The Art Collection/Powder Demos

The Art Collection (aka: Powder) - the long arm of The Who was just about everywhere.

The Art Collection/Powder Demos
The Art Collection (aka: Powder) – the long arm of The Who was just about everywhere.

The Art Collection/Powder – Demo sessions – 1967 – Distortions Records (track 3) – Gordon Skene Sound Collection (track 1 and 2)

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One of the offshoots to the first British Invasion of the early 1960s was the massive amount of copying and emulating going on with startup bands in just about every part of the world. Most of those bands were of the high-school/garage band variety. Although some had aspirations for bigger things, the UK influence was huge and carried with it an indelible stamp of style and execution.

The brothers Richard and Thomas Martin (later Frost) were from the San Francisco suburb of San Mateo and their particular band of influence were The Who. Which was good because in the 1966/1967 period, The Who were still relatively non-mainstream and just anti-Pop enough to be considered edgy by a lot of fledgling groups. The Who were brash and high energy and the brothers took to it instantly.

Initially forming Powder, the brothers with bass and drums from a changing roster of musicians established a good word-of-mouth via local clubs and dances. Because of their Anglophile leanings, many fans thought they were British. As their reputation spread they eventually wound up in Los Angeles where they caught the eye of Sonny Bono and were, for a time, backing band to Sonny and Cher. They went from Powder to The Art Collection and things were looking up.

Sadly, those things didn’t go as hoped or planned – a series of disastrous demos via Gold Star Studios put a damper on expectations for an album of their own, and eventually the group splintered – Richard and Thomas Martin became Richard and Thomas Frost and a new set of directions were in store for them.

Certainly not the first time a situation like this has happened – and it certainly won’t be the last. But one thing was for sure, both Powder and The Art Collection were bands with a lot of potential that through a series of wrong directions got overlooked in the grand scheme of things.

Luckily for history, demos survive and the proof of what was overlooked has been revealed. Had things gone differently the story would have had a much different ending. But life doesn’t always work that way.

But you get to hear what was missed out on the first time around.

Here’s what’s on the player:

1. I Go To School – Gold Star Studios – Greene and Stone, producing – July 20, 1967

2. Morning – Gold Star Studios – Greene and Stone, producing – July 20, 1967

3. Turn Another Page – Westmont Studios San Jose – Rich and Tom Martin, producing – Spring 1968

Play loud – they certainly did.

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2 thoughts on “3 By Powder/The Art Collection – 1967/1968 – Past Daily Soundbooth: Demo Edition

  1. Some of this is inaccurate, I think. How do I know? I had become romantically entangled with Rich’s girlfriend as of November 1966, and she delighted in keeping me up to date on Rich’s accomplishments. There was never any mention of Powder. As far as I know, The Art Collection had been The Newcastle 5 before they recruited the New Zealish singer Ray Columbus (here seen with the maracas, I suspect) and changed their name. (In those days, if you couldn’t get an actual Brit for your band, you’d eagerly settle for just about any native English speaker with a foreign accent, be in New Zealish, Australian, or what have you.

    1. And your source is the most accurate, hands down. The tape box the first two tracks came from (via Gold Star) was labeled The Art Collection. When I was approached to include these two tracks, Alec Palao (who was producing the CD) said they were also (for a short time) known as Powder. He didn’t mention The Newcastle 5 (otherwise I probably would have listed that as well). As far as I know, the first two tracks had Ray Columbus on them. But from the studio chatter, Greene and Stone weren’t crazy about them. Now, If I could just find someone who knew who Calamity Faire were . . .(those sessions are waiting).


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