/ Tom McLoughlin / 10 am Tue, Mar 17 2015
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  • The Sloths, one of the great lost garage bands of the 1960s reunites after 50 years

    The Sloths, one of the great lost garage bands of the 1960s reunites after 50 years

    The LA-based band The Sloths recorded the "Makin Love" in 1965. Fifty years later, one member hired a private detective to get the band back together.

    For me, it all started with Elvis. I must've been six, maybe seven years old when I saw him on the Ed Sullivan show. I wasn't supposed to be watching, I was raised in a strict Catholic family, and Elvis the pelvis was sin. But like most Catholic parents, they watched to see just how sinful Elvis was. He was shot from the waist up, I could see that from my hiding place behind the couch. But Elvis' music and energy ignited my first desire to rock 'n roll. My father was a professional magician with a love of movies, and that’s where my childhood creative energies were directed. But at age 13 I turned against my father's dreams for me. Once again I watched the Ed Sullivan Show, and the Beatles changed my life, as did the Rolling Stones, the Kinks, and the Who. When I attended the Monterey Pop Festival and saw Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Otis Redding and many others I knew this was what I was born to do. Through my entire teen life my dream was to be a rock and roll rebel.

    There were thousands of us who answered the call…the music, the bands, the girls and the magic. We were in our mid-teens and opening club shows for Sunset Strip bands like Love, Iron Buttery, the Mothers of Invention, the Animals, and the Doors. At the end of the 1960s, everything for the "love generation" seemed to come crashing down. The Charles Manson murders, the stabbing at Altamont, and the deaths of Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Keith Moon, and Jim Morrison had a profound effect on all of us.

    I started to seek another creative path as a performer, looking for something that might make me even more unique as a visual performer. I found my answer when the well known French mime Marcel Marceau came to Los Angeles in 1969. I met him after his show and he invited me to come to Paris and study under him. Once again my life changed direction, and I became a comic pantomime street performer. My love of rock and roll was exchanged for physical humor. This lead to a television and movie career, starting with comedy, and then the combination of horror and comedy with my Friday the 13th Part 6: Jason Lives. My passion for rock and roll was reignited when Alice Cooper did the soundtrack for my Friday the 13th movie.

    During this time, I was making movies with Valerie Bertinelli and hanging out with Eddie Van Halen at concerts. The music scene had changed so much, and I was happy in the world of filmmaking. But a few years ago, a former member of the Sloths hired a private investigator to track down other members of the band. We discovered our 1965 single was on a popular garage compilation, and that record collectors were paying over $6,000 for an original copy on Ebay. We did some interviews, and on a lark decided to go into our drummer's garage and rehearse. We picked up right where we left off, and played the songs that we played on the Sunset Strip in 1966. We were terrible, but it was exhilarating. We did this for about a year, then opened a show at a club in San Diego, and something clicked. We felt we were playing with far more joy, passion, and energy than we ever did as teens. To today's young music fans we represent a classic music era, and while we never had a hit, we feel like a new group that wants to live the dream.

    Not many get a second chance to explore their teenage dreams, and not too many unknown groups from the past get to return 50 years later, record their first album, tour, and play shows at South by Southwest. Rock and roll dreams from the 1960s are even more rewarding to people who are in their sixties. The god of rock works in mysterious ways.

    The Sloths will release their first full length album The Sloths Back From The Grave on Burger/Lolipop Records this spring.

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