Michael Perlitch

Band members                             Related acts

- Michael Perlitch aka Miguelito Pistoleros (RIP 2017) -- vocals,




- Miguelito Pistoleros 




Genre: progressive

Rating: 2 stars **

Title:  Keyboard Tales

Company: Atlantic 

Catalog: SD-7230

Year: 1972

Country/State: San Francisco, California

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: promo sticker on cover, small cut out notch

Available: 2

Catalog ID: not yet listed

Price: $75.00


Here's one of those obscurities I bought at a yard sale 'cause the album looked obscure and funky ... Turns out I was right on both counts. The album's certainly funky and its hopelessly obscure, never having seen a CD reissue.

Can't say I know much about Michael Pertlich and there isn't much to be found about him on the web. What I have pieced together paints one of those cautionary tales of stardom.  What is the old adage?  Be careful what you ask for as you may get it.   Released in 1972, Pertlich's initial album "Keyboard Tales" was recorded in San Francisco's Wally Heider Studios with Geoffrey Haslam producing.  Musically the set's a one man show, with the then 19 year old Perlitch credited with writing all of the material, as well as handling all of the vocals and instrumentation. Starting off with the fourteen + minute 'Captain Zanzibar', the album's full of material that is simultaneously  atmospheric, bizarre and occasionally downright disturbing (sensitive types should probably avoid the gruesome 'Pete the Bondage Freak).   A gifted keyboardist, as displayed on the vehemently anti-Nixon/anti-war 'America', Pertlich's voice sometimes bore a passing resemblance to Neil Young.  Lyrically Perlitch turned in some of the year's stranger meanderings. 'Take Off' and 'Planet Mission Alpha' revealed an affinity for sci-fi themes.  'Pete the Bondage Freak' certainly wasn't your run-of-the-mill love song.  I remember thinking there was something sad and unsettling about the set when I first heard it and Pertlich's troubled life seems to underscore those feelings.  

"Keyboard Tales" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Captain Zanzibar (Michael Perlitch) - 14:45   rating: ** stars

The first couple of minutes of 'Captain Zanzibar' were lost to in-studio talk and keyboard tinkering.  When the song actually kicked in it was a stark, rather plodding keyboard powered ballad.  And from their on the track bounced all over the place, including funky segments, pretty harpsichord sections, sound collages, etc.  I'll admit my attention span is pretty short and by around the ten minute mark I'd basically lost interest.
2.) America (Michael Perlitch) - 1:50  
rating: *** stars

Judging by the lyrics, I'm guessing Partlich was listening to a lot of CSN&Y and Neil Young during this time of his life.
3.) Remember Sarah (Michael Perlitch) - 4:42  
rating: *** stars

After two challenging performances, 'Remembering Sarah' was interesting for displaying a more commercial side of the artist.  A pretty harpsichord based ballad, it wasn't exactly top-40 material, but it had a pretty melody.
4.) Take Off (Michael Perlitch) - 2:40  
rating: ** stars

Opening up with some goofy space sound effects and Perlitch throwing in a countdown, 'Take Off' kicked into gear with some Uriah Heep styled organ moves.  The liner notes described the song as "The customized spacecraft SPECTOCAR blasts off into the outer atmosphere where with a gaseous burst the second stage separates and glides out into distant space."  Well, okay ... 

(side 2)

1.) Pete the Bondage Freak (Michael Perlitch) - 8:25   rating: * star

I don;t think of myself as a prude, but as a parent and a human, I've got to say these lyrics were seriously disturbing ...  The thought of an 18 year thinking along these lines is truly troubling.  The thought of a record label letting this go out is equally dubious.
2.) Planet Mission Alpha (instrumental) (Michael Perlitch) - 1:43

Today anyone with a $40 Casio keyboard or a music program on their phone could conjure up the sound effects that propelled the brief instrumental 'Planet Mission Alpha'.  The liner notes described this one as "Barbarian space savages drop bomb on planet."  Yeah, that was uplifting.
3.) Holy Joe (Michael Perlitch) - 8:00
   rating: * star

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz   How many times do you want to listen to Pertlich repeat the title?  Well over an eight minute timeframe it was too many times.  Even worse, Pertlich apparently thought he could make this one sound deep and thoughtful.  It was neither.


Pertlich continued to write and occasionally release music. In 1999 he released a cassette-only collection "Outworlder".  There's a 2006 CD "Extraterrestial Highway" and a second release "Badlands Crossroads".  Under the alias Miguelito Pistoleros he also recorded a 2007 album "Party" for the Space Scavenger label.  I've never heard any of these releases so can't tell you much about them, though you can find most of this material on YouTube.




A couple of years after posting this I got an email from one of Perlitch's old classmates.  With his permission, I've posted the material below:


"I was searching for some old schoolmates online and Googled my friend Bruce Perlitch's name and after some digging around his brother Mike's name came up connected to your site. He put out the album "Keyboard Tales" back in the early seventies. I figured you guys would be interested in some info on him. He lived in Morgan Hill California and went to Live Oak High School two years ahead of his brother Bruce and I. Mike was a swimming star and star student. About the time he got serious about music I was dabbling in photography. He asked me to photograph his group, and if I remember correctly he was about the only musician. He dressed up in ratty clothes and had someone tie him up. Not exactly his image at the time (sober). He obviously was experimenting with some major hallucinogenics. He did have talent musically but the drugs took over and the last time I saw him (around twenty years ago) he was missing teeth, bloated and working in a bar for his dad's restaurant. He's one of the drug casualties of the seventies and he had so much potential. I don't know where he is now, but Bruce and his sister are very successful and fulfilled people." 


Yours Tom Barrett

June 2007



Unfortunately Pertlich died in March 2017.  Written by his siblings, I found the following on-line obituary:


Michael Daniel Perlitch, aged 65, joins his parents, Irving and Janice Perlitch, in death. He is survived by sister Julie Belanger and brother Bruce Perlitch. As Michaelís younger siblings, we watched how, by the time Michael was 18, he showed the potential for a great musical career.
He had played piano since age five, and by his late teens he was the most adept musician any of us had ever heard or seen. He could compose songs in the blink of an eye and recreate classic music in his own style after hearing it only briefly. He was also a gifted storyteller, a talented visual artist, actor, and even dabbled in magic and card tricks.

He had many friends and supporters, and seemed poised for a creative life of greatness. In 1972 his first and only rock album was released by Atlantic Records, to moderate success, Michael Perlitch Keyboard Tales and is still available on-line. In the 70ís, however, drugs and rock & roll went hand in hand and Michael fell hard for it all.

Michael would spend the rest of his life chasing an elusive dream for fame and fortune. His musical talent, though, never dimmed; he continued to play the piano with amazing fervor, compose music and write wonderfully poetic lyrics for songs few would ever hear. Rest in Peace, dear brother. We hope you have a piano in heaven. Funeral arrangements will be private.