Ross for the scan)
The Initial Shock were one of many bands who moved to San Francisco in 1967, but were more or less alone insofar as having been the only band who moved from Montana. Apparently the group was from Missoula, MT and featured members of local groups The Chosen Few and Mojos Mark IV, and at least one member was assigned to an Air Force base in the area. When the Air Force commitment was over, the band decided to move to San Francisco to be where the action was.
The Initial Shock released two singles, but no albums. The first, "Mind Disaster"/"Its Not Easy" (BFD 036), was recorded in Montana and released in 1966. The second, rarer single "You Been A Long Time Comin'"/I Once Asked" (BFD 2022) was released in 1967. I know nothing about the record label nor details of the recordings.
The Initial Shock was well regarded by those who were there at the time, although unfortunately the only live recorded evidence that circulates (to my knowledge) is an excellent 4-song piece of an Avalon Ballroom concert from 1968. It reveals a driving, bluesy sound, but its hard to know how representative of their material it might be. Members of the group were
George Wallace-lead guitar
William "Mojo" Collins-guitar, vocals
Brian Knaff-drums, vocals
While relatively little is known about the Initial Shock, they played a number of interesting shows in the Bay Area from 1967-69. I gather from various signs and portents that a journal of great importance (in my tiny Universe) will be doing an extensive article on the Initial Shock, so it seemed like a good time to begin trying to determine a list of Bay Area performance for The Initial Shock. As with most groups, it is easiest to find the most high profile shows, where posters or other evidence survives, and that may be only a small portion of a band's performances. Nonetheless, here is the information I have so far. Anyone who has additions, corrections, insights or recovered memories (real or imagined) about Initial Shock performances in the Bay Area is encouraged to Comment or email me.
Initial Shock Performance List 1967-69
September 24, 1967 Provo Park, Berkeley: Initial Shock
Free Sunday concerts in Provo Park (on Grove and Allston downtown) were a regular occurrence in Berkeley, and provided a good opportunity for new or newly-arrived bands to get heard.
October 4, 1967 Straight Theater, San Francisco: Mad River/Mount Rushmore/Anonymous Artists of America/Initial Shock
October 5, 1967 Straight Theater, San Francisco: Sopwith Camel/Black Swan/Hair/Frumious Bandersnatch/Don Garrett/Initial Shock
This was a benefit for the Haight Ashbury Medical Center. Various poets, dancers and other performers were also part of the show.
October 7, 1967 Western Front, San Francisco: Sons of Champlin/Frumious Bandersnatch/Initial Shock
The Western Front was one of many attempts to open a psychedelic ballroom in San Francisco. The venue, at 895 O'Farrell (at Polk), never managed to find its footing.
Although I can find no Initial Shock shows until December, I assume they were playing around various places--I just haven't figured out where.
December 1-3, 1967 Western Front, San Francisco: Youngbloods/Wildflower/Initial Shock
The Initial Shock returned to The Western Front, although its my belief that there were different promoters at this point.
Ross Hannan found a remarkable ad in the Berkeley Barb of December 22, 1967, announcing that the Initial Shock would be returning to San Francisco on January 16, "After 28 Consecutive One Night Stands."
I don't know where or how the band played 28 straight nights, including Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year's Day. If this is true and not hyperbole, I have to assume they played ski resorts in places like Idaho. Given the band's Montana background, they may have gone as far afield as Montana as well.
I assume that Initial Shock had shows booked when they returned to San Francisco, but we have yet to uncover them.
March 16, 1968 Straight Theater, San Francisco: Flamin Groovies/Initial Shock
May 12, 1968 Civic Center Plaza, San Francisco: Kaleidoscope/Initial Shock/Country Weather/AB Skhy Blues Band
This was a daytime show. It was a benefit for Haight-Ashbury Free Medical Clinic.
May 28, 1968 Avalon Ballroom, San Francisco: Crystal Syphon/Phoenix/Indian Head Band/Mint Tattoo/Initial Shock/Loading Zone
“Spring Medicine Show” Benefit for The Haight Ashbury Free Medical Clinic
June 28-30, 1968 Carousel Ballroom, San Francisco: Steve Miller Band/Buddy Guy/Initial Shock
This show was advertised (a poster exists) but did not take place.
July 3, 1968 Straight Theater, San Francisco: Initial Shock/Allmen Joy/Indian Head Band/Phoenix
July 12, 1968 Cow Palace, Daly City: Iron Butterfly/Creedence Clearwater Revival/Vanilla Fudge/Kai Moore/Canned Heat/Sweet Rush/West/Sandy Bull
A variant poster has Sandy Bull, Canned Heat, Vanilla Fudge, Iron Butterfly, West, Initial Shock, Wedge and Phoenix. Of course, Initial Shock was booked in Sacramento (below), but given that its less than two hours from San Francisco to Sacramento, they could easily have played both shows. However, since absolutely nothing is known about this Benefit, I have no idea who actually played.
July 12-13, 1968 Sound Factory, Sacramento: Steppenwolf/Ace of Cups/Initial Shock
The Sound Factory, at 1817 Alhambra, was a newly-opened venue run by Whitey Davis, the former proprietor of Portland's Crystal Ballroom as well as a critical figure at the Avalon Ballroom. This was one of the earliest shows at the Sound Factory (it appears to have opened on June 28--the July 12-13 poster is up top).
July 14, 1968 Balconades Ballroom, San Jose: Initial Shock/Womb/Phoenix/Freedom Highway/Rejoice/Day Blindness/Fritz Rabyne/Marble Gardens/Pure Funk/Uncut Balloon
The Balconades was on an upper floor of The Lyndon Building (built 1882), at 181 W. Santa Clara St. After time as a printing press for a newspapers, it had been turned into a ballroom (probably in the 1920s). It had been part of a Country and Western circuit for performers like Hank Williams and Bob Wills, back when San Jose was an agricultural center and the biggest radio station (KEEN 1370 AM) played country music. There were a few rock shows at Balconades in 1968, although this appears to be one of the last ones.
Most of the groups at this Sunday event were club bands that played around, but weren't yet at the Avalon level. "Fritz Rabyne" was probably the Fritz Rabyne Memorial Band, a Menlo Park band that featured former Menlo-Atherton High School students Lindsay Buckingham and Stephanie (Stevie) Nicks.
July 26-27, 1968 New Orleans House, Berkeley: Initial Shock/Shiva’s Head Band
The New Orleans House, at 1505 San Pablo Avenue, was Berkeley's premier club for rock bands that played original music.
August 16-17, 1968 Sound Factory, Sacramento: Pink Floyd/Initial Shock/AB Skhy Blues Band
Road manager George Crowe (see his Comment) recalls opening for Pink Floyd in Sacramento.
August 2-4, 1968 Fillmore West, San Francisco: Iron Butterfly/Canned Heat/Initial Shock
Ross for the scan)
August 29-31, 1968 Avalon Ballroom, San Francisco: Youngbloods/It’s A Beautiful Day/Initial Shock
October 18-20, 1968 Avalon Ballroom, San Francisco: Velvet Underground/Charley Musselwhite/Initial Shock
October 31-November 2, 1968 The Ark, Sausalito Initial Shock/Devil's Kitchen/White Lightning
A flyer recently turned up on eBay. The flyer says "Boogie--Ball." Perhaps the Marin band Boogie was on the bill, or perhaps it was just an invocation. Devil's Kitchen were recently arrived from Carbondale, IL.
The Ark was a grounded steamer docked on Gate 6 in Sausalito. It was a hippie rock club and hangout, mostly open on weekends (Halloween was a Thursday this year).
November 8-9, 1968 New Orleans House, Berkeley: Initial Shock/Orion
November 28-30, 1968 Avalon Ballroom, San Francisco: Quicksilver Messenger Service/Sons of Champlin/Initial Shock
The Avalon Ballroom had one more show after these that was still under Chet Helm's aegis, when Big Brother headlined (December 1, 1968), but Helms had to give up the lease on the Avalon due to financial difficulties and a struggle to get a Dance Permit.
The Avalon would reopen in March 1969, and members of Initial Shock were apparently part of the Avalon management team. This is just one of many tantalizing bits of history that makes their definitive story so worth looking forward to.
December 5, 1968 New Committee Theatre, San Francisco: Initial Shock/Aum/Notes From The Underground
December 6, 1968 New Committee Theatre, San Francisco: Initial Shock/Devils Kitchen/Sanpaku
December 7, 1968 New Committee Theatre, San Francisco: Initial Shock/Notes From The Underground/Sanpaku
The New Committee Theatre was at 836 Montgomery. The Committee (an improvisational comedy troupe) was the main performer there, but various rock shows were held as well.
December 20-21, 1968 Sound Factory, Sacramento: Initial Shock/Salloom Sinclair & Mama Bear
Although I recognize that I have only been capturing highlights of the Initial Shock's bookings in 1967 and '68, the trail runs pretty dry in 1969. Given that some members of the group--perhaps all--were involved in the management of the Avalon Ballroom when it re-opened on March 21, 1969, perhaps that had an effect, but the revised Avalon only lasted until April 6, so the final year of the Initial Shock remains vague. I have to assume there were many more shows than are listed here.
January 17-18, 1969 The Matrix, San Francisco: Initial Shock
February 28-March 1, 1969 New Orleans House, Berkeley: Initial Shock/Welliver Fields
March 26-30, 1969 Avalon Ballroom, San Francisco
Jef Jaisun and the Slow Truck, Santana, AAA, It's A Beautiful Day, All Men Joy, Youngbloods, Country Weather, Welliver Fields, Initial Shock, AB Skhy, Linn County, Conqueroo, Frumious Bandersnatch, Fourth Way, Melting Pot, Cleanliness and Godliness Skiffle Band, Clover, Shades of Joy, Alice Cooper, Pure Funk
The poster lists all the bands who will play over four nights, so I assume Initial Shock played some but not all of the shows, but I do not know for certain.
May 15-17, 1969 New Orleans House, Berkeley: Ace Of Cups/Initial Shock
The trail runs cold after this point, and future published revelations will be welcome.
Lead guitarist George Wallace apparently went on to work with Janis Joplin. Lead singer and guitarist Bill "Mojo" Collins went on to play in the group Sawbuck with Ronnie Montrose (they helped close the Fillmore West on June 29, 1971), but he relocated to Coastal North Carolina in late 1971. He remains an active and successful performer in the greater Wilmington area today.
This is a work in progress. Anyone with additional information about Initial Shock performances is encouraged to Comment or email me.