The pride of Pointe-Claire, Quebec, vocalist John Pimm, guitarists Mike Harris and Rick Metcalfe, George Creswick on bass, and drummer David Wynne bounced around the various Montreal area clubs while growing up in the early ’60s. They went through several name changes while doing psychadelia and blues standards, but eventually Wynne and The Haunted’s Brian Robillard swapped drum kits. Creswick left soon after and was replaced on bass by Tim Charbonneau.
Now calling themselves ‘The Rabble’, in 1965 they scored a deal with RCA Victor’s Canadian arm, and they cut their first 45 “I’m A Laboundy Bam” b/w the trippy”Porch In The Sun” the following spring. Only 1,000 copies were printed, and all sold, but oddly RCA didn’t continue pressing it. The band moved over to Trans World Records in time for “Golden Girl” b/w “You Come On Too Strong,” and then “I Still Can Hear Them Laughing” b/w “Please Set Them Free” in the spring of ’67.
But wanting to take his music a different direction, Robillard quit to form his own band. And with new drummer Walter O’Reilly, they released their self titled debut album later that year. With Harris and Primm writing all the songs, it was produced by Dean Hagoplan, a CFOX radio DJ, and along with the lead-off “Golden Girl,” tracks like the second single, “Rising of the Sun,” b/w the previously unreleased “Too Bad,” “Black Potato,” and were a foray into the heyday of hippie. They played at a number of high profile events in ’67, including Expo 67, the “Love In” in Toronto with Leonard Cohen and Buffy Sainte-Marie.
They signed a US deal with Roulette, prompting the re-release of their album Stateside with a different jacket. They toured California, playing in the beatnik joints, and upon returning home, began working on their follow-up lp. Hagoplan returned as producer with Art Young, and GIVE US BACK ELAINE was on the store shelves by the summer of ’68. By this point Teddy McMahon (ex of The Mighty Avengers) was the new guy behind the drum kit, and Metcalfe had also left to do his own thing. But instead of replacing him with a new member, Pimm picked up the guitar and they stayed a foursome.
Unlike its predecessor where pretty much everyone was involved, this time it was Primm and Harris who did all the writing, and the record featured the single, “Miss Money Green” b/w “Butter Cup Blue.” They made some appearances throughout central Canada, including playing with the Guess Who, and in April ’68 subbed for Cream, who’d cancelled a show in Montreal. The band’s unrehearsed show was a hit with the crowd, and they actually had to turn down future shows because they were already booked.
They were released from Trans-World early the next year, and while the band figured out their next plan of action, the revolving door to the drums swung open again, and McMahon was replaced by Graham. Chambers. The band found a temporary home with Aquarius, and released a cover of the Stones’ “Time Is On My Side” b/w “People Jack.” The song failed to crack the top 40, and they were released, and eveyone eventually went their seperate ways.
Following his departure, Metcalfe formed the short lived Aeon in the mid ’70s with ex-The Haunted alumni Al Birmingham and Bob Burgess. After McMahon left, he bounced around in a few projects before releasing “So Much In Love” (a song he recorded with the Mighty Avengers in ’65) under the name Teddy Mahon. Pimm moved to Toronto and became a writer and session player for other artists, including Bob McBride, Deja Vu, and John Moran, among others. He also released the flop single “Oh Gilda” on Warner in the early ’80s, then moved to Victoria, BC to work as a producer and record a pair of instrumental jazz albums, while also playing the odd gig now and again around the world.
In 2008, their debut album was re-released on CD by Disques Mrite, along with the bonus tracks, “I Still Can Hear Them Laughing” and “You Come On Too Strong.” GIVE US BACK ELAINE was also re-released that year, but featured nothing for bonus material.