"This north Indiana outfit ruled the roost in the 'Michiana' region in the mid-'70s, attracting huge crowds whenever they played live. Often compared with Led Zeppelin, this 5-piece outfit rocked the area with a tight and raw sound that combined in-your-face hard rock with undisguised psychedelic tendencies and lashings of fuzz. It must be said the boys didn't do themselves any favours by issuing their only known album with a cover reminiscent of a Journey photo shoot, but regardless of their dubious hair and sense of dress, Magi certainly deserved more than the obscurity into which they ultimately lapsed. Win Or Lose, recorded at Uncle Dirty's Sound Machine studios in Michigan in 1976, and which boasts a series of solid songs propelled by a tight rhythm section and some more-than respectable vocals, is always reviewed enthusiastically."
Tom Stevens Interview via lysergia.com:
Q: What was the teen music/rock scene like in Indiana in the mid-1970s? What major bands and styles were the most influential?
TOM: The last of the local rock and roll "teen dance" scene that started in the early 60s was still alive in the mid-70s. The YMCA-YWCA in Elkhart, Indiana would have dances on Saturday nights, a place called The Electric Circuit in downtown Elkhart (they had walls painted black with day-glo paintings) had bands Friday nights, and every High School (and some Junior High Schools) would have their dances as well. Also, the legal age for alcohol was 18 in Michigan, just a few miles north, so there were lots of bars that had bands, sometimes 6-7 nights each week. That entire scene died by the early 80s, when schools stopped bands and started DJs, and the drinking age in Michigan went to 21.
There were basically three schools of rock bands here in the mid-70s:
1) Pop, or what we called Top 40 bands, that played cover songs that were hits of the day. South Shore was one of the most popular bands of that genre in the area, and they released a 45 called "Do Me Right" that received lots of local airplay on WRBR-FM, and I think they made other 45s, but no LPs. These top 40 bands were possibly the most direct offshoot of the local Fujimo 60s bands like The Tempests and Dukes, but most didn't write their own material or make records.
2) Hard rock bands, influenced by Aerosmith, Alice Cooper, Kiss, Foghat. Magi fell into that category. Kopperfield was another local band in that era that's listed in Fuzz, Acid & Flowers for their album "Tales Untold". Kopperfield crossed the hard rock and progressive genres. I saw them more than once live during that time and I remember thinking they were a very good live act for their style. "Tales Untold" was recorded at Uncle Dirty's Sound Machine in Kalamazoo, Michigan, about 45 miles north of Elkhart, Indiana and the same studio Magi recorded "Win or Lose". It didn't really reflect Kopperfield's powerful stage sound, just as Magi's LP didn't.
3) Progressive rock bands. Most popular was Ethos from Fort Wayne, Indiana, and they played here a lot. Ethos was firmly in the Yes/Genesis/King Crimson mold, and they later made LPs for Capitol. They were called Atlantis before signing to Capitol.
Q: Did Magi already exist when you joined? What were the circumstances behind you joining the band?
TOM: Magi formed in 1973. The original drummer was Jim Kauffman, who was replaced by Jerry Wiggins in 1974. They already had made a demo with original songs with their original bassist, Larry Hertzler. Hertzler graduated high school the same year I did (1975) and he was leaving to college. I had scholarship offers from several universities to study string bass, but turned them all down. I wanted to play rock and roll music and the thought of either playing in a symphony orchestra or teaching music in a high school did not appeal. My first Magi gig was a large outdoor party in Elkhart, Indiana on July 4, 1975, followed shortly after by a concert at a small auditorium in Topeka, Indiana. I met Larry Stutzman, one of the Magi lead guitarists, in about 1974 when he started working for Harmony House of Music in the Pierre Moran Mall in Elkhart, Indiana. I was teaching guitar and bass there (I started teaching when I was 16) and Larry and I became good friends. I went to see Magi for the first time in early 1975 at a high school dance. I also joined since the band I was in (Freedom, a top 40 band, no originals/recordings) was breaking up due to members leaving for college. (more...) (buy it)
Magi - I Didn't Ask You