Formed after the collapse
of the San Francisco Bay Area band The
Rockers, the Finders consisted of Bryan Allinsmith on
drums, John SanFilippo on bass and vocals, John Rock on vocals,
and Phil Schraub on guitar and vocals. The Finders were really the
same band as the Rockers, but with a new bass player. The band worked the
San Francisco Bay Area circuit heavily from 1980 to late 1982. The club scene
was very active at that time, and competition for good slots on 2 and 3 band
bills was tough. The Finders became a very popular draw on Broadway in San
Francisco. At that time, Broadway was a string of rock clubs and topless bars,
with the emphasis on the topless bars, all jammed into a 4 block stretch.
The Mabuhay Gardens, The Stone, and The Chi Chi Club were a few of the havens
for established and up and coming acts.
Broadway was but one section of the burgeoning SF scene. Clubs sprouted all over the city. In time the action spread across the bay into Oakland, and south down the peninsula to countless clubs that encompassed the Bay Area circuit. The Finders found strong support as they moved from their San Francisco base.
In 1981, the band went back to Mobius Music in San Francisco to work with Engineer/Producer Oliver DiCicco. 3 of the 4 Finders had recorded the Rockers EP at this studio. This initial session yielded the single "Which Way" and "It's So Insane". The single was released on the independent Sky-Fi label and received very little notice. Six months later, the band returned to Mobius and recorded "Bad Food" and "Calling Dr. Howard", which was released on the bands own Alcatraz label. The picture sleeve for the single featured John Rock bent over a toilet (a visual accompaniment to the Bad Food side), holding a picture of the Three Stooges, which was a tie in to the "Calling Dr. Howard" side, a tribute to the Three Stooges. CBS, who owns the rights to Three Stooges properties sent the Finders a rather strong letter insisting that the sleeve be removed from distribution, or face legal action. Further checking eventually revealed that the sister of Moe Howard, administrator of his estate, voiced her objections to CBS, who in turn, threatened legal action.
The Finders pulled the sleeve (the original photo used on the sleeve, prior to the addition of graphics, as well as it's replacement are pictured on the Finders Photo page) from the market and replaced it with a non-threatening sleeve. While the attending publicity may have helped sales immediately, the slowdown seemed to have hurt the single overall. The original recording of Dr. Howard was edited to remove a few bits of language that were deemed unacceptable to radio in that day, however the Finders LP includes the original verses, which by today's standards seem quite harmless.
The Bad Food track received quite a bit of attention on it's own. The original demo recording (found on the Finders CD - Demos) changed the lyric line dramatically, calling out a host of popular fast food restaurants of the day. Upon legal advise, the band chose to alter the lyric line substantially for the single. All in all, the single sold fairly well although it remained a regional success, and really helped the Finders establish a fairly good performance schedule. The Bad Food track did have a negative effect in that the band began performing a Bad Food segment during it's live show (including toilet). While that portion of the show became an audience favorite, the band began to resent the song because of the "novelty" tag which became attached to many of their performances. Eventually the band quit performing the song live in an effort to eliminate that image. The band made numerous live radio appearances in support of their two singles and the strong radio support enhanced their live reputation.
During this time frame, Phil Schraub had pushed for the addition of a second guitarist. Most of their recording efforts contained multiple guitars, and Phil wanted a bigger sound. Brian Allinsmith, a heavy metal guy at heart brought Mark Newcomb by for a tryout. Mark was just what the Finders needed. A tremendous guitarist, and a perfect counterpart to Phil. they traded lead and rhythm roles on a regular basis. Marks addition to the band filled out the live and recorded sound of the band. As The Finders local reputation grew, they attracted and finally developed a relationship with Joe Olinger, a freelance video producer at Videowest in San Francisco. His production of the Finders only professional video, "Calling Dr. Howard" gave the band a big boost in the local media, and the video eventually wound up in 120 minute rotation on MTV. Joe eventually signed on as their manager. With the strong British influence of bands such as The Move, The Small Faces, and the Who evident in the Finders music, it was almost ironic that Move manager Tony Secunda was in the Bay Area during the time period when the Finders were preparing to record tracks for what they hoped would be their first album.
Secunda was contacted by Olinger at a motel room in Marin County, and an arrangement was made for him to produce the sessions. No one seems to recall exactly what that arrangement was, but Tony did begin producing the sessions. The appears to be no understanding (at least that anyone can remember) as to what Sky-Fi's position was during this chain of events, but the label never made another appearance during The Finders recording efforts. The Finders were a bit starstruck by Secunda in the beginning. They operated under the assumption that Secunda had actually produced material for the Move, however they found out much later on that Secunda was the co-founder/owner of Straight Ahead music with Denny Cordell, who was involved with T-Rex, The Moody Blues, Procul Harum, and The Move. Secunda at one time was assistant to Derek Taylor, publicist for the Beatles. While Secunda acted as the first manager for the Move, he actually did no production for these artists.
The album sessions were riddled with problems. Strong creative differences surfaced, and eventually The Finders dismissed Tony, and in conjunction with Oliver DiCicco, finished the production and recording of the 8 new tracks for the LP. The four songs which comprised the first two singles also became part of this initial release. The band terminated it's relationship with Joe Olinger after the final LP mixes were complete. The masters went into the vaults at Mobius Music while all the parties battled about who would pay for the sessions. The result of that battle left the masters in the Mobius vaults for over 15 years. By late 1982, the mood in the Finders was not a healthy one. Ego's, too much liquor, and lack of direction finally drove the band apart. They played a scattered shows throughout the latter part on 1982, and played their last show at the Mabuhay Gardens in San Francisco during June of 1983. Phil Schraub and John SanFilippo stuck together and later on became the core to Billy Jaye and the Responsibles, and later on, The Responsibles.
Phil and John are currently having a substantially good time as part of "Howlin' King Crawdad", a Zydeco/Cajun/pop/rock conglomeration of musicians playing the California delta and local festivals. John Rock dropped out of the music arena for some time until becoming involved with The Knockers. He recorded numerous tracks with that band, and is in the process of compling the music. Hopefully the material will be available soon. John is currently working on a new act/group.
Mark moved to Los Angeles where he became involved in tour management and production and has been working with major acts for the last 10 years. He is currently scheduled to managed the upcoming Stanley Clarke European tour.
Bryan moved to Los Angeles, and we are still trying to find him.
Seventeen years later, Dennis and Phil Schraub pulled together all the Finders recordings. Phil had obtained the album masters, and with his revitalized Squid Music (publishing home to most all of the Finders music), the original analog recordings were converted to the digital domain. An ongoing review of the 70+ live tapes is in process, and 2 CD's of live material have been assembled.