Bands that too closely ape another group’s style are often criticized, which is absolutely justifiable. But that doesn’t mean a band can’t produce a really cool copycat track. Take the obscure ‘60s garage rock outfit, the Loose Enz. Amongst their handful of recordings is a number that sounds a lot like the work of one of the most popular, unique rock groups of the period—and it’s a totally great song.
The Loose Enz hailed from York, Pennsylvania. Their discography consists of just two 45s, which were both released by local labels. Their second single was put out in 1968 by Virtue Records, the songs from it recorded at the label’s Philadelphia studio. Virtue had a manufacturing and distribution deal with Mercury Records, but Loose Enz’s 7-inch failed to make an impact on a national level.
The A-side is the moody, “The Black Door,” which very much resembles the Doors—the most obvious element being the Jim Morrison-like vocal. Even the title seems to be a reference to the band. Though the number is largely an imitation, dare I say it’s cooler and more mysterious than anything the Lizard King and crew ever came up with.
I listened to a few versions of “The Black Door” on YouTube, and the one with the best fidelity is paired with the single’s B-side. “Easy Rider” is a decent, fuzzy garage-psych tune with a wobbly drum track. It sounds a little like the Doors, but really only because you’re expecting it to, after hearing “The Black Door.”
I first came across “The Black Door” in the ‘90s via the Arf! Arf! Records compilation, 30 Seconds Before the Calico Wall, which is still in print. Get it through the label’s website or on Amazon.
Want an original 45? There’s currently a copy for sale on Discogs. The price? $350!
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
The explosive teenage garage rock of Pittsburgh proto-punks, the Swamp Rats