Exposé Online banner

We the People / American Zoo — Visions of Time - Complete Recordings
(Guerssen GUESSCD056, 1967/2014, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2015-06-28

Visions of Time - Complete Recordings Cover art

Meet four teenagers from the mid-60s whose perseverance paid off, though all in due time. When the group We the People released their debut single “Feelings of My Emptiness” b/w “For No One to See” in 1967, three of the members – guitarist Bill Bottrell, keyboard player Dave Danieli, and bassist Bill Hawkins, were 15-year-old high school students from the Los Angeles suburb of La Crescenta. When original drummer Steve Zallian decided to leave the band, Bottrell’s neighbor Jason Martz, a year younger than the others was ready to join the group as their drummer. The disc at hand presents all of the band’s singles (A and B sides of two singles recorded as We the People, and two more single A’s and B’s after they were forced to change their name to American Zoo in 1968 due to another band operating as We the People) plus an early two-song acetate that represents the band’s first ever recordings. The songs presented here are all band originals, mostly written by various combinations of band members. Their strongest influences are the West Coast folk-rock sounds typified by bands like the mid-60s Byrds, early Beau Brummels, and the earliest Jefferson Airplane – and to a lesser extent Help! era Beatles and Between the Buttons era Stones. They were fairly adventurous with their arrangements, preferring acoustic guitar over electric on many of the tunes, and including banjo and mandolin on some, with Hawkins handling most of the lead vocals, and the others providing a rich bed of harmony vocals. By 1969 the band had drifted apart and new projects were started. Over the ensuing years, Bottrell became a recording engineer and producer working with artists like Michael Jackson, George Harrison, Jeff Lynne and ELO, Sheryl Crow, and Tom Petty, to name but a few. Jason Martz became Jasun Martz, touring with Zappa as Eddie Jobson’s keyboard tech, later contributing vocals and drums to his Live in New York album; he worked with Michael Jackson on many of his best known recordings, and also released his own avant-garde symphony The Pillory, plus several other excellent recordings following that. Original drummer Steve Zallian went on to work as a director, producer, and sceenwriter in the film industry, including Schindler’s List. Hawkins also went on to a brief career in music, but never hit the big time, and sadly Dave Danieli passed away at a relatively early age. Visions of Time brings together all of the band’s recordings, a little less than half an hour’s worth of music, which up to this point has only been known to serious record collectors. Now it’s here on CD for all to enjoy.


Filed under: Archives, 2014 releases, 1967 recordings

Related artist(s): Jasun Martz, We the People / American Zoo

Latest news

2020-01-21
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more

2020-01-15
Carlos Alvarado RIP – Carlos Alvarado, pioneering composer, multi-instrumentalist and pioneer of progressive rock and electronic experimental music in Mexico, passed away January 14th, 2020 at age 68 after a two year battle with cancer.  » Read more

2020-01-12
Wolfgang Dauner RIP – Pianist Wolfgang Dauner, one of the pioneers of both European free jazz and jazz rock, has died at the age of 84. With his own groups and with the United Jazz+Rock Ensemble, his playing and compositions were a prominent presence in European jazz from the mid-60s until just recently. » Read more

2020-01-12
Michael Allison RIP – Michael Allison, who since 1997 has been recording as Darshan Ambient, passed away on January 9th after a long and brave battle with cancer. He has been at at the forefront of the new ambient/electronic music scene, with over eighteen releases to his credit. » Read more

2020-01-10
Neil Peart RIP – One of rock music's defining drummers has died at the age of 67. Neil Peart's work with Rush provided one of the templates for percussion in rock, and he certainly ranks in the top ten most influential drummers of the 20th Century. Peart retired from playing in 2015 due to health issues, and succumbed to brain cancer on January 7, 2020. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Iona - The Book of Kells – Imagine the best elements of Enya/Clannad blended with the folk-rock presence of Fairport Convention with Sandy Denny, make it a bit more progressive and powerful, and top it off with a Christian...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues