Helpless Dancer

The Endless Note

Nazz

Nazz was a psychedelic and garage rock band from the 1960s. Though sometimes mistakenly called “The Nazz”, the group’s official name on all records and press materials is simply “Nazz”, without the definite article. The band was formed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1967 by Todd Rundgren (lead guitar) and Carson Van Osten (bass guitar). Thom Mooney (drums, formerly of the Munchkins), and Robert “Stewkey” Antoni (vocals, keyboard) joined before their first concert, opening for the Doors in 1967.

Nazz was marketed by their manager, Michael Friedman, as a teenybopper band along the lines of The Beatles or The Monkees. The group signed with SGC Records, releasing Nazz in October 1968.

Nazz never became mainstream rock stars, but they did achieve a measure of cult popularity among some listeners, especially future glam rockers and power pop bands like David Bowie and Big Star, in whom Nazz’s hard psychedelic influences can be heard. The song “Back of Your Mind” is considered an underground classic.

“Back Of Your Mind” – Nazz

The track “Open My Eyes” has been said to be the inspiration behind one of the earliest songs written by KISS, “Love Her All I Can”, a song originally intended for the pre-KISS band Wicked Lester. The song would appear on the 1975 KISS album Dressed to Kill. The song “Open My Eyes” was also accompanied by a promo video.

The album cover is also rumored to have inspired that of KISS’ debut as well as Queen‘s Queen II.

The album also featured the original version of what would become frontman Todd Rundgren‘s signature song, “Hello It’s Me“, which Rundgren himself would re-record several years later as a solo single for his concept album, Something/Anything?.

“Hello It’s Me” – Nazz

After a brief trip to England in October 1968, cut short by visa problems, Nazz recorded their second album, originally entitled Fungo Bat in Los Angeles in late 1968 and early 1969. (A fungo bat is a special baseball bat used only for practice; it is not intended to hit pitched balls.) The album was originally intended as a double album but was shortened to a single LP before being released as Nazz Nazz in May 1969. Much of what was cut was experimental, piano-based Rundgren material, heavily influenced by singer/songwriter Laura Nyro – a far cry from the group’s original BeatlesWhoYardbirds– Cream derived sound. Disillusioned, Rundgren departed the group, along with Van Osten, soon after.

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January 5, 2010 - Posted by | Old Music, Video |

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