Interview With Nancie Mantz
Electric Prunes Songwriter
(1966 - 1967)

The following is an interview with Nancie Mantz conducted via mail in January 2003.

1. Did any other songwriters inspire you in the 60s?

The Beatles, Bacharach & David, The Rolling Stones and Jimmy Webb.

2. How did you end up writing songs for the Electric Prunes?

Annette Tucker introduced me to Dave Hassinger and we were the Prunes's first album.

3. How did the songwriting partnership with Annette Tucker begin?

I was a contract writer for Four Star and Dave Burgess, our publisher, asked me to work with this very talented melody writer.

4. Did you have any other songwriting partnerships?

Yes - Keith Colby, Dean Kay, Harry Nilsson and Glen D. Hardin.

5. Did you ever write any solo material?


6. What aspects of the song writing did you concentrate on - lyrics or music?


7. What instruments do you play?

I've studied piano, violin and guitar but play non of these well. I still play the harmonica (pretty bad!).

8. How were the songs constructed?

Most often I'd work from a title, write a verse or two in lyric form and pass it onto Annette. We wrote many of our songs over the phone.

9. How were your songs presented to the band (demos, sheet music, etc)?

Our songs were often presented in demo or tape form.

10. Were you involved in any recording sessions? If yes, what was your involvement?

Yes, as an observer and cheerleader.

11. I believe that 'I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night)' was demoed by Jerry Vale - how did this come about?

'I Had Too Much To Dream' was demoed by Jerry Fuller (not Jerry Vale). Jerry Fuller (The Union Gap - wrote 'Woman, Woman', 'Young Girl', etc.) was a contract writer at Four Star at the time and made demos on several songs Annette and I wrote.

12. The songs on the first Electric Prunes album were very diverse e.g. ranging from rockers like 'Are You Lovin' Me More (But Enjoying It Less)' to ballads like 'Onie' - was this a deliberate decision to try and catch a wide audience?

We were asked to write a diversified selection to showcase the Prunes's varied talent.

13. Were the songs written with the Electric Prunes in mind?


14. How did you feel when 'I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night)' made it to number 11 in the charts?

Eleven with a bullet! It was a very big thrill.

15. After the commercial success of 'I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night)', were you disappointed that the other songs such as 'Dr. Do-Good' released didn't make the same impact on the charts?

'Dr. Do-Good' was mastered poorly (sorry Dave). The lyric was buried. It was very disappointing.

16. Were you aware of the sexual overtones in your songs?

Yeah, baby.

17. How did you feel about having 7 out of the 12 songs on the first Prunes LP?

Very fortunate.

18. Were you aware that Dave Hassinger was going to use only 3 songs on the Electric Prunes's second LP - 'Underground'?

Not really.

19. Were any songs recorded by the Prunes but never featured on any LP?

I don't think so.

20. Were any of your songs rejected by either Dave or the band?


21. Do you think the recorded songs were how you envisaged them when they were written?

Some yes - some no.

22. What is your favourite Electric Prunes song and why?

'I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night)' - I enjoyed writing it, hearing it on the air and spending the money I made from it. :-)

23. What other groups have recorded your songs?

The American Breed, The Newbeats, The Browns, The Knickerbockers and others.

24. What are your thoughts on the band recording and performing again?


25. What have you been doing since '67?

My mother was murdered in 1970 and I quit writing. I've done many things - moved to Lake Tahoe in 1974 to be mear my three children. I've worked in casinos, managed service stations, done property management.

I moved to Littleton, Colarado in 1988 and did property management until 1998 when I retired. I now do volunteer work, have delivered meals on wheels for 7 years and go fishing as often as I can.

26. Do you still write songs?


27. Have you kept in touch with your songwriting partner - Annette Tucker?

Annette and I reconnected just recently because of this interview. Thanks Haydn, it was good to hear from my "old" friend again after all these years.

The Songs

I'm sure people would love to know a bit more about each song - where the ideas came from, etc.?

'I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night)' LP :

I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night) (Tucker / Mantz)

Annette's title - the story told itself.

'Onie' (Tucker / Mantz)

I wrote this for my daughter Tracy. I couldn't call it 'Tracy' as there was another current song with that title.

'Are You Lovin' Me More (But Enjoying It Less)' (Tucker / Mantz)

Wrote itself from the title.

'Sold To The Highest Bidder' (Tucker / Mantz)

Wrote itself from the title.

'The King Is In The Counting House' (Tucker / Mantz)

An analogy of th generation gap. The difficulty in understanding and communicating between generations.

'The Toonerville Trolley' (Tucker / Mantz)

I wrote for my father. Another generation gap study communication problem.

'Underground' LP :

'Antique Doll' (Tucker / Mantz), 'Dr. Do-Good' (Tucker / Mantz) & 'I' (Tucker / Mantz)

These were all buried in the mastering.