Boston Tea Party

Band members                             Related acts

  line-up 1 1963-66)

- Mike DePerna (RIP)  -- keyboards
- Richard DePerna (RIP)  -- bass
- Travis Fields (RIP) -- vocals

- Dennis Franklin -- rhythm guitar
- Mike Stevens -- lead guitar

- Dino Totten (RIP -- drums, percussion


  line-up 2 1966-68)

- Mike DePerna (RIP)  -- keyboards
- Richard DePerna (RIP)  -- bass
- Travis Fields (TRIP) -- vocals
NEW - David Novogroski -- drums, percussion (replaced 

  Dino Totten)
- Mike Stevens -- lead guitar





- The American Revolution (David Novogroski)

- Atlee (Mike Stevens)

- The Edge (David Novogroski)
- Highway Robbery (Mike Stevens)


Genre: psych

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  The Boston Tea Party

Company: Flick Disc

Catalog: FLS 45,000

Year: 1968

Country/State: Burbank, California

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: bullet hole

Available: 1

Catalog ID: --

Price: $60.00

In spite of the band name, these guys were from Burbank, California.  Formed in 1963, they started out as a surf music outfit, but by the mid-'60s had decided to follow popular trends, reinventing themselves as a psych band, complete with period costumes.  Love the costumes! 


The original lineup featured brothers Mike (keyboards) and Richard (bass) DePerna, singer Travis Fields, rhythm guitarist Dennis Franklin, guitarist Mike Stevens and drummer Dino Totten.  The group signed with Gene Autrey's Challenge Records, making their debut with a Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart cover:


-  1967's 'Words' b/w 'Spinach' (Challenge catalog number 59368)


The problem with their choice of a single came from the fact The Monkees had also recorded the song and when they released their more pop-oriented cover, it took over the charts, effectively strangling The Boston Tea Party version (which I actually like better).   The amphetamine speed flip side 'Spinach' was far more experimental and interesting.  It's always reminded me a bit of Andy Partridge and XTC.


The single was subsequently reissued by the small Big Boss label with the running order flipped:


- 1967's 'Spinach' b/w 'Words' (Big Boss catalog number FW 1002-A/B)



Released by the Vogue International label, their next single was a perfect blend of pop and lysergic-tinged psych.  Great Mike Stevens fuzz guitar.  The lysergic drenched flip side was even better.


- 1967's 'My Daze' b/w 'Rose In the Night' (Vogue International catalog number 101)



By the time the group signed with the MGM affiliated Flick-Disc label, the line-up had undergone a couple of changes - rhythm guitarist Franklin was gone and drummer Totten had been replaced by David Novogroski.  Co-produced by Jerry Styler and Dave Brooks, 1968's "The Boston Tea Party" featured ten originals.  With the exception of keyboard player Mike DePerna and drummer Novogrosk all the members contributed to the writing chores.  As you might have guessed from their 1776-styled stage costumes (shades of Paul Revere and the Raiders), these guys may have been marketed as a psych band, but they clearly had an ear for commercial material.  Originals like 'I'm Telling You,' 'Straighten Up and Fly Right' and 'We Have Already Died' offered up an engaging mixture of garage and pop-psych moves.  Powered by Mike DePerna's keyboards and Travis Fields' attractive voice, the album was packed with great melodies; nice harmonies and enough "edge" to give the collection a distinctive psych edge. Fields in particular proved a surprisingly strong voice, capable of salvaging even the occasional clunkers like 'I Found a Way.'   The only real shortcoming on the album came in the form of lead guitarist Mike Stevens.  Stevens was all over the map turning in some impressive solos on tracks like 'The Time Being', 'Fantasy' and 'Just Pretend You're Sherry.'  Elsewhere 'I'm Telling You', ' I Found a Way' and 'Please Be Glad (For What You Have In Your Heart)' reflected some un-inspiring solos.  To be honest, his solo on the latter was tuneful and melodic, but just sounded out of place in the mix.   More consistent guitar would have kicked a great album up another notch. 


Perhaps falling a little short of the "classic" label, but thoroughly enjoyable and even better, you can still find affordable copies !!!


The band survived long enough to undertake a cameo performance in the American International "B" flick "The Cycle Savages."   Three of their songs were included in the soundtrack (American International catalog ST-A-1033) - 'Fantasy,' 'Chained To Your Heart' and 'We Have Already Died'. 


And that's all she wrote.  By 1969 they were history. 

Novogroski reappeared as a late inning member of The American Revolution before joining The Edge.  Stevens recorded an album with guitarist Atlee Yeager's band Atlee and then went on to join the band Highway Robbery.



"The Boston Tea Party" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) I'm Telling You (Mike Stevens - Travis Fields) - 2:50   rating: **** stars

Powered by Mike DePerna's stabbing keyboards and Travis Fields' craggy, multi-tracked vocals, 'I'm Telling You' was a wonderful mash-up of snotty garage attitude and insanely catchy top-40 pop moves. Mike Stevens' brief guitar solo has always made me smile.  It certainly wasn't the most inspirational performance I've heard and I've always dreamed that with enough practice, it's something I might even be able to play. Flick-Disc tapped the tune as the album's lone single and I still wonder how radio failed to latch on to it.





- 1968's 'I'm Telling You ' b/w 'Free Service' (Flick-Disc catalog number F-900)






2.) Straighten Up and Fly Right (Mike Stevens - Travis Fields) - 4:15   rating: **** stars

With another hideously catchy refrain, 'Straighten Up and Fly Right' displayed what a strong vocalist the band had in Fields.  Elsewhere Mike DePerna's Farfisa organ gave the tune a cool, lysergic-tinged flavor. "HEY !YouTube has a clip of the band lip-synching the song as part of their cameo in the "Cycle Savages" film.  This songs starts around the clip's three minute mark:  The Boston Tea Party - Free Service & Straighten Up And Fly (Film cameo) - YouTube  
3.) I Found a Way (Mike Stevens) - 2:00   rating: *** stars

The bouncy, double time 'I Found a Way' found the band adding a faux-English edge to their sound.  The lead vocals reminded me a bit of Davy Jones.  The cheesy lyrics would have made this a choice as an AM single.
4.) Fantasy (Mike Stevens) - 2:43 
  rating: **** stars

With a jittery stop and start structure, 'Fantasy' was one of the album's most commercial performances.  It also gave Stevens a chance to redeem his reputation with a nice lead guitar performance.  The song was also one of three group compositions that appeared on the "Cycle Savages" soundtrack album. 
5.) We Have Already Died (Mike Stevens) - 2:40 
  rating: **** stars

'We Have Already Died' was an awesome mash-up of garage and psych influences.  Hard to sit still while this one was blaring on a good stereo.  This was another track that appeared on the "Cycle Savages" soundtrack.  (In 2012 the English Pilot label mistakenly included the song on an unofficial reissue of Orphan Egg's LP.) 

(side 2)

1.) Free Service (Mike Stevens - Travis Fields - Richard DePerna) - 2:39   rating: **** stars

Mike DePerna's Farfisa organ and Mike Stevens lead guitar started out giving 'Free Service' a seriously acid soaked feel, but when Fields multi-tracked vocals kicked in the tune shifted towards a more commercial bounce.  YouTube has a clip of the band lip-synching the song as part of their cameo in the "Cycle Savages" film: The Boston Tea Party - Free Service & Straighten Up And Fly (Film cameo) - YouTube
2.) Just Pretend You're Sherry (Mike Stevens - Richard DePerna) - 3:36  
rating: **** stars

Perhaps it wasn't the album's most original performance, but 'Just Pretend You're Sherry' was a nice bluesy tune with some cool blue-eyed soul harmony vocals.  This one actually featured a strong Stevens solo.
3.) In Their Shoes (Mike Stevens) - 2:51
  rating: *** stars

A rollicking garage rocker, Richard DePerna's melodic bass provided the song's standout performance.
4.) The Time Being (Mike Stevens - Richard DePerna) - 6:46 
  rating: **** stars

The album's most conventional ballad, 'The Time Being' boasted a dark, ominous melody underscored by some spooky DePerna Hamond B3 moves (and his longest solo).  The song also displaying the group's lovely harmony vocals.  This was the track where Steven's made up for earlier sins, turning in a wild, slightly ragged extended solo.
5.) Please Be Glad (For What You Have In Your Heart) (Mike Stevens) - 2:32 
  rating: **** stars

Sporting a great melody, a nifty refrain and sweet vocals, 'Please Be Glad' closed the album with what was probably the most radio-friendly track.  Steven's solo was interesting, but just sounded lost amidst the rest of the song.