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About Frumious Bandersnatch

Not every worthwhile San Francisco psychedelic group of the late '60s got to record often, or at all. Frumious Bandersnatch were one of the most prominent examples, their output limited to a meager (if good) three-song EP that barely anyone outside of the area heard. The band's stinging guitars were very reminiscent of those employed by Jefferson Airplane's Jorma Kaukonen, Quicksilver Messenger Service, and the Moby Grape; their harmonies, too, were quite close in style to the Airplane and Grape, with vibrating lead vocals in the mold of Marty Balin or the Grape's Bob Mosley.

The band were actually formed across the bay from San Francisco in Contra Costa County, and changed personnel several times in their brief lifespan (1967-69). Interest from several record companies came to naught, and the band's only release was a three-song EP on their own label, pressed in a quantity of 1000 and distributed locally. Built around the excellent acid-rocker "Hearts to Cry," it offered strong evidence of their talents, but no other releases were forthcoming before their breakup. No less than four Frumious alumni, however, would play in Steve Miller's band during the 1970s (Bobby Winkelman, Jack King, Russ Valory, and David Denny); Valory and another Frumious veteran, George Tickner, were founding members of Journey, who were managed by the roadie for Frumious Bandersnatch, Herbie Herbert. A good deal of Frumious recordings were unearthed from the vaults for reissue in the 1990s on the British Big Beat label. ~ Richie Unterberger