For many years and many a bootleg the snarling imperious Stones or Yardbirds influenced groove of the Illusions ‘City Of People’ has been sought after and coveted by garage rock collectors. The group originated from the Michigan town of St Clair. Led by Tom Strasz who would later go on to be in the equally obscure psych band Attack. The Illusions released one single, on the tiny Michelle label and today any copies that appear easily sell for North of £1000.
So far, so typically Garage. However there is a backstory to the release that explains why the record never sold at the time of release. The record was produced by Bobby Marin, a Nuyorican, who at the time was stationed in Michigan on his National Service, and who would later go on to record some of the biggest names in Latin Music, first for the cult Speed label and then for United Artists and various of his own labels. In the early 2000s his ‘I’ll Be A Happy Man’ was sampled by Christina Aguilera on her smash hit ‘Ain’t No Other Man’.
Dean Rudland says “I became aware of Bobby’s surprising involvement in the record when we were sitting in a Manhattan Restaurant and he came in with a pile of records, including the Illusions. I’ll let Bobby explain how it happened…”
” While serving in the Air Force, in Michigan, I noticed that many local teenagers were forming their own rock bands, having been inspired by the recent success of The Beatles. They had let their hair grow, had written songs and practiced in their garages. I convinced an airman friend to work with me and manage some of these bands. Most of them were in the ritzy Grosse Pointe town and we were constantly interviewed by parents. Maybe one of these bands would lead us to fame and fortune we told ourselves. This went on for a year or so. Finally, in 1965, I decided to produce my first 45 RPM recording. The band was called The Illusions and we recorded 2 songs. which were pressed and released on my Michelle Records label; named after my daughter. I never got to market the record properly due to my relocating to New York”
At the end of 2020 Bobby found the master tape of the Illusions single – including the Byrdsian B-side – and a deal was done with Acid Jazz to release the record legally for the first time since its initial release. This legal reissue a fresh mastering from those tapes, bringing out the intensity of the recording, and we have released it on a look-a-like Michelle label.