THE CHOCOLATE WATCHBAND
Garage Rock since 1965
The Chocolate Watchband is an American garage rock band that formed in 1965 in Los Altos, California. The band went through several lineup changes during its existence. Combining psychedelic and garage rock components, their sound was marked by David Aguilar's lead vocals, songwriting, as well as proto-punk musical arrangements. The band's rebellious musical posture made them one of the harder-edged groups of the period with many critics labeling them as America's answer to the Rolling Stones.
The Chocolate Watchband was signed to Tower Records in 1966 and released their first single, "Sweet Young Thing", in 1967. Later in the year, the band released their debut album, No Way Out. Though the album did not chart nationally, the band had a huge following in San Jose and the San Francisco Bay Area. In 1968, their second album, The Inner Mystique, was released and included the band's most popular song, a cover version of "I'm Not Like Everybody Else". By 1969, with Mark Loomis dropping out in the middle of the recording sessions, the band released a final album, One Step Beyond, however it did not include David Aguilar on vocals and was not as highly regarded or indicative of their past work. The Chocolate Watchband officially broke up in 1970 with no intent of ever reuniting again.
After their dissolution in 1970, a revival of interest in psychedelic and garage rock in the late 1980s and 1990s brought the group to public attention, and their original vinyl releases became collectors' items, selling among private sellers for over USD$100. Rhino Records issued a best-of release of the band in 1983, while Sundazed and other labels re-issued the original albums on compact discs, including bonus tracks. After leaving the band, its members each embarked on other non-musical pursuits; Aguilar had worked as an astronomy professor after the band's dissolution.
Continued interest prompted the band to reunite in 1999, with Dave Aguilar, Tim Abbott (replacing Mark Loomis, who backed out of the reunion), Bill Flores, and Gary Andrijasevich; Michael Reese was added as guitarist in place of Sean Tolby. The group began to touring internationally in 2000, culminating in a show at New York's Cavestomp and a live album, At the Love-In Live! in 2001. They also issued a studio album,Get Away, in between the Cavestomp show and the live album. The group has since performed in Europe and the United States. In 2005, Melts in Your Brain . . . Not on Your Wrist, a two-CD compilation of the Chocolate Watchband's complete Tower and Uptown recordings, was released.
In June 2013, the Chocolate Watchband made it back to a recording studio in their hometown San Jose, to begin a new album. From 2015 to the present, the band's lineup is Tim Abbott on lead guitar and vocals; Gary Andrijasevich on drums; David Aguilar on vocals, keyboards, and harmonica; Alec Palao on bass and backing vocals; and Derek See on guitar and vocals. The resulting album (This Is My Voice) was released in 2019 to critical acclaim; the lead off single 'Secret Rendezvous' was featured as 'Coolest Song In The World' on Little Steven's Underground Garage program in February 2019.
The Chocolate Watchband - "Secret Rendezvous" (OFFICIAL VIDEO)