Both tracks previously unreleased, recorded in 1968.
The Conspiracy hailed from Mount Pleasant, a college town in the center of Michigan. Originally formed as The Allusions, they became Nino & The Nomads before changing their name to The Conspiracy in 1966. For the next few years the group stayed busy on the live circuit. “We were booked all over the state,” remembers singer Aquilino Soriano. “Every weekend we’d be somewhere. We were about two and a half hours from Detroit, so we’d go down south, we’d go up north; we’d go everywhere. There was this network of teen clubs where kids didn’t have to be 21 and everybody could go. It was fantastic.”
In 1967 the group had what Aquilino describes as “probably our apex moment”. Kustom Amplifiers sponsored a statewide Battle of the Bands tournament, and The Conspiracy battled through several rounds of competition to make it all the way to the finals in Saginaw. “It was a statewide thing that culminated there,” remembers Aquilino. “Question Mark & The Mysterians and a couple of others that were notables were also in it – and we won it! We got our award from Bob Seger.” The prize was thousands of dollars worth of gigs and a tuck and roll Kustom PA system, which the band put to use as they moved forward into 1968, brimming with confidence.
A roving Capitol A&R man caught their show in Cadillac, Michigan, and encouraged them to write some original songs and go into the studio. So in 1968 that’s what they did. ‘Dream World’ and ‘With You’ were recorded at a studio in Grand Rapids and the session turned out exceptionally well. “It just floored me that we didn’t sit down and write some more songs,” says Aquilino, “because I thought we did a pretty good job.” ‘Dream World’ is particularly great with a soulful lead vocal, an insistent fuzz guitar line, waves of Hammond organ, a catchy, harmonized chorus and an insistent dance groove. Shades of The Doors, The Young Rascals, The Blues Magoos and SRC.
A mixdown of the tape was forwarded to their contact at Capitol Records, but ultimately no deal was signed. “We were just starting to separate from high school,” remembers Aquilino. “It was the start of that transition. I was Class of ’67, they were Class of ‘68. There was the war in Vietnam. You could go to college to avoid the draft. It was a lot of decisions and I guess what happened is nothing really happened from us recording. I mean they liked it, they made us an offer, but I think that the parents weren’t really happy with that. I think that there was some dissent in the band too.”
The Conspiracy broke up in early 1969 and the tape of the only original songs they ever played remained unreleased and unheard until 2018, when Soriano brought the original 1” 8-track session tape into Earthling Studios in El Cajon, California, where it was mixed and mastered by Mike Kamoo for this release. “Getting this out on vinyl – it’s what we dreamed of!” Aquilino grins. “Even if it took fifty years to happen!”
A Dream World
B With You