The Chocolate Watchband

Back in the mid-'80s, the Chocolate Watchband were trapped in an odd paradox (which actually wasn't that bad a place to be for a band that didn't exist anymore). They hadn't played a note together in almost 15 years, but their original albums were changing hands for $100 apiece or more, and a series of vinyl reissues, first as bootlegs from France and later legit ones from Australia, were selling around the world, and in numbers that only increased as more people had a chance to hear them. What's more, the group's sound was starting to be emulated in the work of then-current bands, playing obscure clubs in places like New York's Chelsea district and other locales as far east as the District of Columbia, made up of teenagers who were too young ever to have seen or heard the Watchband play, and living 3,500 miles east of where the Watchband played out its existence, and most of its gigs, two decades before. The group had reached this paradoxical situation -- nonexistence juxtaposed with a burgeoning cult of admirers around the world -- simply by being the best garage band of the '60s, or, at least, the best one ever to have had a serious recording career.