The Toronto-based Fringe were one of the most celebrated and exciting Canadian psych acts to emerge in Canada in the late sixties, so much so that Quality Records at the time hailed them as "Canada's next No.1 recording group". And though they ultimately failed to live up to that billing, they left behind several sought-after seven-inchers and a long-standing Member of Parliament (the late independent Chuck Cadman, who helped found the band back in 1967).
The Fringe had affiliations with the influential Art Snider over at Sound Canada, and entered his studios to record their first 45 release, the lazy, drug-tinged 'Flower Generation'. The follow-up 'Plastic People' has a definite Rockadrome feel to it, blasting from the intro grooves with overdubbed gobs of scorching fuzz guitar - right up to the deadwax. And lyrically, the Zappa-esque themes would have struck a chord in freaks everywhere ("I'm trying to find some meaning to the empty life I see / Plastic-minded people disillusion me").
What's interesting about 'Plastic People' is that, although manager "Wild Bill" Riley had managed to land a national contract with Quality for full distribution rights and promotional campaigns for the group's recordings, it was recorded just as their contract with the label was expiring and thus suffered a substantially reduced pressing run in comparison to 'Flower Generation'. How reduced is anyone's guess, except to say that copies of 'Plastic People' very rarely surface for sale in any condition...and almost never mint. Their five-song white label promo EP is well known among collectors, fetching upwards of $4000 in nice condition. But amazingly enough, they purportedly produced an unreleased studio album acetate with Quality Records and a live session acetate - which may incredibly surface one day. And for those record geeks already salivating, a near-mint promo copy of 'Plastic People' sold for $307 in 2008.