Psychedelic Rock

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Quicksilver Messenger Service
United States

Years: 1965 – 1979, 2006 – present
Styles: Acid Rock, Blues Rock, Classic Rock, Psychedelic Rock


Skip Spence - Guitar (in band: 1965)
Casey Sonoban - Drums (in band: 1965)
Jim Murray - Guitar, Vocals (in band: 1965 - 1967)
John Cipollina - Lead guitar, Slide guitar, Steel guitar , Vocals (in band: 1965 - 1971; 1975)
David Freiberg - Bass Guitar, Guitar, Piano, Viola, Vocals (in band: 1965 - 1971; 1975; 1979 - 2008)
Dino Valenti - Congas, Flute, Guitar, Percussion, Vocals (in band: 1969 - 1979)


Gary Duncan - Acoustic guitar , Bass Guitar, Guitar, Maracas, Organ, Percussion, Steel guitar , Vocals (in band: 1965 - 1969; 1969 - 1979)
Greg Elmore - Drums, Percussion, Vocals (in band: 1965 - 1979)
Nicky Hopkins - Celesta, Harpsichord, Keyboards, Organ, Piano (in band: 1969 - 1971)
Mark Naftalin - Guitar, Keyboards, Piano, Vocals (in band: 1971 - 1972)
Mark Ryan - Bass Guitar (in band: 1971 - 1975)
Chuck Steaks - Keyboards, Organ (in band: 1972 - 1975)
Harold Aceves - Drums (in band: 1972 - 1975)
Bob Flurie - Bass Guitar (in band: 1972 - 1975)
Roger Stanton - Bass Guitar (in band: 1972 - 1975)
Michael Lewis - Keyboards (in band: 1975 - 1979)
Skip Olsen - Bass Guitar (in band: 1975 - 1979)

Biography Picture   Quicksilver Messenger Service is an American psychedelic rock band, formed in 1965 in San Francisco. Of all the bands that came out of the San Francisco area during the late 60s, Quicksilver Messenger Service typified the style, attitude and sound of that era. Dogged by early personnel changes, the original band comprised of vocalist Dino Valenti, guitarist John Cipollina, David Freiberg on bass and vocals, Jim Murray on vocals and harmonica, and drummer Casey SonobanAlexander ‘Skip’ Spence also spent a brief time with the band, before being whisked off to join Jefferson Airplane as their drummer.[1]

   Significant in Quicksilver’s development was the almost immediate arrest and imprisonment of Valenti for a drugs offence. He did not rejoin the band until late 1969. In 1965, the line-up was strengthened by the arrival of guitarist Gary Duncan and, replacing Sonoban, Greg Elmore.[1]

     Two years later, they received a great reputation at The Monterey  International Pop Festival, although Murray left when group signed to Capitol. They had prevously recorded two tracks, "Codine" and "Babe, I'm Gonna Leave You", for the (late '67) Various Artists soundtrack album "Revolution" on United Artists.[2]

   In the summer of '68, Quicksilver Messenger Service finally release their eponymous debut, which, amid much anticipation, reach the US Top 75. Their 1975 follow-up "Happy Trails" featuring a 25-minute improvised version of Bo Diddley's "Who Do You Love",crashed into the US Top 30.[2]

    Although Nicky Hopkins impressed with Rolling Stones, his addition to the Quicksilver line-up for 1969's "Shady Grove" didn't create the musical spark the band need and with Valenti back in the fold after his stint in prison,things went downhill. He come to dominate the band's output over the remainder of their career, his average material dullingthe spontaneity that had characterised Quicksilver's earlier work and effecting a transformation in their sound from psychedelic rock to workmanlike rock'n'roll.[2]

    While the band had their sole top 50 hit with "Fresh Air" in 1970, the album it was taken from and the rest of their 70's output was bog standard stuff wich suffered from the aforementtioned lack of honed songwritting and a constantly changing line-up.[2]

    The band continued with the lineup of Gary Duncan, Greg Elmore, Dino Valenti and David Freiberg until September 1971 when Freiberg was jailed for marijuana possession. He was replaced by Mark Ryan (bass) and the group added Mark Naftalin (replaced in 1972 by Chuck Steaks) on keyboards, and this lineup recorded two more albums, "Quicksilver" (Nov. 1971) and "Comin' Thru" (Apr. 1972), with "Doin' Time in the USA" as the most familiar cut. Harold Aceves, formerly a roadie for the band, was added in 1972 as a second drummer to Greg Elmore.[3] Picture

    Mark Ryan was fired in 1972 after missing a plane, and was replaced by Roger Stanton. Stanton had played with Aceves in a popular Phoenix, Ariz. band. Stanton was then replaced in 1974 for a brief period, by Bob Flurie, who was a well known east coast virtuoso guitar player, who was called upon for this brief period to take on bass player duties (the trio of Aceves, Stanton and Flurie were later to be found in another great San Francisco band formed by ex-Country Joe and the Fish guitar player, Barry "the Fish" Melton) after which the group disbanded.[3]

    In 1975, original members Greg Elmore, Gary Duncan, Dave Freiberg, John Cipollina, and Dino Valenti reunited for the album, "Solid Silver" featuring performances by Nicky Hopkins on a couple of tracks, plus contributions from various San Francisco area musicians, including Jefferson Starship's Pete Sears. By this time Freiberg had become a member of Jefferson Starship—he had worked with Paul Kantner and Grace Slick to form a trio on the album "Baron Von Tollbooth and the Chrome Nun", leading to full-time membership in the dying days of Jefferson Airplane as the band evolved into Jefferson Starship.[3]

    Since "Solid Silver", Gary Duncan assembled various lineups performing as Quicksilver Messenger Service.[3]

1. Source:
2. The Great Rock Discography - Martin C.Strong, Four Edition, by Canongate Publishing, Ltd. Edinburgh,  p. 668
3. This biography is from Wikipedia, the free collaborative encyclopedia. Used under licence and subject to disclaimers.


Quicksilver Messenger Service (May, 1968)
Happy Trails (Mar 29, 1969)
Shady Grove (Dec, 1969)
Just for Love (Aug, 1970)
What About Me (Dec, 1970)
Quicksilver (Nov, 1971)
Comin' Thru (Apr, 1972)
Solid Silver (1975)

Singles & EPs

Dino's Song (May, 1968)
Stand By Me (Nov, 1968)
Who Do You Love (Aug, 1969)
Holy Moly (Nov, 1969)
Shady Grove / Three Or Four Feet From Home (May, 1970)
Fresh Air (Sep, 1970)
What About Me / Good Old Rock And Roll (Feb, 1971)
I Found Love (Nov, 1971)
Doin' Time In The U.S.A (May, 1972)
Gypsy Lights (Jan, 1976)

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