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Sons Of Adam
The Sons of Adam were formed in the summer of 1963 as the Fender IV.  At age 17 Randy
Holden was already a better guitar player than most guys ever get.  But he played surf
music!!  He liked The Ventures!!  I was in Walker’s Music Store one day, and I heard a
salesman named Roland (a pretty good guitar player in his own right) talking about Randy.  
He said, “I called him up and asked him what he was doing, and he said he’d learned three
Ventures songs that day.”   He said it like it was a bad thing.  Poor lame Randy.  Wasting his
talent on The Ventures.  I was stunned.  He learned three Ventures songs in one day???  
Who was this guy??  I had to meet him.  It turned out he lived right around the corner from
me.  So did Mike Port.  I loved The Ventures.  So did Mike Port.  Baltimore was an R&B
town.  There was no place for us.  So, with Randy basically showing us all our parts,  we
practiced all summer, and, on November 16, 1963, loaded up a ‘59 Volkswagon and headed
west.  

The fully loaded Volkswagon had a top speed of about 50 miles an hour, so it took us five
days to make the trip to L.A.  We woke up on our first day in town to find out that President
Kennedy had just been assassinated.  Nothing was ever the same again.  That day marks
the beginning of the decline in America that continues to this day.  Up until then, we had
been at the forefront of everything.  We made the best cars, the best appliances, the best
guitars, the best music, the best movies...the best everything.  We were alone on the
pinnacle of success.  The decline was so gradual that no one even noticed it for a very long
time, but it started November 22, 1963.

But for The Fender IV, the road was just beginning.  We met a very good drummer named
Bruce Miller, and started working local clubs with intermittent success, until we were spotted
by Bill Doan and Ozzie Smith.  Bill and Ozzie were a little older than us, and knew their way
around.  They were ardent surfers and skin divers.  They said, “You guys belong in the
beach towns.”  We hit the beach towns like the Beatles hit New York.  We were instantly the
most popular band on the circuit.  We played every night to packed houses.  Fender gave
us gear.  We drove nice cars. The chicks loved us.  Everybody loved us.  It was a beautiful
thing.  

When the Beatles hit, we already had long hair so we just combed it forward and added a
few Beatles songs to our repertoire.  When the Stones first album came out, we worked it up
in a couple of days.  We were ahead of the curve on everything.  Everything, that is, except
making records.  We put out some very good instrumentals that are still considered
underground classics, but nothing went big.  Bruce had gone into the army, and we had
gone through a couple of other drummers when we found Mike Stuart.  Stuart was great.  He
isn’t on any Fender IV records, but, soon after he joined we changed our name to The Sons
Of Adam, and he was the drummer for the next couple of years.  With Stuart we were now a
very solid unit, but we had gone as far as we could go in the beach towns.  To make the
next jump, we knew we had to hit Hollywood.  

At the time, there were really only two places to play in Hollywood.  The Whiskey A Go Go,
and Gazzarri’s.  As luck would have it, The Walker Bros. had just completed a residency at
Gazzarri’s, and had left to try their luck in England.  I asked Bill Gazzarri if we could come in
on a Sunday afternoon, and play for free.  We did and he hired us on the spot, and, just like
that, we were playing Hollywood five hours a night - six nights a week.  We packed the place
every night.

Now we just needed a hit.  We left Bill and Ozzie at the same time that we left the beach
towns.  There was another manager in there named Dick Martinique who hooked us up with
Gary Usher...a very talented producer, and a really nice guy.  We were signed to Decca,
and recorded a song of mine called “Take My Hand” at Columbia studios.  Decca gave it no
promotion, and it never got played on the air. Listening to it today, it really sounds a lot like
what was on the radio at the time, but it didn’t really show the power and dynamics that the
band had live. If we would have left Decca then this might be a very different story.  But we
were talked into giving it one more try.  We told Gary we wanted to do our next record at
RCA Studio B with Dave Hassinger engineering.  We did just that and recorded a great
version of “Mr You’re A Better Man Than I”.  That, to my mind, is the only record we made
that captures the sound and the energy of The Sons Of Adam.  Unfortunately Decca sat on
it again until another version was released by Terry Knight and the Pack.  By the time Decca
put ours out, it was too late.  

By now we were being managed by Howard Wolf.  Howard was very tight with Gary Usher,
and also with Chet Helms who put on the now legendary Family Dog concerts in San
Francisco.  As a result, on April 8 1966, we became the first L.A. band to play the Fillmore.  
(Love was also on the bill, but we went on first.)  We played San Francisco on a fairly
regular basis in those days, and we loved it.  But loving it didn’t pay the bills.  We had to quit
Gazzarri’s in order to do those gigs, and we were supplementing our income by playing the
BiDo LiTo, which we enjoyed but which didn’t pay well, and other clubs most of which were a
drag.  Everything depended on us having a hit record, and it just didn’t happen.

We were floundering, and we knew it.  Randy couldn’t take it anymore, and moved to San
Francisco.  We replaced Randy with Craig Tarwater.  Craig was brilliant, but, without
Randy's influence, it was not the same band.  Nevertheless, it was a very good band.  By
this time, we were getting high (something I never did before Randy left), and playing more
experimental music.  The music was very satisfying, but there was very little money.

Arthur Lee, the leader of Love, was throwing a lot of money at Mike Stuart to join him, and,
finally, Stuart accepted.  We replaced Stuart with a talented young drummer with a lot of
potential named Randy Carlisle.  It was still a very good band, but, as far as the industry was
concerned, our best days were behind us.  We couldn’t get a legitimate record deal.  We
were no longer with Howard Wolf , but we were still working.  We cut one more record with
Tony Alamo on Alamo records.  

“Show The World” was a pretty strong record with a ferocious bass line, great vocal by Mike
Port, and beautiful guitar work by Craig.  It was backed by an Arthur Lee song “Feathered
Fish”- also a great showcase for Craig.  I am constantly amazed by how many people have
told me how much they like these songs because they did nothing when they were
released.  Soon after these recordings Craig moved on to The Daily Flash and in June of
1967 the band played it’s last show with Moby Grape at the Kaleidoscope. It was the end of
an era for us, and a lot of others as well.  Those three and a half years with The Sons Of
Adam were exciting times.  We were a small  part of the most creative period in American
music, and it was a hell of a ride.
                     The Sons Of Adam
Jac Ttanna       Randy Holden             Mike Port                Mike Stuart
Below
Mike Port  Randy Holden  Jac Ttanna   Mike Stuart

Mike Port   Randy Holden  Mike Stuart  Jac Ttanna
Mike Port                Craig Tarwater    Randy Carlisle       Jac Ttanna