Sunday, October 4, 2020
WILLIAM PENN FYVE - Swami
This came up on my YouTube feed today. Great Garage Psych. More here. I didn't know Mickey Hart ever played with them. Interesting notes in the description, including these:
Though their only single was issued under the name The William Penn Fyve, this band actually performed as William Penn and His Pals. They formed in late 1964 at the College of San Mateo in California and had many personnel changes prior to the release of the 45. Original singer Neil Holtman took the stage name William Penn (after the founder of the Province of Pennsylvania), but after he left the group vocal duties were mainly handled by keyboard player Gregg Rolie, who went on to join Santana and then Journey. At one point the band had two drummers, one of whom was Mickey Hart, later of The Grateful Dead.
To fit in with the historical associations of their name, the band played in old fashioned English long coats and tri-cornered hats, though they updated their image when they opened for Paul Revere and The Raiders, as they didn’t want to be seen as imitating the American Revolutionary War-era uniforms that the headliners often wore.
Aside from high school and junior college gigs, the group also played at the likes of the Longshoreman’s Hall in San Francisco, took part in a Battle of the Bands against The Warlocks (the early Grateful Dead), and were supported on one occasion by Big Brother and the Holding Company.
William Penn and His Pals had recorded demos for Fantasy Records, including an early version of ‘Blow My Mind’ with the dual drummer line-up, but in the end opted for their 45 to be released on the Thunderbird label in November 1966.