Pacific Gas & Electric (band)

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Pacific Gas & Electric
Also known as Pacific Gas and Electric Blues Band, PG&E
Origin Los Angeles, California
Genres Blues rock
Years active 1967–1973
Labels Kent, Columbia, Dunhill
Associated acts Charlie Allen, Bluesberry Jam, Glenn Schwartz
Past members Charlie Allen
Tom Marshall (1967–70)
Brent Block (1967–70)
Glenn Schwartz (1967–70)
Frank Cook (1967–70)
Ron Woods (1970–72)
Frank Petricca (1970–72)
Ken Utterback (1970–72)
Jerry Aiello (1971–72)
Stanley Abernathy (1971–72)
Alfred Galagos (1971–72)
Virgil Gonsalves (1971–72)
Joe Lala (1971)

Pacific Gas & Electric was an American blues rock band in the late 1960s and early 1970s, led by singer Charlie Allen. Their biggest hit was the gospel-tinged "Are You Ready?"

Career[edit]

The band was formed in Los Angeles in 1967, by guitarist Tom Marshall, bassist Brent Block, lead guitarist Glenn Schwartz (formerly of The James Gang) and drummer Charlie Allen, who had previously played in the band Bluesberry Jam. When it became clear that Allen was the best singer in the new group, he became the front man, and Frank Cook, previously of Canned Heat, came into the band on drums. Originally known as the Pacific Gas and Electric Blues Band, they shortened their name when they signed to Kent Records, releasing the album Get It On in early 1968. The record was not a success, but following the band's performance at the Miami Pop Festival in May 1968 they were signed by Columbia Records.[1][2]

Their first album for Columbia, Pacific Gas and Electric, was issued in 1969, but they achieved greater success with their next album, Are You Ready, in 1970. The title track "Are You Ready?" reached #14 on the Billboard Hot 100.[3] After the album was recorded, Cook was injured in a car accident and was replaced on drums by Ron Woods, Cook staying on as manager. Marshall and Schwartz left and were replaced by Frank Petricca (bass) and Ken Utterback (guitar), with Brent Block moving to rhythm guitar before leaving later in 1970. Unusually for the time, the band contained both black and white musicians, which led to rioting and gunfire on one occasion when the band, who toured widely, performed in Raleigh, North Carolina.[1]

In 1971, the band changed their name to PG&E, following pressure from the utility company of the same name. The band also expanded, Allen, Woods, Petricca and Utterback being joined by Jerry Aiello (keyboards), Stanley Abernathy (trumpet), Alfred Galagos and Virgil Gonsalves (saxophones), and Joe Lala (percussion). They recorded the album PG&E, and also appeared in and provided music for the Otto Preminger film Tell Me That You Love Me, Junie Moon starring Liza Minnelli. The band then split up. A final album using the name, Pacific Gas & Electric Starring Charlie Allen, was recorded by Allen with studio musicians and released on the Dunhill label in 1973.[1][2] For a time the group also included Rick Durrett formerly of the band The Coven on keyboards.[citation needed]

Tom Marshall later suffered deteriorating health and personal circumstances, being homeless since the 1980s.[4] Frank Petricca became a commodity broker.[5] Charlie Allen died on 7 May 1990, aged 48.[6]

"Are You Ready?" was later recorded by Gospel music act DeGarmo And Key in 1984 for their album "Communication".

Discography[edit]

Albums[edit]

Year Album US Top 200
1968 Get It On 159
1969 Pacific Gas and Electric 91
1970 Are You Ready 101
1971 PG&E 182
1973 Starring Charlie Allen -
2007 Live 'N' Kicking At Lexington 1970 -

Singles[edit]

Year Name US Hot 100 R&B Singles
1970 "Are You Ready" 14 49
"Father, Come On Home" 93 -
1972 "Thank God For You, Baby" 97 50

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Pacific Gas & Electric official site (stored copy from Internet Archive)
  2. ^ a b Biography by Sean Westergaard at Allmusic
  3. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2003). Top Pop Singles 1955–2002 (1st ed.). Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research Inc. p. 531. ISBN 0-89820-155-1. 
  4. ^ "Finding Tom Marshall", article by Brent Block (archived)
  5. ^ Frank Petricca website
  6. ^ Thedeadrockstarsclub.com – accessed May 2010