Monday, January 12, 2015

Great Lakes Spotlight: The Banshees - Project Blue/Free

Great Lakes Spotlight resumes. Day 2! Today we feature perhaps the most crazed garage record ever put to wax! Man, that is saying a ton. Especially when we have songs like that by Australia's The Elois and Texas' The Outcasts. But I stand by it. Here we present Chicago's The Banshees doing their own composition, Project Blue. It was released in August of 1966. Any garage-O-file worth their salt has heard this song 1001 times (last week alone), but we can't let that stop us from giving them more love. This one is front and center on the Mt. Garagemore monument we have mythically built in our own depraved flippy heads. 

The Banshees were made up of singer Frank Bucaro, lead guitarist Ron Rouse, Rick Notolini on bass, John Smead on rhythm, and Tom Leetzow on drums. Lead guitarist, Ron Rouse gets writing credit for this. However, in the world's briefest interview over on, Frank Bucaro lays claim to co-writer credit. He wrote the Flip-Side of this single, the rather tame, Free

Musically speaking, this is -- and I use a technical musicologist term here -- fucking amazing. The lead guitar riff is a relentless, menacing, stabbing piece of testosterone that Angus Young could only dream of playing. You will never, ever, hear a better garage punk guitar riff. Ever. Ron Rouse, you are my hero for coming up with that and performing it so damn perfectly. Singer Frank Bucaro sounds nothing like he does on the rather tepid flip-side. (Yep, even us at Flip-Side HQ sometimes have to love the A-Side more.) On the rather cryptically named Project Blue, Bucaro screams so much and so loud you can damn near hear the blue veins popping out of his neck as he spits out "Come On Now!". There's not much to these lyrics, but man oh man, Bucaro delivers.
Oh Noooo!
I need your love baby, and I need it so bad, Yeah
'Cause your's is the only love that I ever had, babe 
I need your love baby, and only you know.
I need your love baby, and I need it more 
Your love, baby, I need your love, baby
Yeah love, oh! 
I need your love baby, and only you know. Yeah!
I need your love baby, and I need it more, love 
I need your love baby, and I need it so bad. Yeah
'Cause your's is the only love that I ever had, babe

Your love baby, I need your love, your love, baby
Come on Now!!!!!!!!!!!!
oh, come on
Let's be very clear. I would not let this man date my daughter.

Check out the picture of these cats. This is one of those things I love about 60s Garage Bands. They look so nice and clean cut. And then you get this out of them. Rouse is in the middle, Bucaro, second from left.

Like so many bands of their day, High School ended (yep, they were in high school when they did this number) and they disbanded. Some went to college, others to the military. The Banshees would scream their siren song no more. One depraved single is all we have of their existence.
Until next time, we'll see you On The Flip-Side!


  1. What's your opinion of this version of Project Blue versus the Endd's version?

    1. I strongly prefer The Banshees version. Not so hot on the guitar tone and passive vocal performance of The Endd's version. I do love their little Rave-up they have in the song, though. The part with the bass runs.