Andy Rasmussen digs deep for bands that might be forgotten.
“I aim on creating a series of compilations based on San Diego music from the ’50s into the ’70s,” says Action Andy & the Hi-Tones frontman Andy Rasmussen. “This first volume will focus on rock and roll, garage, and psychedelic music from the ’60s, released on the Relampago-Go label. [100 percent of the] Proceeds will go to San Diego schools music and arts programs, so this project is very much a labor of love.”
Rasmussen has been a longtime historian and curator of vintage local sounds, contributing data and leads on many long-gone local bands in the Reader’s local music database (now featuring over 4600 band pages).
For the compilation series, “The focus will be on bands that are not as well known and may have only released one single during their entire existence. Though they may have been known locally, getting records out was either costly or something they never considered. Everyone knows about Gary Puckett and the Union Gap, the Cascades, and Iron Butterfly, but there were so many others who never broke nationally.”
He mentions wanting the compilation to feature groups like the Contrasts, a ’60s teen garage band whose fuzz-guitar heyday was around the time of the Summer of Love (1967). “I haven’t run into licensing issues, but I’m approaching the songwriters and bands directly....”
Rasmussen is a former member of vintage-inspired bands such as the Sleepwalkers and the Loons. His newest group the Hi-Tones blends Americana and honky-tonk country with rockin’ blues — their debut album Haunted Honky-Tonk earned San Diego Music Award nominations for Best Country/Americana Artist and Best Country/Americana Album.
The recent release party for the vinyl EP Songs 4 Swingin’ Sinners was the band’s last show with bassist Jeremiah Silva, sparking a temporary hiatus during which Rasmussen will be working on the compilations and DJing at the Whistle Stop and elsewhere.
“As we do some lineup shuffling, [it’s] a perfect time for songwriting, soul-searching, and hi-lonesome trips to haunted honky-tonks.”