Public Nuisance

The musical shifts towards the end of the 1960s have always been intriguing to me. Psychedelia, music experimentation and the emergence of garage rock against a social-political backdrop has made for many a film and book. But here is a little story I only heard of lately.

It concerns a four-piece called Public Nuisance who had become a successful support band to the like of Buffalo Springfield, The Doors and Grateful Dead. Formed, 1964 and like so many pop bands of the time, Public Nuisance changed and adapted throughout the decade to a more Psychedelia/heavy rock format.

Towards the end of 1968 and early 1969, they recorded an album’s worth of material with producer Terry Melcher.

During 1969 Melcher had sub-let his house to director Roman Polanski and Dennis Wilson of the Beach Boys and went on to suffer a breakdown after Polanski’s wife Sharon Tate, along with another four people were murdered by Charles Manson and his cult. Dennis Wilson had been socialising with members of the Manson Family cult.

Melcher closed down his label and basically retreated from sight. Public Nuisance played several gigs but went on to disband in 1970. The band and their recordings for many years went virtually unknown, but for a few people who survived the end of the drug-fuelled decade. Their music was not to see the light of day until 35 years with the release of a complete anthology double-CD entitled Gotta Survive.

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