The Avengers (US band)
|Years active||1964 - 1967|
|Music genre(s)||Garage rock, pop|
|Members|| Henry Gonzales|
Greg Likens (1964 - 1966)
Jim Robesky (1964 - 1965)
Ron Sackman (1967)
The Avengers were an American 1960s garage rock group from Bakersfield, California. The first version assembled in 1964, as a surf six-piece consisting of Henry Gonzales (rhythm guitar, vocals), Gary Bernard (drums), Greg Likens (lead guitar, vocals), Kenny Zigoures (bass guitar), Jim Robesky (sax and Farfisa organ), and Gerry Blake (rhythm guitar and vocals). Robesky eventually left before they began recording, with Blake filling in on organ part-time.
Where the name came from is unknown. The Avengers formed in East Bakersfield High School and had unusually short hair, because they were afraid to get suspended. The group was attracted to the new sound of the British Invasion with bands like the Beatles and the Yardbirds, but also American acts like Paul Revere and the Raiders and the Music Machine. The band were managed by Bakersfield KAFY DJ Mike Lunky. Between 1965 and 1967, The Avengers released five 45s and played support slots for the likes of the Beach Boys, the Animals, the Seeds and Eric Burdon and the Animals. They caused a minor publicity sensation by claiming to be the band behind the Batman television series theme song ('Batman'/'Batarang' MGM K 13465, 1966), which was recorded by session musicians and officially released as a single under the pseudonym 'The Avengers'. Because Capitol Records did not wish to reveal who was behind the single, they declined legal action against the Bakersfield band.
The Avengers did not secure a hit record, but their song 'Be a Caveman' has become legendary in garage circuits for having bizarre lyrics and the recording ending with a speeded-up jungle scream. The group recorded 'Get Primitive', 'I Told You So', and other songs that have turned up on garage compilations, as well as 'It's Hard to Hide' and its B-side 'Open Your Eyes'. Recordings took place in Los Angeles, and were produced by Gary Paxton. Following the single releases, Greg Likens left the band, and Ron Sackman joined on lead guitar. The band finally folded in 1967. Blake joined the United Sons of America, which released one eponymous album in 1970.