Tie Dyed Sunset and how it all began...
Some guys are sitting around a table in the student center at the local junior college. Long-haired and scruffy, they’re talking about rock ‘n roll. It’s the late 1960s and they’re still hung over from the British Invasion of a few years earlier. John, Paul, George and Ringo changed the trajectory of popular music, and these guys wanted to get on board.
Deep in their souls, they’re rockers who have been honing their musical chops for years. And so, begins a remarkable and tortuous journey for these local boys known as the band Flood, who set their sights on stardom-— and almost … almost … almost make it to the big-time.
Starting out and playing the same venues, the boys in Flood become friends with the Allman Brothers, Lynyrd Skynyrd and other big southeastern regional acts. But the Flood band is different...Bob Herrin on guitars uses one of the first guitar synthesizers developed in Europe. Rory Knapton's drum set becomes a mass of percussional energy from orchestral tympani drums and gongs to the lilting tones of vibes. Don Berg on the bass end, uses another European Synthi Hi Fly for his instrument. Jay Wetzel on keys covers acoustic piano, organ, Arp synthesizers and a Mellotron. The four-member band head out in July 1970 and wind up in Byron, a small town near Macon. Byron is the site of Alex Cooley’s Second Atlanta International Pop Festival. Flood plays the free stage for a week, entertaining the crews setting up for the headliners, Jimi Hendrix and an upstart southern group of friends called the Allman Brothers Band.
Inside the CD
- Graphic Design and Photo by Bob Herrin
After the festival, they follow the Brothers to Love Valley, N.C., for another festival that draws 50,000 (200,000 had showed up at Byron). They hang out with the Brothers, Flood play some venues in Atlanta, the General Store, the Twelfth Gate, the Candy Store—and their popularity grows. “We would literally sell out Chastain Park with three day’s publicity,” Knapton says. “We were that popular. We had an entourage of eight to twelve school buses full of hippies who followed us everywhere we went.”
Around that time, a guy in Atlanta started GRC Records, a new record label, and he strikes a deal with Flood. At GRC, they record a soundtrack for Blood of the Dragon
, a movie produced by William Diehl of Sharkey's Machine
fame. Flood was received great reviews in The Hollywood Review and other movie magazines.
Flood composed a rock opera, Dear Little Man
, that they performed as a theatrical event at the Jekyll Island Amphitheater. The event sold out for three nights. The band rehearses, writes, and are ready to record their first album. They are about to board a flight to Jamaica, where they have booked studio time, when the bottom falls out. GRC founder Mike Thevis, also one of the biggest porn distributors on the East Coast, is arrested for murder.
And that’s where Flood’s ascendancy ends. But not the dream … and not the music.
Knapton, Herrin, and Knapton’s brother, Ricky, record the album, Robert, Rory, and Ricky
(pressed in blue transparent vinyl). Robert, Rory, and Ricky
is a critically acclaimed, recommended album of the week in Billboard Magazine. Later Knapton and his band, Midnight Clear, entered the national battle of the bands hosted by Julie Chen and Harry Smith on the CBS network program, The Early Show. His band won. They performed on the program several times and signed a recording contract with CBS Records. Knapton also toured many times in Europe with his band, Rats in the Attic. They performed at the renown Cavern Club, Liverpool, UK, home of the Beatles. Live at the Cavern Club
, a live double CD, was recorded at the famous venue on the Cavern Club Record label. The recording can be heard here
They all keep playing, together and apart. After years away, Knapton, Herrin and Berg reunited on St. Simons Island, Georgia (Wetzel is ensconced in the Florida Keys). Berg, Knapton, and Herrin play some of their old songs, and some new ones. They are once again a band. A band they've renamed "Tie Dyed Sunset."Take a listen now at hearnow
They’ve enjoyed successful careers in and outside of music, raised families, survived life-threatening illnesses, and through it all, they’ve kept the dream alive. This CD album has eleven new songs that defy a genre classification... from pop-rock to beautiful movie-style ballads to country-style dobro tunes. AND the boys have included four bonus tracks recorded by the Flood band in 1972 that showcase their early influences and experimentation into symphonic rock opera orchestration.
We know you'll enjoy Tie Dyed Sunset.