By EDG reppin’ LBC
The Auld Syte may be the best band you never heard of. Formed in Los Angeles during the Summer of Love, the five-piece was influenced, of course, by the psychedelics of that summer, but also by something darker that haunted LA’s urban canyons. Guitarist Carlo Lentini (ex-Doorknobs) and bassist Sal Zummo (ex-Cymbians) met at an acid party at legendary producer Kim Fowley’s Laurel Canyon pad. The two musicians shared a love of psychedelics, and also shared the love of singer Lauren Huitema. The Auld Syte added rhythm guitarist Alan Paris and drummer Blair Brinsley, and by Autumn of 1967, they were a fixture in the clubs of Sunset Strip. Playing alongside contemporaries Sagittarius, and Arthur Lee, The Auld Syte combined baroque pop three part harmonies with acid edged guitars and sometimes sinister song subjects. Played live, the twelve-minute long “Apollyan” was a crowd favorite with its rhythmic chant that produced a locust swarm on more than one occasion. Another crowd favorite was the psychedelic rocker “Man’s Son”, featuring the mamba-like intertwining of Lentini and Zummo’s guitar and bass.
However, by late Spring of 1968 tensions within the band began to tear The Auld Syte apart. Lentini and Zummo came to blows over the love for Huitema. Tragically, Lentini shattered every bone in his left hand when he punched Zummo, and was never able to play guitar again. Zummo and Huitema were married in a pagan ritual in Big Sur in the Summer of 1968. Huitema left Zummo three days later and opened an occult bookstore in Sherman Oaks. Zummo continued to play music in the San Francisco scene and became a successful floor refinisher. Alan Paris later formed the soft rock duo Paris and Rome with wife Sylvia Rome. The duo had some minor success with their 1974 adult contemporary hit “Blue for You”. Brinsley joined a cult located in the Mojave Valley and was implicated in a number of bank robberies throughout the Southwest.
The Auld Syte never recorded in a studio, and any live recordings of their sets have yet to surface. Here are some songs from The Auld Syte’s contemporaries: