San Diego’s The Id recorded only one 45, but it is a highly collectable one. In addition to featuring the classic song Rotten Apple, the single was issued with a cool picture sleeve. Although The Id was relatively "small apples," guitarist Joe Garrison’s tenure with the band proved to be for him "a way of life." Here his the story of his ‘60’s teen band…
An Interview With Joe Garrison
60sgaragebands.com (60s): How did you first get interested in music?
Joe Garrison (JG): My mother and father were like Bohemians in the ‘40's. My mom told me you will play music. I had two older sisters who were killer piano players. One was on track to be a concert pianist. So we heard all that music - Beethoven, Brahms, Bach, Chopin; all that. My parents listened to a lot of jazz and I could especially hear the bass lines through the floor when I was in bed. They listened to Ella Fitzgerald, Diana Washington, Billie Holiday, Modern Jazz Quartet, and some Mingus. They didn't have any Coltrane or Miles or guys like that, though.
When we started the band I was playing trumpet in Jr. High School - also, piano, which is what I play today. The band's first name was The Cobras. Pretty soon we realized that was too car sounding (like "Hey little cobra getting ready to strike") and we needed something more cool. Pechnick and I used to surf together a lot and one day at the beach we decided to rename the band. The Wizard of Id (Johnny Hart comic strip) was big back then so we said, "Yeah, The Id." At the end I wanted to change the name to The Henry Goodins Blues Band and all my friends were calling me Crabshaw. Henry Goodins was a hero in a real campy Lorretta Young episode about a regular guy who busted a drug ring (I named my car Henry Goodins). Crabshaw was about the Resurrection of Pigboy Crabshaw - a Paul Butterfield record. I worshipped those guys. I mainly learned how to improvise from those records - Butterfield Blues Band and East West. I finally got enough information from lifting the solos to figure out two positions of blues scales and the doors opened. It was like stealing fire from the gods. By the way, that's how it was done in those days. You listened to records and learned the changes and solos. It helped in that you could slow the records down half speed. It was weird, of course, hearing things at half speed and an octave lower but you could hear everything that way…the way they bent and slid into notes…that kind of thing. I suppose we could have taken lessons but it never dawned on me to. For me it was kind of a point of pride, I guess. Sheesh.
The Id was mainly Robert Pechnick, Chris Longeviel (I never could spell his last name; this spelling is wrong) and me. We had several second guitar players. The one in The Id is Bill Boyer. (In addition to Bill Boyer we had a good guitar player named Stan Oliver for awhile. The second guitar player
60s: Where was The Id formed?
JG: San Diego, California. One addition - the first tune we ever attempted was with me on trumpet and it was the theme from Bonanza. God almighty. Do you believe it? And believe me that didn't last long! It was a long, long time ago.
60s: Where did the band typically play?
JG: Our first gig was when we about 13-years-old or so. It was at the YMCA in downtown San Diego. On break I found out the real reason all those Navy Guys were there! We played at school shows; we did the car show every year for awhile (which was a real big deal back in those days. In fact, it was so big we had to get work permits one year to play. And somebody fire bombed the promoter's offices. We went down to see it with our own eyes and they told us it was a professional job). We actually were in the finals one year. What a rush that was. Hundreds of bands were there and we were in the top ten playing against guys 3 - 4 years older than we were (it was competitive and they voted the top ten and then the top band. That year the winners were The Luv Children. I think they were out of Los Angeles and, god, they were great.) I remember at the finals I got to sing Mona. I didn't play guitar on that one. Instead, I had a set of maracas in each hand and did my best to belt it out. Mona was a great song. Usually, Chris did the vocals but for some reason I (sang lead on) Mona. I guess (I sang) because I wanted to so much. After we did so well we thought we were destined for greatness! And the next year we showed up with the idea of really killing them. We had a big following and I must say - we were pretty great. But we never got in the finals again.
We also played at fashion shows and events. I learned to improvise on piano one year when they told us that before our set we were going to play for the fashion show. We played Green Onions for about 20 - 30 minutes!
60s: How would you describe the band's sound? What bands influenced you?
JG: As I mentioned - we went through a lot of changes. In the course of our band all the big names came up - Stones, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Paul Butterfield (!), Lovin’ Spoonful, Zombies, Jefferson Airplane - all that. We did surf music at first then Beatles and that kind of stuff. We did some Moby Grape, Jefferson Airplane, Jimi Hendrix (I learned how to play the guitar with the mike stand; Oh man, he was nuts and one monster)…even Blue Cheer. We got into that psychedelic sound with feedback and all that. We did Train Kept a Rollin’ by The Yardbirds and we really got into "controlled" feedback. The amps had to be up loud and you had to stand right in front of them for it to work. It's amazing anybody can still hear anything. Of course, nowadays the rock bands are a million times louder and everybody listens with ear phones.
My sister sang with us for awhile. She could really belt it out, too. We did a version of Spoonful in which we went into 5/4. She figured out how we could transition from four to five. She did the arrangement and taught us how to play it. We had just stumbled into that Dave Brubeck stuff where he was doing the different time.
60s: Did you play any of the local San Diego teen clubs?
JG: We did play at Cinnamon Cinder. We were under age but they had us in for a few numbers. Man, those women (actually just 18 - 20 year girls) really played with our heads. Those really were the days.
There was a club called the Bifrost Bridge. Some big name guy came out of there, but I can't remember who. Hoyt Axton? Later on there was the Candy Company. I think Tom Waits sang there. My sister and her friends had a gig at the Bifrost. It was like a beatnik vibe. She could really sing that folk music. She killed them regularly. Since they were older than me they kept disappearing onto the roof to smoke dope. This was when people believed if you smoked marijuana two times you would be a heroin addict. At the Bifrost I would get up and take a shot at Donovan tunes. I got into that for awhile.
60s: Did The Id have a manager
JG: No. We weren't very organized and we never got to the point of needing anything like a real manager. We didn't know anything about business. Everything we did do just sort of fell into our laps.
60s: How popular locally did The Id become?
JG: Oh Hell. Not so big - just us playing where ever we could. We fell apart right about the time we could have started making some actual moves. But by then we were too far apart musically and it was just time to move on.
60s: How far was the band's "touring" territory?
60s: What other local groups of the era do you especially recall in San Diego?
JG: Glory (I loved them). I liked The Fly People when they were on but I think they did a lot of drugs so they were a little inconsistent. The Brain Police were pretty big back then. The Other Four had a kind of hit - Tell Me Why. The Soul Brothers was a soul band that was great. I hung out with some of the horn players.
60s: The Id did release one single (Rotten Apple / Listen To Me). Where was the 45 recorded?
JG: It was recorded in El Cajon, I think. We did the tracks in full takes - straight through. No overdubbing and no isolation as I remember. It didn't take too many tries to get Rotten Apple down but I kept fucking up the end of Listen to Me and we had to keep starting over and doing the whole thing since the producer didn't want to edit. I remember tempers kind of flaring a little. Ha ha…I got kind of defensive because it was (due to) me that we had to keep starting over.
60s: Where was the photo of the 45 sleeve taken?
JG: Ha ha! At Grant School Cemetery in San Diego. It was Dan Longeiviel's (sp.) concept. He was an artist for Channel 5 TV in Los Angeles and Chris's father. (He took us to our first love-in in L.A. where people were doing acid and smoking pot openly - which in those days could get you in a whole lot of trouble. The night before we went he and his wife had an entire bunch - not just like ten or so, but the entire bunch - of bananas, and they were scraping the peels. Everybody actually thought you could get high smoking bananas! Fucking Donovan and Mellow Yellow…although, that probably came later.) He had this idea about the tomb, etc. and handed us those crucifixes and told us where to stand. The light was fading and he was real rushed and kept yelling at us to stop fucking around. We thought it was a big joke and were laughing it up. He kept yelling at us to get it together so he could take the picture. It was real rushed as I remember and a lot of laughs.
Pechnick and I went to a love-in one Sunday and were completely mortified to see they were giving out copies of our 45 to everybody! He kept hoping nobody would recognize us. They had this big sign that said, "Why was this record banned in Boston?" Now it's funny but at the time we were pretty unhappy about the whole thing. We thought of ourselves as being past all that and were into the psychedelic stuff and kind of wanted to forget all about Rotten Apple, which is why I don't have a copy. Fortunately, Mark (Taylor) sent me a copy on the Internet. I haven't heard it since the ‘60's and I'm excited and nervous about hearing it again after so long.
60s: Who wrote the songs that comprised the single?
JG: The way I remember it was that Dan L. ran into these kind of hitchhiker guys and they hung out. It turned out they were looking for a band to record a couple of their songs. One of them had a forged college degree as I remember. The other one - the "so-called composer", didn't know much about music at all. They drank a certain kind of beer all the time (I can’t remember which - but in those days we thought drinking was lame since we were more into pot. Wait…wait - I think it was Busch?). They kept coming around after we recorded and wanting me to tell them what their chords were on the piano.
60s: Do any (other) '60's Id recordings exist? Are there any vintage live recordings, or unreleased tracks?
JG: No. I don't think so. Recording was pretty rare in those days. It was nothing like it is now. It used to be a real big and expensive proposition.
60s: Did the band make any local TV appearances? Does any home movie film footage exist of the band?
JG: No TV or anything like that. There is a home movie of us somewhere. I remember the lights when they shot it at one of our gigs. Unfortunately, I lost all the pictures and even the copy I had of Rotten Apple. There is a film but who knows whatever happened to it.
60s: What year and why did the band break up?
JG: We ended because I found out about Paul Butterfield and we went to an audition doing blues in the late ‘60's. I wanted to do extended improvisation and Robert and Chris wanted to keep covering tunes off records. We just went different directions.
60s: Did you join or form any bands after The Id?
JG: I have been playing ever since. I went to music school - UCSD, Cal State Fullerton and the University of Colorado. I eventually got a Master of Music degree in Composition/Theory and a minor in Music History. I started this Avante Garde group in Colorado called The New Leaf Association. It was for some of us composers to play our music out in public. In the last fifteen or so years I have had off and on my own bands: Night People, Tikal and now - Direct From The Source. I played with Tambou's International Orcestra, Immediate Freedom, Kokopelli, a million casuals...
I did two full length film soundtracks and was commissioned twice by the Ruse Collective in San Diego to write a concert for their festivals. There are recordings of those concerts. That was in the late ‘80's and early ‘90's. I have a couple of CD's out - one is called Let Old Men Dream Their Dreams. It's of my compositions with my band Night People. Burnett and I just finished an improvisational CD - NovenA. As I said, my thing now is Direct From The Source with Burnett Anderson (trumpet player). You can see a little about us on my page: www.NightTunes.net. We don't play tunes, we don't have music and we never rehearse. We just start playing. After all this time we have finally decided that's the best way to do it. We never know what's going to happen.
Besides Direct From The Source I have pretty much stopped playing out because I'm not interested in covering tunes anymore. I don't even write music anymore to speak of since we are purely improvisational. To make money I am a piano tuner.
60s: How do you best summarize your experiences with The Id?
JG: I grew up in that band. It was a way of life to me. It was present throughout everything that was going on in those days. JFK assassination, RFK, Martin Luther King Jr., Viet Nam, race riots, the moon landing - all that. All those ‘60's bands came out during that period. Because of music I hung out with all kinds of people I would never have gotten to otherwise. We crossed all the racial bullshit. It was just the music. It kept me from getting strung out and all that; not just The Id but music in general.
Thank you for your interest. Music is still crossing all lines to this day. I'm thinking Burnett and I may do some tracks with a rapper who lives across the alley from me. Music is a trip for a fact.
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