The only known photo of The Soup Greens adorns the cover of Misty Lane's excellent CD compilation
After randomly calling into a radio station show co-hosted by garage band researcher Mike Markesich, Dave Eagle of The Soup Greens was shocked to realize that his '60's band was so highly revered by collectors of 1960's garage band music. With Markeisch's assistance, Eagle worked out an agreement with Misty Lane Records in Italy to release the complete and surviving recordings of The Soup Greens. The collection has since received universally positive reaction from collectors everywhere and, as a result, the CD has quickly become a hot seller. Though it contains only eight tracks, the songs are all excellent - and the package is already a prime contender for the 60sgaragebands.com "Reissue of the Year" award for 2005.
The Soup Greens By David Eagle
I was always exposed to music. My parents joined a record club for me when I was an infant. I first became interested in the guitar when I started watching cowboy TV shows like Gene Autry and Roy Rogers. My mother took me for lessons and bought me a Harmony F-Hole guitar with unbelievably high action. It hurt, but it helped develop calluses and strength. I was eight years old. If I did well I got a Vanilla malted after the lesson. We walked to the lessons. It was pretty far. This was on Staten Island.
I got the rock and roll bug in the late '50s, and it just grew and grew. My friend and I used to pretend that we were deejays and had our own accapella radio show - the Dirty Jock Show. I had just gotten one of those new transister radios - a grey GE - and it never left my ear until my cousin Debbie (Pebbles) lost it on a Circle Line Cruise around Manhatten.
In 1960, with my own money, I went to Manny's in New York City and bought my first electric guitar, a beautiful Gretsch Jet Firebird and a Gretsch amp. It turns out that the guy who helped me pick it out was Duane Eddy!
Shortly after that, I formed my first band with my friends Eddie Wetschler on piano (and then a toy organ) and Jay Steinberg on drums. We fooled around for a while, not really knowing how to do anything, but then we started putting a few things together, learning how to be a band: steady beat, being in tune, following a leader, etc. Eddie was a prodigy who knew theory, read music, and could shout out when to change chords, etc. He could transpose and do other thing we had no clue about. Jay was good, too; and I had a good ear, and could improvise. We started playing at parties, local dances, and school events.
We later added Al Ferrante, a great bass player from our high school (Curtis High School). Al never had a lesson, was a natural, and was a football player and the best looking kid in school - so we got some groupies. The band was The Islanders, and for a while it was all instrumental, as were all bands at the time. Later we added a sax player, Simion Saturn, from New York City. He had lots of contacts, and one night he brought along Elliot Randall (Randall's Island) who was already great, and went on to be well known in the recording business. We sang stuff like Shout. We stayed together throughout high school and ventured as far as Brooklyn to be a backup band at The Allen Fredericks Show at one of the Brooklyn Theatres. We backed up Jay & The Americans (I'm pretty sure) and Little Joey and The Flips. In one form or another we played for the summer at Catskill Hotels: Homowack Lodge and the Raliegh. We picked up other people, too - Billy Helkin, a genious 16-year old sax player, and Jay Rubin, trumpet. We also played at Rocking Horse Dude Ranch for a summer. There is an existing acetate/cassette of one of these groups playing a variety of types of music that we played for potential gigs. The groups were called The Emanons, or The Caravans.
The link here is Jay Rubin. After high school he called me to invite me to play with a few of his friends from Brooklyn. I went, and I liked the guys, and they were really good. The organ player was Lenny Matlin. He had a Farfisa Combo Compact. Steve Tennenbaum was the drummer - he played Gretsch or Ludwig - and was great. Lenny played through an Ampeg bass amp. I still had my Gretsch, but it was too weak for the stuff we were doing, so I went to Silver & Horland and bought an Ampeg Gemini 2, which turned out also not powerful or raw enough, so I brought it back for a Fender non-CBS Super Reverb. I still use it today, as well as the Gretsch Firebird on occasion. The Gretsch had such a good hard shell case that it survived being run over by a '57 Chrysler Imperial!
Lenny wrote lots of songs, and was the most British and hallucinogenic of all of us. Steve couldn't really sing, but somehow he sounded great, and I wrote and sang leads (as did Lenny). We soon realized that trumpet did not fit in with our developing style and identity - that of Brooklyn rock - and we parted ways. We practiced all the time while going to college, played at frat parties, local clubs like the Madd Hatter in Coney Island, Trude Heller's and Cafe Wha? in the Village, the CLAY COLE SHOW on TV, as well as sleezy bars, and colleges. We played a battle of the bands at Murry the K's World in Long Island. The only other group I remember was The Good Rats. We also played on the same bill with The Blues Magoos in the Village.
I don't think we made it out of the Tri-State area. We were writing our own songs and decided to record a demo. We used Dick Charles Studio at $25.00 an hour - a lot to us. We went twice. The second time a guy a few years older than us (we were 17), Mike Glasser, heard us and wanted to produce us. He loved That's Too Bad. He told us to work on a B-Side. At that time I had a thing about the groups that were recording Bob Dylan's stuff. I hated all the pretty covers, especially what The Byrds did. Dylan did not intend for his stuff to be anesthetized. I said that we could do Like a Rolling Stone (in a style) that would convey the real meaning in our way. We tried it once and that was that. We recorded it at Dick Charles in one take.
Mike thought the sound could be better so we tried Bell Sound - where The Stones recorded - and Gotham, and Capitol, where we literally bumped into Peter Noone running out. It was awsome but, actually, Dick Charles did a better job, so that's where the masters were done. Mike tried to sell the record, and got us an audition for a teen-rock and roll-bikini-spy movie (I don't think it got made). The producer thought it was funny that our name sounded like The Supremes. We said our names were Flo, Diana, and Mary. We didn't get the movie. Gasser put the record out on his own label, Golden Rule. He had a partner named Freeman Harris, who we never met. We got some air play, Jocko from Jocko's Rocket Ship (WLIB) loved it and said on the radio, "Jam, Jelly, and Marmalade...looks like The Soup Greens got it made!" Record World liked it and thought it had good chances. We didn't luck out due to lack of money to promote it, or to offer payola.
We played for a while longer, and then parted ways. Lenny went on to record with Donovan. I don't think Steve had another band. I did some solo demos, and joined a Top 40s band to make some money. It was a good band and I played for two years with them. We were called Ronny and The Runabouts. I also played with other groups when they needed a guitar player. However, no band was more fun and creative than The Soup Greens.
The Soup Greens started in 1965 in Lenny's basement on Neptune Ave. in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn. The record was released in September, 1965. We were together for over a year. One picture and two business cards exist, and some original 45s. We were very popular locally - in Brookln and Greenwich Village.
It was an amazing time in my life and I loved it. We really thought we were going to make it big. The reaction to us was always good. After we broke up, I brought the 45 to a few companies. Decca really liked it and kept it for a few weeks - almost went for it - but decided on another group that I never heard of.
To order your copy of the CD, visit Misty Lane Records