Herman Eberitzsch Jr. III came up during the most creative and notorious time in California musical history – a San Francisco native with a penchant for dance and enough money in his pocket to visit the Fillmore and other avant garde venues in the city multiple times a week throughout the 1960s. The psychedelic, grooving music that burbled all over the Bay Area enlivened the young pianist and songwriter, infusing him with a palatable life force and sonic sensibility that lasted far longer than the Summer of Love.
Herman joined the cavalcade of musical creatives in the Bay, forming a band with promoter Boots Hughston called Sword and the Stone, which evolved into a quartet called Shane with the addition of Santana bass player David Brown. In 1973, Herman met percussionist Coke Escovedo (of Malo, Santanta and Azteca fame), and was launched into the world of West Coast Latin rock. “Make It Sweet” was among the tunes Herman wrote and arranged for Escovedo’s Mercury Records debut. “I just believe that inspiration falls from the divine outer space and lands on your head,” Herman says. “I usually have a pictogram in my head, then I try to describe the picture in a storyline. I’m usually writing mini stories, mini philosophical enlightenment or mini fantasies.
”Herman, now known as “funky knuckles,” followed up on the success of “Sweet” with his own quintet, Motion, with singer Linda Tillery. Using his extrasensory skill for arrangement and band leadership, he created a record of searing psychedelic soul and groovy jazz. Yet despite his inimitable, narrative lyricism and ear for unique song structures that straddle a fine line between experimental and pop sensibility, Herman continued to be just outside target. None of his personal works garnered commercial success – or even release.
Herman continued to work with legendary musicians from War, Parliament Funkadelic, Sly and the Family Stone, Van Morrison and others as a songwriter and session player. His work with Lee Oskar, Esther Phillips, Greg Errico and Johnny Lovett also provided a voice and platform for Herman's vast creative output. But decades after the idealistic, empowering music of the ‘60s had been relegated to oldies radio, Herman’s massive catalogue rose from obscurity. HE3 Project was released on Family Groove Records in 2010, broken into three chapters of killer soul-jazz and funk that continues to feel as timeless as it is engaging.
HE3 put Herman in touch with Kamal Humphrey de Iruretagoyena from Flying Carpet Records, another in a decades-long grapevine of connections that would bear fruit. Herman’s release with Flying Carpet promises to mold his eclectic musical past with the cool sounds of California present. “A lot of artists have done great works that are buried by the sands of time until you get lucky and somebody gives you a phone call to unbury it,” Herman says. “I’m just like million other musicians who have their hopes, their dreams, and keep on trucking, because that's what they love.”