Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Mid-West Spotlight: The Xtreems - Substitute/Facts of Life

The second to last day of our Mid-West Battle of the Garage Bands takes us to Kirkwood, Missouri. In that St. Louis suburb we find Mike King, Rick Tello, Alan Shelby and Phil Markley. These Show-Me-Staters were so extreme they called themselves The Xtreems. Along with extreme spelling. And extreme use of fuzz. And extreme use of the wah wah pedal. Extreme baby!

We have to spin this one since we are doing a Mid-West spotlight and Leonard Nimoy died this week. The connection being that the extreme Xtreems released this on Star Trek Records sometime between 1967 and 1969. All sorts of contradictory info out there. The band likely recorded this in 1967 in St. Louis. 

The A-Side is a cover of The Who's 1966 release, Substitute. This is all over the place. It starts with a nice a cappella opening before entering into an ear piercing fuzz lead. Back to the cool a cappella thing. The band clearly picked up their version of Substitute from the US pressing as it has the substitute lyrics that the US market insisted on. 

The flip-side is an original composition called Facts Of Life. The number was written by singer Mike King and bassist Gary Wood. Giving the number a writing credit of Wood-King. Ironically that was the High School era nickname of Jack Hayden, one of our Flip-Side contributors! And like Jack Hayden, this song is covered in fuzz and drenched in Wah Wah. 
Until next time, we'll see you On The Flip-Side!


  1. Thanks for the tip of the hat.

    I'm surprised you didn't put the flip of first. It's the stronger of the two and original. I do have to say I like that cover of Substitute. I didn't always. What are the differences in lyric?

    Looks like they messed up the name on the label, placing the hyphen in the wrong place. The-Extreems?

    1. From Wiki: For the American release of the single in April 1966, the lyric “I look all white but my dad was black” was changed to “I try going forward but my feet walk back”.[2] Although some suggested that the US single version is a completely different performance, the US version is a simple edit: the UK vocal track was removed for the new vocal part, after which the second verse was cut out, making it much shorter in length.

    2. Interesting. I was just reading in Ugly Things how the Sons of Adam's Mister Your A Better Man Than I was held back because of racial content in the lyrics. Then Terry Knight and the Pack put out their version and it proved to be a minor hit.

  2. "Facts of Life" is a fabulous song. Do you have contact information for any of the group's members? I would love to interviews them for my music blog,