This section of the band's history has been pieced together with the help of the band's final lead vocalist and drummer Richard Whetstone. A radio interview with Richard Whetstone was held in February 1999 in a programme called 'The Origins of Hip-Hop'. This was broadcast on the WRVU radio station and it outlined the history of the band from 1968 to 1970. Click here to hear the interview!
Dave Hassinger owned the name of the Electric Prunes. Encouraged by the success of the 'Mass' LP, a similar follow-up was promptly arranged. David Axelrod again performed the same functions for the next album released in November 1968 - 'Release of an Oath - The Nol Nidre'.
This album was even more anonymous than its predecessor - no personnel, no photographs - only the same engraving of the group that had been tucked away on the first album. It has always been assumed that that some of the session musicians on the 'Mass' LP became the New Electric Prunes on the 'Release of an Oath - The Nol Nidre' LP. Of course that was not the case as the original Electric Prunes disbanded, the 'Mass in F Minor' session band The Collectors went on to become Chilliwack and a new line-up was eventually assembled for the 'Release of an Oath' LP.
Richard Whetstone was in a Colorado band called Climax with John Herron (organ), Mark Kincaid (guitar) and Bob Brandenburg (bass) when he received a call from a fellow Denver musician called Rich Fifield whose manager handled the Electric Prunes. Rich Fifield was the guitarist and vocalist with a Colorado surf band - The Astronauts. The band's label at that time was RCA and subsequently Dave Hassinger was RCA's house engineer.
The Electric Prunes management, which included Lenny Poncher, were searching for a group to replace the original band - which had broken up during the recording of the 'Mass' LP - and continue the recording contract David Hassinger and his production company (Damo Productions, Inc.) had with Reprise Records.
After the call from Rich Fifield, Richard Whetstone, John Herron and Mark Kincaid moved to Los Angeles but bass player Bob Brandenburg didn't move with them. This meant that a new bass player was required. Randy Meisner, who had been in bands such as The Poor and Ricky Nelson's Stone Canyon Band, was offered the job but turned down the invitation to join The Electric Prunes. Randy Meisner later went on to be in 70s supergroup The Eagles.
The line-up therefore became :
John Herron (b. Elk City, Oklahoma, USA) - Organ
Brett Wade (b. Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada) - Bass Guitar, Flute & Vocals
Mark Kincaid (b. Topeka, Kansas, USA) - Guitar & Vocals
Richard Whetstone (b. Hutchinson, Kansas, USA) - Drums & Lead Vocals
Howard Roberts who recorded many LPs in his own right such as 'Color Him Funky', 'H.R. is a Dirty Guitar Player', 'Somethings Cookin'', 'Whatever's Fair', 'Jaunty Jolly', and 'Goodies' and was essentially the "fifth Monkee", was brought in and played guitar on 'Release of an Oath'.
Also, Carol Kaye (bass) and Earl Palmer (drums) were present on these sessions. According to Carol Kaye, she played on the tracks produced by David Axelrod on 'Release of an Oath' but she had no idea what was going on top of those tracks she recorded.
After its release, even David Axelrod went his own way and went off to record a series of albums, including 'Songs of Innocence' which sounded remarkably like his work with the Electric Prunes!
Even the band's label - Reprise - were confused with the band's line-up and image at this time. It appears they were still trying to cash in on the popularity of the early singles as the following cover of the 'Hey Mr President' single shows. The original members are shown on the cover of this 1969 single but they had all departed by mid 1968.
The confusion regarding the band's line-up was further enhanced by Reprise who in Europe were releasing Electric Prunes singles with the new line-up of Richard Whetstone, Ron Morgan, Brett Wade and Mark Kincaid.
Cut off from their religious fantasies, the group returned to basics in June 1969 with the release of the final Electric Prunes album - 'Just Good Old Rock and Roll'. Just before the release of this final LP, John Herron quit the band after a concert in L.A. and was subsequently replaced by :
Ron Morgan (b. Colby, Kansas, USA) - Guitar
Ron Morgan was at the time playing in the band Three Dog Night but he was anxious to play in a less structured band. Ron had also been in a Denver group by the name of Superband (with Jimmy Greenspoon of Three Dog Night). In between all of this, he was also a key sesssion musician with The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band. Ron Morgan helped complete the recording of the 'Just Good Old Rock and Roll' LP and then went on tour with the band. John Herron was still credited with keyboards on the LP but did not appear on the album cover.
In early 1970, Richard Whetstone and Brett Wade left the Electric Prunes. They both went to Canada where they formed Stallion Thumbrock with Garry Bell, Joel Wade and Basil Watson. However, this didn't seem to be the end of the Electric Prunes as Mark Kincaid and Ron Morgan formed a new band which did turn out to be the final line-up of the Electric Prunes. The new band members were :
Michael Kearns - flute
Huey Plumleigh - keyboards
It was this new line-up who played at the Red Palace in Dodge City in July 1970. The following article is the last available record of the Electric Prunes :