Pacific Gas and Electric: Are You Ready?

Pacific Gas and Electric, picked a name at a time when Public Services names were the rage, think Chicago Transit Authority (Later Chicago) and eventually they became just PG&E. The band was formed in L.A. in 1967 when bands were forming everywhere, and the original members were: Guitarist Tom Marshall, Bassist Brent Block, Lead Guitarist Glenn Schwartz (formerly of The James Gang) and drummer Charlie Allen.

I found it interesting that when Charlie Allen proved to be the best singer in the group, he moved to the front and Frank Cook from Canned Heat was brought on as Drummer.

PG&E's first eponymous album didn't do much, but their follow up in 1969, "Are You Ready" broke out thanks to the Title Single of the same name that went Top 20 (#14) on the Hot 100. I should add here that because it was a pretty Heavy Blues Rock song, some of the Top 40's didn't play it, but the FM AOR Stations wailed it big-time.

But after the record was released Frank Cook was in an automobile accident and had to give up the drums. The Band Business was very volatile in the early 70's and before long two more guys, Marshall and Schwartz moved on, and although they too were replaced it wasn't the same Band anymore. In 1971 Pacific Gas & Electric officially changed their name to PG&E because of pressure from the Utility, and added horns, Stanley Abernathy (Trumpet), Alfred Galagos and Virgil Gonsalves (Saxophones), there was also Jerry Aiello (keyboards) and Joe Lala on Percussion.

PG&E made one more album using the new name for the title and it barely broke the Top 200 Album Chart, stuck at #181. Just like in any relationship when the writings on the wall it's time to break up, and that's what happened here; in the period between 1967 to 1971, they had flipped most of the players, (I counted 13 different musicians at one time or another), and gone up and come back down. This was a pretty obscure post, the hipsters from back in the day will remember PG&E, but they were never a household name. However, Scott found a Way Cool Video of PG&E performing "Are You Ready" Live and really rocking with good sound and picture. Are You ready for Rock and Roll? @therealdonrocks

A version of this post originally appeared on The Don Rocks Facebook page. For more stories like these every day, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

#DonSundeen #PGE