Psychedelic Psounds: Interviews from A to Z with 60s Psychedelic and Garage Bands

By Allan Vorda | Go to book overview

ZEPHYR: A VOLCANO OF DREAMS

Zephyr was formed in Boulder, Colorado in late 1968 and consisted of Candy Givens (lead vocals and harmonica), David Givens (bass and vocals), Tommy Bolin (lead guitar and vocals), John Fads (piano, organ, flute), and Robbie Chamberlin (drums and vocals).

The band was a conglomeration of different musical styles that could play rock, blues, and jazz. The first album, simply titled Zephyr, shows the incredible range of music they could play in such songs as "Cross the River," "St. James Infirmary," and "Hard Chargin' Woman." The members' musical abilities consisted of the classical training of Fails, the steady drumming of Chamberlin, and the hardly noticeable but excellent bass patterns of David Givens (listen to his jazzy bass runs in "Huna Buna" and "Cross the River").

Yet the two most noticeable members were Tommy Bolin and Candy Givens--who both died young and before achieving the success their talents deserved. Bolin was a self-taught guitar wizard (sort of pre-Eddie Van Halen) who dropped out of high school in Sioux City, Iowa, after refusing to cut his hair. He was a prolific songwriter who later played with the James Gang, Deep Purple, and Billy Cobham before going solo. He died at the age of twenty-five from an alcohol-drug overdose in Miami in 1976. Just as in the case of Jimi Hendrix, one wonders what heights could have been achieved had he lived.

Candy Givens died eight years after Bolin and wasn't really going anywhere musically, yet her vocal range is every bit as impressive, if not more so, than her contemporaries Janis Joplin and Grace Slick. Every so often one hears a voice that is unique--whether it is Roy Orbison in music or Richard Burton in the theater--and such was the case with Candy Givens. What a voice!

Zephyr made only four albums, but one wonders in retrospect why Zephyr didn't make it big considering all their talent. Perhaps if Bolin hadn't left the band. Perhaps if Zephyr had better management or better timing. It seems strange that Zephyr may be remembered more for the deaths of Bolin and Givens or for what the band could have been, but isn't it better to remember Zephyr for the music and memories they left us?

____________________
The following interview was conducted with David Givens on 4/1/1988.

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