Nov 272010

Crabby Appleton

You may recall a recent Mystery Date featuring a proto-power pop song that Townspeople correctly identified as being from 1970 while puzzingly and incorrectly guessing was recorded by an obscure Dutch band. Our Mystery Date turned out to be an American band, Crabby Appleton, led by Michael Fennelly, who’d previously come to underground pop acclaim as a member of “sunshine pop” commercial flop and cult favorite The Millennium.

I first discovered The Millennium when Begin was reissued on CD, probably around 1990. My friends and I had started a Rutles-like offshoot band that we envisioned as one of the “second-tier” pop-psych bands we loved, including The Turtles, The Hollies, Grass Roots, and The Pretty Things. This new old band we’d discovered, The Millennium, was just the sort of band we’d envisioned. “It’s You” is one of the great songs from that era; I still get chills everytime I hear it. Little could I have imagined that, 20 years later, I’d piece together a long, vague personal history with the music of one of the writers of that song and get the chance to talk to him.

As mentioned in the Mystery Date thread on Crabby Appleton, when I first came across their album at my college radio station, in 1981, my late-night DJ shift friend and I didn’t get it. The band name and the hard rock elements threw us off. Revisiting the album with nearly 20 years of time to catch up on early 1970s’ hard rock I actually dug it! I played “Go Back” for my old college friend too, and he did too. One of the reasons we enter the Halls of Rock is to revisit stuff we didn’t get at earlier points in our lives. The good day of discovering that Crabby Appleton’s debut album was actually a solid, slightly ahead-of-its time piece of work that tied back to an earlier band I loved continues with our chat with Michael Fennelly.


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