The Children

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The band that eventually became the Children began life as a pair of competing garage combos on the often-overlooked San Antonio rock circuit in 1965. The Stoics came together in the spring of that year.…
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The band that eventually became the Children began life as a pair of competing garage combos on the often-overlooked San Antonio rock circuit in 1965. The Stoics came together in the spring of that year. Guitarists William Ash and Rufus Quillian were upper-middle-class kids while singer Al Acosta, drummer Sam Allen, and bass player Michel Marechal all came from the city's predominantly Hispanic northeast side. All, however, were united by a love of the Rolling Stones and the Kinks. The band released a single ("Hate") at the beginning of 1967, just before they split in two over a disagreement. It was not long before William Ash was invited to join the Argyles, which had also come together in the spring of 1965, with Stephen Perron on guitar and vocals, Louis Cabaza on organ and electric piano, lead guitarist Chris Holzaus, bassist Benny Treiber, and drummer Steve Anderson. Like the Stoics, they were a garage band but made advances more quickly in the scene, taking up the role as house band at the Blue Note Lounge in 1966 after fellow scenesters the Sir Douglas Quintet had moved on to wider acclaim. Later in the year, the group entered a Houston studio to record their first 45, "White Lightnin'." They continued to tour around south Texas until releasing a second single, a version of the Beau Brummels' "Still in Love With You Baby."

At this point, a dispute broke out between Holzaus and the rest of band. Holzaus left, and the Argyles acquired Ash, who in turn brought in new drummer Andrew Szuch, Jr. to replace Anderson. Female vocalist Cassell Webb also joined the band's ranks, and they made the dramatic transformation into the Mind's Eye. This coincided not only with a new single, the classic garage-psych one-off, "Help, I'm Lost," but with the opening of the band's own psychedelic club as well. By this point the members had also discovered the sine qua non of '60s chemical catalysts: LSD. Within a couple months, the city had closed down the club due to the escalation of drug-related incidents, and the Mind's Eye responded by heading out to California and the Summer of Love. Treiber, a friend of the sister of fellow Texan Mike Nesmith, preceded the band to Los Angeles to discuss with Nesmith the possibility that he might produce the band, but when Nesmith proved to have too many prior engagements, Davy Jones decided to take them on. Jones had a falling out with Treiber, however, and he was replaced by Ash's old bandmate Marechal. The lineup finally settled, the band decided it would be appropriate, in light of all the changes, to select a new name as well. The Children were born.

The group soon entered the studio to begin recording their first album. Unfortunately, Jones returned from a U.K. tour in late 1967 to discover that his manager had already spent all the money he had earmarked for his new record label. The band, with only three songs finished, were released from their contract. An extremely limited-edition of the Ash-Perron original "Picture Me" was pressed up as a single and released on Laramie, but again, that label management squandered the band's money. By this time, the Children were playing at all the popular venues on Sunset Boulevard, but strapped for cash and taking increasing amounts of acid, they decided to head back to Texas.

In Houston, they signed with Cinema Records, and entered the studio with Leland Rogers to record their sole LP, Rebirth. The album, released in the summer of 1968, is one of the finest examples of Texas psychedelia. Major label Atco picked it up for national distribution later in the year. Lineup changes again afflicted the band at this point. Perron contracted hepatitis from shooting heroin and was laid up for more than half a year. Ash, an Air Force brat, moved to Japan with his family and was replaced by teenage whiz Kenny Cordray. Jim Newhouse also took Zsuch's place after the latter was in a car accident. Still, the Children went back into studio in the summer of 1969 to record a new single, a version of Bo Diddley's "Pills." Perron and Cordray also co-wrote and recorded "Francene," later re-recorded by ZZ Top, with Billy Gibbons. The band began shopping for a new record deal. The search ended when Lou Adler -- in Houston overseeing production of Robert Altman's Brewster McCloud -- saw the band live and signed them on the spot to Dunhill Records. The Children again journeyed out to California and began recording their second album for Adler's new Ode imprint. Although acetates and test pressings of the 1970 LP were made, the album was never actually completed, and never subsequently materialized. A pair of 45s, "From the Very Start" and "Fire Ring," were released by Ode, the former becoming a minor hit. The band returned to Houston, Cabaza left, and the rest of the band decided to join a disastrous B.B. King/ZZ Top tour rather than return to California for the coming-out show Adler had scheduled for them. The Children finally disintegrated in 1971. Perron, in the throes of a serious drug problem, went into a mental hospital to try to kick his habit. He was unsuccessful, dying from an what appeared to be an accidental overdose in 1973.