One Album Wonders: The Open Mind’s The Open Mind

THE OPEN MIND – THE OPEN MIND (1969)

Around 1963, Putney-based musicians Mike “Mike Bran” Brancaccio (guitar), Phil Fox (drums), Timothy du Feu (vocals), and Ray Nye (bass) formed The Apaches, who recorded a demo with Joe Meek. Nye left the band and du Feu moved to bass after they acquired a new singer, Terry Martin (real name Terry Schindler) and they changed their name to The Drag Set in 1965.

The Drag Set

Two years later the band Brancaccio and Schindler were writing their own material and released their first and only single as The Drag Set, “Day and Night” b/w “Get Out of My Way” in early 1967 on Go. Go was a short-lived label who also released mostly mod and soul music by the likes of The Barney Sisters, Carl Douglas And The Big Stampede, Neil Spence, Our Plastic Dream, Phil Brady And The Ranch Set, The Roll Movement, Samantha Juste, Scots Of St. James, and Sugar Simone.

The Drag Set realized that there might be some unintended connotations to their name and in 1968 changed it to the suitably psychedelic The Open Mind, on the suggestion of De Feu.

The Open Mind

The following May they released their first single with their new name, “Horses And Chariots” b/w “Before My Time.” In July the band released a collection of mod-tinged, leather pants heavy psych which proved to be their only LP, titled The Open Mind and released by Philips.

The Open Mind

In August of 1969, The Open Mind released a non-album single, “Magic Potion” b/w “Cast a Spell,” produced by Fritz Fryer, guitarist of The Four Pennies. “Magic Potion” proved to be The Open Mind’s last release, although they soldiered on until 1973, when Phil Fox quit.

After that, De Feu and Schindler were joined by Stephen Florence and a new drummer and became Armada (not to be confused with Rod Torfulson’s Armada Featuring Herman Menderchuck), who broke up after releasing no music.

In 1974, Schindler moved to Vancouver, Canada and opened an apparel company, Terry Schindler & Associates. De Feu sold his bass and found work in the petrochemical industry and as a graphic designer, Fox became a carpenter and at one point operated a pub, and Brancaccio continues to play guitar, albeit classical. Since 2001 The Open Mind has been released several times on compact disc by the labels Acme Records and Second Battle, both including bonus tracks.

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