John Kerry's High School Rock Band

 by ICD


The Washington Post reports that Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry played bass guitar in high school, with a band called The Electras.

Snippets of The Electra's album can be heard in this NPR report. (Click "Morning Edition Audio")

But folks, is the only place where you will find the liner notes from The Electras' eponymous LP record album. It's interesting to see that the band actually toured a little bit. The writing style is amusing, and conveys the flavor of the times:

[ ELT - 201


A school such as Saint Paul's School often provides a fertile breeding ground for all sorts of experimental musical ventures by boys who have for the first time come into contact with others whose tastes and interests in music are similar to their own. The Electras are the product just such an experimental musical venture. They were organized just over two years ago under the leadership of Larry Rand, a group of boys drawn together by a common love of rock and roll and a common desire to play it. Originally they came into existence as a temporary group to replace another that had been forced to disband, but they stayed together and in the two years since that time have progressed a long way from their somewhat unprepossessing beginnings. At Saint Paul's they are a regular and popular feature in the intermissions of the Term dances; and in the Fall of 1961 they were invited to play at the Senior Class Dance of the Chapin School in New York, where they were extremely well received. Their combination practice-jam sessions at St. Paul's are always packed with spectators. For this summer they have already obtained a tentative engagement in New Bedford, Massachusetts. In short, the Electras are an enormous success.

The reason in part for the Electras' great success lies primarily in the fact that they are a highly original and refreshing group to listen to. They subscribe to the theory that rock and roll should by rights be made an art, and to this end they have experimented widely with technique and form. From jazz they have borrowed the principle that improvisation should comprise a large part of music and in consequence they have developed a style that is strictly and unmistakably theirs. Not one of their numbers, no matter how familiar the title, sounds anything like any version that has ever been done before. Tedious imitation is not a part of their repertory.

The Electras themselves represent a wide variety of personalities and talents. Larry Rand, leader of the group and lead guitar, is an exuberant native of New York City who took up the electric guitar a few years ago as a hobby, and who has now let it become all but an obsession, as any frequenter of the Electra's Saturday night practice sessions would affirm. John Prouty, rhythm guitar is from Worcester, Massachusetts, and quiet and patient soul who is something of a foil for Rand's outgoing nature and whose skill with a pick has made him an indispensable member of the group. John Radcliffe is a madcap pianist from New Bedford, Mass who can play anything from Tchaikovsky to Jerry Lee Lewis (were he to give a recital he would probably do just that) without batting an eye, and the possessor of a musical imagination so feverish it must be experienced to be believed. John Kerry, electric bass is a resident of Oslo, Norway, and the producer of a pulsating rhythm that lends tremendous force to all the members. The drummer, Peter Land, is from Hingham Mass. Although no giant physically, he still calls from his skins a very large beat indeed. Andy Gagarin, the last member of the group, plays the maracas and is responsible for the operation of all the Electra's rather staggering aggregation of electronic equipment. He is a native of Fairfield Connecticut. (Also a member of the group but not present for this recording is Tim Norris, of the Dublin School.)

All in all, the listener should find little more to be desired from this recording The Electras' technique and style is preeminent among new rock and roll groups, and this record, which the Electras themselves feel to be fully representative of themselves and their abilities, could easily get them started on the road to success.

P.W. Johnson


1. Guitar Boogie Shuffle
2. Three Blind Mice
3. You Can't Sit Down
4. Greenfields
5. Shanghaied
6. Summertime Blues

1. Bulldog
2. Ya Ya
3. Sleepwalk
4. Electra
5. Because They're Young
6. Torquay
7. Yellow Jacket

Radio Corporation of America
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