Sunday, February 18, 2018

The purpose of this Blog was to collect information on local Thousand Oaks Bands from the late 1960s. The 1000 Oaks BandTree Facebook page is an alternate if not better place for current and past information. I am closing this blog as of today but will leave what has been entered already. Thanks for your understanding, Best Regards Dennis Christensen Swanson Children of the Mushrom

Thursday, September 03, 2015

Children of the Mushroom at Bandtree 6

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Bandtree VI Sept 6

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Bandtree VI

Coming Sept. 6
Elks' Lodge Thousand Oaks
A treated photo of
 A Skripka

Friday, November 28, 2014

New Children of the Mushroom Album LP/CD

Children Of The Mushroom

Available in Vinyl LP & CD

With only one 45 released back at the time, Children Of The Mushroom epitomized the psychedelic- garage sound coming out from California in the late 60s. Formed in Thousand Oaks by Jerry McMillen and Dennis Swanson, they evolved from a mid- 60s teen- beat band called The Captives.

In 1967, they became Children Of The Mushroom, a name which reflected their new psychedelic sound and image.

The following year, they caught the attention of a couple of young producers, who signed the band for a 45 release. Recorded in 1968 for Soho Records, "August Mademoiselle" / "You can't erase a mirror", is one of the masterpieces from the first psychedelic era: feedback, fuzz, organ, mysterious vocals…Soon after, the band incorporated a new guitar player, shortened their name to The Mushroom and started playing in a more heavy- psych vein, in a similar style to Iron Butterfly.

This retrospective album includes both tracks from their monster 45 with sound taken from the masters plus previously unreleased tracks by The Mushroom, recorded in 1968. These are raw, lo- fi home recordings (some of the tracks were recorded in a real garage!) with lot of fuzz guitar and organ. It's the sound of a psychedelic band in 1968 playing free and wild, without any producer or record label executive telling them what to do. An incredible document.

Remastered sound. Fold- out colour insert with liner notes / interview with the band members and rare photos / memorabilia.

Tracklist: August Mademoiselle - You Can't Erase a Mirror - Blade* - It Won't Be Enough* - Vortex* - Care For Me* - Exordium (The Mushroom Theme)*

Forced Exposure are our USA distributor

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Psychedelicized Radio

I was contacted recently to do a couple of audio promotions for Children of the Mushroom songs that are in Psychedelicized Radios lineup. Click the link for their Facebook page for station info...

TIMEMAZINE Volume 8 Interview

Jerry McMillen, my band mate, recently did an outstanding interview for TIMEMAZINE Magazine I believe to read it the magazine has to be purchased but a compilation CD is included that lists our song August Mademoiselle in the line up. Check their Facebook page for details.

Wednesday, March 05, 2014


When I was 17,  it was a very good year...
T.O. 1969, Wally came over to share Steppenwolf's latest release, 'Monster'-
▶ Steppenwolf - Monster - YouTube
We both were reading Hermann Hesse's 'Steppenwolf' n' sharing the music...
'Monster' still holds up today for our dear Country.

In '86, re-recording an ol' Steppenwolf classic, 'Born to be Wild",  I was privileged to play guitar with Sky Saxon of the Seeds, vocals and Mars Bonfire, the song's tunesmith on keyboards.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

TO Bandtree V

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Song for Our Ancestors

It was summer of '68, our house was being built in 'Conejo Hills'.
I was fifteen and a stranger to the 'Gun Smoke' backdrop.
There on Moorpark Rd., my folks were picking out doorknobs in the hardware section of 'Builder's Emporium' across the street from the Janss' Mall where I discovered 'The Mothers of Invention' (in a Thrifty Mart bin near the ice cream).
That late afternoon in 'Builder's', I stood over their record bin near the registers, determined to spend my burning five bucks on one of the sleeves in no alphabetical order.
 Steve Miller Blues Band's ($2.99) it's cover grabbed my eye, a cool collage and hand type-

San Francisco fog horns blow.

 'Song for Our Ancestors', their opening instrumental
pulled my ear...
and I'm sure Carlos Santana to David Gilmour's as well. 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Band Tree 5 Update

Sunday September 1, 2013

From 12;00pm to 10:00pm


Draughts Restaurant & Bar
398 N. Moorpark Rd., Thousand Oaks, California 91360

Oh... there may be a cover charge. It won't be more than $5 and hopefully less
 Also, Jim Rolfe has the new Band Tree Facebook  Page


Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Bandtree Five

Dang, 'member the Dave Clark Five... 'Bits n' Pieces'... surprised Reese's Pieces didn't use the tune for a commercial.
Jim Rolfe is organizing for BTR5 in Sept. this year.
Do hope to be there.


Sunday, September 09, 2012

Mushroom News Clipping

Thousand Oaks news paper clipping advertizing a performance of The Mushroom - circa 1968

Mushroom Poster

This Mushroom poster advertises the last performance of the band before morphing into Lady... 

Dennis's Mushroom Pendant

This Mushroom pendant arrived in the mail Yesterday via Karen & Christy two sweet girls! I (Dennis) use to wear it during Children of the Mushroom performances back in circa 1967... Thanks ladies! Haven't seen it for a long time....

Thursday, August 23, 2012

BandTree 4

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Thousand Oaks Band Tree Reunion IV is finally on the books

Thousand Oaks Band Tree Reunion IV is finally on the books
398 N. Moorpark Rd. Thousand Oaks, Ca. 91360
The event will be inside but outdoor seating will be available.

Try to get on Facebook and like the new site.  It will be the best way to stay informed.
Jim Rolfe

Friday, March 02, 2012

It's March... of the Ents...over snow capped Rockies

A good friend, musician n' Rocky Mountain survivor-
 Wally Stoltze III.

He and I printed 'PIG IRON' in '69 to distribute at TOHS; a monthly guide to concerts and reviews.
'Pygmy Productions' for concerts and cave raves... rented the CLC auditorium for a San Fernando Valley band, 'Champion' and Cast of a Thousand concert.
We wrote some tunes: 'Spill the Wine' for Brother's Keeper,
'Evasella' for Lady
'Factory Man' with Cast
'Nordic Reindeer revue' for Marut
'Spiders in Yer Chimney, (baby)' for Cast Iron Pygmies...

Cheers, Wally.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Em dim7 chard

Mushroom man, Jerry McMillan plays a mean Swiss Chard.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Spider's in yer Chimney?

Larry 'Spider' Webb still rockin' in Feb.

'Got'sum red hot coals burnin' in a wooly hung stockin',
 All thru the house, not even a mouse was talkin'
Here comes McNick in wisker'd white jaws,
Oh yea! Death may be yer Santy Claus...

Friday, February 10, 2012

Marut, Cast of Asteroids

My lovely Cheryl found this article in one of her Mother Jane's memory shoe boxes-

Summer of '78 I joined Wally and his new band, composed of young students of Cast.. Jeff was a new comer prodigy, playing bass, bass pedals, drums, perfect pitch n' sneers.
Marut was a live band, covering 801, 10cc and Cast live.
New songs evolved, 'All in a Breath, Rain and Wally n' eye's, 'Nordic Reindeer Revue'... any vid/recordings out there?

Thousand Oaks News Chronicle
Photo by Paul Fontana

Saturday, September 03, 2011

It's Psychedelic Baby Magazine: Children of the Mushroom interview with Dennis

Sunday, July 03, 2011

California Gold Coast Dreamin'

Just acme across a new Band blog that is covering the Tri County rock bands from the 1960s. There are a few bands that I'm now becoming familiar with outside of Ventura County. I look forward to checking California Gold Coast Dreamin' often. The featured band on the blog this month of July 2011 is, Children of the Mushroom

makes ya wanna join a band all over again...


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A Sunday's Cast of the Light of the Moon

The Gentlemen of the 'Sunday, Jammy, Sunday';~
Frank Akrey on keys, Bil McCombe on guitars and Cast included.

Thanks to Frank for sharin' his space for a sunny Sunday gathering of friends, a clear night n' a full moon... that lava flowing down the Conejo Grade?

Saturday, July 10, 2010

March 23, 1968 Billboard Magazine Mentions Children of the Mushroom

Well, while enjoying a little wifi time at a Ventura Starbucks I happened on this internet archived March 23rd 1968 (page28, see highlighted area) Billboard Magazine which mentions radio station KELP located in El Paso Texas. Their program music director/deejay, Charlie Russell, picked Children of the Musroom's "You Cant Erase A Mirror" for the Best Leftfiled Happening. The El Paso area is where this song took off in a regional breakout which resulted in Children of the Mushroom charting.

Billboard's own definition: Best Leftfield Pick is a record by a new artist/established artist who hasn't had a hit recently that has a chance to go all the way.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Ricky knew he'd be Rockin'

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Garage Rock Radio Theme - MySpace Video

Garage Rock Radio Theme - MySpace Video

Nice of Garage Rock Radio to include a photo of Children of the Mushroom into their new video theme!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

ebay Bidding - Children of the Mushroom

Well I haven't seen one of our 45s for sale on ebay for a while. This one seems a bit worn. How much will it sell for?

I did contact the Seller & this is his reply

YOUR THE MAN!~I wish you lived down the street for i would beg you to sign it....Oh you probably would have just talked me out of this many of you guys are still around?.....Picked this up at an estate sale here in El Paso...Mil.bases everywhere so no telling where it came from....the listing originated on Craigslist....I will see this lady again I'm sure at another sale and will find out everything i can about the family but this may take time..(I wont forget)....Thank you very much for your email...Have you seen the jerry bright on line? take care.....drew

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Da' Rec n' Crew

Larry 'Spider' Webb on the T.O.H.S. Quad with Dale Poune in BG

Phil Hareff Reminiscing At Band Tree lll August 2009

You never know what will pop up in conversation at one of Jim Rolf's Band Tree events. Here Phil Hareff is remembering Conejo Car Wash which used to be located at 399 Thousand Oaks Blvd. Owner Hugh Holbert hired many local rock band members. Since our bands didn't generate the funds for us our job there allowed many of us to buy equipment & cars. Along with the hard work we were able to keep up with all the band & girl gossip. Oh the stories we could tell you! Any of you remember Phil's 64 red GTO?

Conejo Car Wash owner Hugh Holbert (seated left) with California Grassfield members (L to R) Rich Severson , Boyd Cannon, Pat Flynn, Colin Kyffin (seated). Boyd & Rich worked at the car was wash with many of us.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

A Concert at CLC, Thousand Oaks

Monday, August 31, 2009

Dennis Looks Perplexed - Band Tree lll 2009

Well, Dennis looks hot & like he kinda missed so many friends at the 3rd Band Tree Reuinion. What no Children of the Mushroom! Anyway the day was a great success. Click on the photo link to see a few pics ... Hats off again to Jim Rolfe!!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Thousand Oaks Bandtree Reunion III

I'll be there in spirit for III.

My good friend Joe Dean
will be the Bassman for Cast this year.

Y'all hav'a Blast n' Rock da' Joint!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Rec Zeppelin

Excerpt from 'The Rec'

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Band Tree lll - In The Making

Well Jim Rolfe, famous Conejo Valley guitar player/teacher, is getting the word out about BandTree lll Sunday August 30th. See the list below of the confirmed bands so far. Its not easy for many of us that live out of state to get there. I'm considering attending even though
Children of the Mushroom might not play. For me its just rubbing shoulders with old friends and hearing and re living the ole stories...

All the
Info can be found at the Thousand Oaks Band Tree lll Facebook event page.

Venue Address & Map

Jim Rolfe says...
Admission Free:
You can bring: Hats, sunscreen, money, cameras,
You can't bring: Chairs, ice chests, drinks, food. The venue requests that all drinks and food be purchased there. They are doing a great favor providing the venue so save your pennies and help the T.O. Band tree and have a nice lunch and dinner. See their lunch menu. There many be a change in the food provided.


Chuck Sternburg and Friends


Boa Bab Blues Band


Moore & More


Shamus Twins


Blue Coats


Gary Meinhold and Friends


Dana Bailey


Chadwick Williams Band


Spider Webb


Cast of a Thousand


Unsound Souls


Retro Rocket


Arlene Kole and Family

Gossip: I found a reference on Wikipedia connecting Jim Rolfe with The Palace Guard's Emitt Rhodes. Something new in the making?

Thursday, June 04, 2009

1967 Grad Night Photo From Disneyland

Seems like Jon from Capital City Arts Initiative was on the Internet one day recently hunting for the right photograph for their upcoming graduation celebration mailer & chose this shot of myself & April Pierson (taken at Disneyland Grad Night 1967). The 60s things just keep popping up. Anyway who'd a thought.

Click here for their particulars on Facebook.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Jerry McMillens Vox AC 30

Yes this is the same Vox amp used by Jerry McMillen on August Mademoiselle & You Cant Erase A Mirror back in 1967. Currently owned by Gary Meinhold. Jerry made this thing scream with his Fuzzbuster.

PS - no wonder I cant hear very well today! playing drums in front of this baby...

& Yes that's Jerry in the photo at a BandTreell practice 2007.

Vox History by Jim Miller

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Jerry McMillen Interviewed On Takilma FM

Children of the Mushroom's Jerry McMillen was interviewed by Spaceman, a DJ from Takilma FM this last week in Oregon. Jerry unveiled some new tunes as well as an up to date version of "The Mushroom Theme". Yes he shared a bit of the ole 60's stories too. Click here for the archived recording of the show. Jerry's interview starts approximately 30 minuets into the show.

Thanks Spaceman!

I heard Al Pisciotta & Dave Fontana listened in live via the Internet, cool.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Bill Eucker & Pink Dominos

Came across some cool information about a song that the famous Thousand Oaks guitar teacher Bill Eucker was credited for writing in the early 1960's called Pink Dominoes. The web site I read also spoke about a group called The Crescents featuring a lady guitarist named Chiyo from Oxnard. You can read all about it at

Friday, April 04, 2008

Children of the Mushroom practice with Krista Swanson

What a very nice treat for a drummer dad to have his daughter invited to sing with Children of the Mushroom at the last Band Tree ll event. Also nice of Frank Akrey to allow some the participating bands a very well equipped place to practice. Hope we can all do it again...

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Rock N Roll Meltdown, Glasgow Scotland - Plays "August Mademoiselle"

Hi Dennis,
I am a Radio DJ in Glasgow, Scotland and I recently got my hands on a Pebbles album featuring the Children Of The Mushroom track August Mademoiselle - WOW!

It's the only track I've heard but it is amazing and slightly sinister (which I like even more!). I was doing some research for my show and I came across your site - it's great to see that you guys are still good friends, when so many garage bands have drifted apart. I'm definitely gonna play Children Of The Mushroom on my show in the next few weeks, I'll let you know when. My show is called Rock N Roll Meltdown and it is on Sundays 4-6pm (in the UK) on subcity radio.

So many bands of the time are really hard to find out stuff about - it's great that Bandtree keeps the spirit of these bands going. People in the UK are really into garage rock there is a whole scene going on in Glasgow.

Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that you have a fan base over here, and if you guys are ever in Scotland you would be most welcome to come on the show.

All the best
Pete Howard

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Children of the Mushroom Anthology DVD

Children of the Mushroom Anthology from Children of the Mushroom on Myspace.

J & K Productions produced a half hour DVD of Children of the Mushroom. This is a very short sample. Its mixed with early photos of the band as well as clips of some of the cover tunes they played early on. Contact Jerry McMillen at to order.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Jerry McMillen With Dennis At BandTree ll

Children of the Mushroom band-mates Jerry McMillen & Dennis spend a moment toghether at BandTree ll. Well, it all started in 1965 so the story goes...

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Unsound Souls Featuring Gary Meinhold

What a pleasure to watch these guys play one more time. Gary Meinhold was spectacular and full of tons of energy. And Talk Talk remember that one! I visited with Gary at one of the practices. He shared about his early 1960's days with the band and the years he spent on the road. Thanks Gary for being a part of BandTreell.Gary has the red ball cap in the video. Playing with him some other famous T.O. guys , Jim Rolfe, Rich Severson, & Boyd Cannon

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Children of the Mushroom - BandTreell 2007

In Thousand Oaks one more time together August 26th, 2007 with all our friends.
Children of the Mushroom
(left ro right) Paul, Al, Dennis, Jerry, Larry

Click on the link.... You Cant Win

Thursday, August 30, 2007

One BandTreell Practice, Camarillo

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Marlene Allawos Hallack, Remembering Thousand Oaks Band Times

One beautiful smile that brightened up COTM's day (as well as many others) at BandTreell belonged to Marlene Allawos Hallack! She seemed to remember so much about those past days. I could see eyes light up and smiles appear on everyone she talked with. The memories were so thick you could cut em with a knife. Thanks so much, Marlene for taking the time to remind some of us about some precious times out of our Thousand Oaks band days. I always seem to feel more alive after a BandTree event. My brain was on overload at this function so Marlene I'm so sorry I wasn't very quick to remember. I did wake up the next day with a smile remembering everything. Give my love to Christy and Karen too! Thanks for being there!


Monday, August 27, 2007

Just A Small Portion Of BandTreell

Just a quick camera scan of BandTreell at setup, including a shot of Jerry McMillen playing the lead lick in You Cant Erase A Mirror. All of us missed Bob Holland's organ playing but were glad to have Larry Weisman there to fill in. It just amazes me to see how the music has brought so many people together after so many years, just powerful!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

See You There Sunday

Poster was created by Dave Fontana. Awesome work Dave!

10:45- 11:15AM Dana Bailey
11:25- 11:45 Cody Road
11:50- 12:10 Tempo Cats
12:15- 12:35 Chadwick Williams Band
12:40- 1:05 Severson/Cannon Band (feat. Bill Eucker and Dennis Tuttle)
1:10- 1:25 Children of the Mushroom
1:30- 1:50 Lady
1:55- 2:20 Unsound Souls
2:30- 2:55 Sea Cloud
3:00- 3:20 Cast
3:30- 3:50 Jonny Huck Flynn
3:55- 4:20 Santa Fe
4:25- 4:45 BluCoats
4:50- 5:10 Dave Dumille/Hayes Tribute Band
5:15- 5:35 Spider Webb & the Nightcrawlers
5:35- 5:55 Bricklayer Love Then
5:55- 6:15 Bricklayer Love Now

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Children of the Mushroom 45 Discoverd

I also received this note from John in Texas who contacted me through Mike Dugo's site.

I grew up in the 60's and have always loved the music of that era -- I heard your record about 20 years ago and thought it was incredible -- I was fortunate enough to get a copy back when it was "only" about $200 a copy !

Thanks again --

John B.

Rate Your Music

I received this comment the other day from screen name Skelter on the Rate Your Music web site about Children of the Mushroom's 45. "Your 45 is one of the greatest singles of the sixties, two brilliant sides! Greetings from Belgium!"

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Two Friends Meet In Las Vegas

It was so nice to meet up with Al Pisciotta at the Luxor Hotel this week. I was able to get this clip of us talking about some of our Children of the Mushroom days. Visiting with Al made realize how fortunate we all were to have been in a band together.

Friday, May 11, 2007

The National Pepecast, Episode 3

"August Mademoiselle" Gets a little attention in this podcast program from Yorkshire England. The two fellas playing the song comment at the end that they don't know anything about the band. They do point to the Mike Dugo interview located at The song plays 4th from the last on the 3rd episode

Click here to get your own player.

Monday, April 23, 2007

New Band Reunion Planned

Jim Rolfe and his group are planning another BandTree ll Reuinon in August. Check out Jim's new MySpace BandTree ll Site for up to date information also he as posted some great old photos of several Thousand Oaks rock bands. The only way to see the photos is to join MySpace. (above photo copied with permission from Jim Rolfe's page)

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Disneyland Grad Night 1967 With April Pierson

At Disneyland with April Pierson, Thousand Oaks High grad night 1967. Man up all night too. Just a few few weeks after this Children of the Mushroom recorded our first and only 45.
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