Everyone knows psychedelic rock began in San Francisco with bands like Jefferson Airplane, The Grateful Dead, and Quicksilver Messenger Service. Few people, however, recall an even earlier group that became a major attraction in the Bay Area in 1966: the CHOCOLATE WATCH BAND.
Although the WATCH BAND never had a hit record, never achieved national recognition, and never got invited to Woodstock, they spawned a devoted cult following that grows larger each year (despite a notable lack of publicity or record company hype.) The band released only three albums, yet 15 years after their release, two of the records continue being re-issued, with original copies trading hands for as much as $75.
Why does this group refuse to die?
To find out, I decided to locate the WATCH BAND’S lead singer, DAVID AGUILAR, who as far as I knew, had never been interviewed before. I hardly knew where to start. My only lead was a rumor he was teaching astronomy at a Colorado University.
The rumor turned out to be true—sort of. After several phone calls, I discovered someone named Aguilar had formerly been in charge of a Colorado planetarium, but had left the academic world for a more lucrative post elsewhere. After a few blind calls, I eventually tracked down a David Aguilar working for an aerospace firm.
“Is this the same David Aguilar that used to sing with the Chocolate Watch Band?” I asked tentatively.
There was a brief pause, followed by an amused chuckle. “Yes, it is,” answered the voice.
Aguilar seemed genuinely surprised anyone remembered his former life as a rock star. I asked if he was aware of the Watch Band’s growing popularity—evidenced by the release of several new compilation albums. “Yeah, I saw some of the re-issues in a record store,” he replied. “ …
Author: Steven Hager / High Times