When and where did the Crystal Revelation get together?
Originally in 1963 in Rochester (Pittsford) NY. John Lake and I were in a band--The Norsmen. Our first gig was when I was in 7th grade, I was 12 yo, and we played a high school dance. We learned the meaning of "grinding" at that gig. In 1966 John Lake and I got together with Ray Shostak (drummer) and we played as a power trio until 1969 when Mark Connolly (keys) joined. We played the Catskills in the summers and frat parties all over upstate NY during the school year.
Who were the founding members?
Me and John Lake. We were originally the Crystal Ship after the Norsmen, but had to change it when the Door's song came out. The Crystal Revelation came from the song lyric "mystic crystal revelation" by a notable black male/female vocal group whose name I forget.
Were you (or any of the other members) in any previous groups?
Not that I recall. In the summer of 1968 John, I and Ray played a a vocal group called the "Infinity Of Sound". We played a lot of clubs and had a male and female front for vocals. That was fun.
Did any of the earlier groups record or release any records?
What were the ages, or the average age of the group members?
we are all now in our late 40s and early 50s. I am 52.
What groups were your main influences? Were any Rochester bands an influence?
Rascals, but not much else except that many bands played around that time and we would always go out to clubs to see the most popular current acts which did influence our act.
Did you play live shows with any other Rochester groups?
yes. we played in several "battles of the bands"
What songs made up a typical setlist for the band?
everything from the Who, Cream and so on to Otis Redding and Three Dog Night. A real diversity of music.
Were any of your live shows particularly memorable for you?
Lot's. Mainly playing for initiation week at Syracuse University in the student center in Sept 1970. That was a great and very memorable gig. We kicked ass!
Did the group travel outside of the Rochester area?
yes, very much. We played all over the areas of downstate NY and New England in many clubs and hotels. We did a lot of traveling.
What made you decide to record at the Fine Recording Studio?
The producer/enginer was very likeable and competent.
Do you remember Vince Jan?
Did Vince Jan help (or hinder) the band in any ways other than sound production?
Helped a lot. He really embraced the fact that none of us had ever recorded. I remember blowing into the ribbon mike and getting yelled at like it was yesterday. I am still impressed.
Were the recording sessions a pleasant experience?
Very. The place was a mess, but the experieince very tight and not messy. He put his focus on recording excellence, not an orderly studio.
Were you happy with the sound you achieved?
Did the "Life / For Me" 45 receive any airplay?
yes. Mainly late night in Syracuse AM stations when we personnally went on promotion visits.
Who was involved in the record's distribution?
Only us. We sold some through records stores in the Rochester/Syracuse area.
After the record came out, did it help the band's career?
Yes. Not many bands had records at the time so we got some notariety.
Were there any personnel changes?
Once the four of us were together we didn't change personnel.
When did the band break up, and why?
In 1971 I was facing the draft and things were just running their course. We drifted apart more than broke up.
I have read with interest the story of your subsequent musical career.
Did the other members continue in the music business?
Mark plays in a country band, Ray moved to England and I lost touch. John went into video productions.
Do you ever see the other members, or play together as The Crystal Revelation?
Mark played on my Christmas Album (see my website). He did a great job. Nothing else.
Can you remember which Rochester bands you may have considered "competition" at the time?
Too far back. There were many bands as the garages were well occupied.
Did any of these other bands record at Fine Studios to your knowledge?
No, but they may have.
Have you ever heard of any of the following Rochester Bands :
(list of unknown bands found in Fine Studio remains)
Yes. But that was a long time ago.
Many, many thanks for your help John. I look forward to placing the interview on the site.
By the way, congratulations for writing and releasing the "Life" 45. It's very catchy and one of the best records to come out of New York in the era (early 1970).