Folk-rockers Tom Mastin and Mike Brewer first collaborated on-stage at the Blind Owl Coffeehouse in Kent, OH, in 1964. According to an article at www.classicrockpage.com, both singer/guitarists were solo veterans of the folk circuit and, with the scene waning in late 1965, the duo relocated to San Francisco with fellow folkie Dave McIntosh in tow. The latter remained in the Bay Area while Mastin & Brewer soon relocated to Los Angeles, where they befriended New Christy Minstrel Randy Sparks, who in turn introduced the duo to producer Barry Friedman. A resulting three-song demo led to a contract with Columbia Records, and a backing group including Tim Buckley bassist Jim Fielder and ex-Skip Battin Group drummer Billy Mundi was hastily assembled. Mastin & Brewer shared their Hollywood rehearsal space with a pre-Buffalo Springfield Stephen Stills and Richie Furay, and in the spring of 1966 both groups opened for the Byrds on a brief tour of southern California. Mastin & Brewer also headlined the famed Whisky A Go-Go in addition to satiating their more psychedelic leanings by playing under the alias the Elesian Senate.
While recording their debut album the group splintered -- Mastin, suffering from a bout of severe depression, walked out and never returned. He later returned to San Francisco, ultimately committing suicide. Brewer tried resuscitating the group by adding his brother Keith, who overdubbed Mastin's original vocal track for the lone Mastin & Brewer single, 1966's "Need You." Credited to Brewer & Brewer, the record went nowhere, and the band finally dissolved. Mundi then joined the Lamp of Childhood before signing on with the Mothers of Invention, where he and Fielder reunited. Mike Brewer, meanwhile, hired on as staff songwriter at Good Sam Music -- there he renewed ties with old friend Tom Shipley, a fellow transplant from Ohio. Performing as Brewer & Shipley, the duo recorded a series of LPs for Kama Sutra, scoring a Top Ten hit in 1971 with "One Toke Over the Line."