Fabulous Fakes / Bubble Gum Machine
Hebron, KY, 1967-9
The Fabulous Fakes were a product before they were a band. The Hazel Bishop company wanted to promote their Fabulous Fakes nail extension product, so they decided to recruit a teen rock-n-roll band to be their namesake. Vicki Spencer, who had sang on the Bad Seeds 45 and was friends with the band, was brought in. Vicki had twin brothers Danny (drums) and Bill (vocals/guitar) and the three of them recruited Jerry Foster from the Bad Seeds along with George Peel (bass/vocals) and Danny Evans (keyboards). Evans was from New York, all the others from the Northern Kentucky area that is part greater Cincinnati.
After a promotional blitz that included the natiionally published news story above, the band recorded a 45 for Columbia in NYC. The A side was "No Excess Baggage", a 'mod mover' that was written by Carl D'Errico and Roger Atkins, soingwriters whose best known song for 1960s music was the Animals big hit "Its' My Life". The song was later recorded by the Yardbirds for their "Little Games" LP. The other side was a Motown medley based on "Mickey's Monkey".
The band's tenure as the Fabulous Fakes was pretty brief. After the initial run of promotional events for the nail product and 45, they went back to Kentucky. Jerry Foster dropped out - probably to rejoin the Bad Seeds in the summer/fall of 1967.
The band renamed themselves the Bubble Gum Machine and got back into the local band scene. In the spring of 1968 they recorded an LP for the Senate label, an ABC records subsidiary that was pushing teen/pop records. The LP included several songs by Wes Farrell and Tony Romeo, the same team behind many of the Partridge Family hits a couple years later. The vocals were shared by Vicki and Bill. Three 45s were released, with the last one having two non-LP songs that were written by Vicki and Bill Spencer. A July 1968 blurb in newspapers mentioned they recorded a live LP at the Arthur in NYC, that would be interesting to hear!
After spending much of 1968 touring and trying to get a hit, the band returned back to Kentucky. They were one of the bands that played a benefit to help the family of J.T. Sears after his death, the show was in January of 1969.
In 1961/2 Vicki Spencer had acted in a couple teen rock-n-roll movies, "Teenage Millionaire" and "Twist Around The Clock". She made one 45 for each movie The Spencer's father, Lou, had been a member of the Dunhill Trio dance team from the mid 1950s and had show business connections.
In the 1970s, the Spencer siblings played together in a band named....Spencer. They recorded some songs that were never released, although there has been some mention by Vicki and Danny about a release. Vicki currently maintains two websites, thebubblegummachine.com and vickspencer.com.
No Excess Baggage / Mickey's Monkey - Columbia 44107, April 1967
You Make Everything Right / I Won't Be Lonely Anymore - Senate 2107, April 1968
Wha'Cha Gonna Do For Me Now / The Love Of A Woman - Senate 2110, July 1968
Do You Really Love Me / One More Mountain To Climb - Senate 2114, Dec 1968
LP- The Bubble Gum Machine - Senate 21002, March 1968