Rasputin & The Mad Monks

Rasputin & the Mad Monks 1967Originally starting out as a four piece basement band from Newark, New Jersey, Rasputin & The Mad Monks were another one of those rather obscure psychedelic bands. Original band members included John Mulrenan (guitar, vocals), Ed Shaugnessy (keyboards), Steve Gibba (drums) and Alex Mancini (bass). After about a year, Rasputin & the Mad Monks added Ritchie Malfitano (saxophone, flute) and his girlfirend Dawn Culton (trumpet, lead vocals).

Signing with agent Jack Fisher, the band played several of the top night clubs in New York and New Jersey. Heavily influenced by both R&B and pop, Rasputin & the Mad Monks did a lot of covers of artists such as James Brown, Sam & Dave, Wilson Pickett, Otis Redding, The Mamas & The Papas, Jefferson Airplane, The Doors, and The Beatles.The band was one of the first rock acts to ever perform at the legendary Carnegie Hall. Their version of The Electric Prunes‘ “I Had Too Much To Dream Last Night” is much more spacey than the original, almost making it seem like it’s a different song altogether. This excellent interpretation is found on the compilation Beyond The Calico Wall.

Rasputin & the Mad Monks lasted for about four years before they called it quits. Shaugnessy and Gibba formed the short lived band called The Moon Balloon. Gibba would go on to join Malfitano’s group, The Wet Clam, an even shorter lived project. Gibba moved to Florida in 1971, playing with a band called The Glades. After five years with The Glades, he played with The Paragons for another five years. Gibba would  retire in 1991. Mulrenan would join a group called Godzilla, opening for Bruce Springsteen’s Steel Mill on a few occasions. In the early 70s, Mulrenana had a record chart with a band called Hudson County. He still plays today.

Artist information sources include: LastFM.com

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Tracks played on Psychedelicized…

From the compilation Beyond The Calico Wall
Beyond the Calico Wall

  • I Had Too Much to Dream (Last Night)