Jiva comes from the Sanskrit root "jiv" which means "to breathe."
Jiva is "that which breathes" and is commonly used to signify the soul.
Jiva was the first American act signed to Dark Horse Records. According to Geoffrey Giuliano's George Harrison biography, Harrison signed Jiva because they were followers of the young Indian Guru Maharaji, to whom he had been introduced by his future 2nd wife Olivia.
Jiva played soulful white funk rock music. They only released one LP and one single on Dark Horse Records which both failed to chart.
Jack Reed (manager): I managed the core of the Jiva crew (Lanning, Hilton & Reed) from the time they were a high school group called Tolbekin. I moved them to Los Angeles as Tolbekin, but the bass player soon left to take a full scholarship at Stanford and after that the band began a series of metamorphoses and playing lots of Los Angeles clubs before becoming Jiva. At one point it was an eight piece band with keyboards, two trumpets and a sax player and was called Titan. Of the eight players, five were named Michael, so only Michael Lanning as the lead singer got to keep his own name... all the others had to adopt nicknames. I personally nurtured them through several 'salad years' before we met George (Harrison) and also served as a recording engineer and mixer on the road. Jiva failed to attain 'star' status. We did, however, have a fantastic journey through the world of Rock & Roll. We got to hang out with half of The Beatles, George & Ringo, both of whom were very open of spirit and generous with their time and hospitality. Of course, it didn't hurt that one of our close friends, Olivia, married George and that her sister, Linda, handled most of the Harrison affairs when George and Livvy (Olivia) were in England. On top of that, we got to tour with Fleetwood Mac and Donovan and we got to meet & party with all sorts of musical greats.
Michael Lanning (guitarist and vocalist): "George (Harrison) was deeply involved in not only signing us, but the making of our record as well. He served as executive producer and was there quite a lot of the recording time. He even helped in the demo sessions, picking out what tunes would be on the record and even playing piano on one of the demo tracks."
Jiva split from Dark Horse Records in Late 1976. They returned in 1978 with an album on Polydor Records titled "Still Life" which was of about the same musical quality as their Dark Horse LP.
Jack Reed (manager): "We had lots of feedback that our whole future may have turned as much on the fact that Dark Horse was never really run as a serious label in that they never did any of the kinds of promotion (for any of their artists) that would get radio stations to stick with our releases. We got some great airplay in some key regions, but when the programming managers don't see good follow-up from the label, they tend to drop the songs. When we were touring with Fleetwood Mac, we got fantastic audience response. On more than one occassion, I can recall John McVie telling us that he thought we had a better rapport with the audience on a given night than the Mac did. (McVie was always an incredibly gracious person and never treated us as "just the opening act" - nor did any of the rest of the Mac - we remained friends with them for years after our tour). George (Harrison) admitted that some poor choices were made in the management team of Dark Horse Records, which was proven out by the fact that he let the whole thing drop as soon as he left A&M Records."
DARK HORSE RECORDS
Michael Scott Lanning: guitar, vocals
James Gartland Strauss: bass, vocals
Thomas Walter Hilton: guitar, vocals
Michael Randolph Reed (Reedo): drums, percussion
Music & Dance