Thursday, May 19, 2016


A name known only to hardcore devotees of the early San Francisco psychedelic scene, the Final Solution never did release a record, although they did play some gigs around that time (including one at the Fillmore), and played for a month at the Red Dog Saloon in Virginia City, NV. Their modal distorted guitars and instrumental sections bore some similarities to those used by the Great Society and other early San Francisco groups. Yet the Final Solution had a grimmer, more downcast outlook, both in their lyrics and in their droning, minor-keyed melodies.

Most of the original material performed by the Final Solution was written by lead guitarist Ernie Fosselius and bassist Bob Knickerbocker, although rhythm guitarist John Yager sang lead. They did come close to a deal with Mainstream, the Chicago label that recorded several minor Bay Area bands (and one major one, Big Brother & the Holding Company), but nothing came out. In late 1966, interestingly, drummer Jerry Slick -- formerly in the Great Society, which also included Grace Slick, his wife at the time -- joined, adding parts from Great Society tunes to some of the Final Solution's arrangements. (In particular, on their 1966 rehearsal tapes, you can hear sections of the Great Society's "Grimly Forming" and "Father" lifted virtually verbatim.) The discouraged band broke up in 1967, and Fosselius and Knickerbocker went on to work in film.

Tapes of the band, recorded in 1966 at rehearsals and live at the Matrix club in San Francisco, do survive, and here's betting that -- given the intense interest in psychedelic rock from this time and place -- they'll see the light of day before most of you reading this get lowered into the ground. Although not close to the upper echelon occupied by the best of their San Francisco peers, much of it's worthwhile, particularly their most folk-rock-aligned stuff, such as "Just Like Gold" and "Bleeding Rose." On numbers like "So Long Goodbye" there's a garage rock rush, and they get into raga-rock on songs like "If You Want," with a guitar Fosselius constructed by putting a Harmony guitar neck onto a mandolin. A version of "Bleeding Rose," recorded at rehearsals with Slick on drums, did emerge on a flexi-disc included with the first issue of the San Francisco rock fanzine Cream Puff War in 1991.

1  Intro
2. Tell Me Again
3. Bleeding Roses
4. If You Want
5. You Say that You Love Me
6. Got My Mojo Working
7. Time Is Here and Now
8. Bo Diddley Meets Sandy Nelson
9. Truck Drivin' Son of a Gun
10. Just Like Gold
11. Misty Mind
12. So Long Goodbye
13. America the Beautiful Part 1
14. America the Beautiful Part 2


Anonymous said...

Thanks. You're right, I only knew this band by name probably from posters, etc. from that era. At least these tapes survived. Many bands from the '60s are only remembered by name. Larry

Anonymous said...

Somehow, I never saw this band live - despite being at the S.F. Ballrooms many times during the heyday. I'm delighted to hear this show, pretty good recording for the time. The band is much better than I expected although the vocals are a bit weak. Thank you so much for sharing.

Bob W.

GaragePunk66 said...

Just love that Great Society style, as Bob W. pointed out the vocals are certainly on the weak side. Never the less, a cool as heck artifact that has fortunately survived to thrill ears almost 50 years later. Thanks for allowing me to hear this.

P.R. Fenceclimber said...

I didn't think I would ever hear the rest of the Final Solution. Thanks 24HDV! On the CPW flexi the song is entitled "Fields Of Bleeding Roses" at least to my best recollection. Also Bill Graham hated them because of their name...

Anonymous said...

Thanks very much! Like GaragePunk 66 I like the Great Society a lot and wish that more bands had gone in this direction.

john said...

I've lived most of my life in L. A. but to me San Francisco in the 60's was where great music was made. I'll give any of it a listen at least once. Thank You.

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