The Magic Mushrooms

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This article is about the band. For the drug, see Magic mushroom.

The Magic Mushrooms were an American psychedelic garage rock band in the 1960s. The Magic Mushrooms were originally composed of five students from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. They were:

  • Joe LaCavera (Drums),
  • Stu Freeman (Vocals and Guitar),
  • Ted Cahill (Lead Guitar and Autoharp),
  • Dick Richardson (Keyboards) and,
  • Charles Ingersol (Bass).

They came together shortly after they started their freshman year and practiced in the freshman commons until they started playing gigs. They named themselves the Magic Mushrooms after Allen Ginsberg suggested that name during an on-campus lecture in the fall of 1965.[1] In the Spring of 1966, they were joined by Josh Rice (Vocals, Flute, Harmonica), who had been the lead singer of a competing band on the Penn Campus, and 2 or 3 months after Josh arrived, Dick and Charles left the band, and were replaced by Bob Grady and Chris Barbieri, on keyboards and bass, both of whom had been in a band with Stu for a couple years previously.

The band was heard by Sonny Casella while playing at Drexel University later in the Fall and he signed on as the Manager shortly thereafter. They played mostly around the Philadelphia area into the Spring of 1966, most of their bookings being arranged by their new manager.

They released the single "It's A-Happening" ('B' side- Nevermore), in September 1966.[2] A Zappa-esque piece of psychedelic madness, the single hit number 93 in the American charts.[3] It became popular in garage circles, and was included on the Nuggets compilation in 1972.[4]

"It's A-Happening" was written by Stu Freeman and Josh Rice. Sonny Casella produced, arranged and mixed the song. When Herb Alpert of A&M Records found out what "magic mushrooms" were, he pulled the record off the market[3] because the band would not change their name.


  1. ^ Chris Bishop (2007-10-19). "The Magic Mushrooms". Garage Hangover. Retrieved 2014-08-22. 
  2. ^ Sciortino, Geri (February 24, 2009). "14 songs to ring in spring". Arizona Republic. Retrieved November 28, 2012. 
  3. ^ a b Rosenberg, Stuart (2009). Rock and Roll and the American Landscape: The Birth of an Industry and the Expansion of the Popular Culture, 1955-1969. iUniverse. p. 114. ISBN 1440164584. 
  4. ^ Kaye, Lenny (1972). Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the first psychedelic era 1965-1968. Elektra. 

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