Jim García Recalls The Rare Breed
60sgaragebands.com (60s): How did you first get interested in music?
Jim García (JG): I started to take guitar lessons when I was about 10-15 years old.
60s: Was The Rare Breed your first band?
JG: The Rare Breed was my last band. Before The Rare Breed I played with other bands, beginning with Jimmy Tutten and The Rockets, The Challengers, The Big Beats, The Uniques, and then, The Rare Breed.
60s: Where and when was The Rare Breed formed?
JG: The Rare Breed was formed in early ‘60-‘63 at the University of Florida. The band was composed of the members of another band by the name of The Playboys and I and other two members of The Big Beats became part of The Rare Breed.
The band consisted of Bill Carter, lead guitar; Jim García, rhythm guitar; Ron Gause, organ and vocals; Randy McDaniel, bass; Paul McArthur, drums; and Randy Ratliff, lead singer. Also, from time to time, the personnel changed and we had Bryan Grigsby on sax and flute, Frank Birdsong on rhythm guitar and lead vocals, and one or two other singers.
60s: How would you describe the band's sound? What bands influenced you?
JG: The band was the typical “rock and roll” band of the ‘60s. We were still clean-cut and we remained clean-cut even though by the end of the ‘60s most bands were looking like bums, hippies, etc. Our sound was much like the sounds of the time, e.g., ‘Louie Louie.’ No particular band or famous group influenced our band although some of the individual members like—like Bill Carter—were influenced by Chet Atkins.
60s: What was the Gainesville rock and roll scene like in the '60s?
JG: Gainesville was a typical college town rock and roll scene. There were many fraternity gigs, etc.
60s: Where did the band typically play?
JG: We played fraternity gigs but we also played private parties, clubs, etc. For a while, The Rare Breed was the house band for a place called Dub’s, which was the local college hangout in Gainesville at that time. After The Rare Breed, many other famous acts played at Dub’s, such as Donnie Felder (who later played with The Eagles) and Tom Petty. Dub’s is now closed. However, see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MxEIDb2gGwM.
60s: How far was the band's "touring" territory?
JG: Mainly, Gainesville and surrounding areas.
60s: Did The Rare Breed participate in any battle of the bands?
JG: Only once and it was a real joke. It was in Ocala, Florida and they organized a so-called “Battle of the Bands” but the real intent was to showcase a local band that was becoming somewhat well-known and touring with another act. However, I can’t recall the name of the band, so it probably never did much.
60s: Did The Rare Breed have a manager?
JG: The band had two co-managers, Bob Norris and Dub Thomas. Bob was a local disc jockey and record store owner and Dub was the owner of Dub’s, a dance club. They did not book gigs for us but they procured our first recordings at Fuller’s Studio in Tampa. We recorded all the four songs in one day. All of the songs were written by Bill Carter and me and were recorded for D&B Records on the Cool As A Moose label.
60s: The Rare Breed also recorded with Gene Middleton, Linda Lyndell and The Blues Kings…
JG: Gene Middleton ('A Man Will Do Anything'), Linda ('Let Me Call You Baby') and The Blues Kings ('Drip Drop #1', 'Drip Drop #2') often played at gigs with our band (on and off) and we recorded together at the session recorded at Fuller Studios, Tampa.
60s: Are there any other Rare Breed recordings other than what is on your webpage? Are there any vintage live recordings, or other unreleased tracks?
JG: Yes. There is a company in Florida called Gear Fab Records that created compilation CDS of the ‘60s Florida Garage Bands. There are two of The Rare Breed songs on those CDs (‘I Talked To The Sun’ and ‘In The Night’).
60s: Did the band make any local TV appearances? Does any home movie film footage exist of the band?
JG: No local TV appearances. There is only one grainy, silent film of the former band, The Big Beats.
60s: What year and why did the band break up?
JG: Towards the end of the ‘60s, that is, around ‘68 or ’69. Most of the band members moved away from Gainesville because we were either leaving college or graduating from college.
60s: How do you best summarize your experiences with The Rare Breed?
JG: It was a great experience and lots of fun. To this day I maintain contact with most if not all of the former band members who are spread out all over the country.