Friday, October 31, 2008


The Unclaimed Sid Griffin's first 'proper' band now hold a cult status as far as the sixties/garage/psychedelic revival that grew up around Los Angeles in the early 1980s. Their look, sound and whole attitude to garage music at once both encouraged the likes of Steve Wynn to establish their own bands, whilst The Unclaimed themselves remained firmly rooted in the sound and look of 1966. Effectively The Unclaimed were always Shelley Ganz's band and it was in response to an advert in The Recycler that Sid Griffin became involved. Ganz's ad to start a band along the lines of The Standells, The Seeds and sixties garage music immediately appealed to Sid who had quickly grown tired of playing 'punk' in Death Wish and was more interested in exploring the sound of the sixties, perhaps sensing a change in people's attitude to the music. The pair got together in the December of 1978, immediately hit it off and began looking for the rest of the group. They found them in the shape of bassist Barry Shank, guitarist Jeff Kaufman and drummer Steve Galloway and by April 1979 had a basic set up with which to work. The band began playing obscure covers by sixties garage bands, things so bizarre that even the most avid fan would not have heard of it before. The idea being that if the song was familiar to the audience then it just wasn't obscure enough to be in the set! So the band deliberately chose to cover incredibly rare songs such as those that were only available on unissued acetates by the most outlandish sixties bands. By the end of 1979 Kaufman and Galloway had been replaced by Matt Roberts (drums) and Thom Hand (guitar). The band had now picked up a bit of a following in and around Los Angeles with other bands beginning to rely on sixties influences and a revival movement seemed to be beginning. At this time The Unclaimed also began to add original songs to their set in addition to tracks by The Chocolate Watch Band etc. Whilst they were now making their own 'sixties' music the band had little chance of putting out a record, as only Sid had a regular job and the band lacked the support of a label. However they did find help in the shape of Dave Gibson who was prepared to put up some money to enable them to issue a record. The result, in September 1980, was the Moxie EP, a four track single which featured two tracks each from Griffin and Ganz. The Griffin titles were Time To Time and the highly acclaimed Deposition Central (the Acid Song), whilst Ganz contributed The Sorrow and Run From Home. The last of these was also later used by Greg Shaw on the first Battle Of The Garages compilation on Voxx records in 1981. The EP had a very poor production which the band were not happy with but money was tight and they had to settle for what they could get. The band continued to pick up gigs around LA though in February 1981 they replaced Thom Hand with Rich Coffee, the former guitarist of Indiana punk band The Gizmos. About this time Sid Griffin began to feel somewhat restricted by the definite sixties outlook of The Unclaimed, joking that if bands in the sixties wore purple underpants, then so would they. Eventually this came to a head with Sid determined to recognise that this was now the 1980s whilst Shelley Ganz remained steadfastly planted in the genre of 1966. The pair's differences could not be reconciled however, and though they remained friends, Sid Griffin left The Unclaimed in November 1981 to eventually form The Long Ryders. This and other cool info about the unclaimed can be found at http://www.dtodo1poco.com/musica/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=329

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