Address Los Angeles, a new recurring feature on Aquarium Drunkard, explores the lesser-to-unknown corners of LA: be it an address, an artist, or a fleeting thought.
The mailroom at 6311 Yucca Street in Hollywood must’ve been pretty busy in the mid-60s. You could join The Partridge Family Fan Club by sending in a postcard; for $15 you could become a minister, by mail, with the Church of Universal Brotherhood (whose selling point was simply that being a minister, with a flock, exempted you from the draft); or write a complaint letter to Seven Seventy Publications because one of their magazines, maybe Raunchy, Vegas Playgirl, Nifty Nylons or Nu-Color Nudist wasn’t smutty enough for your specialty interests. You could also send in your own lyrics to Preview Records and have the great Rodd Keith, pioneer of the song-poem genre, set it to music and sing your words.
Or you could, for a short time, stop into the offices of Hiback Records. There you’d find a roughly 30-year old Gerry Hibbs, former Chapter President of Phi Kappa Tao at UCLA, and his fellow Bruin alum, Mike Hogan: the President and VP, respectively, of Hiback.
65 miles East, in San Bernardino, the radio station K/MEN was relaunching their weekly newsletter, The K/Mentertainer with a new editor. His opening manifesto was gruff and pompous, full of gusto and dreams of grandeur: “The K/MEN, despite ugly rumors to the contrary, are human beings and we will prove this in forthcoming editions. For too long has the disc-jockey been pictured as a back-slapping maniac with acres of glistening teeth and a hand-made hair-piece. The K/MEN have imaginations, opinions and prejudices and we are going to produce for you, our highly regarded listeners, a newspaper that does not read like a fourth-rate grade school scandal sheet.”
That copy (Vol. 2, Issue 1) covers Nancy Sinatra’s tour, speculates on the longevity of the Beatles, namechecks Lee Hazelwood and the Spanish beat group Los Bravos, and reviews the 1966 documentary Macabro – “A camera’s-eye view of some of man’s strangest festivals and festishes rolls across the screen…”
But it dedicates only a single article to a local Inland Empire group. They were The Bush, they were signed to Hiback, and the editor was confident in their ability and star-potential: “In the somewhat unpredictable world of popular music there is no formula for success. The Bush have boundless talent and energy. “Who Killed The Ice-cream Man”, heard first on K/MEN is selling in large quantities and is being heard on numerous important stations throughout the United States. One of these days, in the not-too-distant future, I believe we will be proud to say that we in the Inland Empire produced the Bush and launched them on the way to international reputation.”
A year later The Bush were no more, and for that matter, neither was Hiback. The editor, now back in his native England, was hosting a new show, on the brand-new BBC Radio 1. He also had a new name: John Peel. words / b kramer