Time Warp, 1969: ‘Bearded Hippies’ Vanilla Fudge Hit Scranton Alongside Guy Lombardo
May 16 and 17, 1969: Psychedelic-symphonic rock band Vanilla Fudge played two concerts in the area to help support the student governments at University of Scranton and King’s College. The shows were sponsored by Gibbons Brewery of Wilkes-Barre.
Known for such songs as “Season of the Witch,” “You Keep Me Hangin’ On,” and “Shotgun,” Vanilla Fudge included Mark Stein on lead vocals and organ, Tim Bogart on bass, Carmine Appice on drums and Vince Martell on guitar.
The first local concert took place in King’s new gymnasium on Friday, May 16. The following night, the band performed at the U of S’s Long Center. The band Supa Heat opened for the group both nights.
While Vanilla Fudge performed in Scranton, a concert featuring what was described as “the sweetest music this side of heaven” was happening across town, as Guy Lombardo and his orchestra played at the Masonic Temple. Lombardo’s concert also was a benefit show sponsored by the Masonic Temple’s Improvement Association.
Prior to Lombardo taking the stage, reporters asked him how it felt knowing that he was performing at one venue while a group of “bearded hippies were filling an engagement” elsewhere in the city.
“The Vanilla Fudge? Who are they?” Lombardo answered.
Following the Vanilla Fudge concert, a Times reporter informed the band members of Lombardo’s comment and asked if they had any thoughts on it.
“Well of course, it’s another type of music,” Bogart said. “But all music is great.”
Appice was a bit more blunt, saying, “I myself can’t stand to listen to it,” referencing Lombardo’s music.
Bogart told the reporter that Lombardo was paid $4,000 for his appearance at the Masonic Temple.
“Our minimum guarantee used to be $5,000, but now it’s $6,500,” he added. “Sometimes we get as much as $15,000 for one appearance.”
The Times reporter then asked, “Do the Fudge regard themselves as hippies?”
“I guess we do,” Bogart said. “But it all depends on what you mean when you say ‘hippie.’ I think most people regard a hippie as a person who doesn’t wash or bathe and has no job. Some of these people who look down on me make me laugh. I have a job, too, and I make four times as much as they do.”
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