The Story, continued

By late 1967 The Mustard Greens found themselves playing right down the street from The Doors at Gazzari's on the Strip. Then came the Battle of the Bands and the Teenage Fair. "Hundreds of bands entered the contest and thousands of screaming teens cheered us on to second place in a very close race. At least we performed all original material," Jeff says.

At the end of 1968 music producer Brian Ross discovered The Mustard Greens and quickly put the band into the recording studio. Their first single on Original Sound Records hit the charts at #78 with double bullets. Dick Clark's American Bandstand's national TV audience gave "Cotton Soul" the highest ever rating. By now John and Jeff had changed the group's name to Mad Andy's Twist Combo, which didn't last long. Brian suggested Pasternak's Progress and that's what appeared on the record company's Sunset Boulevard neon sign.

"Just when I was feeling down because we weren't gigging enough, John came yelling into my room, shouting 'I got us a gig at The Hullabaloo and guess who we're opening for? The Doors!' That night was a fairy tale came true! If opening for The Doors wasn't enough, we also played that night with Alice Cooper and Big Brother and the Holding Company.

A month later their second single was released and looked good on Billboard, but not good enough. Art Leboe, famous West Coast disc jockey and owner of Original Sound Records, decided not to renew their contract. His reason? He didn't need another group that sounded like The Doors. Jeff says, "John and I were shocked and tried to modify our sound and style, but it was too late. As a last attempt to re-sign with another label, I came up with a whole new approach by painting my face with white make-up and wearing a purple velvet puppet costume." Not surprisingly, the band broke up within a few months. Even Jeff in full regalia holding up traffic to dance across Sunset Boulevard didn't get the attention of a music executive. John went back to school, leaving Jeff a solo writer.

It was a rough passage. When Bill Malone, aka William Malone, decided to open a folk club in the basement of the original Guitar Center on Sunset Boulevard and Gardner in Hollywood, he invited Jeff to help him. The previous disgruntled tenant had trashed the small theater. When they finished their renovations it became Arty Fatbuckle's. During this new era Jeff drew inspiration for continuing his struggling solo act from Poco, Hamilton Camp, Judee Sill and Paul Potash among others.

1969 found Jeff moving to England to join his old brother, Mike, in his London flat. Mike, known internationally as Emperor Rosko, had become famous as a disc jockey in Europe and Great Britain. Jeff threw himself into the British music scene and eventually he, Darryl Read, Chris Gibbons, Ian McDonald and Lou Martin formed a band they called Krayon Angels. "I picked the name in honor of a Judee Sill song," Jeff says. "Our first gig was at The Revolution, a small, hip club in London. We weren't very good, but we were loud, so loud that we nearly brought down the crystal chandelier."


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