Mr. Lucky & the Gamblers, a '60s garage rock combo from the Pacific Northwest, took its musical game seriously from 1964 through 1967, releasing a series of independent singles, gigging mightily, and as legend has it frequently triumphing in those vital territorial events called "battles of the bands." A supposedly older and wiser reunion version of the group also decided to run that savage dog race otherwise known as the new music scene, circa 2001. The group should not be confused with several other bands called the just plain Gamblers, while use of the term itself for backup units is rampant enough to be considered a gambling problem: examples include Ray Gentry & the Roving Gamblers, Alaska & the Gamblers, Big Brown & the Gamblers, Cherry Casino & the Gamblers, etc. (& the Gamblers). The confusing association with so many ...
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Artist Biography

by Eugene Chadbourne

Mr. Lucky & the Gamblers, a '60s garage rock combo from the Pacific Northwest, took its musical game seriously from 1964 through 1967, releasing a series of independent singles, gigging mightily, and as legend has it frequently triumphing in those vital territorial events called "battles of the bands." A supposedly older and wiser reunion version of the group also decided to run that savage dog race otherwise known as the new music scene, circa 2001. The group should not be confused with several other bands called the just plain Gamblers, while use of the term itself for backup units is rampant enough to be considered a gambling problem: examples include Ray Gentry & the Roving Gamblers, Alaska & the Gamblers, Big Brown & the Gamblers, Cherry Casino & the Gamblers, etc. (& the Gamblers).

The confusing association with so many name-alikes might have been avoided entirely if the band's so-called "business leader," Bud Garrison, had stuck with the group's original moniker, the Blazers. The popular television show entitled Mr. Lucky, naturally concerning the exploits of a gambler, inspired the switch so this band could have been called "The Flintstones" or "The Outer Limits" just as easily. The chosen association has added to discographical disarray surrounding this band, with some garage rock fiends merrily sending off for an album entitled Mr. Lucky: 12, only to find out it is a collection of solo piano pieces selected from the television show's suave soundtrack and not raging Pacific Northwest rock at all.

What seems like a frenzy of mistaken identity continues with the introduction of a local record-spinner named Tom Mix, who should not be confused with the legendary cowboy star of the same name. At any rate, a DJ lucky enough to have Mix for a surname is probably happy to suffer any associated discomfort. Mix and a local nightclub owner, Hal Bronson, felt lucky enough about Mr. Lucky & the Gamblers to gamble on starting their own record company, allowing the group an opportunity to begin a series of regional hits. Band buffs from the area may recall enthusiastically that by the mid-'60s, three members previously with another local band, the Rogues, were now part of an on-stage sound becoming more intense and dirty.

In 1966 good fortune came in the form of an association with Don Gallucci of Don & the Goodtimes fame. Gallucci finagled a deal for Mr. Lucky & the Gamblers with a larger regional label promising a Panorama of the garage rock scene. Some of the group's best-known songs followed, including "Take a Look at Me," a favorite of exhibitionists, as well as "Alice Designs (LSD Signs)." The latter single was described by a band biographer as "an upbeat, California-style commercial pop tune, complete with background harmony," like any pro-drug song should be.

One of the band's original founders, Mike Parker, finally called it quits in 1967. He was replaced but within the year the entire band had run out of luck, members moving on to other groups such as the Sound Vendor, Merrillee Rush & the Turnabouts, and, appropriately enough, Don & the Goodtimes. One ex-member, Norm Smith, went into politics in the '80s. Many of the original members re-formed the band in 2001.