Before they became bards of the Sunset Strip and the iconic American garage band, the Standells had so many former lives that lead singer Larry Tamblyn came up with the band name due to the fact that they were always standing around booking agents' offices. After years in the trenches, the classic lineup hooked up with producer Ed Cobb in 1966. The result was the hit "Dirty Water," a tale of treachery Cobb penned after being robbed in Boston. Other slices of leering, lecherous garage genius followed: "Try It," "Why Pick On Me" and of course, the ultimate outsider anthem, "Sometimes Good Guys Don't Where White."
By Mike Hurtt
"Best known for their hit 'Dirty Water', The Standells released a string of snotty, aggressive garage singles in the mid to late 1960s which are now rightly regarded as proto-punk classics. 'Sometimes Good Guys Don't Wear White', 'Why Pick On Me', 'Riot On Sunset Strip' – the songs of The Standells have been covered by everyone from Bruce Springsteen, Aerosmith and U2 to Spacemen 3, Minor Threat and a million '77 punk bands as well as many subsequent scene bands."
- Pat Long
The Standells are considered by many to be the 'godfathers of punk rock' and the 'originators of garage rock'. The group was formed in 1962 by keyboardist and lead vocalist Larry Tamblyn. Their first hit single on Tower Records "Dirty Water" reached #11 on the Billboard charts, #8 in Cashbox, and #1 in Record World. Other chart records include "Sometimes Good Guys Don't Wear White", "Why Pick On Me," and "Riot On Sunset Strip.", which is featured as the kick-off song in the new Rhino Records boxed CD set Where the Action Is.
Prior to their success on Tower Records, the group was signed by Liberty Records and issued an album "The Standells In Person At P.J.'s" in 1964 (later re-released as "The Standells Live and out of Sight"). After having no success with Liberty they signed with Vee Jay in 1965 for two singles, one of which was produced by Sonny Bono Sonny & Cher. Cher did backup vocals on one of the songs "The Boy Next Door".
The group appeared in several movies, including "Get Yourself a College Girl, performing their first Liberty recording "The Shake" and "Riot on Sunset Strip", performing the film's title song. The Standells also frequently appeared on television. The Standells guest starred as themselves in an episode of the The Munsters. They were also featured in an installment of The Bing Crosby Show, and as a nightclub band on an episode of Ben Casey. In addition to TV shows like Shindig, American Bandstand and Where the Action is, they were featured on Art Linkletter's House Party, debating moral majority broadcasting mogal Gordon McLendon who banned their recording "Try It". McLendon deemed the song's lyrics to be obscene. (By all accounts, the Standells defeated him pretty handily.)
Despite the references to Boston and the Charles River in "Dirty Water," The Standells are not from Massachusetts. Nevertheless, "Dirty Water" is still played after every home victory won by the Boston Red Sox, Boston Celtics, and Boston Bruins as well as at Northeastern Huskies' hockey games. One would be hard-put to find either a sports fan or rock music lover in Massachusetts who had never heard of the Standells.
The band still actively performs in concert. Recent performances were given in Los Angeles (Whisky A Go Go, Echoplex, Amoeba Records), along with headlining for the June Lake Mountain Music Festival. The band toured Europe June-July, 2010, playing to wildly enthusiastic crowds in Madrid, Bordeaux, Rennes, Paris, London, Oslo, Berlin, Athens, and Frankfurt. In March of 2012, the Standells performed at the SXSW Festival, and in September the group headlined at the Monterey Summer Festival of Love Festival.
The Standells were guests of the Red Sox for Game 2 of the 2004 World Series, performing "Dirty Water" at Fenway Park; they are frequent guests of the Red Sox, including a performance of the National Anthem before the start of the 2007 AL playoff series.
Dirty Water is listed in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as one of the 500 songs that shaped Rock & Roll.. A biography titled "Love that Dirty Water – The Standells and the Improbable Red Sox Victory Anthem" is currently available on Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, Target, and in other retail outlets.
Today, the Standells consist of original members Larry Tamblyn (lead singer & keyboard), Dick Dodd (lead singer, percussion & guitar), John Fleckenstein (bass), plus Mark Adrian (co-lead singer & guitar) and veteran drummer Greg Burnham. They are currently working on their new record album, the first in over 45 years.
Bio From: www.sonicbids.com/Standells