The Sentinals
San Luis Obispo County

The Sentinals were a band with a heavier R&B feel than the average surf band and who occasionally sang, as evidenced by covers like Ooh Poo Pah Doo and Shout. At other points, however, they were adept at Latin-influenced riffs and melodies that made surf music as a genre stand apart from other early 1960s instrumental R&B rock. This was especially true in Latin'ia. A decent though not first-division surf band, the Sentinals made a couple of albums for Del-Fi in 1963 and '64 and achieved a good deal of regional popularity.

Notable band members included drummer John Barbata (later of the Turtles, Jefferson Airplane, and Jefferson Starship) and Lee Michaels (then known as Michael Olsen) on keyboards. Michaels went on to a successful concert and recording career with drummer Bartholomew Eugene Smith-Frost ("Frosty") and Joel Larson of the Grass Roots. He also was a session musician, working with such notables as Jimi Hendrix.

The Sentinals broke up in the mid-1960s with future psychedelic-soul Michaels joining for some time (although he did not record with them). Hinkle had a more modest post-Sentinals resume than Barbata or Michaels, playing in the group, California Music, with Beach Boy Bruce Johnston and producer/artist Terry Melcher in the 1970s.

Line Up

John Barbata: drums, 1961-66
Ron Gornell: organ, 1965-66
Peter Graham: guitar, 1961-66
Kenny Hinkle: bass, 1962-66
Bobby Holmquist: saxophone, 1961-64
Norman Knowles: saxophone, 1965-66
Lee Michaels (Michael Olsen): organ, vocals, 1966
Tommy Nunes: guitar 1961-66
Ronnie Page: vocals, 1966
John Ryan: bass
Harry Sackrider: guitar, 1964-65
Mike Scott: drums
Gary Winburne: bass, 1961-63