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Ultimate Spinach Interview with Ian Bruce-Douglas


Hi Ian, how are you these days? I'm really happy we can talk about your music, cos my magazine is mostly about psychedelic music and to talk about your music is a real honor to me. First I would like to ask you about the beginning...what were some of the influences you had when you were a little kid?

First, thank you for your interest in this old Psychedelic Dinosaur…and I’m the one who’s honored.  How am I doing?  I’m old and tired!
Most of my influences were Progressive Jazz and Classical/ Orchestral music.  Also, old R&B music, which they used to call “race music”, back in the ‘50s.  I didn’t really like that much Rock with the exception of Jerry Lee Lewis, The Everly Brothers and Buddy Holly.  I absolutely HATED Elvis.  I also listened to a lot of what they now call Third World Music:  African tribal, Native American chants, Japanese and Chinese traditional music:  that sort of thing.  Not the usual stuff that most kids my age were listening to!  But then, looking back, I realize that I was a pretty weird little kid who didn’t have or want many friends.

Were you or other in any bands before forming Ultimate Spinach? Any releases?

I started putting bands together when I was in high school.  Back then, I hadn’t started composing or singing so we just covered instrumentals, mostly by The Ventures and Duane Eddy.

So how did you guys meet to form the Ultimate Spinach? 

I had moved to Cape Cod, Massachusetts to help my parents out with their ceramics business.  During this time, I studied with world-renowned potter, Harry Hull.  He and his wife, Martha, became my good friends and encouraged me to become myself.  This even extended to my music, although neither of them could play anything.  At the time, I had started taking LSD and had even spent a weekend at Timothy Leary’s place in Millbrook, New York.  Because of all the Cannabis and LSD, I started having these great creative flashes.  First it was drawings…no doubt inspired by my favorite poet and painter, Kenneth Patchen, who I began corresponding with on a regular basis.  Then, it was poetry…again, probably inspired by Patchen.  Finally, I started hearing all these strange little tunes in my head.  I had a couple of acoustic guitars but what I was hearing was much larger than a simple guitar.  So, I decided to put together an original band so I could hear my tunes live as I heard them in my head.  I started asking around in Hyannis if anybody knew of guitarists, bass players and drummers.  The first experiment was a total disaster and fell apart within a couple of months of my putting it together.  But, we DID record one demo.  I’ve heard one of those tunes pop up on the ‘Net:  an instrumental called “Night Owl Blues” with me playing harmonica.  Even after this abysmal failure, I was STILL hot to hear these tunes played so I tried again.  In retrospect, I realize that I had no idea about what I was doing and didn’t even hold auditions.  It was like “Oh, you play guitar?  Wanna be in my band?”  Which is why that combination of people ended up being such a nightmare for me.

How do you remember some of the early sessions you had together?

The demo sessions we did at Patrucci & Atwell Studios were okay.  Our new managers had raised money for the demo from among their rich friends and we cut 4 tunes.  I thought that Geoff had written some really pretty tunes.  In fact, I thought his tunes had a better chance of landing us a deal than mine.  So, I asked him to include 2 on the demo.  But when our managers shopped the demo in New York City, a few companies were mildly interested but said that we needed to give ourselves another 6 months to mature as a band and then submit another demo.  They were right!  We were very, VERY raw.  But then, Alan Lorber…who I will refer to as “The Parasite”…took an interest in the demo and this was very exciting for me…especially after the rejections from the major labels.  He was only interested in my tunes, however…which surprised me, since Geoff’s stuff had a more commercial feel, kind of like The Mamas & Papas.  I’m sure that Geoff held that against me.  The first album sessions were a mixture of frustration and comedy.  I was nervous, of course, and clowned around a lot between takes.  Over all, things seemed to be going pretty well…except that The Parasite took “Pamela” and completely changed it around, including adding the Bach intro.  Then, he screwed me over because, before we had signed with him, he had promised me that I would be involved with the mixes, which was VERY important to me, since I knew how I heard the finished product in my head.  But, when we were done recording, he told me to go back to Boston.  Period.  That really upset me, as you can imagine.  From that point on, things went downhill.  Geoff, Richard and I had never gotten along all that well and we had argued a lot, backstage, the summer we were discovered by The Parasite, while we were playing The Unicorn Coffeehouse.  Back then, they were bitching because we weren’t making much money.  Looking back, I can understand their concerns, somewhat.  They were married and Richard had a kid.  I was single and carefree.  So, they’d start whining and I’d get pissed off and we’d end up having really loud shouting matches backstage that the audience could hear.  When we started touring, we STILL weren’t making much money and the arguments got worse.  I was the only one in the band who, actually, took LSD and smoked Cannabis.  The rest of the guys were beer drinkers.  Richard was a flat-out drunk.  And Barbara?  She was barely 18, a Catholic school graduate and virgin and she didn’t have any bad habits.  In a word:  a pleasant enough but VERY boring girl!
The second album was a nightmare.  I wrote most of it in the studio between takes.  I had bronchitis and pneumonia and the rest of the band and I weren’t even talking to each other anymore.  To make it worse, the first drummer had…wisely…quit before the first tour.  I replaced him with what turned out to be a total weasel, Russ Levine.  When we were in the studio, he would ask me “Well, Ian, which one of your abortions are we going to record next?”  The Parasite was playing his own games, too.  The band was calling him up and bitching about me.  I called him and told him that I wanted to quit.  He played us both against each other, telling each of us to keep it together until the second album was completed.  Then, he promised them that he would get rid of me, while promising me that he would get rid of them.  Nice!  When the smoke cleared, however, I came out on top and fired Richard and Geoff.  I was going to fire Russ, too, but he got wind of my intentions and called me and begged me, through crocodile tears, not to fire him; that he realized that he had been wrong about me, etc.  I fell for it and let him stay…and then, things got even worse, mainly because Russ started back with his shit and was stirring up trouble behind my back.  He, my replacement guitarist, Jeff Baxter, and my “friend” and road-manager, Bob Kelleher, became the Team From Hell.  I finally quit within a few months of this ever-growing cesspool starting up, even though it meant that I had to sit out contracts with The Parasite for another 3 years.
So, for me, “Ultimate Spinach” was not a pleasant experience, although I learned a lot from it and went on to have several much better bands where everybody got along.

How did you choose the name?

I’ve been asked that question so many times!  One day, in 1967, I was in my room, tripping on some really pure LSD.  I started looking at myself in the mirror and my face was doing funny things.  I had a bunch of colored markers I used to draw with.  I grabbed a green one and started drawing all these psychedelic designs on my face.  When I was done, I looked at myself and said “Whoa!  I am ultimate spinach.  Ultimate spinach is me!”  A couple of months later, I started “The Underground Cinema” and when we signed with The Parasite, I changed the band’s name to “Ultimate Spinach” for “luck”.  Some luck!

Around 1968 you start recording your debut. In your song writing we can find ideas of Kenneth Patchen and the philosophies of Jean-Paul Sartre. I would like if you can tell me what are some of the strongest memories from recording and producing this amazing LP?

Actually, we started recording the first album in September of ’67.  It was released on January 6, 1968.  But you’re right about some of my influences.  Patchen was a big one, for sure.  And, yes, I was going through my “Existential phase” and had read everything by Sartre and also Albert Camus which, in turn, got me reading Kierkegaard,  Neitzsche, Cant and a few others.  I was always searching for answers.  Still am!  I was, also, influenced by John Coltrane, Cannonball Adderley, Charlie Mingus, Miles Davis and other Modern Jazz greats.  As for my “strongest memories”:  I think I’ve already answered that one previously.  The only other things I remember are a lot of good LSD, mescaline, Cannabis and hashish and all those wonderful groupies who kept my spirits up.

What can you tell me about the cover artwork?

Both albums were created by a wonderful artist and photographer, David Jenks.  Google his name and you’ll find his website.  The first album was a series of photos taken at Bert Stern Studios in NYC.  David then superimposed them on each other and added his artistic touches.  The second album cover was a beautiful and delicate painting.  In this one, you can see David’s minimalist Japanese influence.  His current paintings are much richer and remind me of Andrew Wyeth’s, although not in an imitative way.  His style is uniquely his.  It’s just like Wyeth and Jenks are part of the same school, like the Impressionists or Surrealists.

The Boston music scene was really exciting in the late 60's. Can you share your thoughts about it?

Yes, it was an exciting time but not just in Boston.  San Francisco, Los Angeles, NYC, Philadelphia, Chicago and other major US cities all went through similar creative explosions.  I suspect that this was largely due to the influence of the new music coming out of England as well as the introduction of LSD, Cannabis and other psychotropic substances into mainstream culture.  There was an incredible difference between the time I started high school in 1960 and the so-called “Summer of Love” in ’67.  The anti-war movement had become a dominating force that would, effectively, end the Viet Nam war.  Women were burning their bras and demanding to be treated as equals.  Men were growing their hair long and dressing colorfully.  Then, of course, there was the whole “Free Love” thing…which was my favorite part.  Sadly, it was short-lived and Woodstock was the beginning of the end.  The drugs of choice became cocaine, heroin, prescription tranquilizers and speed.  Young people started drinking again and the women’s movement took a wrong turn and too many turned back into mindless breeders. Disco became all the rage and Nixon had all Psychedelic music banned from the radio, including Spinach’s.  It was an incredible time to come of age in but I doubt we will ever see anything like it again.  Want proof?  Listen to the shit that passes for Pop music, these days.  Look at the ugly, uptight fashions.  We’ve got HIV and condoms and LOTS of prescription tranquilizers and mood elevators.  The US government has intensified its “War on Drugs” but targets Cannabis users and growers, while the Mexicans are importing heroin and crack by the ton.  Our leaders are all bought and paid for and Big Business and a bunch of bible-thumping fascists are firmly in control.  Creativity and independent thinking are NOT encouraged.  We have become a nation of sheep.  Can you say “B-A-A-A-A-A”?

My next questions will take some time, but I would really like if you can comment a bit every song on your first album:

A1 Ego Trip:  This was one of the first tunes I wrote after I started taking LSD.  I wrote it about a jerk I met on Cape Cod who thought that he was just too cool.

A2 Sacrifice of the Moon:  It was my first serious attempt at writing a Rock instrumental and I was heavily influenced by Erik Satie.

A3 Plastic Raincoats / Hung-Up Minds:  There were the hippies and then there were the ultra-cool NYC types who thought that Andy Warhol was “God”.  The latter girls wore white plastic boots, stiff bouffant hairstyles and plastic raincoats.  I tried one of them and decided that I liked the little hippie girls MUCH better!  I tried to express my disdain for the “Plastic People” in this song.

A4 (Ballad of The) Hip Death Goddess:  I was, actually, straight when I wrote this…but very, very tired to the point of hallucinating naturally.  Again:  I was describing the ultra-cool type of woman who was beautiful in a sterile sort of way.  Guys would fawn all over her but she treated them all with utter indifference and disdain.

B1 Your Head Is Reeling:  This is probably my favorite tune from the first album.  It describes nightmare visions I was having and you can hear the pain and fear I was feeling in my voice.

B2 Dove in Hawk's Clothing:  This was a straight-ahead anti-war tune I wrote for our original drummer to sing because he had a deep Bluesy voice.  When he left, I was stuck singing it in concert and it never sounded as good.

B3 Baroque #1:  This was my second Rock instrumental.  You can hear the influence that the Baroque composers had on me.  I listened to…and played…a lot of Bach, Handel and others from that period.  I’ve always loved that music even if I play it very poorly!

B4 Funny Freak Parade:  This was me affectionately mocking the hippies.

B5 Pamela:  This was named for my first wife and described our making love while tripping on some incredibly potent LSD.

Your next album was Behold & See, which is again an amazing album. What do you remember from it? Who did the cover artwork?

I’ve already answered these questions earlier.  All I would add is that, even though I wrote most of the tunes in the studio and was under a lot of pressure from The Parasite to do so…and even though I was as sick as a dog and running a high fever throughout most of those sessions, I think that, over all, the songs were a lot more creative than those on the first album and, even though it didn’t sell as well, I think that it was a MUCH better album.  I had grown a lot between the first and second album and I think that this is reflected in the music.

 I have again same questions about the songs...Hope is not too much of an effort.

At my age, just getting up in the morning is an effort!

A1 Gilded Lamp of the Cosmos

I wrote this song especially for Caryl May Britt to sing.  She was a tiny young woman with a powerful voice.  The lyrics…like most of the lyrics on this album were the result of LSD experiences.

A2 Visions of Your Reality

My voice on both of these albums was terrible and I can’t believe that The Parasite didn’t try to get me to try harder.  The lyrics are pretentious and “deep”.  But what could you expect from a 21-year old novice songwriter?

A3 Jazz Thing

As I’ve already mentioned:  I didn’t really listen to that much Rock until Psychedelic music started being played on the radio.  I always preferred Jazz and orchestral music.  Just about all Rock tunes were in 4/4 time, which sounded monotonous.  Some of my favorite modern Jazz pieces were in ¾ waltz time.  So I decided to use 4/4 for the vocal parts and ¾ for the instrumental parts.  I think this worked pretty well, actually.

A4 Mind Flowers

After “Hip Death Goddess”, this was the second really intense Psychedelic song I wrote and it shifted between the low quiet vocals and the higher screaming vocals and expressed the different elements warring within me.

B1 Where You're At

This is just me trying to be “hip” and use a “cool” phrase.

B2 Suite: Genesis of Beauty (In Four Parts)

Richer harmonies than most of the Spinach tunes and you can hear my Floyd Cramer influence on the Wurlitzer electric piano parts.

B3 Fifth Horseman of the Apocalypse

This one has a nice melody line and with the harmonica, it almost sounds like it could have been the soundtrack to a Western movie.  Except for the lame guitar solos, I like this one.

B4 Fragmentary March of Green

Another one of my favorites!  Essentially, it’s about a poor guy who lives a “normal” life, is married to a fat nagging wife, has a job and too many responsibilities.  He tries to do The Right Thing and in the process, he goes totally insane and considers suicide.

I would like if you can share some interesting touring/concert stories that happened to you?

Without getting too explicit:  LOTS of hot sex, LSD, peyote, hashish and Cannabis.  I don’t remember too much else!

What happened next, after your second album?

I’ve already described this previously.  I got thoroughly disgusted with my personal “Frankenstein’s Monster” and quit.  They attempted a third album without me.  It failed miserably and the band broke up.  I went into seclusion for about 6 months and spent a lot of time at a beach near my house on Cape Cod, playing my guitar and composing new music.
What were you doing in the 70's till now? I know you released In the Valley of the Shadow in 1988. Would you like to share a few words about this release?

While I like most of the tunes and feel that they represent a new maturity in my writing, I must say that I was very disappointed with my production.  Unfortunately, I allowed my recording engineer to have too many opinions about how we should mix and the results are, frankly, poor.  But, since I was the producer, the responsibility for the success or failure of this album is mine and mine alone.  The biggest lesson I learned from this experience is that…IF I use outside people…I will not allow myself to be swayed or influenced by their opinions.  Making that album was a horror-show, actually.  The first studio we used was owned by a guy who was on the verge of a nervous breakdown…which, of course, I didn’t know until the damage was done.  He had a very nice MCI 24-track analog mixer and tape-deck.  Unfortunately, with tape, the machines had to be calibrated very precisely not to screw up the premastering and mastering processes that followed the recording/  mixing stage.  At his studio, everything sounded fine…but the minute I tried playing the mixes on another system, they sounded horribly shrill and crunchy.  I finally discovered that this idiot had tweaked the calibrations because he thought that this would result in a “hotter” sound…which it did…but not in a good way!  Then, when he was supposed to be watching the meters on the MCI board while we were recording, he had an overhead TV on and was watching football games.  That was the last straw and I pulled my project.  The next place I went to had the same MCI setup…which was where we discovered that the first place’s machines were improperly calibrated.  So, everything except my vocals had to be scrapped and re-recorded.

What are you doing these days?

I’m living on a remote 10 acre farm and rescuing stray and feral cats.  Mostly, they’re old, sickly or ugly and no one else would want them.  I am still writing music…probably the best ever…and I plan to record again.  Not only recent originals but I plan to re-record the best of my “Azlbrax” tunes and all of the Spinach tunes which…to quote The Parasite…will FINALLY sound as they were intended!

I would like to thank you very much for taking your time and effort for this interview. Would you like to add something else perhaps for my magazine?

Yes!  Please tell everyone to buy my forthcoming CDs and ask their friends to do so, too.  100% of the profits from album sales will go to support The Cat Farm kitties.  My Beloved Mate and I finance the care of our kitties totally.  We do NOT accept donations and we don’t adopt out our cats.  It costs us about $200 per week to do this…and we’re not rich.  I will be selling my albums online at and, maybe at  If you love kitties…or just animals in general, please help support us.  I thank you for your support.

Interview made by Klemen Breznikar/2011
© Copyright

One St. Stephen Interview with Don Patterson


1. Thanks a lot for agreeing to do this interview! You have a very interesting background, because you are interested both in music and films. For the beginning of our interview I would like to know what were some of your influences?

My father (a single parent) moved about throughout my youth, it was impossible for me to maintain long-lasting friendships. I soaked up everything like a sponge as a child. Art fascinated me, pencil drawing early, painting in oils at seven years of age. As a child I read all the Edgar Rice Burroughs series. In 1964, I was overwhelmed by Dr. No and From Russia With Love, ended up reading every 007 novel, Ian Fleming had in print then continued with spy novels by other authors, then onto murder mysteries and graduated with all the John D. MacDonald books. Science-fiction and horror novels were my main sustenance everything from Clifford D. Simak to Robert Heinlein to Isaac Asimov with a large dose of Dennis Wheatley and Bram Stoker.I dabbled with magic tricks at eight years of age, then picked up the guitar at eleven. In late 1963, the Beatles on Ed Sullivan changed everything for me, I was twelve and hooked. As my musical taste became more sophisticated so did my guitar and vocal styles; I had no interest in pop music -- liked the Blues, metal and loved that psychedelic sound. I also loved the movies, everything from 1957's Quatermass II: Enemy from Space to 1957's Invasion of the Body Snatchers to Mario Bava's 1960's La maschera del demonio. It was the 1950's and 60's, we did not have access to video like today (no VHS tapes, DVD technology or easy access by Internet). In the 1950's, I used puppets for creating the movies I wanted to see. In 1967, I bought a Bolex super 8mm camera, shooting everything that came in front of my camera for the next ten years. In 1968 I left home, became political, explored different religions and immersed myself in the cultural revolution taking place in America.

2. When did you got interested in films? Would you like to say what films or should I say directors had great impact on you?

I can remember spending complete Saturdays watching double feature movies over and over. In the late 1950 to early 60's, it was half an American dollar bargain matinee (with all you could eat popcorn). Science-fiction (Ray Harryhausen), Hammer horror films, Hitchcock's 1960 Psycho, (wow), Mario Bava horror films. I was eight years old when I saw the Blob (1958), was the only movie that ever scared me. Must of checked the heating vent in my bedroom ten or twelve times a week. Alfred Hitchcock was probably the first Director's name I ever became aware of. Like everyone else that went to the movies, I became aware of Stanley Kubrick in 1960's, Francis Ford Coppola, George Lucas, Martin Scorsese, Roman Polanski, Sidney Lumet and Steven Speilberg in the 1980's.

3. You did several scripts including The Devil's Reservation and Dreams, Nightmares and Other Illusions. I would like to know if this ever did/will come out and what are this movies about?

I am always writing, always evolving. Klemen Breznikar, don't know how to answer this, other then to give your readers some examples of what I write. Feel free to give the URLs that lead to these two scripts, do not include the scripts (they are both copyrighted) in your article. Read and share as you see fit (If you want to read the script, download the PDF file.). I write because I love writing.

Feel free to visit my website as well:

4. If I understand this correctly One St. Stephen album was somehow a soundtrack for your film called The Devil's Reservation? I would like to know how did you come together to do this album?

I had written a script titled the DEVIL'S RESERVATION in 1974. While finalizing the script, mailing it off to The American Film Institute for a hopeful grant and waiting for their response -- a group of musicians and I went into OWL studios to put together a 11 songs I had written (music and lyrics) and 1 song (music by Bill Blechschmid with my lyrics) for the soundtrack. I picked up the entire tab. We concentrated and recorded nine tunes in five days.

You recorded the album in 1975 for Owl Studios. What are some of the strongest memories from recording and producing this LP?

In the studio. Mid-March of 1975.
With Charlie Bleak on Bass Guitar plugged directly into the board, Frank Reynolds (Pierce's) drums were 3 microphoned (left side of drums, right side and bass drum) into the sound board, I was in a separate sound room, (more like a large closet) my tube Marshall 200 watt guitar amp was microphoned. Yes. It was loud. Tom Murphy (OWL studios) had just bought a new video camera, wired me up to a television monitor where Frank and Charlie were. They could see me, I could not see them. This was how we laid the rhythm tracks for the LP's nine songs. We tweaked 'em perfect, several on first take, quickly. Next, I whipped out 'dummy' vocal tracks (several we kept cause they were perfect the first go).
Over the next three days, other musicians drifted in and out, laying additional tracks. A female vocalist, friend from Akron, Ohio was set to lay background vocals. She showed up but was freaked by the music and cancelled out at the last second. Another musician, dropped out due to car trouble. During this time period, several non-contibuting as musicians, like Terry Wilson, a disc jockey for a local radio station would drift in and give us a listen, throw out positive comments or offer suggestions. No arguments or disagreements ever surfaced. I had an firm idea in my head of exactly what I wanted, everyone just added their creative juices to the pot. We were on a roll.
We ping-ponged tracks, mixing as we could due to only having an eight channel 1" Scully tape recording professional deck, (same deck used to record the soundtrack for the movie, Woodstock). The entire album was finished in five days.
A piece of cake.

What can you tell me about the cover artwork? I know you firstly wanted to use another cover, that was a lot different...
How many copies of LP were released?

Over the course of the next month, everyone that heard the music, wanted a copy. My twisted arm, forced me to talk to Queen City Album company in Cincinnati about pressing LP discs. Planned to do 5000 LPs. There were a lot of people who loved the music and wanted a copy.
I had a week to design a cover and a label.
The original cover was of coffee table shot from above (camera looking down). On the coffee table was a photo of me as a eight year old, dressed in a military uniform for a Catholic Military Academy (St. Aloysius, New Lexington, Ohio) that I went to for one year, (1958 -- worst year of my life and eventually contributed to my becoming a devout atheist). Several color pictures of former and current girlfriends (semi-clad, sexy and attractive). An ashtray with a smoking joint, on the side of a mirror with several lines of coke, several tabs... you get the idea. Great design for a 1975 psychedelic album.
The back cover was a photo of me from 1973 in Akron, Ohio, taken by Steve Finelli. A group of us artistic types had started a co-op coffeehouse called the Earthwood on Grant Street, in Akron. Uh oh. The hippies had moved in. Several doors up the street was a more conservative watering-hole social club. We must of scared them. They hired a rent-a-cop. He gracefully posed with me and picture was taken.
With LP design submitted, I ordered 5000 copies of the One St. Stephen LP.
Several weeks went by, the first 1000 copies came in. I opened the first case and freaked. The cover had been completely airbrushed white by Queen City (my photo as an eight year old enlarged to fill the cover). I called Cincinnati and asked why. They responded that they worked for other, more conservative people and several religious organizations. My cover promoted drugs and sex. A no no.
I cancelled the next 4000, thus, there were only 1000 copies of the original One St. Stephen LP ever made.
Oh. I never got the grant from the AFI.

Anazitisi Reissue (2009)
5. Does any other recordings exist? Or perhaps any film footage from your projects?
I owned a reel-to-reel with sync capability throughout out the 1970's. Also really enjoyed playing with a wide variety of musicians. In the mid-1970's I was very prolific, constantly juggling with different creative ideas, recording hours of solo stuff and jams with other musician friends. Some day, I might pull out those reel to reels, give a listen and/or walk down that path again.

6. Have any examples of film footage?

Just for your readers and in the name of All Hallow's Eve... I put up some past projects, including a complete 26 minute, short ghost story.
Please feel free to share with friends and fellow music or horror movie fans.

7. You are currently involved in many film projects. I would love to know more about them, cos I'm a also a huge cult fillm fan....What inspires you for making cult or should I say more underground films?

My whole life has always been about making things. It keeps me young. Keeps me moving. The only thing to evade my abilities has been to make money off my creative projects... I am far from rich or having any amount of money. Fortunately, I usually tend to break even. I am locked forever in the middle-working class. I can live with that.

Photo of Con (my Rhodesian Ridgeback) and Don was taken September 22, 2011 (I am past 60 years of age, proof that being creative and constantly busy can add youth to one's life -- I feel 27)

Having an October Brew in September, 2011.

8. If we go back a little bit to your LP.. How did you came in contact with Anazitisi Records? They did an amazing job!

The Anazitisi re-issue of my One St. Stephen LP is absolutely delicious. Very well done. Audio excellent, graphics are beautiful. For anyone into the Psychedelic 60's or 70's, this is an ultimate LP re-issue. Wish I had kept the original LP cover and had more photographs from that period of time in the studio. Unfortunately, things get lost with time.

Discover why this LP was a 'hot' collector's LP selling for over $1,000 American Dollars per copy and has been bootlegged over the years illegally many times.

9. I would like to thank you for your time! Would you like to add something else, perhaps?
Today, I just want to make more movies. Sure wished I could afford a new camera like a (laughing out loud) Sony NEX-FS100UK or Canon XF305 or a ... to make new movies with... but my wife of 30 years has me on a tight leash these days. All these ideas, scripts, a cast that want to make new 1080 30P feature movies, and NO new camera(s) to work with. Oh well.
Don Patterson

Interview made by Klemen Breznikar / 2011
© Copyright 2011

BOA Interview with Richard Allen & Ted Burris

I'm really glad I can talk with you about legendary BOA! First I would like to ask you where did you grow up and what were some of your main influences?

Rich: I grew up in Royal Oak, MI and moved to Rochester in 1965 when I was 10, right when I started playing drums.  I met Ted, the vocalist at a Junior high school dance and bragged my way into an audition with Anvil.  I was 14 and they were all 3 to 5 years older.  Anyway, I passed the audition and joined the following week.

My influences were Beatles, Cream, Deep Purple, Stones, Hendrix, Rare Earth,the Who,  most of the heavier music happening at the time.

Ted: I grew up in Troy Michigan. My whole life I loved performing. I would sing to the radio even at around age 3 or 4 that I can remember. The one event that changed my life into thinking I wanted to be a musician was the Beatles performance on Ed Sullivan.

I know you started together in a band called Anvil. Did Anvil record anything?

Rich: Anvil recorded one album at the basement studio of Julian G. Skinner in Detroit.  It was ancient equipment and each disk was individually cut.  There are 5 copies and they sound like shit and wear out fast.

Ted: We recorded in a cheep mono studio in Detroit for our first attempt. Julian G. Skinner ran the recording equipment with the back of his twisted hands as he had several palsy. Could not speak well, and would not let us use our amplifiers. We cut 7 songs and burned them onto 8 acetate records and only used them for ourselves and a couple of friends. Those acetates would be worth quite a bit if you found them. Our copies where sold when we needed money.

Did you play any shows as Anvil and I would also like to ask you why the name Anvil?

Rich: Anvil played high school dances and parties such as local hayrides and such.  It was already named when I got there so I don't know where it came from.  Played at my first Rochester high school dance at age 14, I always thought that was kind of cool.

Ted: Yes, our first show was at our own high school. Rochester senior high in Michigan. We felt the name sounded “heavy” like an anvil. We played a rock version of “Anvil Chorus” as the opening of our first show. Many cover tunes and a few of our originals.

Anvil live

Were you in any bands before Anvil, any releases from then perhaps?

Rich: There were no bands before Anvil that I played out with.  Made a lot of noise in my parent's living room with different sets of people trying to get a band going.
Ted: My first gig ever was with a bunch of the guys at my church that could play interments. It had no name. The two best things I can remember about it was 1. We fit all our equipment in the back of a convertible. And 2. We did our version of “time has come today” by the chambers brothers.

So around 1970/1971 Boa was born. I would like if you could share a story how did you start as Boa and why the name Boa?

Rich: The name Boa came from Bob or Ted.  I was just the kid in the band so they just told me one day that we were now Boa.  The name change coincided with the album release.
We recorded in a tupperware warehouse.  Terrible acoustics, terrible recorders, and limited microphones, so in the end there was just one on the drums.  All vocals were recorded live and we were not even capable of adding additional tracks.  It always bugs me to listen to Restful Sleep, because Ted asked me to do the backing vocal that day for the first time.  We didn't have a boom mic stand so I had a straight stand between me and my snare drum, not a comfortable setup.  And when the song got jamming my vocals went south.  Having never rehearsed the part and not being able to hear myself very well ( no headphones), it just got worse and worse.  On the original album it fades just when I begin to suck, but the CD version exposes just how bad it was.  What always killed me was we knew how bad it sounded but they didn't want to do another take.

Ted: We had all done separate projects after Anvil broke up. Bob came up with the idea to make another one with much better quality. We still used a stereo real to real recorder, and had to start all over if someone made a mistake. We needed a new name for the project and where all sitting around Bob’s bedroom drinking pop and talking. Paul said “let’s call it the one eyed boa”. After laughing ourselves sick, I said “Let’s just call it Boa, the rest can be implied and it will be our joke”. So we agreed.

Do you have any memories from some of the early sessions you had together?

Rich: I remember playing at a drive in movie in Pontiac.  We were set up in front of the concession stand and played before the movie and then in between features.  What a weird gig.  You go get some popcorn and here's this band blasting out.  It was at this gig that our guitarist did an overdose of LSD and flipped out .  He recovered but was never the same, and shortly after he left the band, playing briefly with another local blues band.  He has lived in assisted housing since then.

Ted: Too many to remember. The first attempt at recording as “Anvil” was a disaster. The last thing we did was called “Kiss our ass good-by”. When the band was breaking up we recorded every song we did in the basement with a 2 track recorder. That was a lot of fun.

In march, 1971 you released LP. Did you had any single out?

Rich: There were no singles released. 

Ted: No.

I would like to talk more about the LP. What are some of the strongest memories you have from recording and producing this LP?

Bob Maledon setting up the tape recorder ("Sony TC-200")

Rich: We did everything ourselves, the recording, pressing, packaging, marketing, which at the time was just not done.  I was still in high school when the record was released and always got a kick out of signing copies in art and band class.  It was a great learning experience, but more so of the things not to do when recording a record.

Ted: The stuff we used to record with was all crap. Half the instruments we used where crap. We did all the takes “live” so if you made a mistake you had to start the song all over again. When you play the Boa record on a mono record player, the singing is missing half the time.

Paul Manning in session

The LP was out on Snakefield Records. Was this your label or...please share a story about the release. Many people are confused and think that you released your LP on Archer Records. You only pressed your LP there, right?

Rich: I don't believe I had my driver's license yet when we recorded, so my parents would have to drop me off, which was kind of weird.  I had fun doing most of the recording, and the rest of the record was not half bad.  There was no real production since we recorded on 2 tracks and that was it, no mix down, no effects.  This was true live garage band rock.  Archer pressed the record and Snakefield was the production company of Bob and Ted.

Ted: Archer Records is where we had the album pressed out. Snakefield was our own label we made up based on a character that Paul Manning use to draw in high school named Snakefield. He was a snake that had long hair on his head, wore a vest and shirt and had a human hand attached to his tail. In his hand he had a double edged hatchet.

Brian Walton in session

How many copies were made?

Rich: I think there were only 200 original copies.

Ted: 200 only from the original pressing.

Brian Walton during BOA's Wrong Road sessions

What can you say about the cover artwork?

Rich: The artwork is funny.  It is a color picture taken on a Kodak instamatic camera.  we had a yellow floral bed sheet behind us, I had a rubber snake around my neck, Ted had a fake bird on his finger, and Paul, the guitarist, was dressed as Captain Hook to disguise himself.  He had already started jamming with other players and was trying to distance himself from the project.

Ted: The artwork on the cover was just a picture from a standard camera at the time with one of my mom’s bed sheets hung behind us. I still have the original plate of the picture and the bed sheet that hug behind us.

How about touring and concerts? Where did you play? Did you do any festivals?

Rich: Our gigs were mostly parties, high school dances - all the schools  had live bands back then.  We played about once or twice a week.

Ted: Just Jr. High and high schools and an occasional private party or hayride.

Bob Maledon on bass, Ted Burris on vocals, Richard Allen on drums, Paul James on guitar, and Brian Walton on Farfisa Compact Organ

I would love if you have some interesting stories from concerts, and you would like to share them with me?

Rich: At one point in the Anvil days, we added a brass section, and called ourselves Brass Anvil.  Did a few gigs like that before we did the 5 piece Boa recordings, but the idea of a brass section stayed with me.

Ted: At the Central Jr. High gig I tore off my shirt when I was really hot and through it into the audience. (It was thrown back LOL). We almost didn’t get paid the 50 dollars that was owed to us for being “indecent”. When I met a younger brother at a club much later he said that I was the crazy guy that tore off ALL his cloths at a dance. Hmmm, Urban legend. Some of the clothing I wore was pretty interesting, there was the Scarecrow outfit (the shirt I tore off with big stitches in them) and all the cloths hand painted including the hat. And the army fatigues with a Castro hat and mirror sunglasses. And a Vest made out of pink carpeting left over from my bathroom. All of them quite stunning.

Ted Burris bringing in the Vox SuperBeatle Top

What happened next for Boa?

Rich: Boa had a falling out between me, Ted, and Bob in 72.  Paul, the guitarist was gone, and Brian on keys had gone off to college I think.  Ted wanted to kick Bob out and start a new band with me.  I felt Bob was more valuable and went to work on a new project with him.  We used the name Boa and added a brass section again, with Bob writing the parts for the horns.  I brought in some old friends, Brian Pearson on bass and trombone, Randy Syracuse on sax, Loren Epler on trumpet, and some players from Livonia and Warren; Bill Singer on trumpet and flute, Paul Stanulis on keyboards, Mark Dennis on guitar, and Ed Swan on vocals.  We were now a 9 piece band and did a lot of high school shows.  We recorded an album's worth of covers and original material in Ann Arbor.  Again, most of it was recorded live to save money, and it sounded very budget.  Distorted, songs played too fast, all the bad stuff.  The lineup changed again when Ed quit on vocals.  He was a very animated character performing and would jump off the P.A. cabinet and do the splits.  He blew his knee out one night doing that, and walked with a cane for much of the time afterward.

Ted: Well, it has been 40 years now and believe it or not, Bob, Richard and I are thinking of making a new recording. Ted Burris; Guitars and vocals. Bob Maledon; Bass and Keyboards. And Rich Allen on Drums and vocals. Should be a lot of fun. Mostly new tracks but not sure how many yet.

What are you doing these days?

Rich: The band broke up in early 1973 I believe.  I did some work with Paul, the keyboardist, in a top 40 band that made me want to puke and then toured with a 50's band for a year and a half.  After that it was all cover bands that never amounted to much for a number of years.  I married in 1984 and went to school for electronics, putting music on the back burner.  I played in another top 40 band and this time I hated it so much that I quit and didn't take my drums out of their cases for a year.   I have to play by the rules with my job but drumming was always mine, and I didn't have to play any way but how I wanted.  This probably worked against me as much as for me.  I believe I let opportunities go by because I was unwilling to play a certain way, but fuck it.  When you hear me play  you can tell it's me, and I still do the same.  I play with a few different bands now, Roxius is a cover band we started over the summer, doing some great classic rock.  I play with David Hamilton, one of the most talented people I have ever seen.  Guitarist/vocalist/writer, this guy should have been famous years ago.  And I set up a small studio in my basement and write with a guitarist who just moved to Portland, Maine.  I wrote some of the best stuff of my life with him so now we have to do it long distance and burn up our frequent flier miles.

Ted: Me? I have produced about 6 albums. One of Rock, one of the Blues, one comedy album, and one comedy country album called “Tex Hardcore and the cow pokers. My stuff is available on or

Thanks a lot for the interview. I really appreciate it! Would you like to add something else, perhaps?

Rich: What is interesting is that playing music now means probably more to me than all those years ago in the Boa days.  I listen better,  and short of having the raw energy I had in my twenties, I play better than ever.  I don't have any goals of getting on a tour bus and travelling day and night to gig after gig.  All I want now is to write some great tunes and play to small appreciative audiences.   That's enough for me.

Thanks for taking an interest in our old band, and good luck with your magazine.  I'd love to see a copy of the article.

Rich Allen

Ted: Thanks so much for your interest. Glad to clear the air on a few things.

Interview made by Klemen Breznikar/2011
© Copyright

Günter Schickert Interview

Thank you for taking your time! I would like to ask you about your childhood and teen years. Where did you grow up and what were some of your influences?

I grew up in the middle of Berlin near Wittenbergplatz and KaDeWe, a big worldwide famous warehouse. There was no wall in 1949 and the fifties.This warehouse was full of inspiration and things to see and feel, like persian carpets and a big department with records. I still remember the 4th floor with big carpets and ornaments and I heared Chet Baker and Between the buttons when I bought my first Lp and recordplayer, I decided the Stones. I was playing trumpet when I was 13 and the music from1600 something was influencing me a lot, too.

Did you record anything before Samtvogel in 1974?

There were meanwhile lost recordings but never published. Ofcourse I did record a lot, otherwise I would have not been able to finish something like SAMTVOGEL.

In 1974 you released your legendary Samtvogel LP. I would like if you could share some of the strongest memories from producing and recording this LP! What gear did you use?

It came out of me without thinking or planning. I had bought an Dynacord Guitaramplifier, a Fender Jazzmaster, Dynacord Echomachine S 75, a Microphone, a Marshall Fuzz Face, a Crybaby Wah Wah and thats all and I also did all the recording through this gear, everything into an Uher Mixboard, 2 Stereo and 1 panable monoinput, I had two taperecorders borrowed a 3rd one for mixing all together, it took three months because I was working all day in a bureau or office. With this stuff I had to repeat 15 minutes or so if a mistake that I could not stand happened after this time, back and again.

What can you say about the cover artwork?

In these days I was also drawing a lot and one was this proud bird which was a present to my girl these days.

How many copies were made?

I made a private pressing of 500 copies which I gave to friends sending it to some companies or selling them. Brain was interested, Metronome had this label with strange things going, and so they did it. The number of copies they did I dont know, I guess they sold 6000.

What can you tell me about the concept behind Samtvogel?

There was no real concept, it just came out of space through my brain and fingers and what I liked I preserved.

A year or so later you formed a band called GAM and released an album in 1976. Would you like to share a story about it?

I was leaving home when I was 18 after education and lived alone in Kurfürstenstr. and a friend was introducing me to Axel Struck from whom I learned a lot about guitar playing.
We lived together with other people, also my girlfriend in Kreuzberg in an old Loft and made music there. we moved out to different places and I started to record SAMTVOGEL 1974. Than we met again and formed GAM. Günter Schickert, Axel Struck and Michael Leske, the drummer. The bandname are just the first letters of our names.

In 1979 you released another great album called Überfällig It was released in 1979 on Sky records. Would you like to share  some of your memories about it and how many copies were made?

Wih GAM we had the needed success a band needs to survive, I guess the music was to far out for germany and we were no businessmen Eiszeit was with producer Moslehner planned to Tatort but just not happened and an LP was not published. I met Manfred Heuer, who played drums and with the same technic like Samtvogel we recorded ÜBERFÄLLIG. Brain did not want it, ( they changed to dancefloor) but SKY did it.

What happened next for you? I know you released several other albums...

I never released an album with a major company afterwards, smaller things of course because I never stopped playing and recording. Live with all the things happening took my time in caring about love and sadness so I did not always had the energy for music. That is quite private, so not now.

I heard you were in some project with Klaus Schulze?

I knew Klaus from Berlin hanging out in Zodiac , Park and so on. He was drumming with Tangerine Dream and Psy is free, and met him as a friend when he was recording Irrlicht. Later I took care of his house in Celle and I was on Tour with him in Germany and Italy and we played some concerts and recorded some sessions, the tapes are with him. We planned an LP but did not realise, I got very upset, even he helped me a lot, and did not work together since then.

Wah Wah Record re-released your Samtvogel LP. Are you satisfied how it turned out?

I am very pleasd with what these spirits in Barcelona did. It was really great to have this bird 35 years later back on my balcony. Even it was difficult because of rights and so on. But Universal, where these rights meanwhile are, where fair to me, thanx to Uwe Grünert.

What are you doing these days?

I reunited ZIGURI, a band existing in the end of the 80ies and 90ies. That is Dieter Kölsch (Drums ) Udo Erdenreich ( Bass ) and Günter Schickert ( Guitar ) We had a nice concert with Damo Suzuki and will play as much as possible.

Do you wish to share anything else, perhaps?

This will be enough for now. May be have more questions just send them.
The most important thing in the moment is ZIGURI organize some gigs...
We are on the way to record properly in the next future.

All the best and Love and Peace
Günter Schickert

Interview made by Klemen Breznikar / 2011
© Copyright 2011