The 1910 Fruitgum Company (The truth)

First, I’d like to thank Kim Cooper and BU for this opportunity to speak out here. I actually wrote to her and asked for this opportunity for a few reasons which I will explain in this blog, and I hope to continue the discussion with old fans, new fans, the curious, anti-fans, and anyone else who wants to get involved or add to this.

My name is Floyd Marcus and I am the original drummer of The 1910 Fruitgum Company, and after being involved in many other musical projects over the years, I and Frank Jeckell, my long time friend and original guitarist and member got together with a friend Mick Mansueto who convinced us to get the band back together.We decided that it was the right time to do it, and that It would be fun again. We reformed over 5 years ago, and have had a great time playing and meeting fans ever since.

Over the years, I personally had not paid any attention to what was going on or what was being said about The Fruitgum Company. The more I was involved the more I realized how many lies, mistruths, misunderstandings, purposely concocted stories were out here on the net, in books, etc. There were and are writers (and I use that term loosely ; very loosely) that spew all kinds of garbage under the guise that it’s the truth, that they have some special attachment, whether fan or anti-fan, to the information pipeline about what occured with not only The Fruitgum Company, but other bands.

I mean a myth or two is okay. It’s fine for everyone, because it spices things up. I’m talking about morons who claim there was never a real band. Fortunately, there were 5 really talented musicians who became the Fruitgum Company. Unfortunately, after a few of us left, there were replacements (some not so talented) and things became watered down. I played on the first two albums. even when a new drummer was brought in, I was in asked to come in and play on the tracks.

Anyone with the slightest inclination to get to the truth can find it. For example: we five original members were on the road when we were asked about our new single (our third), and when Mark answered knowingly, the rest of us were suddenly aware that something was rotten, and one of us had been in collusion with the producer-managers. This was not because the band was incapable of doing a great job on those records or any others.There were a lot of reasons to record singles at that point while the band was on the road. I mean, why take the band off the road when it was earning and promoting.

Also, there was dissention by members as in most bands, as to what to do and it was obviously more practical business-wise to deal with a group of young musicians by sabotaging that dissent. Anyway, to set that straight, there were 5 talented musicians name Frank, Pat, Floyd, Steve and Mark that were the the actual original 1910.

Another thing is although the first album cover was tiny pictures off of film strips taken during the first photo shoot. If someone looked just a little further they’d find first the picture of me leaning on the gum machine, and Frank dressed as a "fortune-teller" with a turban and sunglasses, and the same guys on the front of Kasenetz and Katz singing Orchestral Circus album. In fact, although through the years the truth has been perverted to show second and third members on re-issue covers, there are hundreds of examples of the original 5 members on covers from, Japan, Italy, England etc. Plus, our names are listed inside the first album. Any questions?

Now, as to the question of talent. How many of the old fans who saw us remember what kind of music we performed in our shows. I recall a show where we arrived and were to replace the cancelled Vanilla Fudge. Well, rightfully so, the audience was very unhappy, felt ripped off, and were pretty vocal about it. There was a local DJ there whose name I can’t recall who calmed the audience down and said something to the effect of "These guys are not to blame for what’s happened here, so how about at least giving them a chance!". Well, we decided the best strategy to take was to perform "You Keep Me hanging On", the Fudges signature hit. By the end of the song we won over the audience. We also did great covers of Hendrix, Cream, The Beatles, the Stones, The Young Rascals, The Yardbyrds, The Animals, Marvin Gaye, The Four Tops, Mitch Ryder and others. And we’d do our hits, Simon Says, May I take A giant Step and 1,2,3 Red light.

And you know what? We were extremely capable of pulling all that stuff off. There were studio guys, but they came later. There was Joey Levine, and he was with the Ohio Express. They were a different band. No knocking any of those guys. Some of us are in touch with them even now planning jobs together.

I will be keeping you all up to date on our new projects through this blog. We have a studio CD being re-released, we have a live CD coming out, and I personally am going to get out our recordings we did during the period we were rehearsing, playing out before, and during our incarnation as The 1910. You know, the band that didn’t exist, according to some. Oh, by the way. I’ll be posting pictures of the original guys, the new, older incarnation of the band.

9 thoughts on “The 1910 Fruitgum Company (The truth)”

  1. Thanks for your recollections, Floyd. Please provide more info on the recordings that you plan to release:

    “I personally am going to get out our recordings we did during the period we were rehearsing, playing out before, and during our incarnation as The 1910.”

    What exactly will be included, and where will they be available?


    Mike Dugo

  2. Hi Mike,

    Thanks for your inquiry.  I believe you’re referring to the recordings of what The Fruitgum Company did during our transition from Jeckell and the Hydes and The Odyssey to The 1910 FGC.  We loved to record and we had the time, so we logged a lot of hours. 

    I’ve been thinking about releasing those songs for quite a few years now.  I waited and can now use technology to "clean" the tapes up.  I can’t give a definative answer on their release date, but I hope to have them ready within a year.

    I have cover songs and originals that we rehearsed before we went to the Dick Charles studio in NYC (which led to our getting signed).  I also have original songs that wound up on our albums and some that were never recorded in the big NYC studios, that reflect different styles, writers, singers and "takes" all from the original guys.

    I think there is a label or two (but won’t stick my neck out yet) that will be interested in releasing a CD of this material.  If not, the Fruitgum Company already has a publishing company, so why not put it out via cyberspace, independant radio, and  CD Baby, etc.  I think there will be plenty of interest from the fans, the curious, the brave, and those on the edge.  For me it will be a fun and very satisfying project.
    Thanks again, Mike.

    Floyd Marcus and The 1910 FGC


  3. Hi Floyd and thanks for the fascinating insights into the band and it’s history.

    It’s just great to have the chance to hear exactly how it was, straight from one of the guys who was at the centre of things.

    I hope this isn’t getting into sensitive territory, but I’m curious to know if, when you reformed the band a few years back, did you ever have any contact with Mark Gutkowski about performing again? I haven’t heard anything of Mark since the early 70s. He just seems to have totally dropped out of sight – which is a great pity for such a talented performer – but I wonder if he was ever tempted to go back on the road with the reformed band?

    Perhaps he wasn’t asked, or perhaps he is just doing other things in his life these days, but I’m just curious to know if there’s any chance of you guys and Mark ever getting back together again, even for a one-off performance?

    Thanks, and best wishes for continuing success with the band

  4. Hi Peter,

    In 1994 Mark, Frank Jeckell and I performed on the Rick Turner show on a local NJ cable station. At that time Frank and I asked Mark if he was interested in reforming the FGC. Mark said he would consider it, but never got back to us.

    Although we may have enjoyed having him perform with us, he hasn’t contacted us since 1994. We called him a few years ago to let him know that Steve Mortkowitz, our original bass player, passed away. Pat Karwan, our original lead guitar player, Frank and I attended Steve’s memorial service, but Mark did not. For whatever reason, Mark has decided not to be involved with the reformed FGC. We respect his decision, although it would have been nice to have him aboard. As far as I know, he still resides in north Jersey.

    Besides releasing some of the old audio tapes, I hope to put a clip of us performing on the Rick Turner show someplace on the web. I’ll let everyone know when that happens.

    Thanks for your interest,
    Floyd Marcus and The 1910 FGC

  5. Hi Frank,

      Thanks for your questions and interest.

    First, to directly answer your questions: "Simon Says" and "123 Red Light" were originally both sung by Mark. He was also our keyboardist.

      In interviews I’ve spoken about "123". Here it is. The band was at a radio station in the  midwest doing promo. The jock asked us about our new 45. We (except Mark) were surprised. It was "123 Red Light". We did recover quickly and somehow pulled out the interview.

     What had happened was that our Mgt/producers had assembled a group of guys to get song tracks done with vocals to be done later (hence the myth that all the Bubblegum was performed by studio musicians) . Some of the members of that band were original members of the Trade Winds.

     In retrospect Super K had some reasons (they felt were valid) for doing that. One, is back then, management received a percentage of what the band earned on the road. It made reasonable business sense to keep us on the road.

     That wasn’t the only reason. We had a very verbal agreement that we got to choose and record all singles and album B sides (remember B sides?). When "Simon Says" was released, some jocks (and they had the freedom back then) played the B side "Reflections from the Looking Glass". The song had a deeper message and a psychedelic sound which was more what we were trying for and appealed to many. When the record company found out they panicked. They had a "game" plan. "Reflections" didn’t fit into it. They began damage control. They felt that playing the B side could dilute the "figures" and could drag down "Simon Says" on the charts. Back then, there were 2 sided successful singles but they weren’t willing to risk that.  Just as an aside, after that occurred many B sides became "nonsense or garbage" in order to discourage Jocks from playing them. In short we had a verbal agreement to record our material. That made them uncomfortable.

     Jeff Katz really did love a lot of our original songs. He had proposed to our record company that our second release be "Keep Your Thoughts on the Bright Side" from our first album (a song I wrote). Buddha decided to stay with their "game" (a pun) plan and release "May I Take a Giant Step". It made top 40. Number 39 on  the Billboard charts.


     We are releasing re-recorded versions of all our hits as well as some original pop tunes and some more "mature" original songs on a new studio CD and releasing a new Christmas CD with two new original Christmas songs. They will be released on Collectables a division of Gotham Distribution Company, this year.

     I’m working on the tapes we did leading up to our FGC deal.

     Check out our Youtube video if you haven’t already. It was done by a crew from the Netherlands for a Public TV show there.


     Floyd 1910 





  6. You are awesome man. I have loved your records since I was a kid. Sticky Sticky, 123 Red Light, Simple Simon. I have found it hard to discover the truth about your band.
    I have a few questions:

    Who sang lead on Simon and Red Light?
    Who Played keys?
    Who wrote the lyrics?

    Bless you Floyd for the fine music.

    Frank O’ The Mountain

  7. This message is for Floyd Marcus from Marcia McGowan.

    Hi Floyd,
    I came across this internet address today and brought back so many memories I just had to send you this email.

    If you read this please email me back. I still remember songs like Take Me To the Coast!

  8. Our DJs over in Beaumont, Texas kept saying over the airwaves that the 1910 Fruitgum Company, tiring of Bubblegum… decided to retire quietly. They secretly were going to change their name, and hoped to re-emerge on the National scene as a Psychedelic Rock Band. We waited for a while to hear that so and so used to be…. but it never happened.

  9. Hi Floyd, this is Norm Bernstein, lead guitar player for ‘The Harpies’…. if you remember, we were a couple of years behind you at Linden HS, and Steve’s sister Beth was our singer. I had heard about Steve’s untimely death; my condolences.

    From the earliest ‘Jeckyl and the Hydes’ days, we (myself, Beth, Jeff Silverman, Mike Cuono, Glen Bellinsky, and Joel Magid) had always hoped to be a good as you guys were… but, alas, it was not to be; I went off to engineering school, and of all the others, only Glen Bellinsky is a professional musician these days (studio and backup guitarist in Las Vegas, I’m told). I still maintain contact with Jeff Silverman.

    I recently saw a video clip of the FGC doing ‘Simple Simon’ on YouTube, and it brought back such memories!

    If you have any contact with your cousin Skippy, please send him my regards.

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