The Vault: Traveling Through Time With The Three O’Clock

Dec 13th, 2006 // 7 Comments

Lord knows how history will judge the “Paisley Underground” movement of the mid-to-late ’80s, during which Los Angeles was overrun by charmingly anachronistic psych-pop outfits like the Dream Syndicate and Green On Red, and everybody seemed to be dating a Bangle. The Three O’Clock were one of the forerunners of this scene–they toured with R.E.M. and even got some late-night MTV play–and even though some of their later material sounds wayyy too synth-loaded today, these two singles still have as much punch as they did in the Reagan era:

The Three O’Clock – Jet Fighter [MP3, link expired]
The Three O’Clock – Her Heads Revolving [MP3, link expired]

  1. Dickdogfood

    Wasn’t Prince a fan? I seem to remember one of their albums being released on Paisley Park.

  2. mackro

    “Neon Telephone” was penned by Prince, actually! Big ups to Michael Quercio. Permanent Green Light (post 3 O’Clock) were also a great, short-lived band.

    I think all this L.A. paisley rock can somehow be all traced back to the Byrds.. god bless/damn em’.

  3. ecoboy_wmc

    Saw the band open for R.E.M. in Boston, which brings that Byrds/12 string Rickenbacker sound full circle.

    That lead singer sure was a pretty man.

  4. The Riffage

    I’m surprised nobody mentioned late-period T O’C member Jason Falkner. His solo stuff is great (go find “Author Unknown” off “Can You Still Feel?”), and he’s an FOBB — Friend of Brendan Benson.

  5. brainchild

    they butchered “Neon Telephone” Prince shoulda kept that one for himself.

  6. etienne07

    Thanks for the nice piece on the band,there will be a reissue of unreleased material.next year. More info will follow at http://www.naturalenergylab.com
    Best,
    Danny Benair

  7. jonfromcali

    Loved, loved, loved the Three O’Clock–unfortunately, they are one of the multitudes of bands who peaked before they got signed to a major. But Sixteen Tambourines is still one of my fave albums. I was a college rock crit in the mid-80s, and interviewed Michael Quercio upon release of their first IRS album. Unfortunately, he was a prick–worst interview I’ve ever done in a long career. He wouldn’t answer questions at all, and his attitude was so bad I finally hung up on him.

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