Wednesday, January 04, 2012
AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Michael Yonkers Band
Song:Kill The Enemy
If you're a fan of 60s psychedelic music, I think you'll enjoy the guitar effects laden music of Michael Yonkers. Today he's a cult figure. But this 1968 album Microminiature Love sat unreleased for 35 years. And that's why you never heard of him. He was born in 1947 in Minneapolis and grew up a big fan of guitar legend Link Wray. If you're familiar with Wray's music, you'll know that he was a pioneer of using recording studio technology to experiment with the guitar. His obvious influence was Les Paul but Wray used similar technology for rock as opposed to jazz. So Yonkers started out playing local clubs as Michael & The Mumbles and this evolved into Michael Yonkers Band with Michael's brother Jim Yonkers on drums and Tom Wallfred on bass. Yonkers made physical modifications to his Fender Telecaster guitar so he could get crazier sounds out of it. This eventually got the attention of Minneapolis music company owner Peter Steinberg. He owned Dove Studios. Steinberg wanted to be Minnesota's answer to the Kasenetz-Katz bubblegum music factory. I don't think Yonkers fit with that. But Steinberg got him to record the album Microminiature Love in 1968. Then he told Yonkers that he made a deal to release the album through Sire Records. That may have been a lie. It appears that Steinberg didn't like the record and decided to shelve it. He told Yonkers that Sire wanted him to move to New York, shave his beard and write pop hits. Yonkers refused and the band split up. He continued to experiment with electronics but unfortunately suffered serious injuries in a 1971 work accident that nearly crippled him. He recorded a couple of albums in the 70s but remained unknown until two songs from Microminiature Love were on a Dove Studios various artists comp. This led to De Stijl owner Clint Simonson releasing Microminiature Love on LP and Sub Pop released it on CD. So after 35 years of obscurity, Michael Yonkers is a guitar cult hero. Here's a video for Kill The Enemy by Michael Yonkers Band. Thanks to City Pages in Minneapolis for the details about the Steinberg deal.