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TRAVIS PIKE'S TEA PARTY (1968)
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CALIFORNIA DREAMIN' WAS BECOMING A REALITY


TRAVIS PIKE'S TEA PARTY
“California Dreamin'” In this typical 60's graphic, the totally unrecognizable head in the upper left corner (above right) belongs to Karl Garrett, lead guitarist, arranger and third vocalist. Midway down the left side of the frame, is bass player Mikey Joe Valente, and slightly above, to his immediate right, about a third of the way in, the face with the whiskers is Travis Pike. Opposite Travis, about a third of the way in from the right, is rhythm guitarist and second vocalist George Brox and half-way down the right side of the page is drummer, Phil Vitali. The graphic above appeared in the August, 1968 edition of New England Scene magazine, just about the time the group emigrated to California.
“Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” The move to California marked the beginning of the end. George Brox disappeared to Cape Cod for the summer and could not be located, so the band left without him. In Los Angeles, they found a replacement rhythm guitarist and vocalist, but he took too long to learn the now nearly 200 original tunes in the "Tea Party" repertoire. Unable to take the promised gig at the Whiskey in Hollywood, the band took a booking at “The Posh” in Pomona and began playing pop tunes for the first 30 minutes, with Travis coming on to perform his original songs for just the last 20 minutes of each set. Playing was no longer playing, but working, and the music scene was changing dramatically. Drug abuse was rampant and the "Tea Party" name was attracting pushers and users, despite the fact that the "Tea Party" remained drug free. “It was really sad,” Travis says. “Our name came from the historic incident in Boston Harbor that heralded the American Revolution. Our break song came from the Mad Hatter's Tea Party in Walt Disney's 'Alice in Wonderland,' but with Gracie Slick's 'White Rabbit,' even that had become suspect. Of course, we knew 'tea' was popular slang for marijuana when we named the band, but it was all a joke, then. To us, 'psychedelic' was a musical style, not a life style.” Travis, with a wife and daughter, quit the band and "Travis Pike's Tea Party" scattered to the wind in 1970, but their fans still say they were great while they lasted.

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