Paul talks with G. Brown about the Colorado roots of the Hand People (0:52), “Lothar” joining the band (3:46), a Red Rocks legacy and the Lovin’ Spoonful’s John Sebastian recommending that the band move to New York (7:46), signing with Capitol Records and the band’s evolving use of electronic instruments (10:15), Dick Clark playing “Machines” on the Rate-a-Record segment of the classic TV series American Bandstand (14:28), guitarist Kim King jamming with Jimi Hendrix and working at Electric Ladyland studio (16:08), a memorable gig in Montreal (18:48), the band’s dissolution and members’ post-Lothar accomplishments (21:38), and the Chemical Brothers’ sampling of a 1968 Lothar track (25:38).
Formed in 1965, Lothar & the Hand People played exclusively in the Denver area for six months, headquartering at the Exodus club. “Lothar” was a theremin—a wand-like electronic musical instrument—and the Hand People were Paul Conly (keyboards, synthesizer), John Emelin (vocals), Rusty Ford (bass) Tom Flye (drums) and Kim King (guitar, synthesizer). As the support act for the Lovin’ Spoonful at the Denver Coliseum, the Spoonful’s leader John Sebastian suggested that the band move to New York. The group released two albums on Capitol Records, Presenting…Lothar and the Hand People (1968) and Space Hymn (1969), pioneering the use of the Moog synthesizer before the members went their separate ways. In 1997, the Chemical Brothers sampled the 30-year-old Lothar song “It Comes on Anyhow” in “It Doesn’t Matter,” from Dig Your Own Hole (a UK No. 1 album).