Though their singles were pulled from production and distribution due to the Gemcor label going out of business, this unfortunate reality hasn't negatively affected the legendary status of The Rumors' lone single, Hold Me Now b/w Without Her, in the slightest. Both sides of the single have been frequently comped, and Hold Me Now received perhaps the greatest compliment afforded a '60's garage band song by being selected for inclusion in the Nuggets box set. Drummer Norman Prinsky recalls his days in the band for

An Interview With Norm Prinsky (60s): How did you first get interested in music?

Norm Prinsky (NP): Probably first by hearing musical records when a child, and then when I was forced to take piano lessons at about six or seven years old.

60s: Was The Rumors your first band?

NP: I was in many, many bands - I believe I mention these on my website ( - besides The Rumors. (Much information also appears in the liner notes/insert on our CD The Cicadelic Sixties '60s, Vol. 8). My first band, formed at about age thirteen or fourteen, was with Neil Seidel (from a family of professional musicians, and who went on to be in the orchestra for the Dinah Shore TV show, I've heard), who played guitar, and Bob Ohrling, who played alto sax, and with me on the drums. The group had the Klassy name of The Kool Kats. A couple of years later, a longer-lasting group was composed of Neil Seidel, Jon Wexler (alto and tenor sax), and me, with the name (influenced by the Modern Jazz Quartet - MJQ) of the NJN trio (Neil and I always argued about who the first "N" was). This group won a prize on a local Los Angeles TV station, sponsored by an Oldsmobile dealer, called Rocket to Stardom. In several groups, Larry Scher was the bass player, and he was the one who suggested bringing me into The Rumors.

60s: Where did you know Larry from?

NP: Our parents knew each other, and Larry and I knew each other, from elementary school onwards.

60s: When was The Rumors formed?

NP: The group was in existence at least a couple of years before I joined it on drums. One of the central forces of the group was always Ben Turner (keyboard, harmonica, and lead singer).

60s: Who comprised the group?

NP: Ben Turner (keyboard, harmonica, lead singer); Larry Scher (bass, backup singer, lead singer; the one who brought me into the group); and "the two Mikes" (two Michaels who played rhythm and lead guitar, respectively).

60s: Who were the "two Mikes"?

NP: I can't recall the last names of the two Mikes, though Larry told me some months ago what the names were.

60s: Were you familiar at all with the band prior to be asked to join?

NP: Actually, I had not heard about the group, but I was impressed by (a) the instrumental ability of the members; (b) Ben Turner's energy in moving the group forward; (c) the friendliness and good nature of all the band members; and (d) the rousing quality of Hold Me Now. I hope to have a reunion with Ben Turner, and the "two Mikes" as well, though I have the most history with Larry Scher.

60s: Where did the band typically play (schools, parties, teen clubs, etc.)?

NP: All (of those types of ) venues, but occasionally at some upperclass affairs like a party for the Thalians (a group from important society circles in Los Angeles and Beverly Hills).

60s: Did you play any of the local teen clubs? The Sunset Strip?

NP: We would have played the Sunset Strip, with The Byrds, if our 45 r.p.m. had gotten into the Top 20 - which, unfortunately, it didn't. We got as far as Hollywood Boulevard, in our successful appearance at the Palladium in Battle of the Rock Bands.

60s: What can you tell me about that Battle?

NP: We did well in Battle of the Rock Bands at the Palladium, where a young man, Michael Greisman, heard us and later became the producer who put our songs first on an vinyl LP series and then the CD series called The Cicadelic Sixties/'60s, and then facilitated the inclusion of our song on the classic expanded 4-CD set Nuggets. Michael also got or kept a copy of the program for the Battle of the Rock Bands, a reproduction of which, with our name, is included in the insert on Vol. 8 of Cicadelic Sixties/60s.

60s: How would you describe the band's sound? What band's influenced you?

NP: The band's sound was uptempo sixties: a mixture of The Kingsmen's Louie Louie, The Hollies (favored by the lead guitarist), and - in the songs I composed - by the British Invasion, particularly the Zombies (and especially She's Not There).

60s: Did The Rumors have a manager?

NP: For some time, Ben Turner acted as manager as well as group founder, keyboardist, and lead singer.

60s: How popular locally did The Rumors become?

NP: On a fairly small scale, although the group did have a semi-official fan club, partly as a result of our appearance at Battle of the Rock Bands and our record (listed in the Goldmine Book of Collectable 45 RPM Rock Records).

60s: How far was the band's "touring" territory?

NP: As far as Bakersfield and Fresno, primarily for publicizing the 45 r.p.m. record. Generally we worked in the greater Los Angeles area.

60s: What other local groups of the era do you especially recall?

NP: I was too busy in our group and some groups playing other kinds of music (e.g., jazz, cocktail music, wedding reception music) to notice many. I heard great things about Pat and Lolly Vegas (phenomenal guitarists) on the Sunset Strip, who exemplified how great talent didn't ensure a recording or success.

60s: The Rumors released one single: Hold Me Now b/w Without Her. Where was the 45 recorded? What do you remember about the recording session?

NP: The owner of the recording studio, Bill Bell - who also did radio advertising - was a perfectionist and demanded that the group did take after take after take. It was reminiscent of a scene in the film La Bamba, starring Lou Diamond Philips. Also, I was shocked that the group didn't have a second original song to put on the B-side of the record, so I was under great pressure to quickly compose and arrange the B-side song - Without Her - which shows the influence of the British Invasion and the Zombies. Bill Bell had Sonny & Cher's production people listen to the record, and their response was (a) they were surprised that the two songs were by the same group, since the sound was so different; (b) they liked the B-side, Without Her, better than the A-side, Hold Me Now; and (c) they suggested adding orchestral effects - brass and strings - to the B-side. I was a hard rocker and refused; in hindsight, this refusal was an immature mistake - Sonny & Cher's record producers knew what they were doing. Radio stations outside Los Angeles also, to our surprise, often favored the B-side over the A-side. Hold Me Now was always a crowd rouser.

60s: In fact, a snippet of Hold Me Now was used in a MacDonalds' commercial. What year would this have been in?

NP: Because Bill Bell did radio advertising in his studio as well as music, he naturally selected one of the three records produced by his company (Gemcor) for Officer MacDonald to break into for a Big Mac alert in 1965 or 1966. Hold Me Now was a more conventional uptempo song to interrupt for such a commercial than the songs on the other two records from Gemcor. (NOTE: One of the other singles was The Becket Quintet's No Correspondence b/w It's All Over Now, Baby Blue).

60s: Who wrote Hold Me Now?

NP: Ben Turne

r did words and music and arrangement for Hold Me Now, and I helped polish the lyrics a bit. I did words, music, and arrangement for Without Her, composed sitting at my parents' Ivers & Pond upright piano in our home in central Hollywood.

60s: Do any (other) '60's Rumors recordings exist? Are there any vintage live recordings?

NP: The Rumors only did the one 45 r.p.m. I have been told that Larry Scher, bass player and technically the savviest of the group (then and now; Larry teaches TV and media at Rio Hondo College in Southern California), has some audio tapes, but whether they're from our jobs or not, I'm not sure.

60s: Did the band make any local TV appearances? Does any 8mm or 16mm film footage exist of the band?

NP: The band did appear on some local TV stations in Fresno and Bakersfield. I'm not aware of any 8 mm or 16 mm footage of the group - just still photos.

60s: Why did the band break up in the '60's?

NP: I think we were somewhat disappointed by the record not climbing the charts, and I had to leave the group to go to graduate school at Yale.

60s: What year did the band call it quits?

NP: I'm not sure, but I would guess 1967 or 1968.

60s: Did you join or form any bands after The Rumors?

NP: In college, I was in a group, all students at Reed College (in Portland, Oregon), called T and the Mystics. The group showed enough promise that we were invited to Seattle to make a demo. Nothing came of the demo, and later, when I was able to arrange financing to get the group to assemble in Los Angeles, the wife of the lead guitar player forbade him from coming down from Oregon, which prevented the group from continuing.

60s: What about today. Do you perform at all?

NP: Today, in Augusta, Georgia, I have sat in with a couple of locally prominent rock groups, especially The Tony Howard Band. I still have my blue sparkle Gretsch drum set (nowadays, "drum kit"), but am an associate professor of English at Augusta State University (cf. "word man" in the film Eddie and the Cruisers) and do a lot of academic publishing (listed on my ASU website).

60s: As you've alluded to, Hold Me Now was included on the Nuggets boxed set - firmly entrenching the song as a classic. What were your thoughts when learning of the honor?

NP: I was thrilled, first, when a photo of our group appeared on Vol. 8 of The Cicadelic Sixties/'60s, and second, when Michael Greisman telephoned me from across the country to say that Rhino Records had picked up one of the songs for Nuggets. I was also proud that some fans had put our song on the old Napster; as I tell my students, I thought that was real fame.

60s: How do you best summarize your experiences with The Rumors?

NP: Uniformly happy, and now happy nostalgia in memories. All the members of the group were - and are - good guys and talented musicians. Larry Scher and I have known each other - and his folks knew my folks - since childhood, and I was lucky to have a reunion with him (and his new wife and my new wife) in April 2003 in Las Vegas.

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