Produced in a very small quantity as a farewell from the band, The Bachs' Out Of The Bachs album contains all original material, and
offers a nice mixture of garage rock and psychedelica. John Babicz, drummer for the band, is quick to point out, however, that the
Bachs weren't either a garage band or a psych band per se. Instead - they were a "long hair, dancing, strutting, and entertaining"
rock and roll band. Here is their story…with recollections by Babicz, bassist Blake Allison and guitarists' John Harrison and John
An Interview With The Bachs
60sgaragebands.com (60s): How did you first get interested in music?
John Babicz (JB): I started drum lessons in the third grade. I took them in school until about 7th grade. From 6th to 8th grade I was in a Drum and Bugle Corps (Custer's Brigade) in the Lake County area. As a corps, we traveled throughout the Midwest; it was a really enjoyable experience. I played percussion in the Jr. High Orchestra as well. In the early '60's I enjoyed Elvis, Fabian, Ricky Nelson, Frankie Avalon, and the Four Seasons. I think the song that really got me hooked into the rock and roll band thing was This Diamond Ring by Gary Lewis and the Playboys.
John Peterman (JP): My father received his Doctorate in music and our house was filled with music for as long as I can remember. He conducted classical choral music with the Chicago Symphony and was also the Head of the Performing Arts Department at New Trier High School in Illinois. Some of his students were Ann-Margret and Mandy Patinkin. My whole life has been guided by music. John Harrison (JH): I went through various instruments growing up - trumpet, violin, piano - but nothing seemed to click. Then my brother got an acoustic guitar - he was heavy into folk - Kingston Trio, etc. I think he just wanted it to pick up women. But then I started playing when he wasn't looking. After he left for college, the Beach Boys and surf music hit. I started taking lessons and got a Fender Jaguar electric and started looking for a group.
Blake Allison (BA): I grew up in a musical family. My parents were both professional musicians. My father taught vocal music at a local private school and directed church choirs. My mother gave piano lessons and played the organ for a local church. My sisters, brother and I all had to play instruments. Mine were piano and trumpet.
60s: Was the Bachs your first band?
BA: No. My first band was a group called The Washington Squares. We took the name from a popular song of the time (in the spring or fall of 1963). The band had me on trumpet and other guys on clarinet, trombone and maybe a drummer. I was 12 or 13 at the time. When the Beatles came on the scene in the winter of 1964 - actually the first Beatles song I remember hearing was Please, Please Me in the fall of 1963 - I was hooked and started teaching myself the guitar. My first guitar was an acoustic that belonged to my grandfather. It had steel strings and was hard to play. A bunch of us formed a band called The Phases. We played acoustic songs. Our first public performance was at a Friday night dance called "Teen Town." We played several songs that included The Golden Vanity and The Seine; both popular folk sogns of that time. Remember that popular music was in a state of transition. Folk music was still very popular, radio was playing groups like The Four Seasons, The Beach Boys, and Lesley Gore. The "British Invasion" was just getting underway. We also played a couple of songs of my own composition, That's the Way It Goes, in some fans' eyes our most popular song right to the end of The Bachs - more on this later - and Elaine, a song I wrote in honor of a girl whom I had an infatuation for. She was at the dance and mortified I sang it. Mike DeHaven was a part of that group. He played acoustic guitar. Our outfits were influenced by The Beach Boys; button down shirts and black jeans. Shortly after that I bought an electric guitar using savings I had from delivering newspapers. It was a "Les Paul Jr." solid body with one pick up and no tremolo arm. It and the amplifier with it cost $200. I sold it in 1976 to a graduate school classmate. I thought I did well to get $200. I bet it would be worth $1000 or more today. They're collectors' items.
JH: No. My first band was a three man group called The Apollos with Mike DeHaven and another fellow on drums by the name of Chuck Moberg. We played at school talent shows, but nothing on the order of what we did with The Bachs. We played mostly instrumentals like Green Onions or What'd I Say. Mike DeHaven did the singing.
JP: Yes. Blake and I were captivated by the Beatles music and we learned many of their early songs by listening to their records over and over. Blake was very good at hearing the chords and then playing them on his guitar. The harmonies were the most fun and soon we pulled together the band. Ben (John Harrison) was in because he could play lead better than anyone around. Babicz was in cause he was the only one in the area who had really long hair. I think he started playing the bass and then moved to drums. Dehaven was in because he had all the charisma, the tightest pants, and the girls.
JB: The Bachs was my first rock band. Mike DeHaven, John Harrison, and a guy named Chuck Moburg, a drummer, had a band our freshman year in high school. They were called The Apollos. I knew John Harrison from grade school and I met DeHaven as a member of the Lake Forest High School football team. Prior to meeting with these guys, I was playing - or attempting to play - bass guitar with an instrumental group. I don't think we even had a name. We only played one party that I can remember.
In any event, DeHaven asked me to come and play bass with The Apollos. I think we had one practice but they could see I wasn't a very good bass player. When I first joined The Apollos, I was playing bass guitar because in the instrumental group we already had a drummer, and a bass was needed, so that's what I did. I was always a drummer at heart, it's just the circumstance at that time drew me toward the bass. Moburg left (the practice) early and I got on his drums and impressed them. They said they would dump Moburg, as he had no charisma, and make me the drummer. Harrison had the job of firing Moburg. I traded my bass for a Ludwig Hollywood drum set and became the drummer.
Shortly after I began playing drums, DeHaven brought in John Peterman as a singer/guitar player. Right after that, Peterman brought in Blake Allison as the bass/singer. Harrison and I are from Lake Forest and the other three are from Lake Bluff, right up the road. Allison went to North Shore Country Day School in Winnetka. His father was the music director there. Peterman went to New Trier East - his father was the music director there; in fact, he played a large part in training Ann Margaret when she was there.
Anyway, we became The Bachs. It was a play on words as well as a tribute to J. S. Bach. John Harrison played lead guitar, Mike DeHaven played rhythm, John Peterman played rhythm, Blake Allison played bass, and I was percussion. We were together from the fall of 1965 until the summer of 1968. We tried an organ out around 1967 but it didn't work out so we stayed with the original concept.
60s: Were you going to add another member to the band?
JB: When we decided to try an organ, Peterman was going to play it. We had talked about bringing another person into the group, but then finally decided against it. We tried the organ for a few weeks, but we never performed with it at a gig.
60s: Where did you start out playing?
JP: Since we went tofour different high schools, we had connections and opportunities up and down the North Shore of Chicago. Most of our first gigs were in Lake Forest.
JH: There was a high school sponsored dance at the Lake Forest Recreational Center called "The Cellar". I remember my brother going there in pursuit of what most high school guys were pursuing. That was our first job.
BA: The Bachs came on the scene with me a part of them in the fall of 1965. John Peterman and I had a big argument (my fault) in the spring of 1965 after which we didn't speak to each other for some time. He formed another band that would eventually lead to The Bachs. I don't remember how all the different players came together. John Babicz, John Peterman, John Harrison and Mike are probably better suited to recall that sequence of events. I think our first performance was at a Friday night dance series in Lake Forest called The Cellar. We played a mix of Beatles, Rolling Stones and Kinks. John Peterman sang all the Mick Jagger, John Lennon and most of the Ray Davies vocals. I did Paul McCartney. We were well received. People were surprised a bunch of 15-year-olds could play so well. I played bass guitar on a Hoffner look alike, John P. played rhythm on a solid body electric, Mike played rhythm (I think he had a Fender), John H. played leads (he had a Gretsch "Country Gentleman" guitar ala George Harrison) and John B. played drums. We all played electric. Most of the amps were Fender.
JB: The Bachs played most of Lake County, McHenry County - from Crystal Lake to Evanston - and many places in between. We played at the New Place, Pink Panther, and the Midnight Hour. (We also played at) many schools as well as a great many private parties and community street dances. The teen nightclubs were the best! We even had groupies!
As you know, there were many Battle of the Bands at the teen nightclubs. Our highlight was at the Pink Panther in Deerfield. We played against a group called the Amboy Dukes, and we won! About a year later they came out with Journey To The Center Of The Mind. Ted Nugent was their lead guitar player, so we were especially happy about the win.
We played on the same ticket as the Cryan' Shames at the New Place at least once, as well as the Mauds, The Flock and The Byrds. The Cryan' Shames were my favorite group at that time.
60s: Did you ever work with a manager?
BA: Twice and briefly. In 1967 two friends of mine from high school - Skip Wood and "Chip" Moses booked us a couple of jobs. One of them was at Skokie Valley Junior High in Winnetka. That performance was recorded, and somewhere in my attic is the tape. We hope to get that into CD format. There are some good songs on there including the only complete performance of the above mentioned That's the Way It Goes. The other manager was a guy named Reimer Gebauer. That was in the spring of 1968. I don't remember paying him anything. He had us lined up to record a single and take us on tour to colleges. He did book us into a club in Mundelein where we opened for Ted Nugent who had just formed The Amboy Dukes. Ted was very complimentary to us.
JB: We did have a manager for some time. His name was Chip Moses. He went to school with Blake at North Shore Country Day School. He didn't do a lot for us as I remember, so we went back to booking our own engagements.
JP: Yeah, but he wasn't worth shit. We constantly talked about firing him. He was mostly just a fan who got us a couple of jobs.
JH: We had one or two - Chip Moses was one - someone who would get us some bookings. But mostly we worked without one. We had a big guy named Don Huegennen (sp?) who used to come with us on jobs. He had his own frock coat and ruffled shirt. He was very helpful as he was a large fellow - pushing 6 ˝ feet as I remember. So he could help with loading and unloading our equipment and acting as a quasi-bouncer/bodyguard. We played in some pretty interesting places with older clientele who would get too much to drink and want to play our instruments. Don saved my guitars more than once. He was a great help to the band.
60s: Were you able to garner much of a following?
BA: We played on an almost weekly basis in 1967 and 1968. I think the biggest crowd we ever played in front of was at New Trier High School (John P.'s father was head of music there and counted Ann Margaret among his star pupils). I think there were 2000+/- in attendance. We were earning $30 a piece for performing then. For a high school kid, that was good money for four hours work in those days.
JB: The Bachs had become widely known. I transferred to Wauconda after my sophomore year. Peterman was at New Trier, and Allison was at North Shore Country Day, so we had contacts in many places. We played gigs every Friday and Saturday night. Our first job paid $60.00 for the whole group. Toward the end we were making $80-100 per man a night - not bad for a bunch of kids!
JH: Seems like we had a lot of name recognition at the high schools we attended on Chicago's North Shore. We got a lot of repeat business at our high school because people knew us. Then we started playing our own songs in with all the regular Beatles, Stones material, and people would start asking for us to play original songs again during the set. That amazed me.
JP: At one point we played in front of a thousand or so at New Trier in their gym - maybe the best job we ever had. The first half hour, which we played without pause, was electric.
60s: What about on a national level? Did you tour at all - or make any TV appearances?
BA: No. We did play in a couple of Battle of the Bands in Chicago, but nothing came of that.
JH: No - we did a Battle of the Bands at Navy Pier in Chicago, but never amounted to anything.
JP: We never made much of a splash outside of the Chicago area. I think we all have different memories of playing with Ted Nugent and the Amboy Dukes. My recollection is that he played during our breaks at one gig. He was obviously in a different league.
JB: We did not tour…and did not appear on TV. I do have a number of pictures from our time together. We were offered a 45rpm recording deal, but the parents of the other four members were against us getting involved that deeply. I wish it had happened. I really think we would have done great!
60s: Who offered you the 45 deal?
JP: His name was Reimer Gabauer and he was a real sleazebag. We really didn't trust what he had to offer, especially since the song he wanted us to record really sucked: Now That Summer Has Come To An End, Will We Be More Than Just Friends? You gotta be joking. Anyway, we rehearsed it with Blake singing and he didn't like that and then I tried and he didn't like that and then he tried Michael... which is the way it ended up. But our dads' got involved when we were going to be paying more than we could afford to have the thing distributed. We were all very anxious to get our "big break", but older wiser minds prevailed. Babicz is still pissed we didn't go through with it.
JB: I really can't remember the label, but it was a promoter that we met at the New Place, I think. We were also offered a chance to sing a commercial jingle, as many other groups at that time did. We also turned that down, even though I do remember doing a demo recording of a tune. It went something like: "Now that summer has come to an end, will we be more than just friends, we spent summertime together, you and I alone weathered the storm, summer with you....." I wanted to do these things, but as I previously stated the parents of the other members were against us getting too far into success. It was such a shame.
JH: A fellow named Reimer Gabauer (sp?). He had a line on a song done by a Dutch group, and he wanted us to re-release the song in the U.S. The deal got nixed because Reimer wanted up-front cash to go ahead, and we had all our capital tied up in equipment, and family financing wasn't available.
BA: Reimer. We may have made a demo of the single. The Skokie Valley tape has a recording of it - Summer With You. To me it sounds as if it could have been written by Neil Diamond. There are some similarities to a song he recorded called Solitary Man.
60s: You did, however, record the Out Of The Bachs album in 1968…
BA: Yes. We paid for that ourselves. We recorded it in one day. All the songs were by me and John P. I think there were 100 copies made. Most were sold to friends. The mix was never quite what we wanted. For some reason we couldn't get a good take of That's The Way It Goes, so it got left off. Many of our friends were very disappointed by that.
JP: Again, memories differ, but I know we had a very limited amount of money to make the record. I recall that we paid $400.00 for the recording, made 100 albums, and then sold them to friends for $4.00 each. The recording was very poor quality mostly because the old fart who made the record had never done a band before. So there is way too much echo and the drums are too low, etc. We had only one take per song so what you hear is how it was played minus the crappy production.
JH: We realized, with all of us splitting up after graduation, that we wanted something lasting of what we had done. So we found this little recording studio somewhere west of Chicago and made the record. What was interesting is that most of the songs on the album were just for the record. I don't remember us playing many of the songs "live" in jobs. We had a favorite -That's The Way It Goes - that we did live, but it just didn't have the same sound in the studio. Then there were several others we developed just for the record that I wish we had played live.
JB: We recorded the album as a sort of farewell to The Bachs. The other four guys were going off to college, and I ended up making the army a career. We weren't planning to use it for promotion or anything. Mainly we were going to give copies to family and friends. We actually had 150 copies produced - not 100. We could only afford 150 copies plus the studio time and the jackets. The whole thing cost $750.00 and we did it in one 10-hour day. We recorded it in Barrington at Roto Records. The studio was above a drugstore. On all the songs, except Answer To Yesterday, we recorded the instruments first, then came back and laid down the voices. On Answer To Yesterday, Blake played his acoustic guitar and Harrison played bass guitar, while Blake sang at the same time. Blake wouldn't let the rest of us in the studio while he recorded that song. I remember they put me behind a glass wall to quiet my drumming; it aggravated me, but I complied. I came up with the song names Answer To Yesterday and My Independence Day.
60s: One of the unique and interesting facts about the LP is that all twelve songs were originals - credited to Allison/Peterman.
BA: I wrote all the time at that point in my life and continued to do so well into the 1970s. For a while I could no sooner not write than not breathe. Songs came in and out of my head all the time. I don't think John and I had that many true collaborations. I think Tables of Grass Fields was, maybe Free Fall, too. John did a lot of the lyrics. He was much better at that than me.
JP: I think most every song that Blake and I wrote ended up on that LP. It wasn't as though we had thirty songs to choose from. If we learned it as a band and all liked the song, then it became part of our song list. Everybody had veto power over a shitty song, so there were songs we dropped after one or two tries in rehearsal. Blake would write a song and I would add words or a change here and there or I would write a song and he would help with the middle part or something like that, but each of us was the main writer. Essentially, Blake identified more with Paul and me with John and that played out in our songwriting. He composed Answer To Yesterday and I wrote Minister to a Mind Diseased. Most of the album is like that.
JB: Allison/Peterman wrote many other songs, but these twelve were the best in their estimation. When the tape was ready for final mixing, I had to work and couldn't attend. The voices could be heard well, so the decision was made to cut what you hear on the album. I think it could have been mixed much better. The original master tape is missing - at least none of The Bachs have it. The songs weren't copywrited, and have been pirated on at least two occasions. In some circles, the original albums can sell for as much as $5000.00. I have had many offers from European collectors for $1000.00, but I have only one original copy left.
JH: They were very prolific, probably inspired by Lennon & McCartney. I remember so many times everyone coming to my house for practice, and Blake or John would get a guitar and sing a melody with a couple of chords. Then Babicz would start filling in drums and then Blake would go back to start working on the bass. Then they would turn to me and say "OK, we need a lead break here" to a particular chord pattern. Having a Rickenbacker 12-string helped a lot to get effects to fill in some of those creations. This was before the days of heavy fuzztone, distortion and special effects.
60s: Obviously - for live appearances - I'm sure The Bachs must have played many cover songs. Which groups primarily influenced you?
BA: The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and The Kinks. I especially am a big Ray Davies fan.
JB: Allison/Peterman, and the whole group, were influenced by the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Kinks, and other British groups. We did not play Beach Boys music. We did play some Monkees, Paul Revere, Grassroots. We also played Byrds and Lovin' Spoonful songs. I sang only one song, Hey Little Girl, by the Syndicate Of Sound. I was out front with the tambourine, shaking my ass, while Peterman played the drums. On another song, DeHaven played drums and I wandered into the audience. Then the crowd would applaud for the best drummer of those two. It was sort of corny, but showy.
JP: Obviously The Beatles and Stones. We actually had a song list of about 100 covers and 40 of those were Beatles and Stones. We also liked The Kinks, Paul Revere, Animals, and - yes - we played the hell out of a few Monkees songs. We even won a battle of the bands with Daydream Believer.
JH: The Beatles and Rolling Stones were probably the biggest - John P. and Blake naturally were drawn to the Lennon/McCartney phenomenon. I naturally was trying to find out if George Harrison was some kind of distant relative. I even had a Gretsch Country Gentleman six string electric for awhile because that was exactly what George was playing at the time. Then we started playing more Kinks and Animals. We were playing a lot so we had to keep a balance between our own stuff, classic Beatles and Stones, and what were current top-40 tunes at the time.
60s: The album features a nice mixture of what today would be called garage rock and psychedelica. How would you classify the music of the Bachs?
JH: We were "straddling" some interesting eras of music to satisfy ourselves and what we felt was our core "market" - just enough variety to keep a lot of people wanting us for jobs. We went from classic Chuck Berry style rock (Johnny B. Goode, Route 66) to current pop to early psychedelic. The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper album influenced us heavily. We had a medley of those songs that we would play live that I think was one of our best live offerings.
JP: I think we definitely were taken by the psychedelic sound. Sgt. Pepper had a big influence on us. Blake and I were very interested in counter melodies which really wasn't being done much at the time. In several of our songs he sang a melody and the I would sing another and then we would combine them and sing both at the same time. I think Blake was mostly responsible for that bit of genius. I don't know of any other band at the time who did that. I also personally liked writing Minister to a Mind Diseased and I'm A Little Boy. I think they were both unique for the time. Minister comes from a line from from Mac Beth, "Canst thou not minister to a mind diseased"? I just turned the verb to a noun and took it from there. I'm A Little Boy had to be one of the first anti-homophobic songs ever recorded.
BA: By the time we made the album, psychedelic music was a strong influence. But some of the early songs were more straight rock genre such as Your Mine, Answer To Yesterday and Show Me That You Want To Go Home. We also experimented beyond the usual categories. For example, Sitting puts a modification verse melody and bridge section as overlays at the end. We did a more direct overlay on My Independence Day. I think we reflected the eclectic nature of the music scene at the time.
JB: Classifying the band is easy…we were a rock band! There were no "garage bands" or that label back then. We were definitely not a Psych band. We didn't do Iron Butterfly or Strawberry Alarm Clock. (We were) good old rock and roll: long hair, dancing, strutting, and entertaining.
60s: Are there any other unreleased Bachs songs that might have survived?
JB: The only other recording may be that commercial thing I mentioned earlier. Out Of The Bachs is our only recording as far as I know. Allison/Peterman, I'm sure, remember the other originals we played back then, but we didn't record any.
BA: Aside from That's The Way It Goes on the concert tape, there might be an instrumental version of it we did at a studio in Chicago. There might also be, and I'm not kidding, a demo tape of an ad we did for a woman's Sunbeam electric shaver. Somewhere there may be tapes I made trying out songs I was composing, but the band would not have been a part of that.
JP: That's The Way It Goes was our first, most popular, and most requested song. We always played it two times a night. We mistakenly thought that it was "unworthy" of recording and we were just plain tired of playing it, so we decided not to put it on the record. When people bought the record, the most common comment was, "What the hell happened to That's The Way It Goes? That's why I bought the damned record". We have it recorded somewhere on reel to reel.
JH: Not that I know of. Now that we are doing this interview, I am reading about all kinds of post-high school activities like shaver commercials, etc. that Blake and John P. must have done post graduation.
60s: Why and when did The Bachs call it quits?
JP: August of 1968. I don't recall the details of our last gig. But four of us were off to college in three corners of the country and Babicz was pissed as hell. Still is. He went on to be a war hero and saved lives which I'm sure he wouldn't trade, but I may be wrong. The fact is, music was changing so rapidly that we were and would have been caught in the undertow. Frankly, we didn't have the talent to play Hendrix and Clapton and Page. And that's where music was going.
JB: We were all going our separate ways in 1968 and disbanded. You see they (the other members of The Bachs) were all sort of rich kids. I wasn't. My mother had died when I was three-and-a-half years old and my dad died in The Bachs' second year of existence. I was living with my brother in Wauconda my last two years of high school.
BA: We graduated from high school and had to make tough choices about continuing our educations. John Harrison wanted to go to medical school. I knew I wanted to go on to college. The Viet Nam War was on as well. Not going to college meant a strong likelihood of getting drafted. John B. was angry with us for not staying together. He ended up enlisting in the army but fortunately was not sent to Viet Nam.
JH: We were going to college or into the military. I think my parents would have had me sent off to a special "problem teen" camp if I came in and told my physician father and suburban mother than I was forgoing college to go off in a rock band. You have to remember that John Babicz and I are now reunited in Tucson, Arizona. He retired from the military in Tucson, where my family relocated in 1994 due to my wife's promotion and transfer. So now we play golf at least once a month, or get together with our families. Babicz never lets me forget that we might have given up stardom and riches, especially when I am trying to make a putt.
60s: Did you join or form any bands after the Bachs?
BA: My senior year in college I formed a group with some classmates. We called ourselves Hot Crawl. I played rhythm guitar (I still had the "Les Paul, Jr.) and sang almost every lead. We did a mix of Beatles, Kinks, Who, Grateful Dead and others. The other guys were very good musicians. There is no tape history of that band.
JH: I never did. I sold my electrics and bought a Martin six string acoustic and a Guild 12 string and started more James Taylor, Gordon Lightfoot and folk singing (trying to pick up women like my brother). My two daughters love to hear stories about my serenades on ski trips and other escapades.
JP: I played in a few bands in college. they were mostly throw together bands that played a song like Them Changes for 45 minutes.
JB: I attempted joining two other bands, but it didn't feel right. The Bachs were together quite awhile, and it was comfortable with them.
60s: What about today? Do you currently perform at all?
JH: Mostly for my kids or on camping trips. I also am trying the piano.
BA: Not in public. Sometimes (I do) in front of friends. I don't think I've picked up my guitar more than once since my wife was murdered in the World Trade Center attacks. She and I used to sing together. I'd play, and we'd harmonize. It's painful to think about singing. I did write one song in response to the attacks. It's an acappella, call and response form. It's meant to be song by one person doing the call and a large group of people responding. It's not that cheery.
JB: The Bachs are planning a reunion in the next year. I recently found Blake after 37 years. He sort of disappeared after high school (but) the rest of us kept in contact. I found Blake through the Internet just a couple of months ago. He and Peterman live in Massachusetts. DeHaven is still in Illinois, and Harrison and I live here in Tucson, Arizona and golf together often. We are planning a get together, and maybe a video documentary, maybe a re-release, and maybe a new recording. Peterman and Allison have been writing songs all this time. We have a special story to tell and there are major plans in the works. It will be fantastic!
JP: I have not performed at all except for a few special occasions. However, all that is about to change. Since the emails started between the band, we felt like getting together again would be a good idea. The European interest in the LP brought the five of us in touch with each other for the first time in quite a while. I haven't seen Blake in 30 years. When I began talking about the fate of our record and the irony that the rarity of the LP has now brought it more desirability than its music, there has been some local interest in Boston about making a documentary of the band and the evolution of the album's notoriety. It looks like we will reassemble for a week in August of 2003 to relearn 30 songs which will all be captured on film by a Boston film maker. As all this was going on, very coincidentally, I received a call out of the blue from a high school friend inviting me to our 35th high school reunion. I called back and asked if The Bachs could play and so, this October, The Bachs will pick up where we left off in 1968 and play two-hours of rock and roll at our 35th reunion of Lake Forest High School. All this will be captured in the documentary. Mostly the documentary will use The Bachs as a vehicle to explore the phenomena of record collectors. So I imagine the '60's garage band collector will be a part of this film as well.
60s: Looking back, how would you best summarize your days in the Bachs?
BA: I think what we achieved was noteworthy. Remember, we were high school kids. We played well and were creative enough to have our own body of work. That was all on our own initiative. We did have a following. Would that have translated to something on a bigger stage? Who knows? I don't know where it would have gone had we stayed together. By the beginning of the '70s the rock world was splintering into many pieces. The Beatles were done, Psychedelic was losing its original luster (Hendrix would die as would Jim Morrison) but The Grateful Dead would take up some of that slack, folk/rock was on the rise (Buffalo Springfield, The Eagles, Crosby, Still & Nash) as was heavy metal. In the early '70s my own taste went towards folk/rock. I'm a big Neal Young fan, and I still like Ray Davies and Paul McCartney. I'm sure we would have had those influences in our mix had we stayed together. Probably The Stones too. I don't know what the other guys would have wanted. I'm looking forward to getting back together with these guys. The process of practicing together almost every weekend, traveling to and playing jobs forged a strong bond that has endured even though we have been apart for a long time. Now the improbable after-life of our album is bringing us back together. That's a great gift.
JH: We were together for most of high school despite some members leaving, rejoining, etc. We had a lot invested in the band - equipment, practice time, songwriting. I think the album is the result of all of us being together for quite awhile. After we broke up, I would start reading about bands that went into the studio for weeks on end trying to come up with something. Compare that to these high school kids who go out and cut these twelve original songs in a day. We were always trying to strike a balance - band vs. personal life, Beatles vs. Stones, commercial songs vs. our own. And I think we did a pretty good job and had a great time doing it. We had our off nights, but we had some jobs where we were playing to a big crowd, the harmony was right on, Babicz was working those drums and we were all at the top of our game. There was nothing like it.
JB: My time in The Bachs was the best. We had a wonderful time. There were ups and downs, great fun, disappointments, opportunities lost - and some taken advantage of. All of it was a chance of a lifetime and I would love to do it all again! I'm happy to have been a part of the '60's garage band phenomenon.
JP: We just did what we thought was fun and never really analyzed it beyond that. I realize now that we were a bigger part of people's lives than I knew at the time. We had incredible experiences and more laughs than you can imagine. We also worked our asses off, playing or practicing up to 15 hours a week without fail. That meant every Friday and Saturday night and Sunday afternoons - 52 weeks a year for three years. Given that crazy schedule, I was once given an ultimatum by a lonely girlfriend, "it's me or the band"...I can't recall her name at the moment.
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