Wednesday, September 25, 2013

September 25: Gary Alexander - AKA Jules Alexander - guitarist and vocalist for The Association is 70-years-old today.

Born in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Jules Alexander  was in Hawaii in 1962 serving a stint in the Navy when he met Terry Kirkman. The two jammed frequently and promised to get together once Alexander was discharged. That happened a year later; the two eventually moved to Los Angeles and began exploring LA's early 60s music scene.  Kirkman even played in groups with Frank Zappa for a time before Zappa went on to form The Mothers of Invention.

Then, at a Monday night hootenanny at the LA nightclub The Troubadour, in 1964, an ad hoc group called The Inner Tubes was formed by Terry, Jules and Doug Dillard, whose rotating membership contained, at one time or another, Cass Elliot, David Crosby and many others who drifted in and out. This led, in 1965, to the forming of The Men, a 13 piece folk-rock band.

This group had a brief spell as the house band at The Troubadour. After a short time, however, The Men disbanded, with six of the members electing to go out on their own. At the suggestion of Kirkman's then-fiancée, Judy, they took the name The Association. The original lineup included Alexander - using his middle name, Gary, on the first 2 albums -  on vocals and lead guitar, and Kirkman on vocals and a variety of wind, brass and percussion instruments.

The other four were Brian Cole, Russ Giguere, Ted Bluechel, Jr. and Bob Page who was soon replaced by Jim Yester.  The new band spent about five months rehearsing before they began performing around the Los Angeles area, most notably a regular stint at The Ice House in Pasadena and its sister club in Glendale. They also auditioned for record labels but faced resistance due to their unique sound.

Their big national break came with the song "Along Comes Mary", written by Tandyn Almer. Alexander first heard the song when he was hired to play on a demo version and persuaded Almer to give The Association first crack at it. The recording went to #7 on the Billboard charts, and led to the group's first album, And Then... Along Comes the Association.  (A song from the album, "Cherish", written by Kirkman, would become The Association's first #1 in September 1966.)

In 1967, Jules Alexander left the band to study meditation in India and was replaced by Larry Ramos.

 In early 1969, Jules returned to the group, which now made The Association a seven-man band (they acknowledged by changing the title and lyric of "Six-Man Band" to match.) The first project with the seven-piece band was music for the soundtrack of Goodbye, Columbus, the film version of Philip Roth's best-selling novel.


(HIGHLY Recommended CDs):

Greatest Hits (Rpkg)And Then...Along Comes the AssociationRenaissance

 Jules left again in 1974 Alexander left soon after to join Russ Giguere in a new vocal outfit, Bijou. He once again returned to the group in 1979.

1 comment:

  1. Loved The Association Mike. As you know I went to many of their concerts at Westbury. Thanks for the good info...great work.