From the Archives: The Chocolate Watch Band (1986)

in Culture

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. “ …

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Author: Steven Hager / High Times

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