Todd Rundgren rarely speaks highly of the Nazz, if he speaks at all about the band. For a few years in the late 90's and early 2000's, Utopia co-founder Moogy Klingman was bringing Stewkey, lead singer of the Nazz, into my shop, and aside from some really polite and grateful "Thank Yous" at my fawning, he also seemed reluctant to talk about his past, though he and Moogy were playing some shows together and revisiting a song or two from the Nazz catalogue.
Things did not begin or end well with The Nazz and I imagine all involved decided to move on.
But when you pore over the endless list of garage bands that appear on the various boxes of Nuggets released over the years, you will find scores of great singles. And if one song in particular really gets into your wheelhouse and you decide to dig deeper, you will almost always be disappointed. So few of these one track wonders could barely survive the A- side of a single, let alone an album's worth of listenable material.
But not The Nazz.
The Nazz managed to (barely) release two strong LPs, one in '68 and one in '69. These guys could sing and these guys could play, two things that most garage bands could not do. And yet, aside from the diehard fans of this genre, The Nazz are mostly forgotten, with the exception of their classic nugget, "Open My Eyes." Even the Rundgren disciples, who gush regularly over every recorded fart, rarely speak of their leader, Carson Van Osten, Robert "Stewkey" Antoni, and the insanely talented drummer, Thom Mooney.
The Nazz wanted to be The Move and The Move wanted to be The Nazz. Neither had any idea at the time.
Here are five tracks by the underrated Philly phenoms, including "Under The Ice" right up top, where drummer Thom Mooney absolutely kicks ass!