Psychedelic band Crystal Syphon preps for flashback

vpatton@mercedsunstar.comMarch 21, 2013 

— It's time to turn on, tune in and rock out.

Homegrown '60s psychedelic band Crystal Syphon will take the stage at the Merced County Fairgrounds tonight -- the band's first appearance performing a full electric set in more than 40 years.

Five of the band's original six members are playing the show as the highlight of "Groovin' with CASA," a benefit dinner for Court Appointed Special Advocates of Merced County.

The social hour for the event begins at 6 p.m., dinner's at 7 p.m. and the band is scheduled to take the stage around 9 p.m.

Crystal Syphon was among the most popular bands to emerge from Merced's 1960s music scene. They made several appearances around the state, including three at San Francisco's Fillmore West, sharing the stage with legends including Bo Diddley, Janis Joplin, the Grateful Dead and Santana.

Although the band played an acoustic set at The Partisan in June, tonight's show will be the first time since 1970 the band has plugged into their amplifiers and performed for an audience.

Guitarist Jim Sanders said he's looking forward to being on stage with fellow band mates Jeff Sanders, Bob Greenlee, Dave Sprinkel and Tom Salles.

The band will perform all 10 songs from their album "Family Evil," in addition to a few extras.

"Forty-plus years ago we pretty much gave it our best shot and never hit the big time," Sanders said. "But with with passage of time, it's all worked out."

With last year's release of "Family Evil," an album compiled from studio recordings and live takes, Sanders said the group has received renewed attention from fans worldwide, both young and old.

"It hasn't made us rock n' roll stars, but we're blessed with the ability to go out and still perform," he said.

Tickets for the dinner at $50 and can be purchased by calling (209) 722-2272.

City Editor Victor A. Patton can be reached at (209) 385-2431 or vpatton@mercedsunstar.com.

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