely got caught in a space alien tractor beam. And that four chord progression just pounds as the hysteria just oozes off the wax. From San Jose even.

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  2. When you read Steve Marley's quote of the recording of the song, the spacey sounds are all that more miraculous. I think the flip-side was comped on a Pebbles as well, but I don't recall for sure.

    I read on some blog where they referred to Suzy as having a Louie Louie riff. Wrong. It is actually G-C-Bb-Ab.

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  3. I agree - not the Louie Louie chords, but strummed like Louie Louie.

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  4. "Just open up your closed mind and take a trip on mine, and you'll never touch the ground." Haha. A riot.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suzy_Creamcheese

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  5. According to Alec Palao in his compilation of bay area music of the mid to late '60s, Love Is The Song We Sing, Teddy and the gang were blissfully unaware of Zappa and his recording. The song was inspired by some lyrics they got from some "hipster", the contents of which were not mentioned.

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  6. Yeah, must have been all the hipsters hanging out at Campi Music Shop at the Valley Fair Mall.

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  7. You are right - that flip-side is great. Grown on me.

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  8. Hi all. Just stumbled across this (Feb 2016). Great to read!!!
    Music lives on a long time!
    Steve Urbani (still in San Jose!), bass - T&HP

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