Pony Music Sparks 70's Pop Revolution
Author Unknown (Most likely Greg Shaw?) - World Pop News Vol.1, No.1 - July, 1974
LOS ANGELES - For years now, people have been looking for something new to happen in pop music, some group to come along and cause the excitement that's been absent for so long. And, according to advance reports from the few who've heard their forthcoming album, that group could easily be Pony.
Pony is a new group formed by four young musicians with extensive and varied music backgrounds and an intensive love for rock & roll. They all grew up in the Sixties, weaned on Mersey rock and '60s pop, sharing the same inspirations and respect for the sources of rock music's greatest vitality. Accordingly, Pony's original songs strike one on first impression as the most dynamic new approach to music since 1964.
Dan-Paul Milner and Brad Johnson grew up in the Minneapolis rock scene, which in the years 1964-69 was one of the nation's most prolific regional music centers. Brad got into music through Elliot Fine of the Minneapolis Orchestra, with whom he studied drums for seven years. Dan bought himself a guitar in 1965 at the age of 13 and was soon active in a band called the Visions, which lasted five years on the local circuit. When the Visions disbanded, Dan drifted west to Los Angeles, realizing that a musician could only become so big in Minneapolis, no matter how good he was.
It was in Los Angeles that he met John Polhert, an intense rock fan who had played on and off in groups since: age 13 and was particularly influenced by British pop and its American derivations like the Merry Go Round.
Like many a music-loving kid, he found a job at a record store, where by chance Dan-Paul Milner was also employed part time while waiting for opportunity to knock. It was soon discovered that they shared a similar outlook and philosophy of music. While listening to records popular at that time, inspiration struck: "We can do better," and they wrote the first of several songs together. The group Pony was soon to follow. Ron Jensen, a local friend, was brought in on lead guitar. Ron had several years musical experience himself, having been in his quota of teen groups and played with a fairly successful band out of Denver, the Five O'Clock Rush, during that city's brief mid-sixties peak as a local music center. At that point only a drummer was lacking, so Dan called on his old friend, Brad Johnson, with whom he had shared many a stage back home in Minneapolis. With the semester over, Brad left college and came to Los Angeles to complete the lineup of Pony.
From the start, Pony was a remarkably harmonious blend of talents. All were the same age, in their early twenties, all had cut their teeth on the electric excitement of the British Beat era, all had paid their dues in local bands for the better half of their lives, and when they began working out songs together it was as if they'd been playing with one another for years. Dan-Paul clicked with both John and Ron and together as well as by himself began turning out songs with an astonishing degree of sophistication, as well as energetic vitality and youthful exuberance. Moreover, all four could sing well enough to accomplish the kind of harmonies that had so enraptured them in the records of the Beatles, Hollies, Buffalo Springfield and other mid-sixties groups.
Although only together a short time, Pony has already made giant strides along the proper path to the pop stardom they all so intensely desire. They have gone unerringly to the roots of today's rock, searched out the original spark that has been too long stifled, and with it ignited their own original compositions.
Barry Kaye, the producer of Pony's debut album (scheduled for August release on 20th Century Records), has worked closely with them for nearly a year and deserves much of the credit for developing the group's sound and arrangements. Kaye has this explanation for Pony's startling impact: "It's simple, really. They've arrived where they are today through long years of the kind of dedication and hard experience for which there's just no substitute. On top of that, they have a common ideal of what pop should be and an unusual ability to actualize that ideal in their music. These guys are something special, and they're just what today's music scene needs."