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Quicksilver Messenger Service


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San Francisco, United States (1964 – 1979, 2006 – present)

Quicksilver Messenger Service is an American psychedelic rock band, formed in 1965 in San Francisco. Of all the bands that came out of the San Francisco area during the late 60s, Quicksilver Messenger Service typified the style, attitude and sound of that era. Dogged by early personnel changes, the original band in 1964 comprised of vocalist Dino Valenti, guitarist John Cipollina, David Freiberg on bass and vocals, Jim Murray on vocals and harmonica, and drummer Casey Sonoban. Alexander ‘Skip’ Spence also spent a brief time with the band, before being whisked off to join Jefferson Airplane as their drummer.

Significant in Quicksilver’s development was the almost immediate arrest and imprisonment of Valenti for a drugs offence. He did not rejoin the band until late 1969. In 1965, the line-up was strengthened by the arrival of guitarist Gary Duncan and, replacing Sonoban, Greg Elmore.

They debuted at the end of ‘65 and played around the Bay Area and then the West Coast for the next two years, building up a large following, but resisting offers to record that had been taken up by such San Francisco acid-rock colleagues as Jefferson Airplane and the Grateful Dead.

Quicksilver finally signed to Capitol toward the end of 1967 and recorded their self-titled debut album in 1968. Jim Murray departed soon after their well-received appearance at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967.

The quartet of Cipollina, Duncan, Elmore and Freiberg recorded the first two albums; both were important in the development of San Francisco rock music, as the twin lead guitars of Cipollina and Duncan made them almost unique.


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