Shelley Ganz embodies the missing link between the
sixties sound and the garage revival: his uncompromising music is able to compete in
originality with the Chocolate Watch Band, Count Five, Music Machine, Seeds, Shadows of
Knight, Standells and Syndicate of Sound without any reverential fear.
Shelley came from a well-off family; he left UCLA in 1978 and formed the Popes that became Unclaimed the next year: he was already thinking about this name when he found out that Peter Case (of Plimsouls) knew a guy named Gurf Morlix, who had a band called the Unclaimed during the sixties in the state of New York, took this as an omen.
In early 1979 there was the turning point: Sid Griffin, formerly member of the Death Wish (a punk band), met with Shelley and bang! The group was formed at Sid's apartment in the Palms district of L.A. by Shelley & Sid in April, then the others joined in: they made their live debut at the Nugget and entered the studio the following year, recording four tracks issued by Moxie later on.
At the end of 1981 two leaders' strong personalities came into conflict thus, Sid forsook the group and created a new band with Barry Shank, another ex Unclaimed who had left shortly before; Steve Wynn supported this combo for a short time and, after his departure, they evolved to the Long Ryders.
Shelley went on his way in the meanwhile, finding two worthy second leading musicians (Rich Coffee, ex Gizmos and Ray Flores IV) and releasing another masterpiece. Unfortunately Shelley's extremism caused the inevitable dissolution: the others kept on playing as the Fourgiven while Ganz left the scene.
A first attempt to reform the band failed in 1984: Lee Joseph, ex Jonny Sevin and leader of Yard Trauma, broke up his group after a tape and a great mini-LP, moving from Tucson to L.A., where came into contact with Shelley. Here Lee formed Yard Trauma again with Coffee's collaboration, keepin' always in touch with Ganz while running his own label Dionysus.
At this point rumours of an imminent album became more persistent, but it saw the light five years after its recording, credited to Attila & the Huns.
During the European tour, in 1987, the bad-tempered Shelley left the band slamming the door.
Once more I have to thank Claudio Sorge & Federico Ferrari: without their writings this summing up wouldn't be possible; a thousand thanks to Sid Griffin for the helpful info!
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