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.

Kaleidoscope interview with Francisco Tirado


Thank you very much for taking your time to answer a few questions about your band. I want to ask you first about your childhood and teen years. Where did you grow up and what were some of the influences on you at the times?

My father was a diplomat and, me and my two brothers and one sister, were born in different parts of the world.  I was born in Washington DC, however, my childhood was spent between Latin America (my mother was Colombian) and New York were my father’s office was located.  When I became a teenager my father changed careers and moved to Puerto Rico to direct a Sunday magazine for a local newspaper.  The teenage “Mod” scene of the early sixties in San Juan was great!  There were many “go-go discotheques” and surfing music. I began playing guitar after my father introduced me to new musical group from which he had received a news kit: The Beatles.

Were you in any bands before forming Kaleidoscope? Any releases from then perhaps?

Yes, my brother Pol and I started a surfing music band called “The Islanders” when we were still in high school.  Soon after that Pol left this band to join the most popular band in the San Juan area which was called “The Challengers”.  I joined a blues band called “The Sun Stones” which played in the underground bars for sailors and beatniks. 

When and how did you guys came together to form Kaleidoscope? Why did you choose the name "Kaleidoscope"?

In the summer of 1967 I was playing bass at a new psychedelic discotheque in Old San Juan, when a group of rock musicians visiting from the Dominican Republic told me about the emerging rock scene in their neighboring country. Intrigued by the conversation I got together with guitarist Orly Vázquez and a drummer, and set out to play a two-week engagement at the “Aries” club in Santo Domingo. Orly and I loved the scene and decided to join respective Dominican bands: I joined Los X-6 and Orly joined The Masters. Soon after I joined, the X-6 band changed its name to Kaleidoscope because, by that time, we had painted our instruments in vivid psychedelic colors and designs.


How do you remember some of the early sessions together?

Our first sessions were filled with psychedelic magic!  We decided to live together and we all moved to this big house in the outskirts of Santo Domingo where we could practice all day and spend our free evenings in profound pseudo-philosophical conversations with many friends and local “freaks”.

Did you release any singles before or after the LP was out?

Yes, we released a single (45 RPM) in 1968 for the Dominican Republic market with “Colours” on side A and “I’m Crazy” on side B.

Let’s share the story about producing and recording your legendary LP. What are some of your strongest memories?

Early in 1968, Kaleidoscope won first place in the “modern music” category of a Dominican Music festival. This led to the opportunity to record an album at Fabiola, the largest recording company in the country. Because their producers had absolutely no idea of what psychedelic music was, we got total control of the content with no “adult” supervision. Heavily influenced by the music of Iron Butterfly, Frank Zappa and Jimi Hendrix, our unpolished tracks became full of raw teen-aged garage psychedelia, and we loved it!

The hard, steady, drum beats by Rafi Cruz, along with Pedrín García’s fuzz-toned guitar and the punchy Hammond Organ by Julio Arturo Fernández, mixed perfectly well with the bass lines and vocals from Orly and I. (By that time Orly had left The Masters to join Kaleidoscope). Present at the recording were Adib Casta of the Venezuelan band Ladies WC and Peruvian singer Edgar Zamudio. Edgar was very impressed with the songs and took the master to his contacts at Orfeón in Mexico.

What gear did you guys used?

During the recording I used a Hofner “Beatle” Bass with two Fender Bassman amps. Orly and Pedrín had Les Pauls and Stratocasters with Fender Twin Reverb amps.  Julio Arturo had a gigantic Hammond B3 with two Leslies.  Rafi Cruz used a Ludwig set with an oversized bass drum painted with a kaleidoscopic image and a small Buddha.

Would you like to share a few words about the cover artwork?

The cover artwork was commissioned to Bodo Molitor by our producer in Mexico and we were all delighted with the design.  Bodo was a German artist, musician and songwriter working for Orfeón at the time.


How did you got in contact with the label?

Peruvian singer Edgar Zamudio was very impressed with the songs and took the master to his contacts at Orfeón in Mexico.  He later became our manager in Mexico.


After recording the album, we became divided over the concept of moving from the Dominican Republic to open new possibilities, and this led to Pedrín and Julio leaving the band. Rafi, Orly and I travelled to Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands to play at tourist spots and discotheques. During an engagement in Saint Thomas we had a disagreement and Orly left the group. That is why Rafi and I were particularly shocked when we got a telegram from Mexico the next day. It was from Edgar telling us that Orfeón had signed us, and that he had arranged a tour of Mexico to promote the album.

In order to quickly fill the open positions, we recruited Héctor Gutierrez from The Masters to play lead guitar, and my brother Pol Tirado who was still the singer of the popular Puerto Rican band The Challengers. We then spent two frantic weeks in Miami getting new equipment and practicing. Our opening night at the Salvation in Mexico City was a big success.

How many copies do you think Orfeón released?

They released about 600. Just enough for the Press and the DJs, however, because we were a different band now, we sounded different and had different interests in music, I believe that Orfeón became reluctant to release that particular album and wanted to wait for the next set of recordings.

Would you like to comment each song a bit from the LP?

"Hang Out"

Written by Orly. It was an anti-establishment “in-your-face” protest song.

"P.S. Come Back"

I wrote this one about an experience similar to “Norwegian Wood”.  A very independent girl the once had me.

"A Hole in My Life"

Written by Orly. It was a take on “Fixing a Hole” by the Beatles.

"Let Me Try"

I wrote this one as a desperate teenage cry to the world.  A kind of Primal Scream.

"I Think It's All Right"

This is a “morning after” optimistic song that I wrote for the band.

"Colours"

This was based on a trip of discovery to the wonderlands I once took.  It has become the most popular of the album.

"Once Upon a Time There Was a World"

I wrote this song to a lost love.

"A New Man"

This song is about my view of the rebirth of humanity as a new positive, caring, tribe full of love.

"I'm Crazy"

Written by Orly. It describes his state of mind.

"I'm Here, He's Gone, She's Crying"

The only song written by a non-member.  It was written by Adib Casta of Ladies WC who was our friend and was present during the recording.

How popular were you after the LP was out? Where was your touring territory?

“Colours” became popular in the Mexican radio and we performed it on television, however, fans could not buy the record, since it was not officially released, and it did not pan out.  We toured many Mexican cities with other Orfeón bands.


Would you like to share some crazy stories that happened to you while being in the band?


The Mexican rock scene was enervating and we were immediately captivated by the audiences, the musicians, the culture and the groupies. A fantastic Mexican keyboards player, Jorge González, joined us shortly after to support our extremely busy schedule at the Salvation, El Quid of la Zona Rosa, and the Orfeón television show. We met and became friends of many fellow musicians and entertainers in Mexico, including Los Shakes, Javier Bátiz, La Revolución de Emiliano Zapata, Los Soul Masters and even Angelica Maria and “Loco” Valdez.  The after-hours parties were really crazy.  At one point our management decided that we had to disappear from the scene for a few weeks and we went to a countryside ranch for a while. However, with the new lineup and our experiences in Mexico we turned into a solid, more mature, band. That is why we are proud to have become known as the Kaleidoscope of Mexico.

What happened next? When and why did you disbanded and where did you and others went?

We decided to part ways with Orfeón and do a cross-country of the United States, so we loaded our stuff on a van with a couple of roadies and left our comfortable house in Cuernavaca to take the Mexico 15 road north.  Jorge decided to stay working for Orfeón in Mexico.  The group disbanded in New York.


What are you doing these days?

Rafi Cruz is now an Emmy-winner jazz musician in New York.  Me and my brother Pol are computer consultants. Hector is a professor, and Orly is a publisher in California.

I want to thank you for the interview. Would you like to share something else with the readers of It’s Psychedelic Baby Magazine?

Thank you for helping me recall these 40-year-old memories of a pretty typical psychedelic experience of the sixties.  Love and Peace!



















LP came out on LP and CD on Shadoks Music. They will do another LP edition in 2012.

Interview by Klemen Breznikar/2011
© Copyright http://psychedelicbaby.blogspot.com/ 2011

Endless Boogie interview with Paul Major



Hi Paul, how are you? I'm really glad we can finally talk about Endless Boogie and about your amazing knowledge of music and record collecting. Let's start with your childhood and teen years. Where did you grow up and what were some of the first influences?

I'm doing good & I'm also glad to talk to you about records & Boogie action. I grew up in Louisville, Kentucky and first became aware of rock music at the very end of 1966 when I was a 12 years old. Top 40 pop radio was filled with fuzz guitars and go-go organ with songs like Talk Talk, Psychotic Reaction, We Ain't Got Nothing Yet, 96 Tears... as soon as I got my first dose of fuzz psych guitar I was a goner some months later all the money I made mowing lawns was spent on records. Early influences were those garage punk psych 45s and soon after LPs in a similar bag but I broadened out quickly, buying used LPs in head shops on Bardstown Road and cut-outs at K-Mart on Taylorsville Road and a store downtown named Tiff's mainly... also King's Records. I used to examine each LP closely before deciding, looking for long tracks with names that made me think 'this is the music that tripping is supposed to be like'. I read Hit Parader magazine as they had reviews of underground LPs in the back, and before long got subscriptions to Rolling Stone & Creem... got totally obsessed with psychedelic rock. My favorites early on included Ultimate Spinach, Velvet Underground, MC5, Fifty Foot Hose, Silver Apples, St. John Green... lots of obscure ones along with the usual Jimi Hendrix Experience, Kinks, Stones, Canned Heat, Beatles, Doors, Yardbirds, Jefferson Airplane, Moby Grape etc. All those late '60s LPs are my primary influences. Especially fuzz guitars... I had a plastic toy guitar when I was 12 that I covered with psychedelic crayon art & I put a pencil at the bridge so the strings would buzz in an approximation of distortion. I learned lots of basic riffs on it, Cream, Jimi, until I got my first real guitar a couple years later.

Were you in any bands as a teenager?

No bands as a teen, just some jams in basements, I was pretty isolated until I was 16 when I found my first circle of friends who were into getting stoned and playing music, having mischievous adventures, we jammed both electric and acoustic, in particular a guy named Robert Davis who I used to play versions of Donovan songs with... not until I was in college in St. Louis in 1972 did I meet up with someone to start a band with, Wolf Roxon. We had a band thru the mid '70s named the Moldy Dogs. Stooges, Kinks, Velvets covers mixed with originals from acid folk to punk psych. The story on that band is coming out in Ugly Things written by Jack Partain in the near future.

So when exactly was Endless Boogie born? How did you guys came together?

Endless Boogie started out in the late '90s as Tuesday night jams when Johan Kugelberg & Jesper Eklow had the idea to have a band named after the John Lee Hooker album. No intentions beyond getting together and raising a racket for a few hours. Mark Ohe played bass also and that was it for several years until we got talked into opening for the NYC debut Jicks show in 2001. After that we started playing when somebody asked us, and eventually it got to be a fairly regular thing.


You released your first album in 2005, in fact two albums called just Volume 1 and Volume 2. What can you tell me about this two volumes?


Well, we got on the bill at the Slint ATP Festival in the UK and decided everybody would have stuff for sale and it would be lame if we didn't have something, so we made the 500 press 'black' album. In fact it came back just in time, but without covers, so the 50 copies we took to the ATP had white covers with black rubber stampings, the reverse of the other 450. The 2nd LP that people call the 'white' album was pressed in 300 copies with two cover variations numbered 150, half were given out as party favors at Johan's 40th birthday party, and the rest sold or given away by the band. The tracks on them came from our endless pile of rehearsal space live tapes. Wish I'd have kept a few, as they pull $$ now, I actually found a copy of the 2nd LP on the street from a books/records dealer in my neighborhood and sold it last year for over $200 on auction... somebody had ditched their party favor! We might do a double LP reissue of the two at some point.


In 2008 you released "Focus Level", which is such a blast! I love the vibe on the whole album. Many fans of Endless Boogie told me you are even better in live shows. Damn I've got to see you live someday!!

Let us know more about "Focus Level"...


We did Focus Level mostly as jams, recorded about 4-5 hours of music in the studio live, some were riffs we had down and others spontaneous on the spot. Then we went thru it all and picked ones to tart up a bit, or turn into a song, add a vocal here, a guitar there, but keep the original live feel. Some are the straight up jam, no additions, some got played around with a little. Live shows have always been the same with us, we just get up and go on a few 'songs', see where they take us, different every time. The change in the live shows was only that we played songs off the album more as jumping off points for the jams. We don't plan a set or think about stage moves... we just get up & rock in the moment.

"Full House Head" is another amazing release from you. This year you also released another album called "The Skinless Ogress Revolution, Which Feeds On Human Sacrifice", right?


Full House Head was recorded similar to the previous album, a few hours live in the studio, choosing some jams out of that and then tarting it up a bit with minimal overdubs. The title came from 'Empty Eye' where I popped about a dozen verses out of my head and picked the best ones. 'Mighty Fine Pie' came out of jams but was actually arranged a bit, one of the few things we do with actual chord changes. Usually Jesper comes up with the core riff or feel, and we jam on it and grab on to a couple things that happen, then call it a song. 'Skinless Ogress Revolution' was a 100 copy edition CD Jesper hand made to sell at gigs for a west coast tour, taken from the huge pile of tapes we've made at rehearsals over the years.


What can we expect in the future?

We're about to record the next album, have no idea what is going to happen until we do it, but we have a batch of newer riffs to jam on and see what they turn into. The words will mostly come by free associating in my head while the jams occur. One thing we don't have is any idea what the album will sound like until we make it, except that it will sound somewhat like the others.

Will you do any Europe touring in the future?

We've been to Europe a few times, usually based on a festival gig like ATP or Primavera, Jesper pulls together some more shows to do while we're over there and it turns into a tour. We did a short one a few weeks ago, had a blast meeting people, eating killer food. The crowds were psyched so we got psyched and the shows were all smokers. 

Like you, I'm also a rare psych records addict, haha! Tell me, Paul, how did this 'obsession' started When did you begin collecting records and at what point have you become interested in more rare releases?

My record obsession started in late 1966 when I was 12 years old. I was somewhat aware of the Beatles, Stones, etc. but didn't really tune in until I first heard garage psychedelic fuzz guitars and started reading about the San Francisco scene, which instantly changed my life. I dove right in, spending every penny on records, at first mostly 45s, then a few LPs, then a lot of both. The songs that 'launched' me were "Pushing To Hard", "Talk Talk", "Psychotic Reaction"... all those great hit singles. It was a good time for buying records, as many of the major label LPs (especially the obscure ones) would pop up in the cut out bins at K-Mart near my house for prices under a dollar. Between that and going to the head shops and used record stores I got amazing things early on. Velvet Underground, Silver Apples, Morgen, Ultimate Spinach... anything that looked like it might sound like tripping, I grabbed, carefully reading the liner notes, looking for long tracks with freaky titles... and of course the cover designs in those days sucked me in. By the late '60s record hunting was a bonanza that went on for years. One Louisville head shop/record store used to price all the used LPs funny amounts like 57 cents, $1.22, $2.07... and that's where I got my first copy of Easter Everywhere for 29 cents. I made no distinction between major label and private pressings, just tried anything cheap that looked weird. I got interested in rare LPs in the mid '70s in St. Louis as I became more aware of import LPs, that bands I liked a US release by had other LPs that didn't come out here... and I saw some LPs pulling more $$$ than others. It wasn't until I hit NYC in 1978 and saw collector shops that I realized a lot of the stuff I had was worth considerable money... Moving Sidewalks, Chocolate Watchband, Elevators, and so on. I ran into Jack Streitman at a record fair and he showed me a long want list of mysterious private pressings, that was when I realized these other LPs I had like Kristyl or Kenneth Higney were of interest to someone besides myself. I was in a band at the time, did a day 'job' that was more hanging out and partying to loud music than work at Village Oldies, and soon I realized I could hit the thrift shops, used record stores, flea markets a few times a month and find plenty of vinyl to pay my bills... so I quit the job and started dealing records then. There was little knowledge of private pressings, only a few things like the C.A. Quintet, Rising Storm, Plastic Cloud were expensive, most shops put all the privates in the cheapest section, so it was a classic kid in a candy store vibe. I started putting ads in Goldmine and connected with other people around the world, had them send me boxes of obscure stuff from their area for trade credit. Then I started my catalogs and the big search for unknown monsters.

What are some of the early examples of records, that  you found, while browsing through stacks and stacks of records? I know one of your favourite is Kenneth Higney's album called "Attic Demonstration". I was lucky enough to get to talk with Kenneth myself and did an interview with him...


Kenneth Higney's LP was a watershed moment for me... before that I was more focussed on hard rock bands, psychedelic music, garage punk and the likes, whether major label or private press. The force of honest expression mixed with the sound of that LP blew my mind as well as made me keenly aware of the concept of someone putting their own record out. I felt like I was inside the artist's head when I played it. Ken had sent three copies in late 1977 to a house I was living at with other musicians in New Jersey and soon after I moved into NYC and started looking for more homemade records. I got offered substantial $$$ for my Higney and that motivated me to track down the other copies a few years later. That led me to Fraction as a side benefit, since one of those three copies of Attic Demonstration was kept by a friend who had managed a later country rock band that a Fraction member played in. It was the only other private pressing he had, needless to say it blew my mind and I tracked four sealed copies of Fraction down later from a band member. That was the start of my tracking artists down, soon I had found Gandalf The Grey,  Higney, Peter Grudzien, Bobb Trimble, New Dawn, etc. Private pressings that I had early include Kristyl, Oxfords, Wizard, Gandalf The Grey, Marcus, Trimble when they were only a few years old. One of my big early trades in the early '80s was my spare Circuit Rider for a gatefold Damon. I had copies of LPs the Detroit dudes turned up as well, Mystic Siva, Boa... back then I even took trade copies sealed of Siva, Boa, Marcus etc. to the UK for trade bait but nobody would bite even though I was only asking $200 in trade credit for 'em. The UK private pressings were mostly undiscovered then so it didn't matter, I bought everything cool looking that was cheap. The top score of course was Dark for 10 pounds, in a collector shop with rare LPs on the walls it was the usual for back then... all the best stuff was in the cheapo bins.

What were some of your favourite places to search for LP's? Did you ever go to so called vinyl hunting over the country? I know Rich Haupt once told, that he found many new stuff while traveling and searching for undiscovered gems...

My favorite places to search were college town used record stores, flea markets, thrift shops... any place there were lots of used records or cut-outs. So few people were looking for what I was that I'd discover some new mindblower almost weekly. I never took lots of road trips like some of my friends, I tended to swap boxes of private pressings with others in different cities and tell them to send me anything remotely interesting and when something is special, I'll pay well, the ones that suck I'll send back or throw away. There was a great sense of adventure back in the early days late '70s through the '80s... I became quite addicted to the thrill of thumbing through a shop full of old LPs and getting a rush when something mysterious and unknown appears. The internet changed it all, of course, now when I look in used shops I figure anything really good they came across never made it into the bins. The upside is that all this music is instantly available and so many younger kids I meet have heard it, I never imagined a day when 'Mind Flowers' would have a million listens on a system called youtube. Back in the '80s it could take years to get ahold of something you really wanted to hear. If I had more time I'd hunt the internet for great things that slip between the cracks. I did recently manage to get back one of my favorite unknown LPs (I had sold the only other known copy to pay a couple months rent) for $25 on eBay.

You once told me, that you interviewed some artists. Would you like to tell me again, which ones? Did you got to know some of this musicians?

I haven't really done many interviews with the makers of these great records, back when I was tracking people down it was more a personal thing to know more about them and to get ahold of copies. Steve Morgen is an exception, Mike Ascherman, Al Rohde and I did an extensive interview with him in the '90s that sits on a cassette in Sweden, part transcribed. We were hoping to reissue the LP on our label Parallel World, but MCA wanted too much $$$ to make it possible. Some artists I never even talked to, like the case of the New Dawn where I only ever spoke with a girlfriend of the producer, a year of prodding to finally score a box of copies. Others like Peter Grudzien and Bobb Trimble I was in contact with over many years. Marcus I met with once, spending an evening at the House of Trax. Gandalf the Grey I met with at his mother's house to get a box and see some LP acetates of earlier material he had given her (they had cool homemade covers as well). Raven 'Back To Ohio Blues' led to no LPs but the phone call was insane. It's hard to recall how many I tracked now, but more than once the person was convinced I was a friend playing a practical joke on them, since I was the first person who ever actually wanted to buy copies of their LP. Someday I'm going to write a thing on those experiences and also the early days of collecting/dealing these type records... the strange characters, anecdotes, etc. One thing I remember fondly is how whenever somebody re-used a record mailer to send me records they always tore off the address of the guy they got it from so I wouldn't elbow in on their source. I did it, too, of course. You would get a lot of tapes where the sender wouldn't tell you the name of the LP, too, and for good measure they'd scramble the track sequence and leave off a couple songs.

How about these days; are you still searching for vinyl's often or do you think not much can be found? My opinion is that there is so much music, that the journey can never stop and we can always find some private releases from the early 70s, that will blow us away! What do you think?

I do think most actual existing great monster LPs have been found, although the unreleased tapes out there must be endless, as I even have crazy ones of my own. Back in the '80s/'90s it seemed like a big discovery was made almost every day by somebody. Now it's a few a year. The time frame moves on, there are certainly many gems buried in the avalanche of private pressings that came after the punk explosion of the late '70s, things the right ears have not encountered yet that recognize something unique and special. I doubt many more will be emerging from the '60s to mid '70s, but the years after that will continue to ripen, things will keep appearing. I don't even want to think about what treasure is hidden in the millions of obscure CD titles out there in cheapo bins. Now that the world is all plugged in thru the internet it is harder for some newly issued item to get lost and buried allowing for future discovery. I am still searching and find a winner every so often. I doubt I will repeat the thrill level of that first spin of unknown LPs like 'The Unicorn', Moonblood', 'Harvest Of Dreams', 'Round The Edges' etc.... those moments when my already high hopeful expectations are ludicrously exceeded to the point where I pinch myself to make sure I'm not dreaming them up.

I want to thank you again, Paul for taking your time. I'm really proud to have you on It's Psychedelic Baby Magazine. Would you like to send a message to our readers?

The wider you cast the net, the more monsters you will catch. In the end it is moot whether they are rare or not, what matters is if you like them. There is more great life changing music out there than time to hear it. Don't dip the needle in too quickly, some music takes awhile to reveal itself. If you play a record all the way through twenty seven times when you are in twenty seven different moods and still can't decide if it's a keeper... it isn't! Beware those LPs you think you should like but keep leaving you underwhelmed! Also there is a book coming out next August compiling reviews and descriptions from my '80s and '90s catalogs.























 Interview made by Klemen Breznikar/2011
© Copyright http://psychedelicbaby.blogspot.com/2011

EVOL - EVOL review of lost unreleased acetate, that will be released by Gear Fab Records


Roger Maglio from Gear Fab records found an acetate from a band called EVOL. Eventually he found a member, Jeff Hanichen.  EVOL a band, that was born in 1968 at the Seabreeze Lounge, in Huntington, West Virginia. The original band consisted of Randall Hackney on lead guitar, Mike Blair on bass, Roger Dillon on keyboards, Jeff Hanichen on guitar and Roger Caines on drums. They had a small following and they signed a contract with a music company in Nashville, Tennessee. Soon they started recording  the album at Nugget Studios, in Goodletsville, Tennessee, just outside of Nashville, in February/March, 1971. When I was listening to the LP I was really amazed from beautiful melodies, they created and it really gives you a very interesting late 60’s atmosphere, kind of soundtrack for hippie summertime. Fans of the early Byrds and Grass Roots make sure to check the album out! We can be really glad, Roger Maglio found this acetate, because it’s another great example of how many great music from the past can be still found. I think, that EVOL is for everybody, who sympathies with that amazing late 60’s vibe, that can’t be reproduced.


If you would like to find out more about the band, check the interview I did with Jeff Hanichen awhile back. On January Gear Fab will be releasing the album on both vinyl and CD. The vinyl version is on 24 point board, 180 gram vinyl, and includes the original Transco sleeve and handwritten labels! Make sure to grab it at: Gear Fab Records!

Review made by Klemen Breznikar / 2011
© Copyright http://psychedelicbaby.blogspot.com / 2011

Escombros interview with Walter Sitzmann


Interview:

1. Thank you very much for taking your time! Let’s start with your childhood and teen years... Where did you grow up and what were some of your influences at the time?

Thank you for having me. I grew up in Vienna, Austria startet music with age 14. Influences then were: Bill Haily, Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry & later on Jimmy Hendrix, Cream, Pink Floyd, Great Funk Railroad, Walker Brothers,etc, etc,

2. Were you in any bands as a teenager, before forming Escombros? Any releases?

Yes, I started with a Rock & Roll band called Jerry & the Cannons playing rhythm guitar and singing, later co-formed a group called first 'The Only News', then 'The News' and finally 'Odyssee', worked in all the possible clubs in and around Vienna and as well toured in Italy mainly Milan

Was as well shortly a back up singer with 'Gypsy Love'.

3. What was the scene in Chile back then?

In 1969 when I got to Chile rockmusic was really starting up and  Hendrix & Cream influences were noticable with the few bands in existance, the best for my taste were the Escombros .

4. How did you guys came together to form Escombros and why did you use this name?

Escombros existed already for a short while and I met them at a concert and we started talking, I got invited to one of their rehearsals and they decided to have me in their band as lead singer. I brought my own experience as a frontman, my ideas and my voice in to the band which was well accepted by them and the public according to the great feedback we received from the audience in our concerts. Rock music was really at the beginning in Chile and the Escombros were open to all the new influences like for example Jethro Tull and as well my own music and  we all tried to experiment with new ways and created our own style.


5. In 1970 you released single Green Eyed Lady / Love Machine and an LP. Tell me some of the strongest memories from producing this LP!


Well it was very exciting to suddenly beeing offered to practically record live in a few days an entire LP and a single in a simple studio on a basic 4track recording machine. It was our own music, (except for 3 covers of other artists) and having had the chance to perform live on TV was as well a special treat.

 
What gear did you guys use?

Marshall of-course rooled the amplifier world, Gibbson Les Paul ,Gibbson Bass and Gretch guitar, next to a simple farfisa electric piano and Ludwig drums was the basic equipment, all bought with great economic sacrifices at that time. 


What can you say about the cover artwork? 


The album came out with 2 cover versions, the black & white one is the first pressing, the other version came later…
I don´t remember anymore why we did  even bother with the second cover style, cutting out our faces and placing them all over the cover, nobody liked this version really, hence the one with the black and white Photo of the band was the one which stuck in the end and was to everybody´s liking. 


How many pressings were made on Arena label?

No idea, we were quite naive then, when it came to contract signing and other issues around an LP release.


6. Did you do any concerts?

Yes, we played quite a few gigs In places all over Santiago in Bellas Artes (Art school of Santiago), Theatro Caupolican, Theatro Astor, Cine Marconi and in the Beach resort Zapajar and also Vina del Mar in the  Quinta Vergara (a famous open air place).  In some of the places they had to close the doors with chains to avoid more people coming in cause the venue was so overcrowded & sold out. Subsequently small riots started and some damages and so on... quite some exciting times to say the least...

7. What happened next for you?

I left end 1971 Chile, but recorded shortly before as well a single 'Mi razon de vivir' with 'Destruccion Max',  another rock group and returned back to Vienna to supposingly  join another band called C- Department (with members of Odysse my former band) which in the end never materialized. I then lived in  New York, the Caribbean (Jamaica, where I became friends as well with one of the Wailers, guitarplayer Marvin Jr, Bob Marley had unfortunately already passed on) Indochina (Laos), Southafrica, til I found my way back to Europe, Switzerland and finally Austria, Vienna, where I live again since 7 years.


8. Miel is another group that is connected with Escombros…

As far as I know Miel was formed after I left Santiago. All the other members of the Escombros, except for Lito Benito  went different ways. Guitarplayer Ricardo Mendeville went to Amsterdam, drummer Michel Boisier started his engeneer career and bass player Jose Rosenblut his own business. Lead guitar player Lito Benito formed the band 'Miel', which did not last for to long, subsequently he turned to become an outstanding luthier working several years with Taylor guitars in the US of A and has his own company back in Chile called LBenito guitars.

9. What are you doing these days, Walter?

I  just finished my double CD plainly called  SITZMANN, 'Heartbrakers & Soultakers' , featuring the best musicians I could find in Rock and Classical music in this country. Volume I is called 'slow on the take' and are mainly very melodic rockballades and some bluesy stuff. Volume II is called 'fast on the make' and is more upbeat,  a mixture of rock, country and reggae tunes. The CD will be released hopefully in March 2012. Classic melodic rock was and still is very important to me versus all this computerized noise. That´s why I did, in addition to my own 27 songs as well 3 classic rock covers on the CD,  two are originally performed by the brilliant David Coverdale so it was quite a challenge for me. Just to mention  also some other musicians I admire today who can play and sing like hell, are: Richie Kotzen and Glenn Hughes, just wanted to single out two of the best, so my measurestick is very high as you can see.

10. Would you like to send a message to all It’s Psychedelic Baby readers?

Keep up high the real music, played by real musicians and not by computer folks which try to make music with the help of beat boxes, which basically is fine with me, cause it´s all music in the end, but THEY are not musicians, cause they have not mastered an instrument in hard practise over

15 years....Also stay away from pre-programmed play back performances, always look out for real life performances because only there  the real music lives on...

Wishing a great 2012 to you and all your readers I remain

One Love

Walter Sitzmann















Check Shadoks Music website for further information about upcoming release of Escombros LP.


 Interview made by Klemen Breznikar / 2011

© Copyright http://psychedelicbaby.blogspot.com/ 2011

Comus interview with Roger Wootton


Interview:


1. Thank you very much for taking your time. First I would like to ask you where did you grow up and what were some of your influences?

I grew up in a village called Eynsford in the county of Kent in England. It is still a picturesque village with lake, woodland and surrounded by rolling hills. My first really stirring musical experience was when I was about 7 years old and my father put Sibelius Symphony No.2 on and I was transported. I went to a boarding school that was actually not far away, where there was an art teacher who introduced me to avant garde jazz and I got into John Coltrane, Archie Shepp and Ornette Coleman. He also introduced me to the current folk artists of the time such as the recently deceased Bert Jansch, John Renbourn and John Martyn. Armed with all these influences I began writing for Comus.

2. Were you in any bands before forming Comus? Any releases from then perhaps?

I started off at the age of twelve playing bass in a blues band.

3. How and when was Comus formed?


I went to Ravensbourne Art College where I met Glenn Goring. We started playing together in folk clubs. We later met Colin Pearson who went to the same college and was a highly skilled violinist. A group of us rented a large house in Beckenham and as we filled the house with tenants, among them were Andy Hellaby who wanted to play bass with us and Bobbie Watson. We already had a female singer who I was dating but the relationship broke up and so, therefore she left and Bobbie quickly filled her place.


4. Comus is a masque by John Milton and is also from the name of the Greek god Comus. I want to know why did you choose the name and if you can tell us the deeper meaning of it?

One of the tenants called Chris Youle had just studied the work at university and I had already written The Bite and Drip,drip. He suggested the name and soon after became our manager. We then read the Milton masque and agreed that this gave the band the identity we were looking for. I wrote Song to Comus afterwards and Colin wrote Diana which fitted the mythology perfectly. 

5. In 1971 you released your legendary album called First Utterance, which is probably the most unique dark folk album of all time.What are some of the strongest memories from producing and recording this LP?

Very bad – we started recording it for RCA, who then dropped us half way through. We then got the deal with Pye Dawn Records and were given the pop producer, Barry Murray who produced ‘In the Summertime’ for Mungo Jerry. Barry had never seen us live and when there were no drums he seemed lost and confused and could not get what we were about. The sessions were difficult and First Utterance does not capture the energy we generated live. We are still disappointed with the album. 


What can you tell me about the cover artwork?

I had been doing these kind of ball point pen drawings since before I went to art school and was very influenced by Gerald Scarfe, Ralph Steadman and M C Esher and Arthur Wrackham. I think it felt like the representation of a primal scream. 


How many pressings were originally released on Dawn?

Only about 10,000. I have three original vinyl copies. I know they are now highly sort after.  


Where did you record it and what gear did you guys use?


It was recorded at Pye Studios in Edgeware Road London. The studio no longer exists. It was standard 8 track in those days, so quite a lot of bad bouncing down – not our fault. The backing tracks were largely recorded live, so there is quite a lot of spill, since we were unused to studio conditions and we needed to see each other for cues. 


6. Let’s talk about the concept behind the album. What can you say about it?


I think the concept evolved, rather than being planned. One song inspired another. There were others that we discarded until a shape and sound evolved. 


7. I'll write down all the songs from the first LP and I would appreciate if you could comment each.

A1          Diana 

This song was one of the later songs written for the album in Autumn 1970. Colin had bought a viola and, whilst experimenting and referring back to mythology that connected with Comus, came up with the whole idea. We jammed with it until it found the full Comus character.

A2          The Herald  

This song was co-written by Glenn and myself. Andy Hellaby had discovered this technique of using a slide on the bass with the playing hand rather than the fretting hand. It was so atmospheric, it got Glenn and I going. I wrote these whistful mythical lyrics and Glenn came up with the finger picking guitar solo.

A3          Drip Drip  

This was a psycho horror story partly inspired by horror films of the time and I seemed to naturally get into this evil sadistic character. Many writers invent these extreme characters on the edge of the human condition. It became a song where Colin could show his best as a violinist and always went down well live. 

B1           Song to Comus 

This was the final song written for the album. I wrote it in one afternoon on a tab of acid. I got into the Comus persona and wrote his theme song. Many people think that the repeat voices were done in the studio using an echo unit, but no – that’s how we actually perform it – an LCD induced sensation. I no longer use drugs but feel they have opened up all the doors.  

B2           The Bite

This is actually one of the earlier songs which, while exploring this dark demons of the forest feel led to finding the name Comus. The character was already taking shape.        

B3           Bitten  

Colin was very influenced by Bartok and wanted to do something with that atmosphere. When he heard Andy’s new ghostly atmospheric slide playing  they worked together to create this short but dramatic piece.     

B4           The Prisoner   

I think that working in these dark exploratory areas, madness and the sense of the world wanting to mould you and feeling trapped by mundanity made me write this song. This subject has appeared in other people’s songs in different forms.

8. Touring…where all did you tour? I know you were a support group for David Bowie in the late 60’s, right?


Yes, we started off playing the Beckenham Arts Lab with him and, after he had the hit with Space Oddity we played The Purcell Room in London. There was a large college and university circuit in those days and we played most of the British universities plus a few mini tours with Mungo Jerry, Humble Pie and Barclay James Harvest. We toured Netherlands twice and Germany. 

 
9. In 1974 you released another LP called To Keep From Crying. The sound is very different, then on the debut. Why is that so?

We split up two years before. Most of the original members did not want to do another album and had got into other things. The material that I had was intended or suitable for  Comus. We recruited the wrong people, my singing was horrible and we had terrible problems with Virgin Records. The album is a shambles and a failure as far as I am concerned, which is why we did not go on the road with it. I am completely ashamed of it, except that , when I play solo gigs I always include ‘Down like a Movie Star’, which ,as a song, has stood the test of time. 


10. What were some of the influences? Which books perhaps, or artists? You really made such an atmosphere on your debut.. It’s like walking through the forest at the night in the dark medieval times…

I think I have already covered that fairly thoroughly.

11. Would you like to share some interesting or crazy stories that happened to you in the 70’s?

Honestly I found going on the road with Comus a depressing misery. Perhaps other members have more interesting memories.

12. What happened after the second album?

The remaining members, including myself,  simply split up and went our separate ways.

13. You are still very active! What can we expect from the future?


I must tell you that we actually have a mini album finished, to be released in March 2012!

It is to be called Out Of The Coma, and is almost an hour's worth of music - 3 new tracks, plus a previously undiscovered 1972 live tape recording of the piece 'The Malgaard Suite', which was written after First Utterance, and before 'To Keep from Crying'.

The new Comus line up includes all original members (except Rob Young and Lindsay Cooper), plus Jon Seagroatt who plays flute, soprano sax, bass clarinet, and percussion is also recording engineer, producer and has mastered all tracks on the forthcoming  'Out Of The Coma' album, which is to be released on CD and vinyl.














Photography by Daniel Falk

Interview made by Klemen Breznikar / 2011

© Copyright http://psychedelicbaby.blogspot.com/ 2011