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The Pacific Gas & Electric Blues Band were formed in 1967, in Los Angeles, by guitarists Tom Marshall and Glenn Schwartz, Brent Block on bass, and drummer Charlie Allen.  Wikipedia states that Glenn was previously in the James Gang with Joe Walsh in Cleveland, Ohio.  That article also states that Glenn left the James Gang in 1968 and if that is the case he could hardly have started the band or have been a founding member.  Nevertheless, Glenn was already a guitar legend in the north eastern Ohio scene.

The band soon discovered that Charlie Allen was the best singer in the band so he became the front man and Frank Cook, of Canned Heat, took over the drummer's throne.  The band shortened their name to Pacific Gas & Electric upon signing to Kent Records.  In early 1968 they released their debut album 'Get It On' to very little critical acclaim and the record nearly sank without a trace.  The band's live performances were so stellar that they were signed to Columbia Records following their "kick ass and take hyphenated names" show at the Miami Pop Festival.



1969 saw the release of their first Columbia album 'Pacific Gas & Electric' which is still a personal favorite and my all time choice of play of their releases.  The album charted at 91 on the Billboard Top 200.  In 1970 the band released  'Are You Ready' to considerable critical acclaim and the title track reached number 14 on the Billboard Hot 100.  Frank Cook was injured in an automobile accident and was replaced on drums while he stayed on with the band as their manager.  There were a few other line up changes at this time such as a new bassist, Frank Petricca, and Ken Utterback took over the lead guitarist slot.



The band caved into pressure from the California utility company of the same name and shortened their name to PG&E.  The band also added a horn section and a percussionist to the line up.  PG&E released a new album, 'PG&E', and appeared and performed in Otto Preminger's 'Tell Me You Love Me, Julie Moon' with Liza Minelli.  

Wiki mentions the band was unusual at the time for including both black and white musicians and alludes to a show in Raleigh, North Carolina, which included rioting and gunfire.  The band was touring like crazy at this time.  I caught them in Panama City opening for The Amboy Dukes and they brought the house down with everyone dancing on their seats.  They rocked the house and the after party at Holiday Inn was awesome.



All things come to an end, even good ones, and the band split up.  In 1973 an album entitled 'Pacific Gas & Electric starring Charlie Allen' was released on the Dunhill label with Charlie and a bunch of studio musicians.  Charlie died in 1990 at age 48.  Frank Petricca became a stock broker. Tom Marshall suffered a series of health problems and the deterioration of his personal circumstances and spent most of the 1980s homeless.



The Los Angeles Free Press 60's Music Site http://www.lafpmusic.com/pacific-gas-and-electric-m69nah23612cx www.lafpmusic.comPolitical posters, 1960s articles, 60's music reviews and vintage concert ads fr