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Count Five, The

San Jose band The Count Five lasted only five years and had only one Top 5 hit – Psychotic Reaction (1966).

When Psychotic Reaction broke, the band members were still at school so toured only on weekends. The song started off as an instrumental but had lyrics added at the insistence of lead singer Kenn Ellner’s father, Sol, who was also the band’s manager.

The Count Five split up in 1968 but they enjoyed a fertile afterlife thanks to Lester Bangs, whose 1971 essay Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung imagined an alternative future for the band.

Kenn Ellner graduated from Santa Clara University with a Bachelor of Arts degree and went on to law school, eventually practising law and working as a real estate broker. He also taught an Entertainment Law course at SCU.

Michalski became a business owner, and bassist Roy Chaney became a construction company foreman.


Kenn Ellner
Vocals, harmonica, tambourine
John ‘Sean’ Byrne
Vocals, guitar
John ‘Mouse’ Michalski
Roy Chaney
Craig ‘Butch’ Atkinson