CRYSTAL CHANDELIER (North Providence, RI)

For decades rumored to be a Texas psychedelic masterpiece, the origins of Crystal Chandelier’s “Suicidal Flowers” finally came to light in the late-2000s … and boy was I surprised to learn that this was not only a Rhode Island band, but they hailed from my home town as well!

“Suicidal Flowers” was comped back circa 1979 on the landmark “Pebbles Volume 3: The Acid Gallery” LP with the subtitle, “A mindblowing collection of 18 demented classics from the psychedelic sixties!” The sparse liner notes offered only this comical bite to nibble on: “And what about Crystal Chandlier, from somewhere out in Texas, who must have eaten so much loco weed he thought he was Jim Morrisson?” The piercing fuzz guitar, strong Lizard King-esque vocals and obscure, symbolic lyrics lent this one to classic status among first-generation garage/psych record collectors.

The band started out as Those Unknown and consisted of singer and lead guitarist Arnie Micarelli, rhythm guitarist Frank Giammarco, bassist Kenny Beck, and drummer Anthony Jackvony (and later Vin Vento). The first single, “The Setting Of Despair” on the United Artists label, hints at the somber direction of their next 45, though the fine flipside retains the structure of a standard mid-’60s rock and roll pop song. White label promo copies seem to be the most common, though a yellow label promo exists for a pink-and-orange stock label release. Next up, “Your Land Of Love” was released on Buddah's affiliate Cobblestone label, with the band name misspelled “Chandlier” and the song lengths written in Roman numerals. While “Land” was chosen as the a-side, Micarelli remembers that most stations played the flipside instead, and the record hit the Top 10 in the Ohio area.

Pre-fuzz and flowers, from left: Arnie Micarelli, Frank Giammarco, Ken Beck, Vincent Vento. Taken from the 1966 North Providence High School yearbook, nearly two years before Crystal Chandelier's first record would be released.

Here is what Arnie Micarelli had to say about the history of the band in July 2011:
The band was trying to do an album on Revelations but no one knew what it all meant. We actually had meetings with church priests and ministers but no one could help us. We did not want to be wrong in translating the rich symbolism in the Book of Revelation. It was so amazing that none of these so called priests could explain the last book of the Bible.

Since no one could explain the verses I figured that I should pray for an answer and I did get on the floor. Two days later and older grandma aged woman found me on the street outside the studio in Providence and she tried to explain things to me but I did not understand and she could not speak good English so she invited me to the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses. She said that they could explain Revelation.

So off I went in my long hair and musical attitude. To my amazement they did explain the book to us and they were the only ones that could and had a reasonable common sense scriptural explanation.

There were three of us associated with the band that started studying with Jehovah's Witnesses and all three of us started attending meetings.

After this I left the band and recorded more blues for an album with different musicians. However these songs and the album were never recorded professionally or released
.

Efforts to find group photos and further details about Crystal Chandelier have proven unsuccessful. Anthony Jackvony passed away in 1975. Frank Giammarco's son Michael followed the sounds of his dad's electric guitar and fronts his own band, called — with a nod to his roots — Those Unknown.

Band members, relatives and old friends: We'd love more info and photos. Please get in touch!



CRYSTAL CHANDELIER
The Setting Of Despair / It's Only You
United Artists
(SUA 50284)
March 1968




CRYSTAL CHANDLIER
Your Land Of Love / Suicidal Flowers
Cobblestone
(CB 730)
Early 1969