Back In the Garage: The Banshees – ‘They Prefer Blondes’
The Banshees – They Prefer Blondes
In 1962, just south of San Francisco, these high school buddies. mostly already playing in swing jazz bands, discovered the joys of Surf music. The Benny Goodman records go up in smoke and Dick Dale is embraced. The Black Knights instrumental combo is started and in 1964, moving with the times, they add a vocalist and call themselves The Banshees. Now, the Beatles, Fender guitars and all things British Invasion are gods to these young oiks.
Lou Dorren, a friend from High School, helps them write their own material, of which They Prefer Blondes is one. He also helps set up his own label – Solo – and records this and the flip ‘Take A Ride With Me’ for their first single, in a local Presbyterian church recreation room with full permission from the local priest in May 65. He is 15 years old. Class!
He arranges 2000 copies to be pressed which are mostly sold at his uncles Camera and Hi-Fi shop for 99c each. – these days you’re looking at $600+ for a copy. These people deserve awards to industry!
This wailing Sonics-like choppy punk stormer with its soulful frat b side is a local hit and the band play the usual local halls and opening for viisiting groups. God help Sonny And Cher….
Back recording with Lou for a second 45, also on Solo, shows a more melodic folk garage sound which introduces them to a major label who, once parental permission had been granted, whisks them into Gold Studios to cut two tracks. These Beau Brummels like harmony pop songs are released on Brent Records credited to The Ariel. No one seems to remember why the label changed the name. The 45 vanishes off the pop radar.
By the end of 1965, illness, college graduation and general ‘changing of the times’ leads the band to disperse.
Various members would regroup over the next few years releasing a number of 45s and Lou Dorren would start his own label Onyx releasing many great brutal sounding 45s.
Everybody has at least one good song in them, very few have one as good as this.