Gli Standells, formati a Los Angeles nel 1961 da Larry Tamblyn
(tastiere e violino) e dall'italiano Tony Valentino (chitarra),
e in seguito convertisi al sound dei Rolling Stones,
furono i proto-punk per eccellenza, anni prima che
fosse di moda fare i teppisti sporchi e selvaggi.
Per qualche anno si limitarono a pubblicare 45 giri di serie B e a comparire
in film e trasmissioni televisive:
You'll Be Mine Someday (Linda, 1963),
Peppermint Beatle (Liberty, 1964),
Help Yourself (Liberty, 1964),
Linda Lou (Liberty, 1964),
The Boy Next Door (Vee Jay, 1965), scritta da Cher,
Don't Say Goodbye(Vee Jay, 1965),
Zebra in the Kitchen (MGM, 1965).
In quegli anni uscirono anche due album dal vivo.
La fama arrise loro quando detonarono Dirty Water, il brano piu` provocante dell'estate 1966 (scritto da Ed Cobb), un blues degenerato ed abrasivo, con i suoi riff poderosi, gli epidermici pattern organistici, e una delle prime "fuzzbox". A cantarlo fu Dick Dodd, che si era appena unito al gruppo come batterista. Dirty Water (Sundazed, fine 1965 o inizio 1966) e Why Pick On Me (Sundazed, 1966) aggiunsero una manciata di canzoni rudi al repertorio originale, in particolare quattro delle canzoni scritte da Ed Cobb per il loro primo album: Sometimes Good Guys Don't Wear White, Medication, Rari, There Is a Storm Coming. Anche sul secondo svettano composizioni di Cobb come Have You Ever Spent the Night In Jail, ma Tamblyn dimostra una personalita` piu` spiccata con Why Pick On Me, Black Hearted Woman, Mr Nobody. Il secondo album e` forse piu` omogeneo. Il primo ha due canzoni eccezionali, ma anche qualche riempitivo di troppo.
Try It (Sundazed, 1967) contiene ancora la scandalosa Try It, Barracuda (ancora di Cobb), Riot On Sunset Strip, tutti ruggenti rock and roll anche se il disco e` schizofrenicamente conteso fra una tendenza rhythm and blues (Can't Help But Love You) e una tendenza raga-psichedelica (Did You Ever Have That Feeling).
La carriera maggiore del gruppo e`, come quella di altri complessi psichedelici del periodo, parto piu` di Cobb che del complesso.
Best (Rhino, 1984) e` un'ottima antologia.
Larry Tamblyn will become a sound editor and a composer/arranger of large-orchestra music.
If English is your first language and you could translate the Italian text, please contact me.
The Standells were formed in 1962 by Los Angeles area musicians Larry Tamblyn and guitarist Tony Valentino. Tamblyn, brother of Russ Tamblyn (West Side Story) was already a recording veteran, having made three unsuccessful solo 45s for East Los Angeles Faro. Valentino was originally from Sicily, moving to Los Angeles in 1961. The two combined their talents with two other musicians. The name Standells was actually derived from standing around agents' offices, pleading for work. Fortunately, one agent decided to Try It, and they landed a three-month gig at the Oasis Club in Hawaii.
The group played in clubs up and down California for the next two years, aligning themselves with two other musicians, drummer Gary Leeds and bassist Gary Lane. While performing at PJ's in Hollywood, Leeds left the group and formed the Walker Brothers in England. This put the Standells in a bind because they were about to record their first album Standells in person at PJ's on Liberty Records. Fortunately, they were introduced to young Dick Dodd who had his own claim to fame as one of Walt Disney's original Mousketeers.
Until now, Tamblyn did most of the lead singing, but Dodd was not to be denied. The only song he sang on the PJ's album, became a hit in Los Angeles (He went on to sing lead on all of their hits). Although they had yet to have a major hit record, the group managed to garner a large following. They received their biggest notoriety guest starring on the Munsters and Bing Crosby TV shows. They were also seen in the feature film Get Yourself a College Girl.
It wasn't until they signed with Attarack Entertainment, under an exclusive management and production contract, that the Standells finally achieved success in the Record Business. Producer Ed Cobb presented them with the song Dirty Water. They were not overly excited about the song, but agreed to record it if they could rearrange it. So Tony created the famous guitar lick, Dick the beginning chant, and Larry the chord structure. The result, a classic, is listed as one of the most influential songs in Rock history.
The Standells had two more chart records, Sometimes Good Guys Don't Wear White and Why Pick on Me. They were also featured in the motion picture Riot on Sunset Strip, in which they performed the hard driving theme song of the same name. They recorded a total of five record albums, including In Person at PJ's, Dirty Water, Why Pick on Me - Sometimes Good Guys Don't Wear White, The Hot Ones, and Try It. The latter, featured the song of the same name which embroiled them in controversy and perhaps solidified their punk image. Try It, featuring lyrics which by today's standards are pretty tame, was banned by reactionary Texan radio chain mogul Gordon McLendon.
Even though the record was the number one seller in many markets, including Los Angeles, most of the radio stations followed McLendon's lead and refused to play it. The group even debated the Texan on Art Linkletter's Let's Talk TV show, by most accounts defeating him handily, but to no avail. The song died - and so did the group's popularity and hopes of another hit record.
The reunited Standells, Dick Dodd, Gary Lane, Larry Tamblyn and Tony Valentino, performed live in New York in 1999, a performance released on Ban This.
Dick Dodd died in 2013.