Discovered in an LA garage, the band rode a psychedelic wave into Easy Rider and a trippy Latin mass – even if they didn’t actually take acid. As a box set revives the music, their lead singer looks back
“I guess I’m part of history,” says James Lowe, lead singer of the Electric Prunes, of the band’s oeuvre being gathered into a box set this month. “It suggests the idea we had for the band was viable – at least for a while.”
Indeed, the Los Angeles quintet were, if only briefly, one of psychedelic rock’s pioneers. Ironically, as Lowe confirms, the Prunes weren’t particularly interested in hallucinogenic drugs – “we had no support crew, no tour bus; we couldn’t sit around stoned” – and no Prune possessed the dark charisma of fellow LA psychedelic shamans Arthur Lee or Jim Morrison. Initially a surf-rock outfit, a passing real-estate agent heard the band rehearsing in a garage and suggested a friend of hers might be interested in them. Lowe gave his phone number but thought nothing of it, because “everyone in LA knows ‘someone’ in the film or music industry”.