documenting the optical sounds of '60s pop, Acid Punk & Psychedelia

The Search: An interview with Jim Mannino

The Search – “Climate” / “Mr Custer” (In-Sound 404) 1967

I’ve been meaning to write about The Search for years but somehow kept getting side tracked but today is the day for some Search action. According to several sources they hailed from San Diego, California but apart from that, information is at a premium.

”Climate” is an organ dominated garage swinger with a tempo shifting beat, quite fascinating and ultimately rewarding after several plays. It was written by Jim and Paul Mannino who were likely brothers. It was compiled on ”Highs In The Mid Sixties – Volume 3” back in the early 80s

The other side is a reworking of the novelty tune ”Mr Custer” originally released by Larry Verne in 1960. Find it on ”Fuzz, Flaykes & Shakes – Volume 2”

The Search also released another single in June 1967 on Era Records but this record is not as interesting to me but still worth seeking out. ”Too Young” / ”Everybody’s Searchin” have not troubled the compilers.

The wonders of the internet struck a few weeks ago and I was contacted by Jim Mannino of The Search. I asked him some questions about his group and he not only provided me with key information and memories but supplied me with half a dozen photographs. I have great pleasure to share the details on my website. Thank you Jim.

Jim:  Hi Colin, this is Jim Mannino from the Search.  My brother and I are still gigging musicians.  If you have any questions about the history of the Search and our ‘one hit wonder, ’Climate’. Get back to me and I will fill in the missing pieces for you.

01. Hello Jim, thanks for your email and photos. Tremendous. I’ve had the 45 for several years, not exactly common to find over here in England.  Let me know a bit of history about The Search, group members, gigs, local scene etc and I’ll update my blog entry.

Jim: Colin, first off I am curious how you came by the 45, especially in England. We never knew how far this stuff went because the label wasn’t up front with us.  They paid us for the sessions, but no royalties did we ever see. So we broke our contract with Era.

We heard that the song went #1 in Coos Bay Oregon from a fan at one of our shows.  Other than that and on our local radio, we didn’t know much about our successes. We had a write up in Billboard as a hopeful.  Never made it to the chart there though.

The band’s original name was the Europeans in San Diego Ca, but when we got the record deal the owner of the label Herb Newman wanted us to record a song he wrote called ”Everybody’s Searchin” and he thought it would be cool if the band was called The Search, so we agreed on the condition that he record our tune ”Climate” this was agreed and we arranged his tune based on him singing it to us pounding on his desk.  He liked our arrangement then he added the horns later.

We recorded at Gold Star Studios in Hollywood spring of 1967 I was 19 years old my brother Paul was 18 seems like a dream now that I’m 71.

The song reached #14 on the local radio.  We played around San Diego and LA mostly.  Our biggest gig was opening for Sony and Cher in San Diego.  I’ll link a photo someone shot from the crowd.

We did some touring in California, but since we had no follow up with the label, the fame dried up, but the band kept gigging and playing clubs until Paul got drafted, that sort of ended ‘the search’ in 1969 sometime.  

The keyboard man and I started other bands but I lost interest in following a music career, was accepted into Art Center College of Design in LA pursuing professional photography.  I worked as a commercial photographer for 45 years, playing acoustic music with my wife on the weekends as well as a rock band here and there.  I’ve been active in music all my life after Search.  

Funny story, in 1985 I was shooting catalog in Spokane Washington for a department store.  Studio was on the top floor and the product was brought up in the freight elevator by, turns out by a record collector, who found out about my short flame with fame in the 60’s.  

He was sure he had our record, I laughed of course.  A week later he came in with something behind his back and asked how I spelled my last name.  It tuned out to be that Pebbles related album from Australia, (Highs In The Mid Sixties) which we knew nothing about. He had me sign the album… ah fame!  No royalties there either.  Ha

The band members:  
John Sardella lead singer  
Paul Mannino lead guitar, vocals 
Jim Mannino Bass, vocals  
Carmine Rocci  keyboards
Vito Columbo drums

02. San Diego appears to have had a very active music scene. In the past I’ve been in contact with members of a group called The Lyrics. They released several singles back in the day and were a popular outfit, supporting The Doors etc. They also recorded at Gold Star Studios. What a great sound from Gold Star.  I’m a serious collector of 60s psychedelic records and have a massive collection, including your single. I know several record dealers from the USA and got my copy from one of them.

Jim: I can’t say that I remember The Lyrics, but there were a lot of bands in California that I didn’t get to know. It was a fun time being locally famous in the late 60’s, there was a lot of excitement around music.  The Beatles had a profound effect on the youth culture of the day, and we were all swept up in the giddy wonder of it all.

Thanks for your interest.

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