Two brothers from the Selby-Dale neighborhood of the state’s capital would abolish the concept of a black and a white music, establishing purple as the hue that would bind and define the region’s signature sound. Enter the Fabulous Fascinators, whose membership fluctuated over the years, though it hinged on brothers Paul and Peter Johnson. The rest of the Fab Fascinators were rounded out by Ricky Washington on drums and dueling vocalists Will Ternoir and Robin Mayberry, the latter replaced by James Crenshaw. Upon entering high school at St. Paul Mechanic Arts, the Fascinators came under the mentorship of Lovia Smith, a local performer who molded the Soul Sensations out of both Johnsons, Balenger, and Ternoir, plus Solomon Hughes on guitar. The Soul Sensations, more larcenous of the Jimi Hendrix hit’s title than anything about its sound, began calling themselves Purple Haze and were soon a halfway house for St. Paul-area musicians in flirtation with funk. Increasingly visible, the band grew wary of the Hendrix estate and bleached their name simply to Haze

Haze Appears on: