It's Psychedelic Baby Magazine

It's Psychedelic Baby is an independent, music magazine. We are covering alternative, underground, non-commercial and non-mainstream artists in variety of shapes and genres. Exclusive interviews, reviews and articles. A place where musicians can express themselves. We serve an international readership.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Morgan Delt - Phase Zero (2016) review

Morgan Delt - Phase Zero (Sub Pop Records, 2016)

Laying out an neo-psych album drenched in filtered sunlight that’s interrupted by the occasional fluffy cloud, Morgan Delt moves with a sure-footedness I haven’t experienced since Spacemen 3, delivering a outing filled with shimmering waves, solid arrangements, and layered with a dazed Sunday morning feel that’s doesn’t so much demand your attention; it's more that the record [red vinyl] ebbs and flows, creeping into your mind, into your spirit, into your frontal consciousness, where with an intricateness, he manages to step into the 21st Century creating an experience that’s brightly lit, while riding on a breeze of all that’s gone before him.  What he delivers, is a dose of psychedelia that harbors nothing but good vibrations.

Phase Zero is an Indica stoner’s delight, presented with a mixture of bright 60’s British Invasion lyrics that are infused with the contemporary inspired west coast musicianship that instantly makes you aware that this is an album that’s designed to grow on you.

- Jenell Kesler
© Copyright

Saturday, August 27, 2016

It's Psychedelic Baby presents: Love Machine - Maze premiere

In the haze of Krautrock's capital Düsseldorf Marcel Rösche (Vocals, Percussion), Felix Wursthorn (Guitar, Synthesizer), Thibaut Sanli (Bass) and Noel Lardon (Drums, Percussion) got together as Love Machine in early 2013. Dedicated to psychedelic improvisation, krautish weirdness, minimalism and unpredictable performances they soon recorded their debut LP A Present to the Galaxy which was released on Tonzonen Records in 2014. Meanwhile they were joined by Hendrik Siems (guitar) and played more than 50 shows in clubs and at festivals in Germany and Switzerland following the release of A Present to the Galaxy.

Love Machine is living a spirit of free floating creativity in recombining influences of psychedelia, blues, jazz, african and latin american rhythms and analogue electronics. An attitude they share with bands from the San Francisco era and the hightimes of Krautrock. This bundle of american and german popcultural tradition paired with their high voltage live performances established Love Machine as part of the german underground music scene and made them a favourite both of crowds and critics in the last two years.

You can catch them on tour

Friday, August 26, 2016

The Deep - Psychedelic Moods (1966) review

The Deep - Psychedelic Moods (Lion Production reissue, 2015)

The reflection in the mirror began shifting, then it begins melting, morphing in the half-light of candles, and a head flowing with chemical memories was stumbling to recognize the image before me ... it was me, but this is me, but the me in the mirror is me from the summer of 1966.  Yet I’m here and I’m there.  I can taste the warm summer night, and the smell of my analog tube stereo is swirling around me, drawing me back in, back into a room filled with the blue smoke of Afghani Finger Hash, a room washed with prismatic light, and fabric draped lampshades.  How weird ... but I want to stay here, unfolding, lost forever in this magic moment.  But then reality flows back in, the room quivers as I rub my eyes with the heels of my palms, stepping back and sinking into the warmth of my bed as the ceiling spins, and I remember it all so clearly.

Ahhhhh, those heady summer nights when the world was just right, and my body truly was a wonderland.  Of course the songs are silly, they’re the stuff of memories, things that never even happened, even when they were supposed to be happening.  Psychedelic Moods is a journey into music that filtered through my stereo late into the night, brought to me on the wings of some disembodied DJ’s voice, bestowing a reality that didn’t exist, but certainly sparked adventurous visions of what was happening in San Francisco, New York, London, and Paris, and there I sat, stoned in my little room, making up stories of things beyond my imagination ... things just outside of my window.

This entire record is one LSD induced musical adventure.  It actually captures the fuzzy off-balanced mind-bending experience, one where the tips of your fingers hold secrets, and everything is a delight.  I’m not sure that anyone who wasn’t there then will be able to appreciate this bit of theater ... I do know that it will go right over the heads of anyone who’s not taken Acid or Magic Mushrooms ... but then, even if one has, it’s not uncommon for things to sail right over their heads as well.

Wake up and find me, lost in memories of liquid nights, and crystal morning dreams.  This is it, this is the peak, the best part of the trip, and I’m floating untethered in some paralleled universe that’s meshing with mine.  I know I’ll never be the same ... and forty-five years later, I can honestly say, “I've touched the sky.”

- Jenell Kesler
© Copyright

Thursday, August 25, 2016


September 17th, 2016 at Musikbrauerei
Greifswalder Str. 23 A, 10407 Berlin

As its title suggests, the 2nd SYNÄSTHESIE Festival offers more than just a concert experience, but rather a blending of senses combining an impeccably curated program of experimental psych and garage rock with visual imagery. Limited to 500 guests, SYNÄSTHESIE offers a compact international lineup of bands that represent the 8MM Musik aesthetic, contemporary music inspired by german experimental music of the late 60s & early 70s. A living history of music that has gone against and continues contrary to mainstream trends. This years festivals surreal setting of a war damaged brewery in former East Berlin helps complete the sense of SYNÄSTHESIE. 

SYNÄSTHESIE II Complete Lineup:
Michael Rother Plays NEU! Harmonia & Solo Works (D)
Medicine Boy (South Africa)
Gunman & The Holy Ghost (Iceland/Berlin)

Also check:

8MMMUSIK teams up with Anton Newcombe to present 11 exclusive tracks by 11 bands that helped define the last 10 years of 8MM and Berlin's Underground rock'n'roll scene. This record is being released worldwide in cooperation with Newcombe's UK based 'a' Recordings.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

The Flowers of Evil

The Flowers of Evil are an underground band from Carbondale, Illinois. They are very active and have already released a couple of albums on their label Black Monk Sound Records. To have their own label gives them opportunity to experiment and have total artistic freedom. Their music is related to 1960s garage-psych but you will definitely hear other influences too. We had a brief conversation with Kaleb Hunter about their music.

The Flowers of Evil are:
Chris Wittman - drums-percussion, production, tapes + loops-sounds.
Josh Hunter - guitars.
Steve Henderson - guitars, synth, keys-drone box.
Stacey Camden- bass, drum machine.
Kaleb Hunter- vox, geetars, noise.

The Flowers Of Evil Facebook
Black Monk Sound Records Facebook

Formation of the band
I first really became interested in playing music when I was 12 years old, thanks to my older brother. We both got guitars, and around that time I was just discovering The Beatles and punk rock. We had some garage bands that never made it out of the garage, basically just bashing away, learning how to play etc. I played in a few local bands later on in my teens in Carbondale, Illinois, the scene of our little story. The Flowers of Evil first started in 2008 as a recording project between my childhood friend Steve Henderson and myself. We were just learning how to write good songs and learning how to record. I had bought my first Tascam 8 track recorder, something I still use to this day for most of our records. We spent the next couple of years just recording, no gigs or anything that a normal band would do. We lived in Chicago for a year - year and a half, did more recording there, and then I moved back to Carbondale in 2011 due to dwindling funds. Carbondale is about 330 miles south of Chicago. As soon as I got back to Carbondale, something went off and I began writing feverishly. I soon had the first Flowers album, Exile On Brain Street done and out at the local record shops and online (2011). The reaction seemed good and people seemed to dig it, so I quickly followed it up with 11:11 and the double album Transit To Venus (2012). After those first three, the band morphed again.

I found some local cats who dug the records and wanted to play, so we put together the very first real live band of The Flowers. It sounded great, that first show was one of my happiest moments. We played for about a year here and there, lost a drummer, gained an amazing one, and another guitar player. Then in 2013, we made our first record as a real band, Rubber Seoul

In 2014, we put out our fifth album, Dreamhead. During this time we played in Carbondale quite a bit, played in Chicago a couple of times, Nashville, a few times in Indiana, all of the neighboring states. Then in late 2014, the band went through more changes. We added a different bass player and became a four piece for a little while, now we are a five piece. Last year we put out our 7th album Mystic Copout, which I was really proud of.

We stopped playing shows late last year, because we want our next record to be something really special, we have been writing and writing and we are getting ready to start official recording. I am sure we will play again soon, whether it's a local gig or a mini tour or whatever. I am interested in anything like that for the future, but at the same time I don't worry about those things like most bands do. We put out all of these albums on my record label, Black Monk Sound records. I started BMS Records basically to put out Flowers albums. I knew from a young age I had absolutely no interest in messing with record labels, really not even independent ones. I am the type of guy who needs complete control over my art, so I may be broke but at least I can put out whatever I want. We have put out some EP and other cool stuff by local artists, also The Flowers have put out several EP's over the years as well. I would love for it to be an ever expanding thing, but I suppose it's more of an aesthetic than a traditional record label. Carbondale has an amazing underground music scene, from the infamous punk house Lost Cross, to the amazing basement venues The Skihaus and The Swamp. There are so many great bands and artists, a lot of which center around the local good record store, Plaza Wuxtry Records (also a brother record label of BMS). We have all kind of created our own world, a "scene" of outsider, weirdo artists who are free to push the limits, thanks to our somewhat isolation. Secondary Modern, Hans Predator, Scifislands, Jenny Johnson and so many more. It is a real incestuous scene, every one is always sharing band members and helping each other out. I love being in a place like this to create, I don't think it matters whether you are in a New York, or a Chicago, or a Dayton or Sticksville. The point should always be to create your own world, create your own dreams. We have that in spades in Carbondale. 

As far as my/our influences, I would have to say first and foremost, my biggest influence is The Velvet Underground. I first heard The Velvets when I was 13, and they made me realize I could be in a band, and maybe even write songs. Those guys along with The Beatles and punk rock gave me the gumption to get it going. After that I started getting into the good stuff. Captain Beefheart, The Monkees, The Elevators, The Kinks, Nuggets/Pebbles comps, Hasil Adkins, The Fall, Chrome, Throbbing Gristle/Psychic TV,  early P.I.L., Joe Meek etc. Most Sixties beat music and psychedelic music in general.  Everyone in the band is into a lot of different stuff, so our influences stretch from Bacharach to ESP-Disk Jazz to the Butthole Surfers and even some Heavy Metal (two metal heads in the band!). There are just too many to name. As far as album making, we have made all of our albums with a Tascam 8 track cassette recorder, a 6 track cassette recorder, and various 2 and 4 track reel to reels.

William S. Burroughs writing is a big influence on me, also Mike Stax and Ugly Things. Just the fact that the dude has kept that thing going for 30 plus years, I respect that type of dedication so much. He is the real deal.

Oh also, I am deeply into and influenced by Private Press albums, mainly psychedelic ones from the '60s-'80s. Groups like The Contents Are, The Bachs, Kath, Owen Maericks, Arcesia. The Acid Archives book in general is basically my daily bible, Patrick Lundborg was a holy messenger from another dimension. This whole secret world has definitely had an effect of The Flowers.

Oh of course, how could I forget Krautrock?! We all love Can, Faust, Amon Duul etc. I am forever digging through Kosmische records I have yet to hear.

Songwriting process
I am definitely not an anti digital person, but that is just what we had at the time, and it works for what we want to hear. My writing process is chaos, I carry a notebook with me everywhere, so I am always writing down ideas, words, lines. I usually go through tapes of recorded musical ideas and put it together with words. That is how most of the songs are born. After The Flowers come out with our next album, I think we will just keep making records and playing. I can't say what exactly will happen, I doubt we will make it to "The Big Time", and that is fine. I have no interest in that shit. I became comfortable with the fact that people will be discovering our records in 10, 20 years time. I like that, no, I love that! Many of my favorite bands had the exact same fate, so it seems logical to me. Psychedelia today, that word encompasses so many meanings to so many different people. I think on the generic front, yeah it is kind of in again, I mean you even see commercial artists kinda starting to cash in on the Psychedelic Retro train or whatever the fuck it is. I know that there seems to be an overabundance of new "psych" bands that are very tame, very generic and really just boring. Lots of reverb, delay and a Brian Jonestown Massacre like riff don't equal psychedelic. I think that will pass though, it always does. It is cool on one hand that Psychedelia is having this resurgence, but on the other hand it is kind of weird, I remember just a few short years ago it wasn't so cool to even mention the word, let alone let people know that you were in a psychedelic band! Psychedelic to me means freedom, much like Punk Rock. Albert Ayler was a Psychedelic Punk Rock motherfucker. 

The Flowers of Evil sound
It is pretty difficult for me to describe our sound, we get tagged with the psychedelic garage- psych punk-avant psych thing a lot, and yes all of that type of stuff is an influence, but I don't feel like any of those buzzwords describe us at all. We just make Flowers music, and that is all I can say when people ask us that.

The Flowers have played with some cool, notable bands in the underground psych-beat scene. We have played with White Mystery, Staring Problem, The Peoples Temple, Apache Dropout and a bunch of other bands I have forgotten about. I have said many times that I will stop making Flowers records when I am dead, and I mean it. The Flowers will always go on in some form or another, I never wanted this to be like a rock and roll band. I wanted it to be pure expression, almost like a jazz artist, how they just did album after album in search of.... the search. The band right now is the best version I have ever had, we are getting further away from the rock and roll sound and getting more into making sounds we haven't heard before.

I know it is silly to provide so much information for a virtually unknown band, but I believe in this band and I believe in our music. I know we are better than 80 percent of the stuff I see and hear out there in the commercial realm, and the underground to a degree. I think right now we have a couple thousand songs, lost actual count a long time ago. We are always working on the next new song. That is something about live shows, I feel like every gig has to be different and has to be special. We never play the same set twice. I am just incapable of doing that, I honestly don't understand how groups do that. It just seems boring and dishonest to me. We always want the shows to be entities unto themselves, completely different than the records. Chris has co produced or produced most of our records, and I don't know what I would do without him, or any of these guys (girl). We are really a band of regular, every day artist weirdos. One of the things that bothers me about the underground scene today is that every one always seems to be putting on a front. Like everyone has to be the coolest mother in the room... and that is just a waste of time. There seems to be a lot of style over substance. We are anything but cool. We found each other because we are eternal underdogs. I don't really go to parties or do social, cool things. I work at a record store, and I write constantly and live in Flowers world. I don't wanna sound negative, I think we are living in an amazing time for creating -being an artist-making music! I mean just with the internet alone, it has basically cut out Major Labels completely to a degree, and I love it. Fuck em, it's a dying breed. The fact that all of this music from all over the world is at your fingertips, it is truly mind blowing. It can be a dangerous thing if not used for good. I mean to even be talking to you, it's such a trip! I love It's psychedelic Baby! I think Psychedelic music will keep going like it always has, developing into new, unclassifiable future sounds.

- Klemen Breznikar
© Copyright

Friday, August 19, 2016

The Seeds - Future (1967) review

Flower Power Band's Psychedelic Epic!
"Future" by The Seeds (1967/2013)

The third album by The Seeds, "Future" released in August, 1967, documented many changes in the band's demeanor and music, in no small part due to Lord Tim Hudson taking over as the band's manager on 22 November 1966.  The band took on a mod look while their songs became increasingly complex, implementing additional musicians and instruments.  Due to, or despite, these changes "Future" was The Seeds highest charting album, reaching #87 on the Billboard Top 200 Albums chart.

Disc one of this double set, opens with the eleven tracks that constituted the stereo release of "Future."  Daryl Hooper's lofting keyboards and Sky Saxon's spoken vocals supply the "Intro" before Hooper's piano, Rick Andridge's drums and Jan Savage's stinging guitar, supplemented by horns, lead the group into "March Of The Flower Children" which was released, in edited form, as a single.  Hooper's sitar and Andridge's percussion lend "Travel With Your Mind" its Eastern influenced trippy feel.  The Seeds are back to their basics with "Out Of The Question" featuring fuzzed out guitar by Savage, floating keyboards by Hooper, tasty bass by fifth Seed, Harvey Sharpe, and machine gun drums by Andridge.  A great track indeed.  Hooper's gently rolling electric piano and Saxon's softly spoken vocals adorn the delicate "Painted Doll," another of the album's highlights.  Hooper's insistent electric piano introduces "Flower Lady And Her Assistant" a fine piece of "flower power music" with Savage's restrained guitar interlude leading into Hooper's tasteful keyboard break.  A rocker, the song harkens to the earliest recordings of The Seeds despite overdubbed horns.  Andridge's drums and Sharpe's bass set the scene for Sky's shouted vocal entry on "Now A Man" with Savage's restrained guitar adding gorgeous texture leading up to his distorted solo on this solid rocker.  "A Thousand Shadows" with its guitar and vocals recalling "Pushin' Too Hard" has a driving beat and some pleasant vocal harmonies.  Sharpe's booming, loping bass and Andridge's pounding drum beat sets the stage for Savage's stinging guitar and Saxon's snarling vocals on "Two Fingers Pointing On You" which also offers a fine Hooper solo.  "Where Is The Entrance Way To Play" has a sing song intro by Saxon, stand out piano solo courtesy of Hooper and more subdued guitar from Savage.  Hooper's organ and Savage's guitar introduce "Six Dreams" with Saxon's vocals somewhat disconcerting in their tone making it one of the LPs lesser tunes.  The band is back in form on the album's tour de force closer, the nearly eight minute "Fallin" with Hooper and Savage at the helm, sounding better than ever in spite of overdubbed harp and Spike Jones type sound effects.  Still, the band turns the song around with Hooper's organ break and Sharpe's bass diving in and out of the mix.  The song suffers a bit from too many instruments being overdubbed, but underneath it all is a fine piece of flower powered psychedelia that plays the side and LP out.  

The bonus tracks, all mono mixes, begin with three tracks that were not originally released, the rocking, Doors like "Chocolate River" a nice tune featuring familiar guitar and keys by Savage and Hooper and Andridge's persistent drums, "Sad And Alone," a mid-tempo rocker with Hooper's familiar keys and a short, but sweet solo by Savage and an alternate version of "The Wind Blows Your Hair," (released in its first version as a non-LP b-side) with Hooper's keys again bringing The Doors to mind.  Next up are six tracks from the mono version of "Future."  As with "The Seeds" and "A Web Of Sound" the band's sound seems cleaner and crisper on the mono mixes, no doubt in large part due to the recording methods of the day.  An alternate mix of "Six Dreams" suffers from lackluster vocals by Saxon and a rather plodding beat. whereas the mono album cut of "Fallin'" lends further credence to this being the format of choice for the band's recordings.  A bit of a toss off, the one minute ditty "The Navy Swings" brings disc one to an end, a total of twenty three tracks with a run time near 79 minutes!

Disc two, titled "Contact High: the "Future" sessions contains a further fifteen tracks with a run time over 56 minutes.  "Rides Too Long" is a typical high octane Seeds tune that somehow never saw release before this reissue.  The version of "Chocolate River" found here was released in 1977 and is dominated by Andridge's drums and Hooper's organ, a nice combination.  The first take of "Flower Lady And Her Assistant" is another look inside The Seeds' method of song development.  Further alternate takes, mixes and versions are included for the same purpose.  The music is completed by an alternate version of "The Wind Blows Your Hair" from a 1977 LP and the full length recording of "900 Million People Daily All Making Love" coming in at just under ten minutes, first appearing on a 1993 album, and as with "Up In Her Room" from "A Web Of Sound" is evidence of The Seeds' ability to stretch things out, without them becoming totally self-indulgent, unlike so many other bands of the day.

This "Future" reissue, compiled and researched by Alec Palao is completed by a 40 page full color booklet featuring complete track annotations, notes including interviews with band members and recording session logs, sound mastering by Nick Robbins at Sound Mastering Ltd. and tons of gorgeous photos.  The third of five installments in The Seeds' reissue series, this deluxe edition of "Future" belongs in the musical library of garage and psych music lovers everywhere!      

- Kevin Rathert
© Copyright

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Gypsy Sun Revival interview

They Hail from Texas, they play Psychedelic Rock, they call themselves Gypsy Sun Revival and I caught up with them to shoot the shit...

Tell us a bit about how you formed as a band? 

​Will (Guitar) and Lee (Bass) have played together for years.  Back in 2008, Will posted a flyer in a guitar shop’s bulletin board in College Station, TX.  This was before the days of Craigslist so if you wanted to find a band you had to go looking around these sort of gathering places to find like-minded cats.  Coincidentally, the first ad Will placed for a band happened to be the first flyer Lee ever responded to.  Written out in black ink on a sheet of printer paper: “Rock/Blues/Metal Guitarist looking for band”.  From that point on the two drifted in and out of bands over the years meeting again and again.  Finally, in 2015 Will moved to Dallas-Fort Worth (where Lee had been living for five years) with the prospects of forming a band with Lee and going all the way.  The two planned to make a full-length album, press a vinyl record and tour everywhere.  

​By this point Craigslist became the standard method to find musicians.  Will discovered Ben (Drums) and the three felt out the abilities and vibes of one another until everyone agreed that it was the band we wanted.  The group sought out additional singers and keyboardists but failed to find a singer of practical means, and we also lost our keyboardist due to mental illness.  We refused to quit and forced Lee into the role of singing after the studio time had already been booked.  With the band’s line-up complete, we named ourselves “Gypsy Sun Revival” in homage to Jimi Hendrix’s later works.   We believe in Jimi’s philosophy of creating music akin to an “Electric Church”, where listeners don’t just casually listen.  We want people to truly have an experience.  

What is the psychedelic scene like at the moment in Texas? 

To begin, Texas is a big state.  The psychedelic presence in DFW is marginal but we are slowly finding bands that are in tune with our wavelength (shoutout to Same Brain and Smokey Mirror!).  There are enough people here to get our band up and running to face the world.  Crystal Clear Sound was a huge factor in our ability to make the record we wanted.  This is due mostly to the people running the recording studio.  Kent Stump and Michael Walter of Wo Fat deserve credit.  Not only is the equipment at this studio totally colossal, but their insight into how to make a record with a psychedelic sound-scape was invaluable.  Mood, space, textual layers and funk rhythm all accumulated in this studio to escalate our levels of performance.

​The real heart of the psychedelic movement lies in the southern/central regions of Texas.  

Austin, San Marcos and San Antonio are a hot bed for some of the most radical and successful acts coming out of this State.  This is the region where the Black Angels are kings.  This genre of music has grown to such popularity that the Black Angels have been hosting an annual festival, known as Levitation, on Carson Creek Ranch.   Before it was named Levitation, they simply called it: Austin Psych Fest.  This three day event is like a holy pilgrimage of the greatest psychedelic acts all over the world.  Also there’s Utopia-fest which is even more obscure and way out west of San Antonio in the hill country.  We are actively trying to play these festivals.

How has the response been from your recent live shows? 

​Our first show occurred on the second floor of this DIY punk venue/hippy commune/library.  They received our music with great enthusiasm.  We held the crowd for the entire set. There isn’t a huge psych scene in Dallas-Fort Worth, so it’s hard to find like-minded bands to gig with.  However, we’ve been gigging regularly and our music appears to be well-accepted.

We’re gaining more and more popularity every gig.  Avenues such as It’s Psychedelic Baby are a great way for people to find out about what we do and come see us live.

Can you give us a list of influences? 

​Lee: ​​Black Sabbath, ​​Pink Floyd, Sleep, ZZ Top, ​​Deep Purple, ​​Led Zeppelin, ​​Metallica, The Sword.

​Will: I think the classics are too obvious.  I’ll try and stick with some more modern influences.  There’s so many great bands out now.  Its unbelievable: ​​Earthless, ​​Black Bombain, ​​Samsara Blues Experiment, Causa Sui, ​​Colour Haze, ​​The Machine, ​​Dead Meadow.

Ben: These bands specifically influenced my playing style: ​​Black Flag, Sabbath, ​​Blue Cheer, Hendrix, ​​Dead Meadow, Electric Wizard.

You recently wrote a letter and sent a copy of your new album to Charles Manson. Who's idea was that and have you had a response yet? 

​HA Yes!  It came to us between songs during rehearsal.  We talked about who could do a critical review of our album and Ben jested we have Charles Manson write a review of our album.  It's rich you know because he actually wrote and recorded a lot of music in his early days to attract followers.   We haven’t received a reply.  We doubt he ever got a chance to listen to it.  There is a team of prison workers that filter all the mail he receives so it likely got thrown in a dust bin, but who knows, maybe we’ll receive a reply soon.  

Tell us about the recording process for your debut album? 

As stated earlier, we recorded at Crystal Clear Sound with Kent Stump behind the board. We recorded ourselves playing live in the studio to get the vast majority of the music down in one or two takes. We highly believe in recording as a complete band, meaning that everything is mic’d up and we all play the songs together as if we were playing live.   Crystal Clear is geared towards this method of live tracking because they have such a big studio to isolate all the instruments from each other so we can play in the same room like rehearsal sessions, but not have them bleed into each other.  It's pretty cool how we had a tanpura in its own isolation booth droning away while we jammed.

We recorded all of the instrumentation in two days and got the vocals tracked separately on the third day with the last four hours of studio time we had left.  We definitely felt the pressure to get these songs nailed and by the end of the session we managed to get the last two songs recorded in one take.  That was fortunate. Looking back, we didn’t spend more than 3 takes on a song.  Our attitude is that if we try to make something perfect it’s going to sound sterile.  You can only get a song tracked in so many takes before it starts to sound worse and worse.  We also feel the enjoyable quality of this music comes from the mood it creates and not so much the technical flash.  Not to discredit ourselves, we are always practicing to grow as musicians and master our instruments.  Lee had only been singing for 2 or 3 months before recording his vocals, and we have to give him a lot of credit for that.  We also have to thank Kent on this one again.  He gave Lee a lot of direction to get a halfway decent vocal track down.  

We had some fun adding on extra layers of guitars and theremins at the end of the second day.  Will has this old tape delay box (echoplex) that’s 40 years old and learned how to pull all sorts of radical sounds out of it.  That’s part of his Earthless influence.  Isaiah Mitchell (guitarist from Earthless) uses and recommended an echoplex to Will.  Nothing beats real, tape echo delay.  Lee built a guitar amp that Will used for some extra guitar layers.  We also threw some Hammond organ on some of the songs to give more textures to the soundscape.  Stuff to fill up space and inject more color into the listener’s brain.  It was a blast to try all this creative stuff.  

​The mixing phase also had some fun elements.  We added some sounds from NASA, that are open-source to the public, to give it a little bit more of a “spacey feel”.  Those are the little “bleeps”, “blurps”, and random bits of radio chatter that you hear. We ran the final mix through ½ inch tape to give it a more palatable texture and warmth to the sound. 

I really like Idle Tides on the album do you each have favourites? 

Will – Idle Tides was the first song that we wrote for the album.  I’ve been playing the main riff of that song for probably 3 to 4 years, and with the bands help, we were able to create a song out of it.  To me, it kind of has a Robin Trower feel to it that I really like.  That’s probably my favorite song on the album.  

Ben - My favorite is Radiance. We jam that one so hard at the end, it gets really weird. It also features the theremin.

Lee - I also have to go with Radiance. It has such a far out, exotic sound and creates a transcendental mood.  To me, I feel the song captures the majesty and mysticism of the sun.  It has this shimmering brilliance and simultaneous darkness that’s really interesting.  It's a great closer for the album to sum up everything we are going for with this band.  New sounds, different scales, different instruments, different song arrangements.  It's a total psychedelic freak out that can be itself with no limiting rules.    
What is your writing process as a band? 

​It typically starts with a riff.  Usually Will or Lee will have an idea or some sort of riff/lick they’ve been working on.  From that starting point, we just jam relentlessly until we have some sort idea of where we want to take the song and what we want to do with it.  In our opinion, the best song writing is completely spontaneous. For example, the riff on Solar Breeze was a complete accident.  Will just played a few notes and we all looked at each other like “that was cool”.  It ended up being one of our most popular songs. It’s really neat to see a simple riff take on a whole new life after we jam and create a song.  

​After we get a jam going we have to organize it and arrange it into an ordered structure so we all know what to play.  This process involves writing out the riffs.  We don’t write music on staff paper but rather give a riff or a lick a specific name like “ Riff A, Riff B, Riff C, Bridge”.  Then we establish how many times we play each riff.  Sometimes sections of a song can be more abstract and we have a part of a song that’s called “drum break into space jam”  or “walk-down riff”.  It doesn’t matter so long as we all know what we’re talking about.

This might sound elementary but it is the most vital aspect to making a song that breaks out of traditional molds. So many bands don’t take the time to communicate these arrangements and it traps writing into simple, predictable patterns.  It also accelerates how fast the whole band can memorize a song.  Effective communication is probably the most important aspect of creating good music.  

As for writing lyrics, Lee focuses on colorful imagery involving the cosmos.  Mysticism and inner development of the mind also make up the subject matter.  Like the jams, most lyrics are written on the spot in a rehearsal session and they seem to come out the best that way.  

​We have a small, cheap recorder that we use to record all of sessions.  Sometimes it's very obvious how the songs should be arranged, other times we listen back to the jams we recorded and it becomes clear that a song is suppose to take a certain direction or be arranged/played in a certain way.  The creative process is something that we have come to really enjoy.  It gets us excited and keeps us going.  

If you could have any other artist guest on your next album, when there is one, who would it be? 

Will – For me, that’s easy.  I gotta go with Isaiah Mitchell from Earthless.  I think he is criminally underrated as a guitarist and probably one of the best guitarists to ever live.  HIT ME UP MAN!

Lee- Billy Gibbons.  Who else could be cooler. 

Ben - Jus Oborne from Electric Wizard.

​Gypsy Sun Revival are releasing a vinyl version of their debut album through Nasoni records from Berlin, Germany.  It should be available before the end of the year.  The best way to keep up with updates is by liking them on facebook -

- Ross Beattie
© Copyright

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Martin Denny - Exotica (1957) review

Martin Denny - Exotica (Captain High Records, 1957/2016)

This album at hand by prolific legend Martin Denny is the one which gave a name to an entire genre. Released for the first time in 1956, “Exotica” does have more than just a historical importance. The songs are all outstanding. Based on jazz and folk this is an early example of mind altering music, because the album sets you in a dreamy state with all its haunting melodies and the sound effects that remind of wild animals in the jungle trees. The rhythmical base is rooted in Latin music, from mambo via samba to bossa nova you find all the Latin American forms of dance music combined with the bebop elements. Asian percussion instruments and harmonies also find their way onto this album. There are colorful tunes that make you think of Japanese folk but when you listen closely you will recognize melodies that would fit well with US western movie soundtracks. The easy listening sound of the '50s comes as the last ingredient and the icing on the cake. Right at the same time when this album came to see the light of day another movement named “space age” happened with an equally dreamy style but more science fiction oriented. A few of these pulsating electronic influences did pass by composer and conductor Martin Denny while creating this masterpiece and so you might feel like flying away from time to time, but the journey always ends on a beautiful island in the South Pacific ocean where pretty girls and boys dance to hot blooded savage rhythms. And this savage soul burns deep within the music to be found upon “Exotica”. When you desire to rest your mind beneath palm trees and have a sip of your favorite tiki-cocktail,  this is the ticket to your plane.

- 'Sir Lord Doom'
© Copyright

Monday, August 15, 2016

The Seeds - A Web Of Sound (1966) review

Masters Of Flower Power At Their Best!
"A Web Of Sound" by The Seeds (1966/2013)

Nearly half a century has passed since the original release of "A Web Of Sound" by The Seeds on GNP Crescendo Records in October, 1966.  Although failing to crack Billboard Magazine's Top 200 Album chart it met with general critical approval and is seen by many fans as The Seeds' finest hour!   This two disc reissue on Big Beat Records, UK, is unquestionably the definitive version of "A Web Of Sound" combining the mono and stereo mixes of the album with seven outtakes from the sessions and as an extra added attraction the mono mix of the "A Full Spoon Of Seedy Blues" LP, intended for release in 1968 sees its debut here!

Disc one contains the stereo mix followed by the outtakes.  The album opens with its best known track, "Mr. Farmer" which, in edited mono version c/w "No Escape" reached #86 on the Hot 100 charts in early 1967.  Daryl Hooper's distinctive, rolling organ and Rick Andridge's insistent drum beat meet Jan Savage's fuzz guitar and Sky Saxon's plaintive vocals in this memorable gem.  Hooper's organ solo is understated and tasteful.  "Pictures & Designs" is a trippy gem with Hooper's keyboards to the fore, but Savage's restrained guitar on display as well.  Saxon's self indulgence is apparent in "Tripmaker" with its Spike Jones style sound effects, although the band does a fine job on its own right, with Andridge's machine gun drums pushing the tempo.  Savage's slide guitar shines on "I Tell Myself" a mid-tempo ballad with an organ interlude by Hooper.  "A Faded Picture" slows things down, Andridge keeping time, with Savage's guitar and Hooper's keyboard supplying the melody.  Saxon's introspective lyrics fit perfectly as does Hooper's organ solo.  Hooper and Savage introduce "Rollin' Machine" with organ and guitar before Andridge's drums and Saxon's vocals join in.  A short, snappy little rocker, this may well be my favorite song on the album with Savage's distorted guitar playing the track out.  "Just Let Go" with its bouncing beat, probing guitar and melodic organ, is a nice four minute piece of rock and roll.  In following with the times the album closes with the fourteen and a half minute "Up In Her Room" which was edited down to three and a half minutes for release as a single, although it failed to chart.  Savage's guitar settles into a pleasant groove, with Hooper's keyboards and Andridge's drums holding down the bottom end.  Savage's fuzzed out, overdubbed guitar and Hooper's piano interlude are understated, giving the song a most pleasant, gentle vibe before the band turns up the heat half way in.  A rave up, Seeds style.  The disc is filled out with seven bonus tracks, four alternate takes of songs from "A Web Of Sound," two outtakes from "The Seeds" and an alternate version of "The Wind Blows Your Hair" which was released only as a non-LP b-side.

Disc two opens with the eight tracks from "A Web Of Sound" in their mono mixes.  The band seems much more suited to mono compared to stereo, likely a result of the recording process in 1966.  "Mr. Farmer" sounds so clear and crisp.  Daryl Hooper's organ and Rick Andridge's drums are so clean while Savage's guitar retains just the right amount of "nastiness."  The mono takes are the same length as the stereo, but are superior, in each and every case, to my ears.  
Of special interest are the nine tracks released as "A Full Spoon Of Seedy Blues" credited to The Sky Saxon Blues Band, though in reality the fourth album by The Seeds, and issued in November, 1967 in stereo, with the mono LP remaining unreleased at the time.  The stereo mix of this album is available as part of Drop Out Records' 3 CD box set "Flower Punk" a 1996 compilation from the UK.

Sky met Muddy Waters in 1966.  The circumstances of the meeting are in question as to how and where they met.  It is without question, however, that Saxon asked Muddy to write a song for The Seeds.  According to Sky, Muddy at first declined saying he needed every song he wrote for himself.  However, "A Full Spoon" did include "Plain Spoken" written by Waters who attended nearly every session involved in the project as well as contributing liner notes to the LP.  The sessions included all the members of The Seeds as well as guitarists Luther Johnson, who contributed "One More Time Blues," and Mark Arnold, as well as harmonica player George Smith and saxophonist James Wells Gordon, members of Muddy's band.  Harvey Sharpe, who contributed bass to many of The Seeds recordings is a good fit and his performances in particular are consistently strong.  The album was dismissed at the time by critics and music buyers alike, and in fact has never garnered much respect.  While the performances are not fiery, nor terribly inspired  like those of The Seeds, they are respectable.  Hooper's piano on "I'll Help You (Carry Your Money To The Bank) is delicate, even the boogie woogie section, and Sky's vocals are delightfully restrained.  The guitar on "Cry Wolf" is excellent, especially the slide work.  "Plain Spoken" combines Hooper's piano with some nice guitar, with Saxon once again showing restraint with his vocal treatment.  Luther Johnson's "One More Time Blues" is definitely a highlight with Johnson's guitar shining throughout and George Smith of Muddy's band contributing nice mouth harp.  The album closes with a couple of Saxon originals.  Hooper's organ stands out on "Creepin' About" while "Buzzin' Around" has delicious mouth harp and guitar.  "A Full Spoon Of Seedy Blues" may not be a classic of either the rock or blues genres, but it is certainly interesting enough to deserve a good listen.

Big Beat's "A Web Of Sound" contains thirty two tracks total, with a run time of about two hours, fifteen minutes.  The reissue, researched and compiled by Alec Palao, contains a 32 page full color booklet with complete track listings, notes including interviews by Palao, Muddy Waters' liner notes to "A Full Spoon Of Seedy Blues," sound mastering by Nick Robbins at Sound Mastering Ltd. and tons of gorgeous photos.  All in all, a wonderful package and one that I highly recommend. 

- Kevin Rathert
© Copyright

Sunday, August 14, 2016

The B-52’s - Live! 8.24.1979 (2016) review

The B-52’s - Live! 8.24.1979 (Real Gone Music, 2016)

This is a nine-song live set The B-52’s performed as the opening act playing in front of Talking Heads in Boston, shortly after their self-titled debut album was released. A few of the selections are from their follow-up Wild Planet, so clearly the band had those songs written well ahead of that album’s appearance about a year later. This was a marquee gig for a rising act. 

The studio versions of “Rock Lobster,” “52 Girls,” “Private Idaho,” etc. are more fully realized and play better than the live renditions as something to dance (this mess) around to, but it’s great to hear the band in this rawer mode. Ricky Wilson’s taut guitar playing is a highlight of the show, especially on the spirited performance of “Lava.” And it’s fun to hear the members’ stage banter, both between and during the songs. One considerable disappointment, though, is the absence of “Planet Claire” on the set.  

As a live album, this is not terribly remarkable really. But any fan of The B-52’s should savor the opportunity to hear them playing from the stage at this crucial juncture of their career. And anyone who was lucky enough to be there and see them, and then watch Talking Heads, who had just released Fear of Music, is to be envied.

- Brian Greene
© Copyright

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Os Noctàmbulos - Stranger (2016) review

Os Noctàmbulos - Stranger (Stolen Body Records, 2016)

Just in time for Fête Nationale, this Parisian garage psych quartet’s sophomore album offers accessible, guitar-driven pop tunes with an angular, jingly-jangly edge. They’ve been together for three years and are as tight as a monkey’s bum, with excellent musicianship throughout.
     Guitarists Nick Wheeldon and Valentin Buchens serpentine around each other to create an awesome wall of (guitar) sound that delivers exciting melodies. Lead single ‘Not Everyone’ should capture a lot of airplay, with its incessant, Green On Red-gone-surf beat, and ‘Jordi Taught Me’ swaggers like a gothic Jonathan Richman.
     ‘Medication’ explores Spacemen 3 and Brian Jonestown Massacre’s more garagey tendencies, ‘The Circle Ain’t Broken’ offers wild-eyed, drunken surf insanity, and there’s a rather funky, groovy body swerve to the soulful ‘Control’. Closer ‘No More Tears’ even offers a rather touching, tears-in-your-Bière ballad.

     It’s all very lo-fi, sloppy, druggy, drunken fun – perfect to kick off those Fête Nationale celebrations ... and the Summer fun that lies ahead! File under Danny & Dusty, French-style. So meet me at the local Frog and Rosbif, crack me open another Bière du Démon and let’s get this Fête started.

- Jeff Penczak
© Copyright

Friday, August 12, 2016

It's Psychedelic Baby presents: Shotgun Jimmie - Triple Letter Score premiere

Field of Trampolines is a perfect summer record, recorded at the eastern end of a long cross-Canada tour in August 2015. Shotgun Jimmie and his band (made up of Winnipeg’s wonderful Human Music) camped and played rock shows and swam in every possible lake. Crowds were surfed. They ate from orchards and cooked by fire. Field of Trampolines was produced by Joel Plaskett in his Dartmouth, NS studio. Joel is a magician and musician and a legend. They worked quickly, recording live and mixing fast in a single 4 day session. Joel captured the summer vibes like a glow bug in his bare hands.

Here are 10 songs celebrating life’s joys: life on the road (Join The Band), natural phenomenon (Solar Array), and camping (Triple Letter Score). There are a series of tributes to Jimmie’s friends and inspirations: The Constantines are saluted in Constantines Believer, Attack In Black in Love Letter, and the legendary Eric’s Trip in Song For Julie, Chris, Rick + Mark. Jimmie’s current life as a student at art school gets due airtime: “I’m losing sleep over Georgia O’Keefe” he sings in Georgia OK. And as the batteries run down on the nostalgic and entirely wonderful closing Walkman Battery Bleed, you’ll be looking to flip back to the A side and play it all over again. 

Shotgun Jimmie has recorded and toured with John K Samson (of The Weakerthans) and collaborated with Julie Doiron. His previous albums Everything, Everything and the Polaris Prize nominated Transistor Sister have earned a large and enthusiastic following. Field Of Trampolines is a celebratory shot at the globe.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Beers with Ronnie Leatherman of the 13th Floor Elevators

Ronnie Leatherman – August 4th 2016
     The 13th Floor Elevators are inarguably one of the most influential rock bands in American history.  They are credited with being the first band to use the term “psychedelic rock” to describe their sound back in 1965.  Other bands have attempted to make similar claims but it was definitely the Elevators that played all of their shows with a head full of acid and pushed their electrified instruments to a new level.  A three-month trip to San Francisco in 1965 had a profound effect on the folk-based bands of the bay area and led them in a wild new direction.  The likes of Jefferson Airplane, Quicksilver Messenger Service, and Big Brother and the Holding Company were directly influenced by and built upon the musical precedent of these crazy Texas boys that came roaring onto the scene like a wonky fireball and disappeared almost as quickly.  By the time the ‘70s rolled around, the 13th Floor Elevators were all but forgotten by everyone except those that were close to them or followed their short and tumultuous career.  However, in the last 10 to 15 years there has been a huge resurgence in the realm of psychedelic rock and many of the original hippie bands of the era have been resurrected in various forms.  The 13th Floor Elevators have since been placed on their rightful throne as the Kings of Psychedelia.
     I have been fortunate enough to find a connection to bass player Ronnie Leatherman and was invited out to his Kerrville, Texas home to conduct an interview and document his verbal reminiscing about his time spent with the 13th Floor Elevators.  I made the 2-hour drive West of Austin on a dry 100-degree afternoon bearing a bag of It’s Psychedelic Baby! swag and a six pack of Lone Star Beer tall boys – The National Beer of Texas!

Are you originally from Kerrville and did you grow up in this area?

Yeah, I was born here - I was raised here.  Travelled a lot of the back roads.  Of course, that’s all there was to do in Kerrville. [laughs]

What was the first instrument you ever picked up?

Actually, the first instrument I played when I was in 4th grade.  I took lessons on an ukulele from this lady and actually I graduated up to a baritone “uke” which is a bit bigger.  And yeah, she was cool but she wanted me to learn the violin.  She thought I had potential there but then she passed away.  And then it was not until about 7th grade that I started messing with guitar.

Were you in any bands before the 13th Floor Elevators?

I got started playing bass – there was a band that got together and they needed a bass player but nobody in town played bass.  And they did all instrumentals so I bought the first Ventures album and a bass guitar.  Actually, I sold a 1950 Ford Coupe that would probably be worth a fortune now to buy a bass guitar.  And that Ventures album, I just set down and didn’t really know what key it was in.  I just knew it was here, here, or here until I learned it all.  So, I learned that, went to that band, and said “Here. I’m your bass player.”  And it worked out.  Yeah, It worked out good.  We had a good band for a long time.  We were in High School.  I guess we were sophomores and we played all the High School parties.

What were you guys called?

We were called the Penetrators.  We ended up having this singer Max and then we were Max and the Penetrators.

Were you in multiple bands before the Elevators?

Yeah, I was in two or three different little bands but mostly the Penetrators and then I was in a trio with a real good friend of mine – two good friends of mine and they both passed away the same year.  It was awful.  Almost the whole band.  But every time we weren’t playing with someone else we had a trio. 

How did you come to be a member of the Elevators and replace the first bassist Bennie Thurman?

I was in that other band when the Elevators came down and I had already met Stacy (Sutherland) and John Ike (Walton) and Bennie (Thurman), the other bass player, and they had a band in Port Aransas with a guy named Max [The Lingsmen].  And Stacy, John Ike, and Max they got Bennie – he was a great violinist but he didn’t know a thing about the bass.  So, they got down there and they had a gig and he didn’t know how to play.  So anyway, they called me up and I went down and taught Bennie and played with them for about three weeks and then about a year later they started the Elevators with Roky (Erickson) and Tommy (Hall).  So anyway, Stacy was the one that wanted to get me in the band.  I don’t know what the deal was with Bennie but I didn’t ask but I’m good friends with him and it was all okay when I took over playing bass with them.  Well, that first night playing with them and all the people that knew the band and knew Bennie we were at the Jade Room in Austin and they were all just looking at me like “Why are you playing instead of Bennie?!” and I was like “Oh no!” but after the second time we played there it all went well.

They got over it?

Yeah.  That was a long night.

So, I guess shortly after that you guys recorded the Psychedelic Sounds LP?

Well, we went to California first.  I was 18, graduated from high School, and then in August they called up and said “Hey, do you want to join the band and go to California?”  And so, we played 4 or 5 gigs there in Austin and then went straight to California.  We played the first gig in Redding, California and then we played, I think, Sacramento, and then on to San Francisco.  We played the Avalon and the Fillmore and the Longshoremen’s Hall and a lot of gigs and then we stayed there 3 or 4 months travelling up and down the coast and playing.  Yeah, we played about 4 times a week.

What were some of the bands you guys played alongside when you were out there?

Actually, when we first got there – we didn’t know anybody.  I mean, Buffalo Springfield, Moby Grape, Jefferson Airplane, Big Brother – they were all local bands and didn’t have a record out but they were playing everywhere we were.  Every one of those bands has opened for us at one time or another.  It was cool.  And the Grateful Dead.  And actually, Roky was friends with Janis Joplin and brought her out there and we actually introduced her to Big Brother and helped get her into their band.  But the funny thing about her and Roky is that they did folk songs in Austin together.  That’s what they both started doing and they both ended up being screaming rock and rollers.  So, it was like “How did this happen?”

Are there any recordings of them together?

I don’t think so but they played at Threadgill’s.  The old one out on… I think it was North Lamar.  I didn’t actually meet her until she was out in California.

What was she like?

She was cool.  She was just another one of those hippie chicks but she could sing her ass off!  You know?  It was like, “This is cool.”  But we all played together.  The Avalon and Fillmore were cool places to play and there were 1500 people there – those places were huge. 

So, you guys were around San Francisco for a few months…

Yeah, maybe 3 or 4 months and we did American Bandstand and Where the Action Is.  Those shows.  One day we played a tour on a boat – a pretty good sized boat that toured around Alcatraz.  It left at 7 o’ clock in the morning and we played at 8 o’ clock.  It was like 250 kids that had won the cruise.  And we played while it circled Alcatraz – kinda’ interesting.  And that’s when we flew down to LA and did American Bandstand in the afternoon and then flew back to San Francisco and played a gig that night.  So, we had three gigs that one day.  It was kinda’ fun!  There was always so much going on.  There was this place out in Sausalito called the Ark and usually every weekend on Friday and Saturday after 2 am half of everybody that played shows would show up at the Ark and we got to jam.  There would be a mix of Buffalo Springfield, Moby Grape, us, and somebody else.  Everybody would just take turns playing and it was a big jam all night long!  It was cool.

Then you went back to Austin and recorded the first album?

We recorded in Dallas – well, most of it.  All but two songs.  We recorded it all in 7 hours because we had been playing all those songs and just played through it and redid the vocals and added some guitar.  Then we did two songs in Houston at another studio but we used the same engineer.

Which two songs were those?

“Kingdom of Heaven” and “Reverberation” we did in Houston and the rest in Dallas.

I have read that International Artists were a difficult record label – they even rearranged the track list of Psychedelic Sounds?

They rearranged everything.  They even remixed it after we mixed it and it didn’t really work out like we wanted it to.  But, you know, you have no control over those kind of companies.  And the worst part was that it was the lawyers that didn’t have a clue about the music.  We did have a good producer, Lelan Rogers, that was Kenny Rogers’ brother.  He produced Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass and he had already had million sellers as a producer.  Anyway, he was good.  I liked him.  He was easy to get along with.  But the lawyers were just in it to “Oh, this is fun.  Let’s do this on the side.”  And they’d bring all these people out to watch the hippies record.  But that was fun. 

What lead you to leave the Elevators after the first album?

John Ike and I had decided…. Well, when we came back from California we had a bunch of shows booked on the East coast and the record label canceled them and said “No.  You are going to start the second album.”  And stuck us there in Houston and then it just kinda’ went downhill.  They wanted us to do it this way and I don’t know.  They offered Tommy, Roky, and Stacy all this new equipment and they went for that but John Ike and I had just had enough.  It wasn’t going anywhere and it didn’t look like it was going to go any further.  And it didn’t.  But then I ended up coming back and playing on the rest of the Bull of the Woods – the last album.  And I actually got paid for that one because I wasn’t under contract anymore. 

You are credited with writing “With You” on Bull of the Woods – what can you tell us about that song and it’s meaning to you?

It was just one of those things that came to you in the ‘60s.  And Stacy helped with it a little bit and he and I were just working on different things.  Yeah, I don’t do much songwriting.  I do more music.  I am not very good with words.  They just don’t come to me.  I can do a real neat chorus or one verse and then it’s like “Well, that’s all I wanted to say.”

What’s the deal with the fake “Live” album from 1969?

Yeah, International Artists put that out and none of them were actually live.  Half of it was songs from the first original album and they dubbed in crowd noises from Madison Square Gardens and if you listen real close with some headphones you can hear “Hit ‘em again!  Hit ‘em again!”  It was from a boxing match or something – that background noise.  Actually, I think some of the songs were really live from one or two places but actually, no they weren’t.  They were just old recordings that they dug up.  We didn’t have any control over that album. 

I heard there was a rumor about the planning of a collaborative album between the Elevators and Texas Blues Legend Lightnin’ Hopkins – that never happened.  Kind of like Electric Mud (Muddy Waters) or the Howlin’ Wolf psychedelic-blues album both recorded with Rotary Connection in 1968.  Any truth to that?

I think after Bull of the Woods, Stacy and the drummer at the time, Danny Thomas, had another band they were trying to form and it might have been between them.  Not when I was there.  So, I don’t really know anything about that.

I also heard that the Elevators used to recreationally tie each other to the top of a Volks Wagon van and drive down the highway…

No, it was John Ike that had a ‘64 Pontiac Bonneville Station Wagon and that was when we were in California.  And on a full moon or something like that we would go out and it had a good rack on top so we didn’t have to tie on – just hang on and watch the stars going by at 70 mph.  It was kinda’ cool. 

I assume with some visual enhancements involved?

Yeah, there was a little bit of acid on the way.  [laughs] Yeah, we were probably the only psychedelic band out in San Francisco that played every show on acid. 

Yeah, I heard that.  That’s amazing.

Yeah, it was.  Sometimes a little too amazing! [laughs]  But it was fun.  Yeah, we can say that because Tommy made sure.  He’d say “Did you take your acid?”  He’d make sure everybody did before a show.  Of course, then they had that good Owsley acid and you know it was the real stuff.  Then they started adding more crap to everything there was.  That’s when drugs went way downhill.  Everybody wanted to enhance one thing with something else and then it was like “oh crap.”  I watched many people go downhill forever... you know… from all that. 

Were you close to many of the other Texas Psych bands?

Well, we knew the Moving Sidewalks and a whole lot of different bands but we didn’t really hang out with many of them because we were all playing different places.  Bubble Puppy were good friends.  I still stay in touch with Rod Prince.  They wanted to do a show together with Bubble Puppy and the Elevators in Austin but Roky’s manager and everybody blew that.  We were lucky to get the Psych Fest in.  There have been some other offers lately for different gigs but…

Do you think the Austin Psych Fest [Levitation] 50th reunion show (2015) was the last one?

Well, I had heard Paul Drummond mention something about some guy wanting us to do a show in New York in November but it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen.  Mainly, Roky’s manager can send him out with [Roky’s son] Jaeger’s band backing him up and it’s as good as if they were trying to promote a whole show with the Elevators.  He’s looking for what’s in his pocket.  And some big show with the Elevators doesn’t put much in his pocket.  Yeah, I don’t know what the deal is. 

Well, I was out there at APF and it was a really good show you guys put on after 50 years.  It was amazing seeing you guys in front of all these people and bands that you have had such a major influence on. 

Oh man, yeah – I had a blast out there!  I had my daughter, my son, my granddaughters, my sister, one of my nephews, and a lot of my friends.  It was too cool.  

Okay, I have to ask for a crazy Roky story!

Oh man.  Not off hand.  I mean, you know, you could go to a restaurant late night and Roky would be there and there would be girls everywhere.  Everybody would want to meet Roky and all the girls would be hanging around.  He was a good looking, screaming, one of the best vocalists I’ve ever known in my life.  Yeah, but some of them would just never have a clue what he was saying.  He’d say something to them and they would look at him like “what?” and then he’d just be kidding.  You know.  Back then he was more in control of himself than now. I hate to say that but yeah…

I’ve seen him play a few times with the Hounds of Baskerville and he does a lot of this [arms crossed] when he’s supposed to be playing.  I don’t know if he forgets to play or just doesn’t want to…

Yeah, he gets real distant.  And then he went through a stage where he wouldn’t face the audience.  He’d just turn around backwards and play.  It was hard but I’m glad to see him come back a little more and the last few times I talked to him I could actually talk to him.  But there was a time… probably 15 years ago, that if you ran across him he acted like he knew me but wasn’t sure and then didn’t have anything to say.  But yeah, like I said, the last few years he’s been doing a lot better than the earlier years.  I remember going to see him and his parents had him put up somewhere and they left him there but I went in and there was probably 10 TVs and 15 radios and they were all on a different channel.  I went in and I said “Roky, can we go outside to talk?  Because if you’re getting all this information – fine.  But I’m not.  It’s not coming to me.”  But that was the wildest, going in there and all those things were going on.  But then we went outside and had a pretty good visit. 

You said that you played two shows the last two nights – who are you currently playing with?

Oh, yeah.  I play every Tuesday and Wednesday in Fredericksburg with a band called Sol Patch.  We do a variety of different stuff.  It’s fun.  I’ve been playing with them a few years now.  I still play with 3 or 4 bands. 

Are you currently recording anything to be released?

We mostly just do live shows but I’m starting a CD of my own and then my friend Greg (Forest) is doing one and we trade out.  He has the studio and I’ve got time.  Greg and I have been in bands together on and off for the last 30 years.  He’s a good player/singer/song writer.

What kind of music are you listening to currently?  Obviously blues… [playing softly in the background]

Yeah, I listen mostly to blues.  I tell you what, the new Bob Dylan album (Fallen Angels) is amazing.  You will not believe… It’s like all these old Tony Bennet songs and all those real old songs but he actually sings and it’s amazing.  And there is some super players on it.  You won’t believe it’s Bob Dylan... 

Thank you so much for allowing me into your home, showing me some of your memorabilia, photographs, instruments, and letting me spend some time chatting with you.  I enjoyed it very much!

Part two of the interview continued on Ronnie’s back porch taking in some of that fresh country air.  I didn’t record this portion and it is thus “off the record”.  If anybody is ever in the Kerrville/Fredericksburg area of Texas – you should try to catch a show by one several bands that Ronnie plays in.  You could also just wait for another miraculous 13th Floor Elevators reunion show – but I wouldn’t hold my breath.

Ronnie and Justin.

Written and illustrated by
Justin Jackley
August 2016

© Copyright