The Northwest has always been a fertile environment for popular music. From Bing Crosby to Pearl Jam, many bonafide superstars have emerged from the area and countless talented bands of the rock era left their mark locally. By most accounts, Tacoma's Wailers were the first teens to bash it out. They hit in 1959 nationally, and spawned literally hundreds of other groups in their wake.
Looked upon locally as the "Beatles of the Northwest," their sound and influence cannot be overestimated. Others went on to achieve success – some more than the Wailers - and much of this cultural richness is well documented in the annals of Northwest music. Stars from our area are many: The Sonics, Paul Revere and the Raiders, Jimi Hendrix, the Kingsmen, Heart, and Nirvana are but a few. But bands like the Crystal Sect. Easy Chair, the Henchmen, the Army and the Bluefield Doughboys left their mark with only a few fondly remembered performances or obscure recordings The Northwest is interesting geographically.
Seattle is pretty much the hub and is sandwiched between Puget Sound on one side and Lake Washington on the other In the middle of the lake is the city of Mercer Island. With a population of 25,000. "poverty rock" (as Mercer Island is fondly called) is one of the more exclusive suburbs. With the rock explosion of the sixties and seventies, Mercer Island had plenty of local teen bands. Some of these were: Spring Fever, the Bassics. the Thymes, Bluebird. Goldrush. English Rib, Great Whale, the Twelfth of Never, the Bandits. Blue Light, Double Image and Beautiful Joe. But the most legendary of these Mercer Islanders has to be Grand Theft. Emerging out of a dark practice basement, they were originally called Grand Theft Auto.
It was early 1972 and these musicians were enamored with the heavier sounds of the day. Led Zeppelin. Grand Funk, the Who and Black Sabbath were all influences. There is still some mystery about the group but several facts have been pieced together. Grand Theft was led by the guitar and vocal genius of Crowbar Mahoon, who also did most of the writing. The melodic rocksoiid bass was played by Riley Sedgemont Hi and their drummer was the phenomenal PK. Skins.
Like the best power trios, Grand Theft's crack rhythm section was essential to the complete sound - Sedgemont's innovative bass runs and Skins' thunderous percussion skills were second to none. Others who were involved with the Grand Theft sound include producer D B Fader's occasional writing piano ard vocals and roadie Cheese Toasters immortal opening on 'Scream (It's Eating Me Alive)" And who is Heff T. Berger, the writer of 'Closer to Herty's?" A second guitarist, Loudus Volumous, was added later and some say he was the most mysterious of the bunch Loosely affiliated with the "hip" AM/FM radio station KOL, Grand Theft was able to enjoy some advantageous promotional opportunities Their only 45 ("Closer to Herty's/Scream") was a "Pick Hit of the Week." and the station ran a "Win a Dream Date with Grand Theft" contest.
They played live only twee, at nearby Bellevue’s Olde Town Tavern and Woodinville's Gold Creek Dome, location of the 1969 Seattle Pop Festival. Apparently tour offers were tendered but Mahoon felt their sound was too intricate to replicate live so they continued to woodshed in their basement lair. Presumably Volumous was deputized to heip augment Grand Thefts legendary sound. But it was not to be.
With their high creative standards and unrelenting musical quality control, they could rot bring themselves to deliver less to their rabid fans than perfection. So Grand Theft was content to play only with themselves as their own harshest critics. Thankfully, they had the foresight to roll tape during some of these infamous sessions Produced by the enigmatic D B Fader, their self-titled album was released In mid 1972, and has become one of the most coveted recordings in Northwest history. Earlier embryonic rehearsal material survives and is heard here in ail its genius for the first time. We've also included their complete album, making its compact disc debut.
The band's demise is puzzling, as other recording projects are logged in the tape archives Sadly, the album "It Doesn't Take Talent" has never been located, but we're proud to present (also for the first time) selections from the aborted "Grand Theft II.." Grand Theft has long been a mystery. Four obviously talented musicians passed through these hallowed ranks in the early seventies, yet nothing has been heard from them since With their instrumental brilliance, lyrical philosophies and son-c mastery, it's one of music’s injustices they never became famous Maybe with “Hiking Into Eternity" Grand Theft will finally gain some of the critical and commercial success they've waited twenty-plus years to receive,
by W. Bismark O’Halleran
1. Leavin' This Town - 6:54
2. Chain Driven Baby - 5:56
3. Damn the Nation - 10:13
4. Anxiety - 6:12
5. Scream (It's Eating Me Alive) - 4:39
6. Closer to Herfy's - 10:14
7. Log Rhythms / Meat Midgets - 7:28
8. Depression City RFD / Ohms - 8:16
9. Return of the Meat Midgets - 5:37
10.Ben the Rat Meets Led Zeppelin - 8:08
Tracks 1-4 early basement tapes 2/1972
Tracks 5-8 entire 1st album 5-6/1972
Tracks 9-10 unreleased 2nd album 4/1973
*Crowbar Mahoon (David Baroh) - Guitar, Vocals
*Loudus Volumous - Guitar
*Riley Sedgemont III (Kevin Marin) - Bass
*P.K. Skins (Phil Klitgaard) - Drums
*D.B. Fader - Keyboards, Vocals