The SALVATION ARMY (The Three O’Clock) – ” Happen Happened “

Posted: May 27, 2020 in Classic Albums, MUSIC
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

On this day (May 26th) in 1982: Los Angeles psych/garage rock revival band The Salvation Army released their self-titled, debut album on influential indie label, Frontier Records; (Since Reissued on Burger Records) after the charitable organization objected, they changed their name to The Three O’Clock and became one of the leading lights of the city’s burgeoning ‘Paisley Underground’ neo-psych scene…

In March 1981, South Bay, CA, teenager Michael Quercio formed the Salvation Army a punky, psych-influenced garage band that took most of its stylistic and musical cues from Lenny Kaye’s Nuggets anthology. Before the year was out, the Salvation Army had a single out on the Minutemen’s New Alliance label, a new guitarist (Greggory Louis Gutierrez), and a batch of new songs to demo.

After this demo was played on Rodney Bingenheimer’s massively influential Rodney on the ROQ radio show, signed the Salvation Army to Frontier Records and released the trio’s self-titled debut in May 1982.

The philanthropic organization took umbrage over the name and the Salvation Army politely changed their name to the meaningless but suitably psychedelic the Three O’Clock The band replaced drummer Troy Howell with ex-Quick drummer Danny Benair added keyboardist Michael Mariano, and transformed themselves into the leading lights of the paisley underground, a phrase invented apparently by Quercio that’s dogged him ever since. Fancher Records reissued the Salvation Army album under the clever name Befour Three O’Clock after the group misguidedly left Frontier for IRS, and in 1992, collected the full album, that pivotal five-song demo, and all four songs recorded during the sessions for the New Alliance single for a comprehensive collection of every Salvation Army studio recording.

As such, “Happen Happened” (named for the trippy A-side of that single, which appears in two versions) is a priceless document of the early days of the L.A. psych-pop revival scene. Fans of the Three O’Clock’s much glossier music might be surprised by the punky speed and noisy guitars, but the simple two- and three-chord songs are bracing and surprisingly melodic, and flashes of Quercio’s skewed lyrical bent are already visible in songs like “While We Were in Your Room Talking to Your Wall.” Six songs are repeated, though there are only notable differences in a couple of cases and invariably the album versions are superior to the demos. Regardless, this is both a definitive historical collection and a great piece of early-’80s post-new wave punk-pop.

a.k.a. The Three O’clock, power pop / paisley underground
from Los Angeles, California… 1992 “Happen Happened” CD Reissue of 1982 “Salvation Army” Album, plus 9 bonus tracks [Frontier Records, 01866 34639 2]

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