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The most mainstream of the San Francisco club bands from the late '70s and early '80s, SVT made two records, notable because Jack Casady was their bass player. Singer Brian Marnell hailed from Sacramento, and upon moving to San Francisco started the band with Casady on bass (formerly of Jefferson Airplane and still with Hot Tuna) and drummer Paul Zahl. They were an unlikely combo, similar in musical attack to the Clash with their anthemic pop songs. Zahl and Casady were an unfailing, powerhouse rhythm section, and Marnell the quintessential frontman. They debuted with the single "Heart of Stone," which was a hit on local FM station KSAN, a fairly unprecendented feat for an unsigned local band, but a handful did earn the distinction due to new wave advocate Howie Klein's involvement. Before recording an EP, Extended Play, for 415 Records, the band added Nick Buck on keyboards. Another album for a small Bay Area label disappeared soon after it was released. Marnell's death in a car crash ensured the end of the band, but by that point they had started to fall out of favor with the art crowd that comprised San Francisco's punk scene for being strict rock & roll traditonalists. Casady, of course, continues to play with Hot Tuna, and Zahl performed briefly with Tuxedomoon before dropping out of sight entirely. ~ Denise Sullivan

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