About Ivory (Rock)
Ivory is one of those fascinating California rock bands that seemed to spontaneously materialize in the heady psychedelic days of late '60s, making a brief but outstanding impression before just as quickly fading along with its music into the headless 1970s, never to be heard from again. Most such artists rarely merit rescuing from obscurity, but Ivory is one of the few that deserves what little belated acclaim might come its way in the era of CD reissue.
Guitarist and songwriter Ken Thomure spent his high-school years playing in any number of amateur and semi-professional combos with friend, classmate, and keyboardist Mike McCauley in Boron, CA, a town situated next door to Edwards Air Force Base about 90 miles outside Los Angeles. Their various aggregates played military clubs, teen hangouts, schools, battle-of-bands, and just about anywhere else that would have them. Upon graduation, the duo decided to move to Hollywood together to give the music business a shot. By chance, while hitchhiking, they ran into Chris Christman on the Sunset Strip one day shortly after arriving, and asked her, partly on the basis of her blonde good looks, to audition for them. As it turned out, she was also a burgeoning songwriter and vocalist of considerable, Grace Slick-like skill. The newly formed trio moved into a downtown loft with a group of art students and made its living playing nearby small clubs in the Hollywood and Santa Monica areas, as well as throwing occasional "rent parties" by enlisting a number of other bands to play and help publicize the events. This makeshift apprenticeship in enterprise led to the formation of a legitimate production company and offers for out-of-town concerts.
Ivory began landing auditions and were hired to create the soundtrack for an underground film. The band also earned a recording contract and, under the tutelage of well-known producers Al Schmitt and Les Brown Jr., recorded the Ivory album, a dead ringer for fellow Schmitt-production the Jefferson Airplane. This brought the band an agent and bigger concerts and gigs, including an appearance on The Tonight Show. Ivory's first promotional tour took them to almost every city in Colorado. It also, however, turned out to be the band's only tour. Upon the trio's return to Los Angeles, McCauley was drafted, sent to Vietmam, and wounded, in effect, breaking up Ivory. Christman did make a solo album in the early '70s, but then married and moved out of state. Thomure and McCauley dropped out of music altogether but continued to play together occasionally. ~ Stanton Swihart, Rovi