Garage Bands: The Syndicate, Los Angeles 1965. LP With All Their Original Songs Released
Shortly after editor and publisher Mike Stax featured The Syndicate 60's garage band story in his Spring/Summer 2012 issue of 'Ugly Things' magazine; I was contacted by German record producer, Wolfgang Volkel.
Mr. Volkel (or Wolfgang as he prefers to be called) is an acquaintance of Mikes who has long appreciated the style and sound of garage band music and in recent years has been making it his profession to feature bands of that genre under his Break-A-Way Records label.
After reading about The Syndicate in Ugly Things, and than subsequently listening to our music, Wolfgang decided to contact and inform me of his desire to publish and release our songs as a forthcoming vinyl record and eventual CD on his label.
Of course, the call came as a total surprise. But upon hearing his proposal, it wasn’t really a difficult decision for us to grant him permission to proceed. As far as we were concerned, it was an excellent opportunity to carry on the band’s legacy in a highly professional fashion and manner none of us ever expected would occur almost fifty years after the fact. We had always hoped to release an LP back in 1965, now it will happen (who would have guessed?).
It was understood that The Syndicate would not receive financial compensation, but instead would be given a sufficient amount of the LPs upon completion so that each of the former band members would receive an ample share. Wolfgang kept his promise. I did receive a stack of albums which are in safe keeping and I have ear-marked for distribution to the guys.
The time that elapsed from that initial conversation with Wolfgang to a completed album was about eighteen months. Foremost because Wolfgang needed to wrap up several other projects he was working on before he could adequately turn his attention to The Syndicate.
Once he was ready, however, it was full steam ahead though there were a series of issues along the way that ate up blocks of time and effort to resolve. Allow me to recount them for you from my involvement (apart from all the efforts and energy Wolfgang exerted behind the scenes).
Foremost, there was the inadequate audio quality of the tracks. Wolfgang had in his possession only recordings of the recordings that I created with the Audacity software and subsequently posted in a previous Hub I wrote entitled Garage Bands: The Syndicate, Los Angeles 1965. Update and Songs Never Before Released.. This would not work.
Wolfgang’s recording engineer needed to have tracks as close to the original (without third-party mixing) for him to master a quality sound.
Short of having me send him the original vinyl records in my possession (which I was somewhat reluctant), Wolfgang suggested that I take those vinyls to a sound studio in my area and have them cut a CD without any mixing.
That was accomplished, and several weeks later, upon receipt of that CD, Wolfgang's recording engineer was satisfied. So we cleared the first hurdle.
The second issue presented a more difficult resolution. The Syndicate only recorded eight songs and Wolfgang required his albums to include ten songs.
I was no help because he had every song The Syndicate recorded (both, previously released and not released). So he began to chase down some viable options to make up the difference.
Fortunately, Bill Rash (our lead singer) did some recording prior to joining our band in 1964 and was able to present two additional songs. Although they were not created by The Syndicate, Wolfgang did a good job of incorporating them into the album in a way that doesn’t deflect, or distract from the band’s legacy. So we cleared the second hurdle.
Wolfgang’s graphic designer presented me with the third issue. Namely, that he needed a higher-resolution photo of the band for the album cover than he had in his possession. At this point, what I had were just copies of copies created over the years on my computer. It required a lot of digging through my boxes of memorabilia, but luckily I was able to locate the original photo and send him a high-resolution gif. So we cleared the third hurdle.
This fourth issue required me to proof read all the copy that would appear on the LP and cover. But that was easy and in the end only required a few corrections involving the name of one band member and a song title (so that was hardly a hurdle).
The album Wolfgang entitled "The Syndicate, The Egyptian Thing, L.A. Garage 1965" hit the shelves in November 2013. And according to Wolfgang has had favorable enough sales that he has scheduled the release of a CD sometime in the next month.
© 2014 James Kobzeff