The Fraternity of Man

Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1 (1968-69)

- Richie Hayward (RIP 2010) -- drums, percussion, backing vocals
- Elliot Ingber (aka Winged Eel Fingerling) -- guitar
- Martin Kibbee -- bass 
- Warren Klein -- guitar, sitar, tamboura
- Lawrence "Stash" Wagner -- vocals, guitar, harmonica


  line up 1 (1969)

NEW - Lowell George -- vocals, guitar

- Richie Hayward (RIP 2010) -- drums, percussion, backing vocals
- Martin Kibbee -- bass 
- Warren Klein -- guitar, sitar, tamboura

NEW - Bill Payne -- keyboards
- Lawrence "Stash" Wagner -- vocals, guitar, harmonica




- Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band (Elliot Ingber)

- Factory (Ritche Hayward, Martin Kibbee, Warren Klein )

- Endangerd Species (Ritchie Hayward)

- Four On the Floor (Richie Hayward)

- The Gamblers (Elliot Ingber)

- Grandmothers (Elliot Ingber)

- Juicy Groove (Elliot Ingber)
- Little Feat (Richie Hayward)

- The Moondogs (Elliot Ingber)

- The Stooges (Warren Klein)
- Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention (Elliot Ingber)



Genre: psych

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  The Fraternity of Man

Company: ABC

Catalog: ABCS 647

Country/State: Los Angeles, California

Year: 1968

Grade (cover/record): VG+ cover / VG+ LP

Comments: --

Available: 1

Catalog ID: not yet listed

Price: $40.00




Drummer Ritchie Hayward, bassist Martin Kibbee and guitarist Warren Klein had previously played together in the L.A.-based Factory.  When band leader Lowell George accepted an offer to join The Ventures, the surviving members hooked up with former Mother of Invention guitarist Elliot Ingber and singer Lawrence Wagner.

As Fraternity of Man, the quintet was quickly signed by ABC. Teamed with producer Tom Wilson, 1968's "Fraternity of Man" proved musically diverse, if slightly under-whelming. Propelled by Wagner's stoned vocals, the band proved capable of working in a variety of genres, including pseudo-Elvis Presley ('Bikini Baby)', poorly advised country and western (the pedal steel guitar powered 'Last Call for Alcohol'), psych ('Candy Striped Lion's Tail') and '60s hippydom '
Wispy Paisley Skies'. Depending on your perspective, the fact a disproportionate amount of material reflected the band's illegal recreational choices ('In the Morning', 'Stop Me Citate Me' ("why are you taking out my back seat") and their counter-cultue classic 'Don't Bogart That Joint' was either a creative strength, or a character flaw.  Even more of a time piece were the group's less than subtle stabs at political and social discourse.  Among the album's weakest and most irritating performances were 'Stop Me Citate Me', 'Field Day' and 'Just Doin' Our Job'.  Elsewhere 'Plastic Rat' and 'Oh No I Don't Believe It' seemed to reflect Ingber's Frank Zappa connection.  The latter track was actually written by Zappa.  Interestingly the band's biggest brush with success stemmed from their connection to the "Easy Rider" film. Included on the original soundtrack, ABC decided to cash-in on the film's success by releasing the tune as a single (coincidently their only 45). While the non-too-subtle lyrics limited airplay, the single provided the band with a minor (#133) pop hit. Sure, the collection hasn't aged well and might well cause toxic shock in aging hippies. On the other hand, that may well be part of the set's erratic charm.

"Fraternity of Man" track listing:

(side 1)
1.) In the Morning (Fraternity of Man) - 4:22 rating: *** stars

In spite of the bouncy opening section, the thought of any radio station thinking about playing this one makes me laugh. "I get high in the morning time I get higher in the afternoon and in the evening time oh I am high!"  By the way, that bouncy opening quickly shifted into a tougher, lysergic tinged rocker.

2.) Plastic Rat (Fraternity of Man) - 3:41 rating: *** stars

Set to what was almost a folk-rock melody, 'Plastic Rat' found the band taking a stab at political commentary.  The melody was okay, but the lyrics haven't aged particularly well.

3.) Don't Bogart Me (Fraternity of Man) - 3:00 rating: ** stars

'Don't Bogart Me' is clearly the song they're best know for ...  Originally entitled 'Don't Bogart that Joint' the band agreed to retitle the tune in an effort to get it released as a single.  ABC agreed to the release, but what US radio station was going to play it?  Still, it won counterculture attention which led Peter FOnda to come knocking at their door asking if he could include it in the film "Easy Rider" and the accompanying soundtrack album ("Music from the Soundtrack Easy Rider" Dunhill catalog DSX 50053).  I'm sure millions of aging '60s hippies will disagree and I can already see the threatening emails, but to my ears the faux country melody and stoned vocals are almost comedic.  The sentiments and lyrics certainly haven't aged well, but I'm sure folks still giggle along to the tune when they're partaking ...







- 1968's 'Don't Bogart Me' b/w 'Wispy Paisley Skies' (ABC catalog number 45-11106)





4.) Stop Me Citate Me (Fraternity of Man) - 2:50 rating: ** stars

Faux country simply irritates me which means 'Stop Me Citate Me' didn't do a great deal for me.  The chirpy female backing singers didn't help.  Shoot, if I'd been a cop I probably would have taken their backseat out as well and handcuffed them to their car doors as well.
5.) Bikini Baby (Fraternity of Man) - 2:05
rating: ** stars

When I didn't think it could get much worse, 'Bikini Baby' proved me wrong.  Elvis-styled '50s rock coupled with one of the most sexist lyrics I've ever stumbled across ...  Seriously, do you think Grandma would really have partied with these guys?


6.) Oh No I Don't Believe It (Frank Zappa) - 6:15 rating: **** stars

As the album's lone non-original composition, 'Oh No I Don't Believe It' happens to be a Frank Zappa cover.  Zappa's a hit or miss proposition for me, but featuring guitarist Klein, this freak flag flying version was totally weird and made for one of the album's twisted highlights. By the way, the arrangement was totally different from Zappa's soulful version of the tune (titled 'Oh No' and included on The Mothers of Invention 1970 collection "Weasels Ripped My Flesh".




(side 2)

1.) Wispy Paisley Skies (Fraternity of Man) - 2:22 rating: **** stars
Hum, if you are ever looking for a tune encapsulating a '60s hippy vibe, then 'Wispy Paisley Skies' deserves to be considered.  One of the album's prettiest performances, always loved Klein's out-of-the-blue guitar solos.
2.) Field Day (Fraternity of Man) - 3:59
rating: ** stars

Geez, 'Field Day' wasn't the most subtle slice of political commentary I've ever heard.  Bet these guys didn't even bother attending the event.
3.) Just Doin' Our Job (Fraternity of Man) - 2:21
rating: ** stars

More "life is tough when you're a hippy" ...  Set to a bouncy melody and a nod to Hitler, geez, life must have been hard when you were the victim of your local police force.
4.) Blue Guitar (instrumental) (Fraternity of Man) - 4:28
rating: ** stars

Even though it was listed as a band original, the instrumental 'Blue Guitar' sounded a lot like Earl Hooker's 'Blue Guitar'.  Must be a coincidence.  Nice showcase for Ingber's bluesy moves.  Unlike anything else on the album ...  Docked a star for not crediting Hooker.  
5.) Last Call for Alcohol (Fraternity of Man) - 3:25
rating: ** stars

Hey, why don't we bring in some pedal steel guitar and try to capture Buck Owens sound?   Oh, 'cause it sounds crappy.

6.) Candy Striped Lion's Tail  (Fraternity of Man) - 5:17 rating: **** stars

Showcasing Klein's guitar, 'Candy Striped Lion's Tail' (no idea what it was about) was the album's most psych-oriented effort. Complete with nifty melody, Ritchie Hayward's  Indian flavored percussion and one of Wagner's best vocals, this one simply dripped lysergic atmosphere.  Awesome way to close the album.




12.) Candy Striped Lion's Tails (Fraternity of Man) - 5:17

Genre: psych

Title:  Get It On

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Company: Dot

Catalog: 25955

Year: 1969

Country/State: Los Angeles, California

Grade (cover/record): VG/VG

Comments: --

Available: 1

GEMM Catalog ID: not yet listed

Price: $30.00


Released by Dot, 1969's "Get It On" wasn't a major change in direction. Reunited with producer Wilson, the band sounded a little more confident throughout (and for better or worse, with the exception of "Mellow Token" a little less stoned). Musically the set remained diverse, offering up another mixture of blues (a cover of Sonny Boy Williamson's "Don't Start Me Talkin'"), mainstream rock ("Trick Bag"), mild country touches ("The Throbber") and occasional touches of psychedelia ("Pool of Tears"). Among the odder efforts, the lounge act "Coco Lollipop." Nowhere near as likeable as the first set, unlike the debut, their sophomore effort vanished without a trace, followed in short order by the band.

"Get It On!" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Boo Man (Fraternity of Man) - 3:14
2.) Don't Start Me Talkin' (Sonny Boy Williamson) - 2:41
3.) Pool of Tears (Fraternity of Man) - 2:45
4.) The Throbber (Fraternity of Man) - 3:40
5.) Cat's Squirrel (adapted by Fraternity of Man) - 3:20

(side 2)

1.) Too High To Eat (Fraternity of Man) - 3:35
2.) Forget Her (Fraternity of Man) - 3:34
3.) Coco Lollipop (Fraternity of Man) - 3:00
4.) Trick Bag (P. Weedon) - 2:38
5.) Mellow Token (Fraternity of Man) - 5:33

Following the band's breakup, Hayward hooked up with Lowell George in Little Feat, while under the alias Winged Eel Fingerings Ingber reappeared as a member of Captain Beefheart.


Dot label released your second album.

I recently had a long conversation with Elliot and that subject came up. I was reminded that most of the Ingber/Wagner song were written before the Factory rhythm section joined up with us. Ritchie, Warren and Martin wanted us to be taken seriously as musicians. Elliot and I simply wanted to entertain. Elliot left the group in the middle of recording that album and Lowell George came in with Billy Payne and finished off the record. After the record was completed, I too quit the band and Lowell took over on vocals. This was the birth of Little Feat.

What was the songwriting process with The Fraternity of Man like?

The band was smoking some pot in our rehearsal house up in Laurel Canyon, when Elliot turned to me and said, “Hey man, don’t bogart that thing.” Elliot was always coming up with hypsterisms from the 1950’s and I loved adopting them. I asked him, what does ‘bogart’ mean? He said, “You know, like Humphrey Bogart always had a cigarette in his hand or hanging from his lips when talking. Well, you were hanging onto that joint while your lips were flapping.” I said, “Cool, we should write a song using Bogart.” Elliot replied, “Well, make it a country song.” “Why country?” I asked. “Because they’ll never see it coming.” And with that, Elliot picked up a guitar and started playing some country chords and I started singing. Three minutes later, we had completed writing the song, ‘Don’t Bogart Me.’ ‘Oh No I Don’t Believe It’, was another interesting story. Frank Zappa was quite proud of his guitar work on a cut he was working on and gave Elliot a tape. After Frank left, Elliot complained that it was too placid and he took the tape and turned it over. Elliot told Warren to work out the backwards guitar part, note for note and the result was “Oh No I Don’t Believe It”.

Elliot Ingber What does the name “The Fraternity of Man” refer to in the context of the band name?

A local L.A. artist, Vito was the leader of a group of freaks who had danced with Frank Zappa’s Mothers and then became a fixture for Fraternity of Man. He had a sculpture of 4 hands, (white, black, yellow and red) all united by holding the wrist of the next. The sculpture was a great political statement and since we were a politically active band, the name seemed to fit.

What happened next?

The band developed creative differences and Elliot was the first to leave. I followed him shortly after and with Lowell back and Billy on keyboards, the band just seemed to evolve into Little Feat. In some ways, that was a blessing in disguise. Little Feat was a great band. I continued studio work and writing with artists like Chicago, until I was asked to star in a couple of TV movies; ‘Rock-A-Die Baby’ and ‘Song of the Succubus’. I also took other acting parts until I realized that it was interfering with my first love ‘music’. So I went back to studio work and writing and also began coaching new artists to help them grow into their personal greatness. Old rockers don’t die, they move to Nashville! So I packed up and moved to Nashville, Tennessee. I really didn’t care for the Nashville scene, so I decided to pack up and start traveling the world. I had an extended vacation in Europe, then headed to Asia. That is when I fell in love with the Philippines. It’s been years and I haven’t found a reason to leave here.

Are you still in touch with other members?

Through the years, I kept in touch with Elliot and Ritchie. I am still in contact with the family Ritchie left behind and Elliot and I talk on the phone all the time. Unfortunately, Elliot refuses to evolve into the computer age, so because he is still computerless, I need to call him on the phone and thanks to Magic box and my mac book, we can afford the luxury of long phone conversations.

What currently occupies your life?

I still lend my talents as a performance coach and from time to time give ‘free’ performances here in the Philippines.

How do you feel about the fact that young people from other parts of the world listen to your music?

I love it, love it, love it!

Lawrence ‘Stash’ Wagner Thank you for taking your time. Last word is yours.

Life is an adventure. From the beginning I had no idea where life would lead me, but I continued to follow my passion and life has been very good to me. If I was to die today, I would die a happy man. Lawrence ‘Stash’ Wagner

Klemen Breznikar




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