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"My father played trumpet, so that was my ambition before I could talk (or knew that I could sing)." - Sean Bonniwell, July 8, 2011, It's Psychedelic Baby Magazine
August 16, 1940
October 15, 1943
Thomas Harvey "Sean" Bonniwell
"After hearing "Only You" by the Platters, I formed a high school vocal quartet...It was then I decided that singing and playing trumpet simultaneously was problematic, and that becoming a singer/songwriter would be less awkward." - Sean Bonniwell, July 8, 2011, It's Psychedelic Baby Magazine
"I wanted to contribute to the legacy of that spirit, and folk music was a way to begin the process -- that, and the fact that singing in a college folk trio was a great way to meet girls." - Sean Bonniwell, July 8, 2011, It's Psychedelic Baby Magazine
1959? - 1960?
"From the Wayfarers, I learned the indispensable value of dedicated rehearsal and the criterion for the pursuit of excellence...Touring with the Wayfarers was profoundly enlightening. We shared the bill with just about everybody now regarded as icons of the 60's decade." - Sean Bonniwell, July 8, 2011, It's Psychedelic Baby Magazine
1963 - 1964
"In retrospect, the propelling motive for writing my own style of rock'n'roll was a combination of frustration and artistic ambition. The conservative structure of folk music belied the lyrical content, because the lyrical content was definitely anti-establishment: It was the restrictive musical style that fathered in me a frustration that needed to be released." - Sean Bonniwell, July 8, 2011, It's Psychedelic Baby Magazine
"Aside from the fact that with the addition of Mark Landon (guitar) and Doug Rhodes (keyboard) a more pertinent name was required, the primary reason for changing the [band] name was artistic survival. In order to stop the managers...from coming up in between songs and saying, 'Play the Turtles', ...with musical segueways, we would be on stage for like an hour and ten minutes, wall-to-wall music just nonstop, which is why I called us the Music Machine."
- Sean Bonniwell, January 28, 1997, richieunterberger.com
1966 - 1967
The Music Machine
EXPANDED the Ragamuffins into a
"Talk Talk" was recorded in studio C at RCA in two takes. "Come On In" (the original A-side of the record) we did in one take. I never had to jump-start the band or encourage their enthusiasm. They always stayed with me for as long as it took." - Sean Bonniwell, July 8, 2011, It's Psychedelic Baby Magazine
"TURN ON" Album
"We did countless national TV appearances on American Bandstand, Where The Action Is, Shindig, etc., and because the Machine were the first to wear all black, dye their hair black, and wear one black glove, national recognition was swift, potent, and prestigious." - Sean Bonniwell, July 8, 2011, It's Psychedelic Baby Magazine
1966 - 1967
"When producer Brian Ross moved me to Warner Brothers it was for a combination of reasons; the Music Machine had disbanded, Top 40 radio had morphed to 'soft rock', and the label and Ross didn't want an album of rock-jams." - Sean Bonniwell, July 8, 2011, It's Psychedelic Baby Magazine
Bonniwell Music Machine
NAME CHANGE & Album Release
"The events leading up to recording the 'Close' album are deeply significant and revealing. The album cover and the songs mirror the life-journey of one who wonders... perhaps when it's all over, the things we thought were true...won't hide in some dark corner, of this glass we're looking through..." - Sean Bonniwell, July 8, 2011, It's Psychedelic Baby Magazine
T.S.Bonniwell, Album "Close"
"I started to go into my westernized guru era, and it affected every aspect of my life. I became fascinated with transcendental meditation, vegeterianism, the whole table-wrapping genre of eastern mysticism. But the one thing that did not change was composing. I always have, I still do." - Sean Bonniwell, January 28, 1997, richieunterberger.com
1970 - 1981
Left the music
industry & became a guru
"I could do nothing to stop myself from proclaiming the truth as it was revealed to me (before becoming a Christian). This resulted in what might be considered 'prophetic' themes in my songwriting." - Sean Bonniwell, July 8, 2011, It's Psychedelic Baby Magazine
Became a Christian
"Ignition is the musical evolution of the Ragamuffins into the Music Machine. This transformation can be heard in the opening four songs of Ignition, which were written specifically for the Music Machine (known then as the Ragamuffins)." - Sean Bonniwell, July 8, 2011, It's Psychedelic Baby Magazine
"IGNITION" Album released from 1969 recording
"I should be dead five or six times. I finally realized that it was God who saved my life, and I'd better write it down, better give myself a reason for having gone through everything I did, and there must be a purpose to it. Which is what started me writing the autobiography." - Sean Bonniwell, January 28, 1997, richieunterberger.com
"Beyond the Garage" book release
Bonniwell embarked on his first European Tour, performing his hits with musicians from the US and Europe.
Bonniwell recorded his first new material in several years, as a guest musician appearing on a self-titled debut album by The Larksmen, a garage rock group from Los Angeles, California. He appeared on two songs entitled "Burn Like A Boy" (actually written back in 1967 for The Music Machine but never released) and "Out Of Darwin's Mind".
"The Larksmen" Album
At 71 years of age, Bonniwell dies from lung cancer in Visalia, California.
December 20, 2011
"The mystical enchantment of music can envelop the soul with a coma like malaise, overpowering the prevalent mood of the moment so completely as to give us the sum total of our lives. We experience the full force of integrated longings for love, security, and significant identity. These needs are so compelling we remember them in a time and place that never was, and so they 'sleep in the words and melody of a song remembered only by our blameless expectations."
- Sean Bonniwell, July 8, 2011, It's Psychedelic Baby Magazine
The Music Machine recreates the 60s sound at the Psychedelic Summer of Love at the Universal Amphitheatre.
February 3rd, 1989