|Also known as||The Shags
|Genres||garage rock, psychedelic rock|
|Past members||Paul Greenwald
John Sahli (1964-65)
Ray McCall (1965-68)
Gordon Elliott (1968-71)
The Shag - originally known as The Shags, and later simply as Shag - were an American garage and psychedelic rock band in the 1960s, best known for their 1967 single "Stop and Listen". They were one of numerous bands at the time using the name "The Shags".
The Shags were formed in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in 1964 by Paul "Green" Greenwald (drums, flute, congas, vocals), John Sahli (guitar, harmonica, vocals), Mike Lamers (guitar, congas, autoharp, percussion, vocals), and Don Luther (bass guitar, percussion, vocals). At first, they played folk and blues music, soon influenced by bands such as The Rolling Stones to develop a harder rock sound. They started playing at parties, schools and small bars, before gaining a manager, Paul Pattengale, and residencies first at DaQuisto's and later at O'Brad's club in Milwaukee. They also toured in the southeastern Wisconsin area. In 1965, they recorded a single, "Dance Woman" / "Cause I Love You", for the local Raynard label.
Sahli left the band in 1965 for a career in commercial design, and was replaced by Ray McCall (guitar, keyboard, vocals). The band increasingly performed their own material, and developed a reputation for outlandish costumes and special effects. In 1967, they were signed by Capitol Records and recorded "Stop and Listen" / "Melissa". "Stop and Listen" was written and sung by McCall and featured his fuzz guitar. It has been cited as one of the first anti-drug rock songs to be recorded. The record was credited to The Shag (without the final "s"), to avoid confusion with another group of the same name.
McCall left in 1968 and was replaced by Gordon Elliott (guitar, harmonica, congas, vocals). The band then moved to Marin County, California, and started playing major venues and ballrooms in support of bands such as Jefferson Airplane and The Who. They recorded material in San Francisco for an album, which went unreleased at the time. As Shag, they also appeared in July 1969 at the Midwest Rock Festival in Milwaukee, on a bill which also featured Led Zeppelin, Blind Faith, The MC5, Jethro Tull and many others.
In the 1990s and later, "Stop and Listen" was included on several CD compilations of 1960s garage band recordings, including Boulders, Volume 1 and Highs in the Mid-Sixties, Volume 10. An album of the band's 1969 recordings, Shag, was released on Gear Fab records in 2005.
- "60sgaragebands.com: Story of the Shags". Retrieved January 28, 2011. Quote: "There was no shortage of groups called the Shags in the mid-'60s. There were Shags across the country in states such as Minnesota, Illinois, Wisconsin, Florida, Indiana, and Canada - not to mention New Hampshire's rhythmically-challenged, all-girl, double-g Shaggs. The New Haven Shags, however, were by far the most well known, successful, and influential, and they actually hold the registered trademark of the name for performing musical groups."
- The Shags at 60s Garage Bands, including interview with John Sahli
- The Shag at Astor Theater Music
- Gordon Elliott home page
- Advertisement for Midwest Rock Festival
- Nick Warburton, The White Ship: the psychedelic voyage of H.P. Lovecraft
- Shag album review