THE BLUES MAGOOS
Formed in the Bronx, New York, USA, in 1964 and initially known as The Trenchcoats, the founding line-up consisted of Emil "Peppy" Thielhelm (vocals, guitar), Dennis LaPore (lead guitar), Ralph Scala (organ and vocals), Ronnie Gilbert (bass) and John Finnegan (drums) . The group quickly became an important part of the emergent Greenwich Village rock scene and in 1966 secured a residency at the fabled Night Owl club. Near the end of '66, the band was calling itself "Bloos Magoos" and Mike Esposito was brought in as their new lead guitarist. Esposito had at one time been in a college band with Lou Reed, and his inventive guitar playing, utilizing controlled feedback and tape-echo devices, added a new dimension to the group's sound. Having recorded flop singles for Ganim and Verve Records, the band was signed to Mercury Records, where they became the subject of intense grooming. Drummer Geoff Daking replaced LaPore in time to record their debut album, Psychedelic Lollipop, which was released in November 1966. The band was now using a more traditional spelling of their name, "Blues Magoos".
In February of 1967, Mercury released a single called "We Ain't Got Nothin' Yet", written by band members Gilbert, Scala and Esposito. The song was a Top Twenty hit (#5) for the Magoos in America and finished at number 72 for the entire year, but failed to achieve the same success in the UK.
Thielhelm took a role in the rock musical Hair using the name Peppy Castro. He has since pursued a varied career as a member of Barnaby Bye, Wiggy Bits and Balance, while Cher and KISS are among the artists who have recorded his songs.
On November 9th, 2000, The Blues Magoos, featuring Emil "Peppy" Thielhelm and Ralph Scala played at a garage band revival show called "Cavestomp". In July 2008, Blues Magoos, with original members Scala, Castro and Daking, reunited for the first time in years for two concerts, including one with The Zombies at the Fillmore New York. In December 2009 they traveled to Spain for the Purple Weekend festival.
In October 2014, The Blues Magoos released their first new album in 41 years, titled Psychedelic Resurrection.
The Blues Magoos, with their electric suits and giant, onstage lava lamps, are fondly remembered as a classic example of the "psychedelic" music era.