Extensive promotion directed at the “flower power” market, catchy psychedelic covers – nothing seemed to work for the Stones-loving Chocolate Watchband from San Jose in 1967 and 1968.
They began their career with two singles on Uptown, this leading to a lucrative three-figure contract with Tower Records.
A cameo appearance in the movie Riot On Sunset Strip (1967) kicked off their national exposure, but scoffers to the contrary, the key Chocolate Watchband legacy is on No Way Out and The Inner Mystique.
While the Watchband’s music always seemed somewhat offhand – never as raunchy as The Sonics or as kinetic as The Shadows of Knight – both sides of No Way Out and the second side of Inner Mystique, in particular, contained some of the finest music of the day.
Nothing worked, though, and in mid-1968, our heroes moved to the Catskill Mountains.
A bogus Chocolate Watchband aggregation – the band’s lead singer David Aguilar left after The Inner Mystique – recorded the abysmal One Step Beyond (1969). The band’s producer Ed Cobb had had enough too, and guitarist Mark Loomis took on lead vocal duties.
The album would be the last we would hear from the group until 2000.
Revolutions Reinvented (2013) found the band re-recording some of their best-loved tracks in a vigorous, fresh-sounding collection which made it hard to believe that Dave Aguilar, Bill Flores, Gary Andrijasevich and guitarist Tim Abbott were now in their sixties.