1970 Pacific Gas & Electric – Are You Ready?
In 1967, a new band was formed by Charlie Allen on drums, Brent Block on bass, Tom Marshall on guitar, and Glenn Schwartz (from The James Gang) on lead guitar. Charlie showed the most promise as a lead singer, so Frank Cook (from Canned Heat) joined as well and took over the drums. The band initially appeared as Pacific Gas and Electric Blues Band. The band changed its name to Pacific Gas and Electric when it recorded its first album for Kent Records in 1968.
Columbia Records signed the band to a recording contract after observing the band at Miami Pop Festival in May 1968. The band’s first album for Columbia came out in 1969 without attracting much notice.
In 1970, the band recorded their third album. The title song, Are You Ready?, ran nearly six minutes.
Columbia cut that down and remixed a single that ran only two minutes and forty seconds. The radio-friendly remix helped push the single to #14 on the Hot 100 in 1970.
In concerts, the band performed a version of the song that frequently ran over seven minutes.
The lineup of the band changed somewhat when they hit the road to promote their newest album, resulting in a mixed race lineup. This led to some problems and even a riot and some gunfire when the band appeared in Raleigh, North Carolina.
The actual utility company named Pacific Gas & Electric objected to sharing their name with the band, so in 1971, the band became PG&E. Three more albums followed by 1973, but the band could not reach any higher than #93 on the Hot 100.
The band also recorded a live album that Columbia Records simply didn’t release. That recording finally got released by Wounded Bird Records in 2007.
In one of life’s little ironies, a few decades after the band ceased recording new music, the utility company began to use the name PG&E as well.
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