History tends to illuminate or veil the impact of an artist’s work. If the artistry is truly brilliant it intensifies over the course of time. In the history of The Grass Roots there are two group members that can lay claim to this effect. Denny Ellis and David Stensen were part of the first group that played live and recorded as The Grass Roots. They honed their talents from an early age in one of the most influential California cities impacting the rock music scene. They were catapulted into stardom and rubbed elbows with rock and roll’s most familiar icons. They had genuine talent. They knew where they wanted to go with their music. They encountered resistance from their record company when they tried to follow their dreams.
Over the course of a short time, they managed to put out a single that was a regional hit and helped complete an album’s worth of material. They played live and spread the new vibe of The Grass Roots. They appeared on TV and in magazines. They were moved to a new city and left all their “roots” behind them. Their album has been issued several times on CD with unreleased bonus tracks. What they did is still in demand and in fact growing with interest over time. The record company replaced them as quickly as they brought them in. They moved back home and tried to get a new thing going. They had internal disagreements on how to do this and why they got into this position in the first place.
Denny and David stuck together and found a new group. They added their artistry to the output of a gifted songwriter and his wife, who had a voice like an angel. The new group had chemistry. They had genuine talent. They did everything to make it work but the money ran out. A bitter reality set in. Again, the album that they produced has been issued several times on CD. Rolling Stone selected their album to be in a group of 40 essential albums of 1967. They are now walking with the most familiar of our rock icons. The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Jefferson Airplane, Cream and The Doors. Their artistry has become more brilliant with the passage of 40 years. They have genuine talent. This is the story of Denny Ellis and David Stensen. They are two very important members of The Grass Roots family that no one should ever forget.
If you are fortunate enough to find a CD of The Serpent Power and listen to the guitar (Denny Ellis) and the bass (David Stensen) you will agree that their skills are simply outstanding. Go to Gunga Dave’s site and read for yourself in his own words concerning his Grass Roots and Serpent Power times. You will also notice that he is one very creative individual to put together his own site for the world to see.