Before I began this post, I plugged the Three O’Clock into our search bar to see how many times I’ve referred to this band. I was surprised and more than slightly disappointed in myself that there have only been two previous mentions (and only one by me!). You see, the Three O’Clock is one of my all-time favorite bands. They were one of the first bands I discovered on my own, once I had graduated from my parents’ Beach Boys, Bee Gees and Carpenters records (those records primed me for the Three O’Clock’s 60s-throwback sound). I can recall the night I first heard their album Sixteen Tambourines like it was last night: lounging in the back of a van, packed with friends, cruising down PCH, the crisp guitars, clean bass lines, and Michael Quercio’s magical voice ringing in my ears.
I immediately acquired that album and the band’s previous releases: their early garage-pop album as the Salvation Army and the first EP with their new name. These songs were my teenage years. These songs helped me navigate my formative relationships with girls as they, the relationships, ignited, crashed, and burned. No matter my mood, The Three O’Clock fit to a T. Any time a new girl caught my eye, “With a Cantaloupe Girlfriend” its driving drums and hopefully-baroque keyboards nudged me forward. Then when said girl reciprocated not ever, or for a year, two, then never again, “She Turns To Flowers” and its backwards guitar twisting through the refrain of “then she is no more,” saved me from wallowing too deep in teenage despair.
Then a funny thing happened. I never outgrew the band. Even after the band imploded I tracked subsequent projects with equal enthusiasm: Louis and Mary’s Danish, Michael and Permanent Green Light, and later, Jupiter Affect. By this point I was working full-time in radio and was quite the evangelist for all four aforementioned bands. I even brought out Permanent Green Light out to play a grand opening party for a music store I was managing. When my first son was two, I included The Three O’Clock’s cover of “Sorry” by The Easybeats in the first mix CD I made for him. We’ve been geeking out on the Three O’Clock together ever since. Now he’s sixteen. Now he just snags albums off my harddrive.
Fast forward a decade and the Three O’Clock and its members have lain largely dormant until late last year when blips of the band began surfacing on the radar of social media. I suspected these flickers of resurrection portended a much bigger event. And while the initial announcement that the band would be reuniting for Coachella was impressive, I’m much more thrilled that they’re playing a string of smaller shows, so my kid and I can be reunited with our paisley pals in a more intimate setting. I want to be crammed into a club with people who share my affinity for the band rather than fighting an indifferent crowd of 80k in the middle of the desert.
Michael, Louis, Danny, welcome back! See you Saturday!
The Three O’Clock on Facebook