Automatic Man

Automatic Man was an American space-funk band from San Francisco that released the 1976–77 albums Automatic Man and Visitors on Island Records.

Members: Bayeté (keyboards, vocals), Pat Thrall (guitar), Doni Harvey (bass), Michael Shrieve (drums)


Automatic Man formed in 1975 in San Francisco when drummer Michael Shrieve, fresh of a long Santana tenure, teamed with jazz-funk keyboardist Tom Cochran and two relative newbies: guitarist Pat Thrall and bassist Doni Harvey.

Shrieve (b. July 6, 1949; SF) emerged as a teenage prodigy on the mid-Sixties Bay Area blues-rock scene. He joined Santana ahead of their August 1969 Woodstock performance and played on their first six studio albums: Santana, Abraxas, Santana III, Caravanserai, Welcome, and Borboletta. Amid these activities, he also played on titles by David Crosby, Luis Gasca, Mill Valley Bunch, and the 1973 Columbia release Love Devotion Surrender, the joint album between Carlos Santana and John McLaughlin. Shrieve left Santana after their 1974 live release Lotus.

Cochran (b. September 3, 1951; SF) emerged at seventeen as a sideman of veteran jazz saxophonist John Handy. In 1971, he played on albums by saxist Hadley Caliman (Iapetus) and vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson (Head On). Under the mononym Bayeté, Cochran recorded the 1972–73 jazz-funk albums Worlds Around the Sun and Seeking Other Beauty for Presige Records. The former contains “Free Angela,” which Santana cover on Lotus. In 1974, Bayeté appeared on the acclaimed ECM release Love, Love by Julian Priester Pepo Mtoto.

Thrall (b. August 26, 1953; Alameda) first recorded with Cookin’ Mama, a communal rock band that issued the 1972 album New Day on Marin County private press Rock Bottom. In 1973, he played on two songs (“Snaker,” “Hommage to Hendrix”) on Improvising Rock Guitar, an instructional record by Green Note Publications. His 1975 audition for Shrieve and Cochran earned him a spot in Automatic Man, which found Harvey by chance when they overheard his band in a nearby rehearsal space.

Automatic Man tightened before local audiences and headed to London, where they stayed on King’s Road and secured a two-album deal with Island Records.

Automatic Man

Automatic Man released their self-titled debut album in 1976 on Island.

A1. “Atlantis Rising Fanfare” (1:37)
A2. “Comin’ Through” (3:35)
A3. “My Pearl” (3:41)
A4. “One and One” (6:01)
A5. “Newspapers” (3:59)
A6. “Geni-Geni” (5:33)
B1. “Right Back Down” (5:56)
B2. “There’s a Way” (5:15)
B3. “I.T.D. (Interstellar Tracking Devices)” (5:14)
B4. “Automatic Man” (3:54)
B5. “Atlantis Rising Theme” (3:17)

Produced by Automatic Man and Lou CasaBianca

Pat Thrall – guitar, vocals; lead vocals (A6, B4)
Todd Cochran – keyboards, vocals; lead vocals
Doni Harvey – bass guitar, vocals; lead vocals (B2, B4)
Michael Shrieve – drums


Automatic Man released their second album, Visitors, in 1977 on Island.

A1. “Give It To Me” (3:49)
A2. “Live Wire” (4:45)
A3. “So You Wanna Be” (4:00)
A4. “Y 2 Me” (4:18)
B1. “Visitors” (3:50)
B2. “Here I Am Now” (4:26)
B3. “Daughter of Neptune” (4:13)
B4. “What’s Done” (6:22)

Bass – Jerome Rimson
Drums – Glenn Symmonds
Guitar, Vocals – Pat Thrall
Keyboards, Lead Vocals, Written-By – Bayeté

Painting [Cover Painting] – Dwain Zerio
Producer – Michael Lloyd
Engineer – Bruce Robb
Engineer [Assistant] – George Tutko
Executive-Producer – Lionel Conway



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