The Bonniwell Music Machine

Sean BonniwellFrom: Los Angeles, CA, USA

The Bonniwell Music Machine formed out of the ashes of The Music Machine. The Music Machine was contemplating a European tour and accepting a spot at the Monterey Pop Festival. The festival, in particular, was highly influential and the band was very interested in being involved. However, management turned down all of these offers, and instead, the band was overextended as it toured all over the US in a poorly planned schedule. After this promotional tour of the US, everyone from the band’s original line-up left, except for Sean Bonniwell. Ron Edgar (drums) and Doug Rhodes (organ) teamed up with Curt Boettcher and others to record with The Ballroom and The Millennium.

In 1967, The Music Machine were signed to Warner Bros. and changed their name to The Bonniwell Music Machine. The name change was to give more prominence to the band’s core member, songwriter, and vocalist. A self-titled album was released later that year, made up mostly of previously recorded singles with the original line-up. Session musicians were hired but they quickly became disinterested with Bonniwell’s experimental sound, seeking to only do the bare minimum. This lead to Bonniwell spending hours dubbing and mastering recordings, something he was not accustomed to. He admitted that chemistry with the musicians was an issue and that he missed his former bandmates. No big hits came from this album, despite some more pop-oriented songs.

A third Music Machine album was recorded but never released. In 2000, Sundazed Records released a Bonniwell Music Machine album called Ignition, which contained a collection of songs from the unreleased 1969 album, as well as demo tracks from the band’s days as The Raggamufins in 1965. After the recording of this unreleased album in 1969, The Music Machine officially disbanded. Bonniwell recorded one more solo album, but it was unsuccessful, and he ultimately took a long hiatus from music. In 1996, Bonniwell wrote and published a memoir called Talk Talk, which was later revised and re-titled Beyond The Garage. He died of lung cancer in December 2011.

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From the 1967 album The Bonniwell Music Machine
The Bonniwell Music Machine

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