The Crome Syrcus was formed in Seattle, September 1966, involving members John Gaborit, James Plano and Dick Powell of the Mystics. Gaborit and Powell had recorded on a 45 in 1963 for NOLTA, a sister label of the Northwest's Safari Records, while Plano was away in the military. Gaborit, Plano and Powell all attended Renton High School together outside Seattle, graduating in varied years.
The other piece of the Crome Syrcus puzzle locked in with the 1966 connection of Ted Shreffler (keys) as he left his jazz trio. He met up with Lee Graham (bass, vocals), formerly of the Seattle Jazz Quintet, and also found Rod Pilloud, who became the band's first drummer. And as Plano arrived back from the military by early 1968, he was playing shows opening for the Doors at Fillmore East.
When they met Robert Joffrey, of New York City Center Ballet fame, the Crome Syrcus was ready to convince him to let them adapt the 26-piece score from "Opus '65," which the ballet was planning to perform at Eagles Auditorium. After a successful performance, Joffrey offered the chance to write an original score to his new ballet, Astarte, which the group premiered in New York in the Fall of 1967.
Boyd Grafmire, Richard Ward and Bill Graham were the Syrcus' managers. Soon enough, Graham had found the band opening slots for acts such as Jefferson Airplane, Iron Butterfly, the Byrds, and Lou Reed. The band was also constantly working with some of the most vibrant, iconic artists in all of the world. Artists of the area such as John Moehring, Don Paulson, and Jacques Moitoret.
The Crome Syrcus released music most actively in 1968, along with the long player, Love Cycle, issued in January 1968 by New York City's Command/ABC, and completed in NYC with assistance in production provided by Seattle's Peter Katims, working for Command.
The music on this album is naturally based on the 1960's early psychedelic pop/rock sound, but there are elements which stretch artistic expression beyond the boundaries of conventional popular music, with wild atavistic guitar solos, confusing arrangements, references to classical choral music, orchestrations, and pastoral flute sequences. They also created a title track lasting over 17 minutes, which features some of the largest melody.
With this approach, this obscure band might please both the fans of the late 1960's west coast rock, and also the listeners of more challenging adventurous art rock.
D i s c o g r a p h y
1968, Love Cycle
1968, "Take It Like a Man" / "Crystals" (ABC-Command)
1968, "Long Hard Road" / "Lord In Black" (Piccadilly)
1968, "White Korte Feather (In My Life)" / "Blue Morning" (Merrilin)
1969, "Elevator Operator" / "Lord In Black" (Jerden)
John Gaborit ~ Guitar
James Plano ~ Drums
Dick Powell ~ Harmonica, Keyboards, Vocals
Mikel Rollins ~ Vocals, Bass
Rod Pilloud ~ Drums
Lee Graham ~ Vocals, Bass, Flute
Ted Shreffler ~ Keyboards