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Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Knight Riders

Kerry B sent me this recording of legendary California garage band The Knight Riders. A bit of a Sky Saxon sound.

Hey Robert,

Hope all is well in F-brook with y'all.

Here's a GREAT garage rock track from a 1968 Belmont band, The Knight Riders. They were one of the first, if not the first, racially integrated 'rock' bands and they featured the best garage rock drummer ever.

And here's a link to a long post on The Knight Riders by one of the ex members. Santana drummer, Michael Shrieve, posted some stories there, one about learning drums from Mike Lentos and another about how Lentos was killed. Very interesting reading, nostalgic. 

'Jungle' ; another super obscure California garage band featured three ex-Knight Riders including Butch Daniels. 

" If you know the music of Jungle and ever wondered why the album has powerful, emotional soulful vocals which may only can be compared to Love in moments it is because the Knight Riders were one of the few racially integrated garage bands and singer Butch went on to be one of the two lead singers in Jungle. "

And this note he includes from Michael Shrieve, drum wunderkind from Santana:

Comment by Michael Shrieve on February 23, 2012 3:38 am

Wow, Nick! I DO remember!
Lydia’s performance at the Goodwin School Assembly is something I will never forget. In fact, right after that performance, in which she sang a Brenda Lee song, I think, “You Don’t Own Me”. It was so amazing that the whole student body went crazy. This was some beautiful singer girl, in the same school I went to!
So , what do I do?
I go up to her in the hallway, after the assembly, and I say to her, “I don’t believe that was you singing. Proove it to me me. She kind of looked at me like I was crazy, but with a smile, and started to sing. And there it was, the voice of Lydia Pence! That day, I walked her home to her house, which was directly on the way to my house. Lydia Pence and Cold Blood was one of the main soul/funk groups in the Bay Area in the 70′s, and their brand of funk lives on to this day.
Michael Shrieve

Comment by Michael Shrieve on June 11, 2008 12:18 am

The Knight Riders! Man, they were IT at that time in Redwood City. Going to the Cinnamon Tree was always a special treat when they were playing. I was a huge fan, and remember being awed by their singing, those harmonies, the tightness of the band and it’s vocals. It was always exciting when the Beatles came out with a new song, which was special enough, an event really, but then you’d go down and hear the Knight Riders play that song, like, the day it came out. And they’d play and sing it perfectly! One time I remember them playing “And Your Bird Can Sing” I believe and it was so perfect it was mind blowing. I believe they also had a Rickenbacker 12 string as well and used it on the Beatles tunes that used that guitar. I think they also played “Turn, Turn, Turn” by the Byrds as well, if memory serves. That great harmony stuff!
I learned to play drums on Mike Lentos’ drums and one of the Palladino boys drums. Remember Palladino Market on Woodside Road? I didn’t own any drums yet, couldn’t afford ‘em, but was learning from Mike, who lived around the corner from me. I lived on Maryland St. and he and Lydia Pense lived on Kensington St.
Mike was am amazing drummer. He do a left-handed roll. A roll with one hand! He added so much to the band. It’s true that a band is only as good as their drummer, and Mike showed that to us is spades. I looked up to all those guys; Jay, John, Ryan, Butch and Mike. I would sometimes try to hang out or watch them rehearse, but they were like gods and heroes to me at the time. To me they were so cool! And the music was really special.
Later I became the drummer of Santana, when I was just 18 years old, so I left the neighborhood, and saw Mike only occasionally. He went through some very hard times. He was somewhat delinquent even when we were kids, always getting in trouble one way or another. I remember him throwing a bucket of mud in the corner mailbox as a kid and laughing his ass off. He had a somewhat wicked laugh and sense of humor. And throwing mud in a mailbox is a Federal Offense! 
Later he had drug problems and was living in San Francisco basically on the street. He’d been through it and was hardened by that life, but we would still connect sometimes and I would try to help him the best I could. Later, I was living in London for awhile and one day I got an incredible pain in my stomach. It was so bad I had to leave the studio where I was recording and go home. The next day I found out that Mike was shot and killed by a policeman in a robbery situation in SF. I hope I have my facts right, I’m not certain. But I always felt that when I got that terrible pain in my stomach was when Mike got shot.
I’ll always be indebted to Mike for letting me play his drums and teaching me stuff, and to The Knight Riders for making such great music when I was growing up.
Thanks so much John and Jay for the great sounds and memories.
Thanks to Ironleg for bring back the memories and to Nick for turning me on to Ironleg.
Michael Shrieve

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I'm very happy to have found this post about the Knight Riders. They were everyone's favorite band at Carlmont High in Belmont. They played at Y dances and the Cinnamon Tree, but I also went to some of their practices at my friend's house. She was Ryan's girlfriend at the time. You couldn't sit still to their music, you had to get up and dance like there was no tomorrow. Too bad your link to the video is broken, I would love to hear that. Thanks.