JERRY KASENETZ & JEFF KATZ
KASENETZ-KATZ SINGING ORCHESTRAL CIRCUS
THE KASENETZ-KATZ SUPER CIRCUS
THE KASENETZ-KATZ ORCHESTRAL CIRKUS
Future bubblegum producers Jerry Kasenetz and Jeff Katz met at the University of Arizona, where Katz was attending on a football scholarship and Kasenetz was one of the managers on the football team. Upon leaving the University, Katz returned to New York and received a call from Kasenetz who was living on the West Coast. Kasenetz asked Katz to come out west and join him in starting a new business, something in the music business. Katz didn't know a thing about the business and had no intention on moving to California. So Kasenetz moved to New York and the two started to manage acts in Greenwich Village. One of the groups, the Palace Guards, were signed to Mercury and a single was produced. Kasenetz and Katz didn't like the results and figured they could do a better job of producing. And that's how they started producing!
They met up with Neil Bogart at Cameo and followed him to Buddah, his new label. Once set, K&K were responsible for Little Bit O' Soul by The Music Explosion (for Laurie Records) and -- with their first project for Buddah -- the 1910 Fruitgum Company. The group was one of a billion garage bands back then, but K&K gave them a new name and a song: Simon Says, a #4 hit in early 1968. They continued their initial success by having studio musicians play instead of the group only keeping singer Mark Gutkowski for the hits 1-2-3 Red Light and Indian Giver. Working with the Ohio Express and Joey Levine in the same manner, at the same time, they produced the massive hits Yummy, Yummy, Yummy and Chewy, Chewy.
The Buddah label took off and this inexperienced production team was now dominating the charts. The Express followed with Down At LuLu's and Mercy and Levine handled vocals for Quick Joey Small (Run Joey Run) for the Kasenetz-Katz Singing Orchestral Circus and Bubble Gum Music for the Rock 'N' Roll Dubble Bubble Trading Card Company of Philadelphia 1914 (whew!). Probably the most respected song of Bubblegum was Gimme Gimme Good Lovin' by Crazy Elephant and the list goes on. Admittedly, Bubblegum music is a small niche of pop but imagine if one production team produced The Beatles, Rolling Stones and The Who . . . well, that's the impact Jerry Kasenetz and Jeff Katz had on the charts and on your big sister and brother's transistor radio.
Probably the most endearing quality of the duo was their willingness to get product out on the streets as soon as they could. Only an A-side recorded? No problem! They'd quickly write Sticky, Sticky, the simplest song of all time or Pow Wow a pre-recorded song played backwards! Call it psychedelic experimental if you want, but don't think for a minute that Bubblegum didn't try to push pop farther than it had ever gone. They even orchestrated a Bubblegum concert at Carnegie Hall and recreated the event in the studio in order to release a good sounding "live" album.
"Those two were difficult to work with," said Ohio Express guitarist Doug Grassel. "It was strictly a money game with them. They'd tell us, 'Keep it simple. Hurry up. You're costing us money. They'd tell us what songs to play. And if we didn't like a particular song, they'd say something like, 'Who do you think you are? Jimi Hendrix?'"
By 1972, Bubblegum lost its flavor with the public and Kasenetz and Katz tried to move on. They produced a slew of mid-western rock groups and found little success until Ram Jam had a hit with Black Betty in 1977. Like most, if not all of the Bubblegum participants, K&K haven't resurfaced since. Maybe they'll be surfing the net one night and find a site dedicated to Bubblegum and . . .
UPDATE: Check out K&K's new projects here. Great old photos and cool new music!
KASENETZ-KATZ SINGING ORCHESTRAL CIRCUS (Buddah BDS-5020) 1968
THE KASENETZ-KATZ SUPER CIRCUS "QUICK JOEY SMALL" "I'M IN LOVE WITH YOU" (Buddah BDS-5028) 1969
CLASSICAL SMOKE (THE KASENETZ-KATZ ORCHESTRAL CIRKUS) (Super K SKS 6001)
Down In Tennessee/Mrs. Green - Kasenetz - Katz Singing Orchestral Circus (Buddah 52) 1968
Quick Joey Small (Run Joey Run)/Mr. Jenson - Kasenetz - Katz Singing Orchestral Circus (Buddah 64) 1968
Pickin' Up Sticks (R. Cordell)/All Fall Down (Kasenetz & Katz) - Kasnat & Katz Fighter Squadron (France - AZ AZ 10633) 1968
I'm In Love With You /To You With Love - The Kasenetz - Katz Super Circus (Buddah 82) 1969
Mrs. Green/Embrassez Moi - Kasenetz & Katz (Buddah 90) 1969
When He Comes/Ah-La - Kasenetz-Katz Fighter Squadron (Bell 966) 1970
Dong-Dong-Diki-Di-Ki-Dong/Bubblegum March (Super K 109) 1970
Symphony No. 9/Blue Danube Waltz - The Kasenetz - Katz Orchestral Cirkus
Mama Lu/Collide - Kasenetz - Katz Super Circus, 1975
Heart Get Ready For Love/Jungle Junk - K&K Super Cirkus (Epic 50443) 1977
Sweet Charity/Voodoo Medicine Man - Jerry & Jeff (Super K SK 7)
THE SUPER K KOLLECTION VOLUME 1 (Collectables COL-CD-0583, 1994)
THE SUPER K KOLLECTION VOLUME 2 (Collectables COL-CD-0584, 1994)
Ad from Record World magazine, 1968)
(l to r):
row 1: Bo Gentry, Richie Cordell, (co-principal) Jerry Kasenetz, (co-principal) Jeffrey Katz, Artie Resnick, Joey Levine
row 2: Reid Whitelaw, Billy Carl, Kris Resnick, Sal Trimachi, Bob Spencer, Hy Gold
row 3: Gary Willet, Steve Dworkin, Bobby Bloom
row 4: Jo Weinsten (office staff), Mark Gutkowski, Chuck Trois, David Chong (office staff)