Before he became Patti Smith’s lead guitarist, Lenny Kaye compiled the 2 album set, Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era. Released in 1972, the two-LP set covered American garage rock and psychedelia from the years 1965-1968 and was a major influence on punk rock. Rhino Records reissued an expanded version of the set in 1998, with 118 tracks in total. I’m profiling and rating each of these 118 tracks, working backwards.
Track 82: Story of My Life by The Unrelated Segments
Release Date: 1967
From: Talor, Michigan
STORY OF MY LIFE – Unrelated Segments [2:40]
(Rory Mackavich/Ronald Stults)
Personnel/RON STULTS: vocals * RORY MACK: lead guitar * JOHN TOROK: guitar * BARRY VanENGELEN: bass * ANDY ANGELLOTTI: drums
Produced by DICK CIOFFARI & JOHN CHEKAWAY for SVR RECORDS
Recorded in Detroit, MI
HBR single #HBR-514 (1/67)
The Unrelated Segments have a conventional story for a 1960s garage band – they played around in other bands, got together for a jam session, then formed a band. Their career started quickly – they wrote ‘Story of My Life’ during their second rehearsal. I found this interview with guitarist Rory Mack on the Wayback Machine.
Everybody who played knew a lot of people who also played in bands so there was this huge clique among band members. John Torok, who I knew from his neighbor that I played in a band with, lived in Allen Park and knew me from some of the bands I was in, out of Allen Park. He stood in for one of The Tidal Waves players who was injured, playing rhythm guitar. After he left that gig he wanted to get a new band together.
The Tidal Waves were enjoying some local success with a cover of ‘Farmer John.’ One of the members of The Tidal Waves had an uncle who just happened to be in the recording business. He heard his nephew’s band and recorded them. It just so happened that both Ron and I were in between bands when Torok gave me a call. I invited Ron to come along to a jam session that we were planning, to see if there would be any chemistry. Torok also invited Barry VanEngland (bass player) and Andy Angelotti (drums). We all got together in Torok’s basement. We covered some of current stuff everybody was playing and did alright.http://www.60sgaragebands.com/unrelatedsegments.html (now defunct)
I was always tinkering with new licks, new chord patterns to get away from the rut of doing everybody else’s stuff. I would play the new chord patterns for Ron and he would apply his magic with words that fit like a glove. ‘Story of My Life’ was the first song that we co-wrote together. It was catchy, shuffle, upbeat and had lyrics everyone could relate to (about being used by a woman). When Barry added his unique bass licks, John added the Farfisa (he also played organ); when Andy then did his little drum solo during the bridge of the song…it all fell together. John Torok’s dad like what he heard, and was inclined to contact Jack Checkoway to hear the group’s original songs.
We were only together for two weeks when we got the band together and played our songs in Chekoway’s basement. Jack really liked our unique sound and our songs and invited us to record them at United Sound in Detroit. We recorded ‘Story of My Life’ and the flip ‘It’s Not Fair’ (which I elaborated bits from the Zombies ‘She’s Not There’ and I added different chord changes, with a simple guitar lick in the middle, etc.) with Ron’s hurt lover lyrics and it all came together for our first local hit. It made it to #9 in Detroit on WKNR.
‘Story of My Life’ has a creative arrangement with a busy bassline and some weird phasing of the backing vocals. It’s bluesy, but delivered at breakneck speed – it doesn’t sound particularly like any of the British R&B bands that the American garage bands liked to imitate. Despite some initial (and deserved) regional success, the band never kicked on to bigger things. Bassist Barry VanEngelen was drafted up for Vietnam and the band dynamic deteriorated. Again, I’ll let Rory Mack explain
The competition began between Craig and me. He thought my style was bubble-gum and his was the best. All of the other guys except my buddy Ron Stults sided with Craig who was also a “get-high.” So, it was the “get-highs” against Ron and I, who ended up staying in separate rooms when we had gigs so that we didn’t have to put up with the drugs. Being late for practice, the moods, the bullshit, the super-star status they thought they were was really wearing on me. Although they were “expanding their minds for more creativity,” they didn’t come up with a single song; it was all Ron and me.http://www.60sgaragebands.com/unrelatedsegments.html (now defunct)
The Unrelated Segments disbanded in 1969, and Ron Stults and Ron Mack passed away in 2010 and 2011 respectively.