Sloths
The Sloths was my first band and, like many other firsts, it had its orgins among my high school friends and associates.  I attended Beverly Hills High School (BHHS) from 1962 to 1966. During that time, there were many creative individuals--including Richard Dreyfuss, Albert Brooks and Michael Lloyd--who contributed to an atmosphere of artistic creativity. I first started practicing with Jeff Briskin, a surfer and guitarist. It was fun for awhile, but I wanted more--a full band. I saw my chance when I met Hank Daniels, a transfer student who was attracting a lot of attention. His hair was too long, and he was often barefoot with a 12-string Gibson acoustic strapped on his back; he was drawing a lot of attention, both good and bad (there were a lot of preppie-types). We started hangin' out--both of us now hiding from the boy's VP and sharing a common interest in music. Soon we decided to start a band, and it wasn't long before we found Steve Dibner to play bass and Sam Kamarass for drums. We found our name in an american history textbook from a 19th century political cartoon (as did another BHHS band, The Mugwumps).
Note: Michael Rummans' recollections are on ongoing work in progress.  He will add to them as time permits.  Check back soon...
Michael Rummans at Pandora's Box
Michael Rummans Recalls The Sloths

Once the band was formed, the next step was to learn songs and find somewhere to perform them. Even though The Sloths were by all definitions a garage band, we avoided that actual type of structure when one of Dibner's parents foolishly agreed to let us rehearse in their living room. Joking aside, I must point out that the band was able to gain invaluble early momentum because most of our families supported and contributed to our effort (most, not all).

What we needed next was material. Hank had some backround in acoustic folk music; Jeff and I with surf music but, just like most of the kids of that time, we were all enamored with the music of the British Invasion. One of the things that distinguished our group from many others was a realization that we had to develop originality to have success. This was largely because of a chance meeting I had with James Brown backstage at The TAMI Show. I was with my dad, and when we met JB, he told him I was getting in to music and wanted to know if he had any advice. James said, "Don't take any lessons; develop your own style. Otherwise you'll never be more than second rate." That has stayed with me my whole life.

So, instead of learning a set of cover songs, we would go to Wallach's Music City on Sunset & Vine and spend hours in the listening booths looking for songs to cover that no one else was doing, and arrange them in our own style. One of my favorites was 'Messin' With The Kid' by Junior Wells (we just stumbled on to it). Hank also wrote originals, as exemplified by the record. Having an artistic backround, he also designed the logo (you can see it on Sam's bass drum). 

Don't misunderstand me, playing for our friend's pool parties was fun, but we wanted more. There was the Teenage Fair at the Palladium and all those cool clubs on the Sunset Strip. To this day it amazes me that we got hired--not that we wern't entertaining, but we were all so obviously underaged. The thing is, nobody had told us how impossible it would be, so we were undeterred.

One of the first venues we performed at was called Stratford on Sunset (now The House of Blues). The owner was Jerry Lambert and his nephew's group, The East Side Kids, was the house band. At that time, they had another name, something like The Sound of the Seventh Son, I think (no wonder they changed it).  They were older, very professional and served as mentors to us. Despite our lack of experience, I think Jerry must have liked our youthful enthusiasm and originality.  Anyway, Stratford was great while it lasted (I also got picked up for the first time there). And it was Jerry Lambert again who got me the audition for The Yellow Payges a year later.  Small world.

Pandora's Box
Sam Kamarass
Sloths Gallery
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Recordings
Media
Sloths - 'Makin' Love'
Media
Sloths - 'You Mean Everyhting To Me'