John Mendelsohn (drums) & Surly Ralph Oswald (bass guitar). These two were members of the original Halfnelson (sometimes spelled Half Nelson) with Ron Mael, Russell Mael and Earle Mankey. Prior to Harley Feinstein, John Mendelsohn was the drummer of the band. He was a music critic who wrote for the LA Times and Rolling Stone.
For some reason the Maels and Earle Mankey were afraid of John Mendelsohn. John Mendelsohn played drums on some of the tracks that became the demo that Sparks recorded prior to being signed to the first record contract. After the release of Halfnelson "A Woofer In Tweeters Clothing" Demo, John Mendelsohn and bassist Surly Ralph Oswald were kicked out of the band. Briefly, John Mendelsohn was replaced on drums by band's manager Mike berns then few months later Harley Feinstein joined the band while Jim Mankey took the bass. - read more...
John Mendelsohn : "I joined a group called Half Nelson, later renamed Sparks. Two years before, the singer and I, the only two longhaired boys in sight, had sneaked suspicious glances at one another in Italian 101. They wanted to be precious & adorable, as they wrongly imagined The Kinks to be, while I, a Who fan, wanted to be intimidating. I was soon asked not to be in the group any more." (from "I, Caramba", John Mendelsohn's autobiography)
In 1972, John Mendelsohn & Surly Raph Oswald later formed a band called Christopher Milk, a group waving the Union Jack but coming as close as Arthur Treacher's Fish and Chips.
Later John Mendelsohn's The Pitt released a four songs Ep which sounded very much like the original Halfnelson demo. John Mendelsohn became a famous rock-critic, America's leading Kinksophile (see The Kinks) but nobody knows what Surly Ralph Oswald did after Christopher Milk.
Christopher Milk "Some People Will Drink Anything" (Warner Brothers)
"The album packaging of "Some People Will Drink Anything" is justly famed as a classic of embarrassingly bad hype. Christopher Milk was a lightweight novelty pop act that was occasionally redeemed by decent playing and the stray good lyric. In 1972, not many bands were writing lyrics like "I knew I was destined to die in the outback when my agent stopped taking my calls." Unfortunately, that line and the rest of the very good song "Smart Alex" are lost in the unintelligible slurred growl of Surly Ralph Oswald's voice.
Unfortunately, Christopher Milk gives some of the best performances to the worst material, a bizarre decision that was probably as much the fault of producer Chris Thomas as anybody.There are moments of intelligent and amusing pop on this album, but not enough to make it worth seeking out for listening purposes. Christopher Milk Lp has become a collector's item because of the subsequent career of John Mendelsohn, who went on to become a rock critic for Rolling Stone and Creem. John Mendelsohn professes to be thoroughly embarrassed by this album, and justifiably one might add."
- Review by Richard Foss (All Music Guide)