Moby Grape was a rock music group of the 1960s, formed by manager Matthew Katz (of Jefferson Airplane) in San Francisco. Frontman Skip Spence (also of Jefferson Airplane), Jerry Miller and Don Stevenson (of the Frantics), Peter Lewis (of the Cornells) and Bob Mosley all wrote songs for the album Moby Grape (1967). Columbia Records immediately released five singles (virtually the entire album), and the band was perceived as being over-hyped. Nonetheless, the record was critically acclaimed, and fairly successful commercially, with the Move covering its sardonic ode to hippiedom, "Hey Grandma." Spence's "Omaha" reached the lower rungs of the American singles charts in 1967. Moby Grape has today achieved the status of a classic rock album. In addition, band members found themselves in legal trouble for charges (later dropped) of consorting with underage females, and the band's relationship with Katz rapidly deteriorated. The second album, Wow, was a critical and commercial failure. During the recording, Spence came to the studio with an axe, intending to kill Stevenson; he was committed, and after being released from Bellevue Hospital traveled to Nashville to record his only solo album, Oar.
Moby Grape was an example of a talented band who, through a combination of mismanagement and inexperience, never fully realized their potential. They were somewhat of an anomaly in the San Francisco rock scene; their concision and their strong roots in country music and early rock and roll seemed to work against them. As writer Robert Christgau put it, "All they really lacked was a boss, and what could be more American than that?"