Garage Bands: The Syndicate, Los Angeles 1965. Our Story and Songs.

The Syndicate, (LR) Bill Patapoff, Rick (Cronin}, Bob Bourbon, Jim Kobzeff, Bill Rash
The Syndicate, (LR) Bill Patapoff, Rick (Cronin}, Bob Bourbon, Jim Kobzeff, Bill Rash

Overview

In 1964 we were just five guys living in Southern California attending school; each with the ability to play a musical instrument and a love for rock music.

As a result, the five of us somehow gravitated together and we formed a band called The Syndicate. To our surprise, by the following year we had four songs published under two separate record labels and had three other original songs already recorded for release. It was our proverbial "fifteen minutes" and we soaked it up like a sponge. Then we parted and all of it became just a fond memory.

Now almost fifty years later garage bands have become a popular music subculture, and to our surprise (again), The Syndicate has resurfaced for yet another "fifteen minutes" (?)

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

In this article I want to focus on how The Syndicate became a band, our members, and the four songs we recorded and released under two major record labels.

How We Started

Early in 1964 my cousin and I started kicking around the idea of forming a band.

We were each attending college and thought it might be fun to put the few guitar chords we knew to good use on the weekends.

Given that the 60's "British Invasion" consisted mostly of five-member bands we figured we were 20 percent a band already; and besides, what did we have to lose?

Within the next several months we recruited two more college guys by word-of-mouth and a high school senior from a newspaper ad. Then, beyond our wildest expectations, almost magically, in the twinkling of an eye, we had become an actual band.

We called ourselves "The Syndicate" I think because we wanted to be perceived as a mafia-like family of bad guys. Of course nothing was further from the truth, but it sounded like a great chick magnet, so we stuck with it.

Our Garage Time

The garage was the perfect place for guys like us to build a song repertoire. It was free and available. Besides, in a closed garage with Fender amps cranked up to ten, practicing songs popularized by bands like the Stones sounded like British heaven.

Our Early Gigs

It was always incredibly easy to find somewhere to perform In 1964-65. High school and college campuses, college fraternities and sororities, wedding receptions, local hangouts; you name it.

The "British Invasion" created music-mania in those days. Teens couldn't get enough of English rock 'n roll. So bands like ours who sounded half-recognizable to the Beatles, Rolling Stones, The Who and Zombies got hired on-the-spot in one of a thousand places in Los Angeles or Orange County.

Our Hollywood Trip

About four months after The Syndicate was formed, we were hired to record several songs in a Hollywood recording studio for a friend of a friend. In that session we caught the eye of one of the recording technicians named Darwin Lamm and were asked back to record some of our own material. Which we did.

As a result, Darwin got Dore Records to release "Love Will Not Take Away" and "My Baby's Barefoot", and afterwards, Dot Records to release "The Egyptian Thing" and "She Haunts You".

We also recorded three other songs that were not released primarily because The Syndicate broke up. All seven songs, however, will be included in the vinyl album scheduled for release later this year.

Our Incredible Ride

Though we never became a "star" except to those who know us, and our records sold fewer than three hundred copies, nonetheless, it was a fantastic ride.

We enjoyed a pseudo-form of celebrity on campus and at our gigs, appeared on television twice, and in fact, did get to mingle with some genuine celebrities as a result.

Nonetheless, The Syndicate gave its last performance in sometime in 1965, and for a variety of reasons, each of the members agreed that is was time to part ways.

Our Members

Jim Kobzeff, co-founding member and bandleader.

Rhythm guitar, song contributor.

A college student at Cal State Fullerton, California.

Bill Patapoff, co-founding member nicknamed "Puff".

Bass guitar and vocals.

A college student at Long Beach State, California.

Bill Rash, nicknamed "Animal".

Lead vocals, keyboards, harmonica, trumpet, song contributor.

A college student at Long Beach State, California.

Rick "Cronin" (a nickname), his real last name is unknown.

Lead guitarist, vocals.

A college student at Long Beach State, California.

Bob Bourbon, our youngest member.

Drummer.

A high school student at La Mirada High School, California.

Dore Records

Our first release included "Love Will Take Away" and "My Baby's Barefoot". Dore Records, Hollywood, California circa 1965.

Dot Records

Our second release included "The Egyptian Thing" and "She Haunts You". Dot Records, Hollywood, California circa 1965.

The Egyptian Thing

Love Will Take Away

My Baby's Barefoot

She Haunts You

Promo Clippings

About

James Kobzeff was one of the founding members of The Syndicate and by default (because he was the oldest) acted as the group leader. He has only maintained contact with Bill Patapoff.

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Comments 8 comments

laine 8 years ago

I1am a huge fan of yours!


Panti-Christ 7 years ago

The Syndicate is one of the most essential bands of the mid-60's. By far I have never heard such a wailing harmonica solo like on Egyptian Thing. Since I bought a 60's sampler with the Syndicate on it in the 80's I have been hooked!! I just recently played it on my radio show here in Switzerland, check it out: http://www.garagepunk.com/2009/01/02/sonic-nightma...

Thanks to the internet I can toot my horn about one of my favorite bands of all time!!! I would love to hear the other side of Egyptian Thing and the other single as well. How would that be possible??


Panti-Christ 7 years ago

Duh, i see the songs are in the youtube files...


Angie Budroe 6 years ago

Very fun! My dad is Bill Rash, the singer in the band.


Jim Kobzeff 6 years ago

Hi Angie, I just spoke to your dad this morning. It was really fun. I hope we can get together in person sometime soon.


Maddie and Macy 6 years ago

I can't believe you're my grandfather. Love it!


VancouverBeeCee 5 years ago

Thanks for taking the time to write this! Nice to hear The Syndicate didn't get ripped off and consumed by drugs/bitterness/jealousy like so many others. I wish you were my Grandfather!


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spartucusjones 3 years ago from Parts Unknown

As a music fan I always enjoy discovering hidden gems from the past! I really enjoyed reading the history of The Syndicate and listening to the music. It was a pretty solid garage rock sound. I enjoyed it.

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