Authors of the frat-boy classic "Farmer John," the Premiers were one of the many Chicano garage bands kicking around southern California during the mid-'60s. Formed early in the '60s with a lineup featuring Lawrence Perez on guitar and his brother, John, on drums, the band initially practiced at the Perez residence in San Gabriel. Their mother booked an audition with entrepreneur Billy Cardenas, who liked their sound and figured them for a band who could capitalize on the "Louie, Louie" phenomenon; he had the group record Richard Berry's "Farmer John" (like "Louie, Louie," an R&B nugget) and even invited a group of girls into the studio to record live crowd noise (perfect for an early-1964 takeoff on Beatlemania). Released by Faro and later licensed by Warner Bros., the single shot up to number 19 that summer and sparked a full album by the Premiers, Farmer John Live, also recorded with a coterie of fans taking the place of the usual concert crowd.
The band continued recording for Faro, releasing several singles during 1965-1967, a few of them produced by Larry Tamblyn from the Standells. None of them broke out to become national hits, however, and the coming draft basically broke up the band. The Premiers actually returned to the studio 30 years on, recording a new record with the Perez brothers intact as well as guitarist George Delgado. ~ John Bush