The Bonniwell Music Machine

I’m not sure how I haven’t posted this yet. This guy. Shit. Sean Bonniwell was Jesus. A mad genius psych Jesus never given his due. Sure, there are quite a few of those in the world, but few as truly mad genius psych Jesus as Bonniwell. Just listen to the man: “She was telling me to miss her, something like an older sister…”….”Vaguely reminiscent in the presence of my mind…is the trap, the trap…” It only gets better. On a serious note: this album – which is a compilation of most of their original material – is full to the brim with some of the fuzziest, scuzziest, trippiest, dippiest, nuttiest jams I have ever heard. Get on it.

DWNLD: The Bonniwell Music Machine – Beyond The Garage


The group came together as The Ragamuffins in 1965, but became The Music Machine in 1966. The single “Talk Talk” was recorded at RCA studios on July 30, 1966.

Their debut album, (Turn On) The Music Machine, was released in 1966 on the Original Sound label. Seven of the twelve tracks were originals, written by Bonniwell. One of these, “Talk Talk,” became a Top 20 hit in the U.S. The follow-up single, “The People In Me,” peaked at #66. Bonniwell blamed the weak showing of this single on a supposed feud between the band’s manager and a top record executive. Four cover songs were included on this release, due to record company pressure.

After a promotional tour of the U.S., the rest of the original line-up, which included Ron Edgar (drums), Mark Landon (guitar), Keith Olsen (bass) and Doug Rhodes (organ), left Bonniwell, due to internal conflicts. In 1967, Music Machine (essentially only Bonniwell at this point) were signed to Warner Bros. and re-named The Bonniwell Music Machine. The name was changed to give more prominence to the band’s core member, songwriter and vocalist Sean Bonniwell. A self-titled LP was released that year, made up mostly of previously recorded singles with the original line-up. The recording spawned no big hits, despite the inclusion of a few more pop-oriented songs.

A third album was recorded but never released. In 2000, a Bonniwell Music Machine album called Ignition was released on Sundazed Records. This is a collection of songs from the unreleased 1969 album, as well as demo tracks from the band’s Raggamuffin days in 1965.

In 2000, Bonniwell wrote about his life and The Music Machine in a biography called “Beyond The Garage,” published by the small press publisher Christian Vision.


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