over the first two years the
was in many ways the result of how the band
The unique sound achieved Automatic Pilot
came together from choral
singers, players with jazz experience, and songwriters with a
rock background and a taste for the avant-garde.
The standard for multi part singing in rock was set early by
the Beatles and the Beach Boys. The psychedelic era had some
complex vocal arrangements, from the Jefferson Airplane to te
slicker Strawberry Alarm Clock. Not to mention the Fifth Dimension
and the Starland Vocal Band. Although we used isntruments,
we owe a lot to the whole a capella movement, from early doo-wop
to groups like the Nylons, the Distractions, and the Bobs.
Most punk and new wave vocal lines were fairly simple, often spoken.
A notable exception was The Toons' "Punk Polka."
Automatic Pilot was formed by singers from the San Francsico Gay
Men's Chorus just when the chorus was starting to receive acclaim
and recognition for its musical excellence. We were motivated to
live up to this standard, and equipped with our common experience
reading music and singing together. So we were able to write vocal
scores of a fairly high level of complexity.