Santa Cruz SCR10,003, 1966
OK so they were a Phoenix band but this is a Tucson record all the way! Recorded at Copper State Studios on 315 E. Broadway in 1966 by Tucson's resident audio engineer, Forster Cayce and released by Copper State's Santa Cruz label. Said Forster Cayce (RIP) about recording The Spiders in 1966: "They had already known that they were rock stars. And they would literally stop traffic on Broadway because nobody had ever seen hair that long on guys before. Nobody. They scared people. I knew they were going to be huge."
This record has a really bad mix. Detail: the bass is way too loud and midrangy, the drums are too loud and sound like someone pounding on a cardboard box with a mallet during the lead solo, which is practically drowned out. The rhythm guitar is almost inaudible, and just to be even more nitpicky, the bass has a slight, out-of-phase sound (similar to the bass on The Jou's "Tobacco Road," also recorded at Copper State Studio). Maybe some sort of mic issue, who knows, it was 50 years ago and not worth troubleshooting at this point. A thick fuzz guitar outlines the chord progression throughout the entire song. It's really quite a mess but it's a lovely mess! I could not imagine this five-star proto-psych/punk garagerock killer sounding any other way. The flip, "No Price Tag" finds The Spiders doing their best Rolling Stones moves and also suffers from an imbalanced mix. The record hit No. 1 in Phoenix, and was also played at radio in Tucson though I can't find a chart position. I unfortunately do not own an original of this disc; mine is a repro. It's not that easy to find a copy of this, the second Spiders record, and the last one before the group changed their name to Alice Cooper.
Lee Joseph grew up in Tucson. He's a DJ (Luxuriamusic.com), marketer of cool shit (Reverberations Media) and founder/CEO of internationally respected Dionysus Records, an indie that has long specialized in releasing super-rare music, and more. He came of age in the first wave of Tucson punk rock and is an expert on Tucson music. He's been collecting Tucson 45s for more than 30 years and now lives in California. Vintage Vinyl is a new column in the Tucson Weekly.