Things To Come

Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1  (1965) as The Barons

- Bryan Garofalo -- bass, vocals

- Russ Kunkel (aka Russ Ward) -- drums, percussion, vocals

- Larry Robinson -- guitar, vocals

- Lynn Rominger -- guitar


  line up 2  (1965)

- Bryan Garofalo -- bass

- Russ Kunkel (aka Russ Ward) -- drums, percussion

- Larry Robinson -- guitar

- Lynn Rominger -- guitar

NEW - Steve Runolfsson (RIP 1977)  -- vocals, keyboards,



  line up 3  (1965-67) as Things To Come

- Bryan Garofalo (aka Bryan Garo) -- bass

- Russ Kunkel (aka Russ Ward) -- drums, percussion

- Larry Robinson -- guitar

- Lynn Rominger -- guitar

- Steve Runolfsson (RIP 1977)  -- vocals, keyboards, harmonica


  line up 3  (1967) 

- Bryan Garofalo (aka Bryan Garo) -- bass, vocals

- Russ Kunkel (aka Russ Ward) -- drums, percussion, vocals

- Larry Robinson -- guitar, vocals

NEW - Michael Migiliaro -- guitar (replaced Lynn Rominger)

- Steve Runolfsson (RIP 1977)  -- vocals, keyboards, harmonica


  line up 4  (1967-68) 

- Bryan Garofalo (aka Bryan Garo) -- bass, vocals

- Russ Kunkel (aka Russ Ward) -- drums, percussion, vocals

- Larry Robinson -- guitar, vocals

- Michael Migiliaro -- guitar




- The Barons (Russ Kunkel)

- The Jesters (Lynn Rominger)




Genre: garage

Rating: **** 4 stars 

Title:  I Want Out

Company: Sundazed

Catalog:  LP 5008

Country/State: Huntington Beach, California

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: mono pressing

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 3190

Price: $40.00

Over the twp, or three decades the music business has discovered there's money to be made with reissues.  That said, the fact remains that the majority of the so called "treasures" that are unearthed and marketed to the buying public simply aren't very good.  One of the exceptions that didn't seem to get much attention, or traction, this 2003 release by Sundazed.


Mark Prellberg provides a detailed band biography in the liner notes.  Here are the highlights.


Drummer Russ Kunkel and guitarist Larry Robinson had been members of The Fabulous Barons/The Barons, who'd enjoyed a minor hit with the garage rocker:

- 1965's 'Surprise Surprise' b/w 'Long Gone Lost World of Mine' (MC5 catalog number S-1)


In spite of having begun to attract some local attention, The Barons underwent a series personnel changes.  By mid-1965 the line-up consisted of  Kunkel and Robinson, along with bassist Bryan Garofalo and former Jesters guitarist Lynn Rominger.  While Kunkel, Robinson, and Garofalo all sang, they decided to look for a more accomplished vocalist, recruiting then 17 year old Leisuremen singer/keyboardist Steve Runolfsson.


As a quintet the band began rehearsing material under the name Evil (Runolfsson's suggest, inspired in part by his affection for Arthur Lee and Love).  Rominger suggested the more upbeat name Things To Come, which was promptly adopted.  Over the next year the band began playing dances, bowling alleys, and local clubs.  In late 1966 manager Dale Davis took the band into the studio to record a pair of Runolfsson penned originals:


- 1966's 'Sweetgina' b/w 'Speak of the Devil' (Starfire catalog number 103)


The single captured some modest airplay in Southern California, but the resulting publicity saw them score a stead spot as the house band at Seal Beach's Marina Palace where they opened up for a steady stream of nationally known acts.  In late 1967 Rominger was drafted.  The band brought in guitarist Michael Migiliaro as a replacement.  The band were then offered a management deal on the condition they fire Runolfsson.  Within a matter of months Runolfsson was gone and the band were living in working in Los Angeles, opening for the likes of The Byrds, Cream, The Electric Flag, and Traffic at the Whiskey a-Go-Go and opening for The Doors at a concert date at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium.  There new manager Larry Spector also negotiated a recording contract with Warner Brothers.  


With Bryan (now billed as Bryan Garo) taking over most of the vocals, the contract saw the band release a pair of excellent singles (the second 45 produced by David Crosby), before being dropped by the label:

- 1968's 'Dance' b/w 'Come Alive' (Warner Brothers catalog number 7164)

- 1968's 'Hello' b/w 'Goodbye' (Warner Brothers catalog number 7228)


The fourteen tracks on 1993's "I Want Out" reflect previously unreleased material written and recorded with Dale Davis and produced by Davis and Kunkel.  All of the songs dated from the 1965-67 timeframe, with two songs ('Tell Me Why' and 'Home To You') reflecting what were apparently pre-Things To Come tunes recorded when the group were still known as The Barons.  The main focus is on material by the late Steve Runolfsson.  In addition to handling most of the lead vocals, Runolfsson was the band's creative mainstay; represented by eight of the LPs fourteen tunes.  While these tunes may not have been the most original material you've ever heard, there was no denying these guys were a talented ensemble and had great tastes when it came to their outside influences. Mid-'60s garage bands like The Music Machine, The Shadows of the Night, The Standells, and Them were clearly a big inspiration.  'Sweetgina' may have been a retread of 'Gloria', but it was a glorious remake that would have made Van Morrison proud.  Almost as good were 'Your Down' and ''.  How could there not be Dylan influences ?  Well, check out 'Character of Caruso''.  Elsewhere the title track, 'Tomorrow' and 'Icicles On the Roof ' showcased a distinctive Byrds jangle-rock fixation.  The ominous 'Speak of the Devil' and 'Darkness' sounded a bit like a drunk and pissed-off Jim Morrison and the Doors.  And in spite of the fact there wasn't anything creatively groundbreaking, this was simply a great LP.  Shame about some of their business decisions.  They could have been contenders ...  My only complaint; wish they had included the four sides the band cut for Warner Brothers.


"I Want Out" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Sweetgina   (Steve Runolfsson) - 2:59   rating: **** stars

My goodness - 'Sweetgina' was simply a killer slice of mid-'60s garage rock.  Yeah, they were probably luck not to have been sued for plagiarizing Van Morrison's 'Gloria', by kicked along by Runolfsson's snarling voice (he managed to make a young Van Morrison sound tame), and Robinson's equally ominous fuzz guitar, you wouldn't let these guys within a mile of your daughters.

- 1966's 'Sweetgina' b/w 'Speak of the Devil' (Starfire catalog number 103)

Sundazed reissued the single pressed on gold colored vinyl in 2016:

- 2106 'Sweetgina' b/w 'Speak of the Devil' (Sundazed catalog number DJ-502)

2.) Mississippi Dealer   (Steve Runolfsson) - 2:09    rating: **** stars

'Mississippi Dealer' was another snarling garage rocker with a surprisingly complex song structure  and a great Robinson solo.

3.) I Want Out   (Steve Runolfsson) - 2:41    rating: **** stars

I wouldn't have thought grafting a jangle-guitar powered folk-rock melody to a garage rocker would be all that impressive.  Judging by 'I Want Out' I was plain wrong.  Awesome tune showcasing Runolfsson's awesome voice and harmonica work.  Makes you wonder why The Byrds didn't think of it.

4.) Your Down   (Steve Runolfsson) - 2:30    rating: **** stars

Stomping, double time garage rocker that would have given any of their better known competitors a major run for their money.  

5.) Speak of the Devil   (Steve Runolfsson) - 2:41    rating: **** stars

The flip side to their debut single, 'Speak of the Devil' found Runsolfsson seemingly turning in his best young Mick Jagger impression.  Musically the track was dark, ominous, and when you got to Robinson's solo,  just this side of being simply terrifying.  It was reportedly inspired by Runsolfsson's relationship with his abusive father.  

6.) Smokestack Lightning (instrumental)   (Chester Burnett) - 2:20   rating: *** stars

One of those songs that's been covered thousands of times.  This version isn't the best; it isn't the worst, though Robinson's fuzz solo increased the interest factor a little bit.  I'm guessing it's one the album to add a but of running time.

7.) Character of Caruso   (Steve Runolfsson) - 3:33   rating: *** stars

'Character of Caruso' was a pretty folk-rock ballad, though Runolfsson sounded a little uncomfortable trotting out his Dylan influences.


(side 2)

1.) Tell My Why   (Bryan Garofalo) - 2:12   rating: *** stars

One of the earliest tunes (recorded prior to Runolfsson joining), 'Tell Me Why' was the only track penned by bassist Garofalo. Musically it was a breezy tune that actually sounded more like a slice of surf rock than garage rock.  Always loved the Farfisa organ backing.

2.) Tomorrow   (Lynn Rominger) - 3:06    rating: **** stars

Perhaps the best of their folk-rock efforts, 'Tomorrow' had a great jangle-rock melody that twisted and turned, while displaying some nice group vocals.  My pick for one of the album's standout tracks.

3.) Show Me a Place   (Russ Kunkel) - 3:02    rating: **** stars

One of two tracks penned by drummer Russ Kunkel, 'Show Me a Place' was quite unlike anything else on the album.  The song started out with what was almost a jazzy flavor before diving into an odd, keyboard powered, country-flavored waltz chorus.  The song also featured a tasty Robinson guitar solo.   

4.) Home To You   (Russ Kunkel) - 2:08   rating: ** stars

Another pre-Runolfsson performance, Kunkel's second composition, 'Home To You' was showcased the band at their most conventional and pop-oriented.  Pretty, but ultimately not very adventuresome, or memorable.

5.) Icicles On the Roof   (Lynn Rominger) - 2:27   rating: **** stars

Awesome jangle-guitar, folk rock tune with some hysterically inept backing vocals.  Imagine Dylan with backing from the Three Stooges.  A keeper all the way through.  

6.) Behold New Behemoth   (Steve Runolfsson) - 4:05   rating: **** stars

Powered by Runolfsson's dark, gravely voice (seriously, he was only 17 when these tunes were recorded ?), 'Behold New Behemoth' found the band diving back into their Stones phase.  I don't know if it's possible, but Runoflsson may have managed to outdo Jagger on this razor edged rocker.  Killer fuzz guitar made it even better.

7.) Darkness   (Steve Runolfsson) - 4:03    rating: **** stars

Kicking along by some ominous guitar and Farfisa chords, 'Darkness; was a seriously dark tune. Runolfsson sounded like he'd spent the evening washing his mouth and throat out with battery acid.   


The Sundazed CD release (catalog number SC 11017) included four additional tunes:

- Pushin' To Hard (instrumental)   (Sky Saxon) - 2:32

- I'm a Man (instrumental)  (Eugene McDaniels) - 1:48

- You're Down (instrumental) - 2:28

- Sweetgina (instrumental)    (Steve Runolfsson) - 3:05


For hardcore fans, the first Things To Come retrospective was actually released in 1978 on the small California-based Century label.  Apparently only 50 copies of "Things To Come" were pressed.  Good luck finding a copy.


Runolfsson continued to write and perform, but never managed to score another recording contract.  Only 27, he died of a combination of prescription pills and alcohol in January 1977.