“….The idea was to have fun and get the audience into the action….” (Ken Paxton)
The Dominions were a garage rock band from Eugene, Oregon who, like so many bands of the time, were only active for a brief spell. Though three years is pretty good going if you compare it to some!! Active from 1964 to 1967, the band consisted of Gene Garrett on vocals/lead guitar, Ron Gordon on bass, Frank Nachtman on Lead Guitar, Ken Paxton on Organ/Vocals, John Peters on Saxophone, Larry Rodman on Drums and Ron Techel on Guitar/Vocals.
What also made this psych outfit a little different was the instrumentation they used and though the raw garage punk sound rocked through their sound, it often belted out with the help of some lesser-spotted psych instrumentation such as the saxophone! This is what really gives today’s song its edge!! I love that this song is dark, edgy and moody (my idea of psych heaven) but when that saxophone kicks in, it just adds a whole new kaleidoscopic layer! The vocals are snarly, the drums are loose (yet perfectly formed) and the dynamics perfect for maximum loud/soft effect!!
I Need Her was released on Oregon label, Graves Recording Service in 1966. It accompanied the band’s curious rendition of Spanish Harlem on the b-side, which couldn’t have been a more contrasting flip-side if it tried! The Dominions instrumental cover of Spanish Harlem wasn’t a hit amongst garage fans (according so some of the sources I’ve read) and I can quite honestly see why!! What were they thinking!!! Still, all is forgiven when you switch up the tempo and thrash out I Need Her!!
Whilst reading about The Dominion, I found an article written by the band’s organist/vocalist, Ken Paxton who described his time in the band by saying this:
“The Dominions were formed in 1964 when I started at the University of Oregon. We were a basic hard rock group that made up for lack of quality vocals with a very driving rhythm. We were probably the most popular band in the Eugene area for over three years. Our one single, “I Need Her”, is still selling on E-bay and was the best selling record in Oregon for several months, until we ran out of copies. The first two weeks we released the record we far outsold all other records, including the release of the Monkey’s “Last Train to Clarksville”. One of our claims to fame was a performance at the U of Oregon Student Union where a dancer, on top of my speaker system, took her top off during the show. She was behind me so I couldn’t see what she was doing. All I could see was the crowd really loved what we were doing!!!! I thought it was the music but the school quickly closed us down. We made all the papers for a few days until she left town with her boyfriend, who drove an ambulance with two tiger cubs in it. It was a fun time and the band members enjoyed being with each other, We still maintain contact and actually had a twenty year reunion a few years back. We thought we sounded ok until we saw the video tape!! I focused the Dominions on being a show band. I played the organ laying on my back or with the guitar player sitting on my shoulders, we danced on stage with audience members, switched instruments during a song and had squirt gun fights during performances. The idea was to have fun and get the audience into the action…” (Ken Paxton, February 2004)
What a shame time machines don’t exist, I wouldn’t mind catching this lot live!!! Shame they only issued one 45 too!! It’s a corker! Enjoy!