Monday, May 3, 2010

Finders - Which Way

Which Way

It's So Insane

THE FINDERS (San Francisco, CA)
Which Way b/w It's So Insane
Sky-Fi (SF-5217), 1981

John Perga, along with brothers Phil and Dennis Shraub, grew up together in San Mateo, CA. Sharing a fond admiration of British Invasion bands, the three played together in numerous groups dating as far back as 1967. Having spent much time writing and perfecting songs through the early and mid-70s, the boys did a lot of recording and set a high precedent for production quality early on, mimicking the techniques of their favorite British bands.

Come 1978, John and Phil form The Rockers without Dennis. Although he left to pursue other obligations, Dennis still maintained an integral role in the managerial and recording aspect of things. With new drummer George Hastings (later replaced by Bryan Allinsmith) and bassist Carl Jeppesen, the band played frequently and slowly built a strong Bay area following. Their sole self-released EP is a masterpiece of power pop recorded history.

Sheridan Oakes eventually joined the group on bass for a short while before long time friend John San Filippo took over and better fit the bill. At that point a name change seemed appropriate. Following the rejection of The Hole Finders, they settled simply on The Finders. "Which Way" b/w "It's So Insane" was their first of two singles, and those familiar with The Rockers could hear the natural progression. The same studio, crew and standards were used in the production of these songs as was used on the Rockers EP.

The Finders' next release was the "Calling Dr. Howard" b/w "Bad Food" single which was greeted with lawsuits for it's content and picture sleeve imagery (Columbia Pictures didn't approve of their use of the Three Stooges). Though humor always played a part in their written material and stage show, these two songs took it to a different level and may have alienated them as a novelty act instead of the talented songwriters and musicians that they were. Nonetheless, they made a music video for "Calling Dr. Howard."

The band later recorded an entire album's worth of material, and even had former Move manager Tony Secunda on board as producer. But the collaboration didn't prove ideal and they ended up finishing the project without him. A legacy of phenomenal material sat unheard in the studio vault for a couple decades due to a combination of their label folding and the band not having the funds to pay the studio, not to mention the imminent demise of the band. Luckily, Japanese label Wizard-In-Vinyl released the material on CD (ironically, not on vinyl) a few years back. One listen to this collection will reinstate their position as incredible power pop songwriters and performers.

Below are the banned picture sleeve cover and cease and desist letter.

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