The Music Machine came together as The Ragamuffins in 1965, changing their name the next year. Their debut album, (Turn On) The Music Machine, was released in 1966 on the Original Sound label. Seven of the 12 tracks were originals, written by vocalist Sean Bonniwell. One of these, Talk Talk, recorded at RCA studios on July 30, 1966, became a Top 20 hit in the U.S. The track is the ultimate spew of garage angst, its tortuous chord changes complemented by pounding electric keyboards, snaky Asiatic guitar, and Bonniwell's unforgettable guttural howl.
The track is the ultimate spew of garage angst, its tortuous chord changes complemented by pounding electric keyboards, snaky Asiatic guitar, and Bonniwell's unforgettable guttural howl. It was the Los Angeles band's only high-charting 45, but from '66 to the end of the decade, they released much fine garage-psychedelia, with Bonniwell's tormented visions, hard rock melodic hooks, and alternately gravely/crooning vocals to the fore.
The follow-up single, "The People In Me," peaked at #66. Bonniwell blamed the weak showing on a supposed feud between the band's manager and a top record executive. Four cover songs were included on this release, due to record company pressure.
After a promotional tour of the U.S., the rest of the original lineup, which included Ron Edgar (drums), Mark Landon (guitar), Keith Olsen (bass) and Doug Rhodes (organ), left Bonniwell due to internal conflicts. In 1967, Music Machine (essentially only Bonniwell at this point) was signed to Warner Bros. and renamed The Bonniwell Music Machine. A self-titled LP was released that year, made up mostly of previously recorded songs with the original lineup. The recording spawned no big hits, despite the inclusion of a few more pop-oriented songs.
A third album was recorded but never released. In 2000, a Bonniwell Music Machine album called "Ignition" was released on Sundazed Records. This is a collection of songs from the unreleased 1969 album, as well as demo tracks from the band's Raggamuffin days in 1965.
In 2000, Bonniwell wrote about his life and The Music Machine in a biography called "Beyond The Garage," published by the small press publisher Christian Vision.