The Mystic Astrologic Crystal Band

Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1 (1967)

- Mick Byrne -- keyboards

- Steve Hoffman -- vocals, sitar, bass, keyboards 

- John Leighton -- vocals, bass, guitar

- John Moreland -- lead guitar 

- Bob Phillips -- drums, percussion 
- Ron Roman -- vocals, percussion


  line up 2 (1967)

- Steve Hoffman -- vocals, sitar, bass, keyboards 

- John Leighton -- vocals, bass, guitar

- John Moreland -- lead guitar 

- Bob Phillips -- drums, percussion 
- Ron Roman -- vocals, percussion


  line up 3 (1968)

NEW - Clancy Glass RIP) -- keyboards (replaced Mick Byrne)

- Steve Hoffman -- vocals, sitar, bass, keyboards 

- John Leighton -- vocals, bass, guitar

- John Moreland -- lead guitar 

- Bob Phillips -- drums, percussion 
- Ron Roman -- vocals, percussion



Lancelot Link and the Evolution Revolution  (Steve Hoffman)

- The Proposition (Steve Hoffman and   Ron Roman)

- Ron Roman (solo efforts)

- Ron Roman & the Proposition (Steve Hoffman and  Ron Roman)




Genre: psych

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  The Mystic Astrologic Crystal Band

Company: Carole

Catalog: CAR 8001

Year: 1967

Country/State: West Covina, California

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: minor ring wear; has two small drill holes bottom left and top right corners

Available: SOLD

Catalog ID: SOLD

Price: SOLD $90.00


The band name, the song titles, the clothing, wow, talk about a period timepiece ...  This one caught my attention due to the fact I'd seen a picture of it in one of Hans Pokora's rare LP books (think it might have been 2001 Record Collectors Dreams).  Their second LP's also listed.  Regardless, it's one of the more interesting buys I've made over the last couple of years and it's still rather reasonably priced.


First, I'll readily admit that what little I know about this outfit is largely based on the liner notes from their debut LP.  Producer Clancy B. Grass III supposedly discovered multi-instrumentalist/writer Steve Hoffman and band (bassist John Leighton, lead guitarist John Moreland, drummer  Bob Phillips and singer Ron Roman), playing in a West Covina, California teen club.  The story is that Hoffman approached Grass informing him that his band was going to be as big as the Beatles.  That egomaniac streak didn't seem to bother Grass, who helped the band sign with Gene Norman's Carole Record label.  


So what's this baby sound like?  Well, as I said it's definitely a timepiece.  With Hoffman responsible for writing all ten tracks, the Grass produced "The Mystic Astrologic Crystal Band" offered up an interesting mix of psych and what you'd call sunshine pop.  I've seen a couple of reviews that compare the LP to The Yellow Balloon and the comparison wasn't too far off, though Hoffman's affection for the sitar and Grass' production touches gave this a far more distinctive psych edge.  Musically the collection was pretty much divided between the two genres, though Grass added interesting production touches to virtually every track - 'Early Dawn' shifted from great harmony rich pop to a weird phasing segment and then back again.  At least to my ears the psych-tinged tracks provided the album highlights.  Among the more interesting numbers were the sitar propelled 'Factory Endeavor' (with an odd series of right to left and back fades), 'Barnyard Philosophy' and 'Publicly Inclined (To Blow Her Mind)'.  The overarching feeling is one of "music as product".  You can't help but feel Hoffman and company wanted to make it big and since the public was interested in Association-styled ballads, Lovin' Spoonful-styled jug band moves, and lightweight pop-psych, that was what they were going to give them.  Had they been playing in the early-'70s, these guys would have trotted out a collection of Poco-styled country-rock.   Entertaining, but not exactly a "must own" set.


 If there are any MACB experts out there, I always wondered why the front cover showed six people, while the flip side photo showed five.  Presumably producer Grass was on the front cover.  I also wondered about the weird liner notes from Albeth Paris (of The Paris Sisters).  Not exactly the person you would associate with a psych LP like this ...  I think the connection might have had something to do with the fact Grass had produced a number of Paris Sisters records (see the email at the end for the answer).


"The Mystic Astrologic Crystal Band" track listing: 

(side 1)

1.) Factory Endeavor   (Steve Hoffman) - 2:30   rating: **** stars

Hum, ever wanted to hear a California pop band taking a stab at what they thought a hardcore psych band would sound like ?   Well, if you have, 'Factory Endeavor' would be a good place to start.  Clearly taking a page out of George Harrison's songbook, the sitar-like drone (perhaps a banjo with effects slapped on it), always makes me smile.  Curiously, the song sounded like it was sped up in post-production.  

2.) Early Dawn   (Steve Hoffman) - 2:05   rating: *** stars

John Leighton's pounding, opening bass sounded like something you might hear on an Archies album, but overall 'Early Dawn' was a nice piece of sunshine pop with an interesting mid-song freak-out section.  

3.) Antagonizing Friend   (Steve Hoffman) - 2:27   rating: *** stars

The song title sounded promising, but 'Antagonizing Friend' was ultimately a forgettable slice of ToyTown pop-psych ...  Some folks love this niche genre, but I've got to tell you I find it pretty annoying.  Admittedly the vocal arrangements were impressing and I've always been a sucker for harpsichord.  

4.) Barnyard Philosophy   (Steve Hoffman) - 2:06

5.) Flowers Never Cry   (Steve Hoffman) - 2:18   rating: *** stars

If you ever wondered what The Association would have sound like had they pursued a more psychedelic/love generation sound, then 'Flowers Never Cry' is the answer.  The song actually had a very poppy feel (LOL), but the stoned lyrics ("flowers never cry, my eyes can seen them, ears can hear them ...") gave it a distinctively dopey, but lysergic edge.  Curiously, this was another track that sounded like it had been sped up.  Hard tom imagine a band playing at this speed; at least without having consumed a suitcase full of amphetamines.  Carole also tapped as an obscure single:



- 1967's Elsewhere 'Flowers Never Cry' b/w 'Earl Dawn' (Carole catalog number CAR 1004).  


(side 2)

1.) Geometry Alley   (Steve Hoffman) - 2:29    rating: **** stars

I have to admit I've always loved 'Geometry Alley' - imagine something Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart would have written for the prime time Monkees.  Opening up with some martial drums from Bob Phillip, the song melded cute lyrics with a bouncy pop melody, sweet vocals, and a slice of John Sebastian and the Lovin' Spoonful-styled jug band.  Add in a touch of electric autoharp and this was one of the album highlights.  

2.) October Sunshine   (Steve Hoffman) - 2:00   rating: *** stars

'October Sunshine' was another tune where the band tried to meld pop and psych influences with middling success.  The  melody was actually pretty good with a nifty little John Moreland guitar riff.  The downside was Hoffman's vocals sounded stilted and overly expressive.  You kind of wondered if he was going to start crying in the middle of the tune.

3.) La Vent   (Steve Hoffman) - 3:04

4.) Publicly Inclined (To Blow Her Mind)   (Steve Hoffman) - 2:42   rating: **** stars

Hoffman's lyrics were frequently clever and intriguing and that was the case on this one - kind of a Dylan-thing going on here with the band cramming a novel worth of words into just under three minutes.  Add in some of their better psych influences and this was another album highlight.  The end of song commentary was pretty funy.

5.) Yesterday's Girl   (Steve Hoffman) - 2:40  rating: **** stars

Hoffman and company's work frequently featured some of the best harmony vocals in the entire business and that was underscored on 'Yesterday's Girl'.  Yeah, band's like The Association, The Mamas and The Papas may have gotten more publicity, but check this one out to hear how good these guys could be.  It was also another track that did a decent job of blending pop and psych influences into a somewhat cohesive product.


In one of those weird coincidences, a couple of days after I sold a copy of this album, I got the following email from band bass player 



I played bass for the” MAC Band” in my former life and once in a while I Google the name for fun.

Most of us were fresh out of high school when we got together, Steve and Ron were a little older.

You asked if there were any “experts” out there and I am one as far as my 67 year old memory serves.

The reason there were 6 guys on the front photo of the first album and 5 on the back is we had an organ/keyboard player for a while, his name was Mick Byrne I think, and he quit the band before we designed the back cover. Clancy Grass is pictured on the back of our second album, but not on the first. The reason Albeth Paris wrote the liner notes is she was Clancy Grass’ wife!

I have spoken with Ron Roman once about 6 years ago, but I have no contact with the rest of the guys since we split up in 1968. I would love to know what happened to each of us especially Steve. The Steve Hoffman that is a well known engineer and recording guy IS NOT the Steve Hoffman that was in our band. Our Steve was at least 3 or 4 years older than me and I’m 67 next month. The math doesn’t work and they don’t look alike except they both have curly hair.

It is amazing for me to watch the interest and read the reviews of our music. We were so inexperienced that I can now hear that some of the guitars I played on the recordings were not in tune! I am no longer playing music but I still have a decent ear!

Thanks for your kind words and please feel free to ask if you have other questions.

John Leighton
If you wonder what I have been up to, Google “John Leighton, Glass”



In November 2017, Gary Myers was kind enough to send me an email with some additional information and recollections.




"I'm pretty sure you & I have communicated before, but I don't think it was about this. If it was, please forgive the repeat


Clancy Grass, producer of the Mystic Astrologic Crystal Band also produced our band, the Portraits, & was our mgr.  I'm the drummer on "Flowers Never Cry" & 1 other song that I don't recall. Apparently the MAC band was going thru some personnel changes so Clancy had our bass man, Phil Anthony (Alagna), & me come in for one session for them. I found Steve Hoffman online several yrs ago & he remembered our band but didn't recall our playing on that session (however, the Portraits are thanked on the liner notes of 1 of the band's LPs). For whatever reason, I remember a lot of odd little things, & we had to do a 2nd take on 1 song because the organ player coughed right on the final chord. (Studios didn't generally have the capability to deal with some of those things back then). There were only 2 members of Steve's band on that session, Steve & the organ man, along with Phil & me.


I also remember Steve coming along w/Clancy 1 night to our club gig in Pasadena


While the Carole lbl might have been handled by Gene Norman, it was named for Mike Curb's sister. Clancy had an office in Curb's suite & it was thru Curb, who came to hear our band on a recommendation & signed us, that we connected with Clancy. I think it's safe to say that Carole was at least partially owned by Mike Curb


Clancy died a couple of yrs ago; Albeth a few yrs before that





Genre: psych

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Clip-Out, Put-On Book

Company: Carole

Catalog: CARS 8003

Year: 1968

Country/State: West Covina, California

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: gatefold sleeve with insert' DJ stamp on front cover

Available: 1

Catalog ID: not yet listed

Price: $90.00



Released the following year, 1968's "Clip-Out, Put-On Book" wasn't a major stylistic departure from the debut.  Again produced by Clancy B. Grass III, the dozen tracks were a bit more diverse, but like the debut the album served as a spotlight for Steve Hoffman's considerable talents.  In addition to handling some of the lead vocals, rhythm guitar, keyboards, etc. Hoffman was again responsible for penning all 12 songs.  To his credit Hoffman was a talented craftsman; almost chameleon like in his ability to mimic popular styles and the sounds of other acts.  That gave the album a fun 'spot-the-influence' characteristic ...  Opening up with a stab of feedback and some freak-out guitar 'The M.A.C.B. Theme' sounded like a "Sgt Pepper" outtake, 'Early Dawn' offered up a cool hybrid of The Association meet the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the martial paced 'Gaberdene Square' sounded like the band had been listening to some Jefferson Airplane, 'I Think I'll Just Lie Here and Die' sported a distinctive blue-eyed soul influence (love the 'gimme some skin' voice).  Other highlights came in the form of Monkees-styled 'Krystalize' and 'Today' (the latter with Davy Jones-styled vocal).  Professional, entertaining and fun, there wasn't anything particularly original here and the first couple of spins I found myself  left with the nagging feeling that Hoffman and company were simply trying to tap into the current popular trend in an effort to make a couple of bucks.  If folks had been big into polka, they would have been more than willing to respond with a one and a two and a ...  The funny thing is that Hoffman and company were enthusiastic enough to pull it off.  This one certainly has that 'creep' factor in that the more you listen to it the more enjoyable it becomes. 


Curiously, most listings show the album title as "Clip-Out, Put-On Book".  I've seen a couple of references show it as "Oatmeal Quicksand" (see the signed on the lower left of the album cover).



"Clip-Out, Put-On Book" track listing: 

(side 1)

1.) The M.A.C.B. Theme   (Steve Hoffman) - 2:17   rating: *** stars

Yeah, the concept was a complete rip off of "Sgt Pepper", but if you'd ever heard their first album, then John Moreland's blazing lead guitar came as a complete surprise ...   What happened to the band over the previous twelve months ?  They got injected with a rock and roll bone !

2.) Sunbeams and Rainbows   (Steve Hoffman) - 2:55   rating: *** stars

Hum, the band out-Association-ing the Association ...  The most interesting thing on the ballad 'Sunbeams and Rainbows'  was the fact Hoffman and company seemed to have found someone to add a real electric sitar to the mix.  

3.) I Think I'll Just Lie Here and Die   (Steve Hoffman) - 2:22   rating: **** stars

Built on a churning John Leighton bass line, ' I Think I'll Just Lie Here and Die' found the band stepping away from their penchant for pop-psych and ballads in favor of an intriguing slice of garage rock. Hearing Hoffman singing with a real snarl in his voice (the lyrics were suitably disconcerting) was a real blast.  No idea who added the background patter, but it was hysterical ("give me some skin ...").  This was easily one of the best things the band ever recorded. 

4.) Gaberdene Square   (Steve Hoffman) - 3:32   rating: **** stars

Jefferson Airplane-meet-Simon and Garfunkle styled protest-rock set to a stark martial beat.  Quite disconcerting.

5.) Ah Ha Ha Ha   (Steve Hoffman) - 2:33

6.) Krystalize   (Steve Hoffman) - 2:35   rating: **** stars

With a heavy lysergic feel, 'Krysalize' sounded like something off their debut album. Geez, if this one didn't sound like a Davy Jones and the Monkees outtake ...   By the way, that wasn't meant as a criticism.  


(side 2)

1.) Today   (Steve Hoffman) - 1:58   rating: **** stars

'Today' found the band returning to radio-friendly, Monkees--styled top-40 pop.  Seriously, this one would not have sounded out of place on a Monkees album.   The real highlights come in paying attention to  John Leighton and Bob Phillips shift into hyper-drive.  "C'mon guys, happy hour's coming."

2.) Yellow Room   (Steve Hoffman) - 2:45

3.) Authors   (Steve Hoffman) - 3:20

4.) It's Strange   (Steve Hoffman) - 2:40

5.) Only Time   (Steve Hoffman) - 2:46

6.) Oatmeal Quicksand   (Steve Hoffman) - 1:01



Billed as The Proposition and then Ron Roman and the Propositions, Roman and Hoffman subsequently released a pair of instantly obscure pop-psych singles for Dot Records:  

- 1968's 'Two Face Madonna' b/w 'The Ways of Love Are Strange (Dot catalog number 45-17185)

- 1969's 'I'll Be Your Baby Tonight' b/w 'Just To Let Rosemary' (Dot catalog number 45-17264)




Hoffman was also the musical mastermind behind the Lancelot Link Secret Chimp LP.  If you're into bubblegum and children's television, check it out (see the above link). 


If you're looking for a CD format reissue of the MACB catalog, in 1991 the Drop Out label repackaged both LPs under the title "Flowers Never Cry" (Drop Out catalog number 1993).