Acid-punk outfit William Penn and His Pals formed at the College of San Mateo in late 1964; originally dubbed the DiscCounts, the founding lineup comprised singer Neil Holtmann, guitarist Mike Dunn, bassist Steve Sweet and drummer Ron Cox. Keyboardist Dave Lovell signed on in early 1965, and a few months later the group significantly overhauled its lineup and look--adopting the moniker William Penn and His Pals, the band (now Holtmann, Cox, Lovell, guitarist Mike Shapiro and bassist Steve Leidenthal) adopted Revolutionary War-era stage garb that included ruffled shirts and tri-cornered hats. The addition of former Nomads guitarist Jack Shelton swelled the roster to a six-piece, and for a short time, the lineup also included a second drummer, Mickey Hart, who would later sign on with the Grateful Dead. In early 1966 keyboardist Gregg Rolie replaced Lovell--in time he assumed the lion's share of vocal duties as well, resulting in Holtmann's dismissal from the group. William Penn and His Pals were a regular presence on the Bay Area live scene, opening for the Jefferson Airplane, Paul Revere and the Raiders and Them; in 1966, they cut their lone single “Swami" (credited to the William Penn Fyve), later anointed an underground classic thanks to its inclusion on the third Pebbles collection. A deal with the Fantasy label was pending, but in 1967 the group dissolved, with Rolie subsequently joining Santana. In 2003, the BeatRecords.com label collected all of William Penn and His Pals' recorded output on CD. ~ Jason Ankeny, All Music Guide
Mike Shapiro, lead guitarist for William Penn and His Pals, said that
"We used to battle-of-the-bands with [the Warlocks] at the Cinnamon Tree on Industrial Road in
San Carlos, We actually lost to them and I thought they were the shits."
(Quote from Blair Jackson's book Garcia, pp70)
Shapiro was actually pretty good friends with Garcia and used to talk and jam with him frequently down at Dana Morgans in Palo Alto. "Jerry was destined for great things because he understood the social change that was taking place at that time". I was there the day he figured out the solo to Heart Of Stone by the Rolling Stones and based his entire early triplet based solos on that track". Shapiro later said.
Check out the other group from Palo Alto,
California in 1965 who used to be in Battle
of the Bands with the Warlocks.
Who Mickey Hart actually played drums with before
he joined The Dead. Who Gregg Rolie got his first break with! Who Creedence Clearwater
and many other famous San Francisco acts opened up for and looked up to.
Who penned one of the most famous Psych Pop classics, Swami, that sells for $300.00 per copy. Plus Plus Plus.
Read the liner notes and get the inside scope plus a
lot of cool pictures from that era.
Learn about the rich music scene just prior to the
psychedelic music revolution in the San Francisco Bay Area!
10 gems including the famous P.S.A. commercial that actually
put P.S.A. out of business.
If this is the kind of music you appreciate check out
Deja Vu and Laughing And Singing by Mike Shapiro on CDBABY.
Don't forget to check out other Beatrecords.com artists on
CDBABY: Mike Shapiro, The Texas Twister and OUT-FRONT!