After three years with Mama Lion, Neil was ready to take the reigns of a new project. He ran an ad in the “Music Connection” magazine seeking a guitarist, deciding on Timo Lane, and recruited drummer Tim McGovern.
Neil wrote a song called “Hollywood Boulevard” and decided to demo it with Laine and McGovern. Laine brought Bob Silvert to the session equipped with a chamberlain. After the recording, Neil decided that this was his new band. Neil called Maury Lathauwer at Capitol Records and got a night of time at Capitol’s studios. The band recorded a handful of Neil’s songs and a few cover tunes.
Neil supported the band financially, paying for rehearsal studios, meals and on occasion, band members’ rent. The band lasted a few months before Silvert, without notice, sold the chamberlain and other equipment and left town. Timo soon bowed out and disappeared.
Six months later, Robbie Randall, Neil’s road manager from the Mama Lion days, played the tape for Skip Taylor (“Canned Heat” producer). Skip’s brother, Jim Taylor, signed Neil to a management deal, took the tape to Mercury Records, and Neil was signed. Neil called Tim McGovern and recruited two new members – Michael Willis (guitar), and James Herndon (keyboards and guitar), and the Space Rangers were re-born.
They opened at “The Whiskey” to great reviews. The record went to #5 in the USA on FM radio airplay within two weeks after its release. The band played KSHE radio’s birthday party at the Kiel Auditorium in St. Louis with “T-Rex”, “Pure Prairie League”, and “KISS”. The Rangers were the hit of the show. The record was hailed by critics and fans as a success, yet again, the label did nothing to help the band achieve the recognition it deserved.
Neil Merryweather: bass and vocals
Michael Willis: lead guitar
James Herndon: chamberlain, synthesizer, guitar, and slide guitar (on “Real Life Love”)
Tim McGovern: drums (guitar on “Kryptonite”)
Neil’s manager, Jim Taylor, played piano on “The Groove”
Produced by Neil Merryweather
Engineers – Rick Heenan, Zac Zenor, Nat Jeffrey, Ken Klinger, and Tim Kramer
Album Design: Neil Merryweather
Album Front Cover: Don Rico (Captain America comic artist)
Photography: Herbert Worthington III