Band members               Related acts

- Fred Caban - vocals, guitar (1968-74)
- Lonnie Cambell - bass (1968)
- Jim Hess - keyboards (1972-74)
- Mike Jungkman - drums, keyboards (1968-74)
- John Peckhart - bass (repalced Lonnie Campbell)




- none known



Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Gospel Hard Rock

Company: Mark

Catalog: MHS 2179

Year: 1971

Grade (cover/record): VG/VG

Comments: minor ring, edge and corner wear; little bit of hiss to start off

Available: 1

GEMM catalog ID: 2476

Price: $150.00

Cost: $125.00


Living in Azusa, California, Fred Caban's primary interest was rock and roll. Graduating from high school in 1968 Caban and a couple of friends formed a band and began playing dances and local clubs. Within a matter of months Caban had undergone a religious awakening (in case you were curious, in various interviews he's claimed that Christ touched him at 2 in the morning while he was sitting on a beach in Huntingdon, California). Determined to spread the word to his contemporaries, Caban decided to form an evangelistic rock band. Recruiting drummer Mike Jungkman and bassist Lonnie Campbell, the trio started performing as Agape. Simply too radical for local churches (wot - a rock band?), the trio spread their message playing dances, school assemblies, local coffee houses and free concerts. The fact of the matter us their then-novel idea of blending religious beliefs with psychedelic/hard rock was roughly a decade ahead of popular musical tastes. By the way, while anyone thinking of '80s Christian rockers such as Slayer may find this a rather unpromising description, to their credit Caban and company somehow managed to pull it off.

With Campbell having been replaced by John Peckhart, the trio's evangelistic message brought them into contact with a number of other Christian acts, including Larry Norman. Norman brought he band into the studio, introducing them to producer Martin Jones, who eventually offered them free studio time (between 12 pm and 6 am). They also found a mentor in the form of youth pastor Ron Turner. Interested in tapping into the band's young audience, Turner opened up his Arcadia Community Church to the band, while serving as their manager.

Released on their own Mark label, 1971's aptly titled "Gospel Hard Rock" served to spotlight Caban. In addition to handling all lead vocals and guitar, he was credited with writing all of the material. We'll also be up front and warn you that Caban and company weren't exactly the most skilled instrumentalists or performers. Caban's voice was best described as limited, as is much of the instrumentation (check out the keyboards on "Believe"). Those comments aside, the band's obvious comittment and belief compensates for the occasional gaps in technical skills. Musically the set offered up fairly standard Cream-styled blues rockers, with Caban adding occasional dollops of Hendrix-styled wailing guitar . Unlike most of their contemporaries, the band managed to integrate their rather obvious religious imagery ("Choose") with surprisingly tuneful hard rock melodies ("Trust" and "Happy"). Highlights included the pseudo-psychedelic/end-of-the-world narrative "Rejoice" (featuring some great guitar pyrotechnics) and the double tracked guitar on "Freedom". Here's a bit of trivia. The cover reportedly showed snow naturally melting against a black backdrop. 

"Gospel Hard Rock" track listing:

(side 1)
1.) Blind (Fred Caban) -
2.) Happy (Fred Caban) -
3.) Believe (Fred Caban) -
4.) Man (Fred Caban) -


(side 2)
5.) Freedom (Fred Caban) -
6.) Choose (Fred Caban) -
7.) Blood (Fred Caban) -
8.) Rejoice (Fred Caban) -




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