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.

Devil's Kitchen interview with Robbie Stokes

in Golden Gate Park 1969 with "tribe" flag

Well, it seems we've been "discovered" in a stack of old tapes left behind by Bill Graham.  Wolfgang's Vault had for several years been offering about 5 or 6 posters from late 60's era concerts in San Francisco that we had performed at (a handful of the actual 100's of gigs we did).  Then, in September 2006, they featured a cut from the band on their website and then added a full live recording of one of our concert performances at the old Family Dog Ballroom (Magic at the Edge of the Western World) on the Great Highway.  It has 11 songs that were recorded on March 22nd 1970.

Interview:

What bands were you in before you joined "Devil's Kitchen"?

I was in regional high school rock bands ‘The Satellites’, ‘The Counts’ and ‘The Viscounts’.

When did you meet the other members of Devil's Kitchen to form the band?

 Om circa 1967
 back row: ?, Bob, Robbie, Carl Rozycki (Roadie), Brett; front row: Steve (seated), Bucky Harmon

We met in late 1967 or 1968.  We were all students at SIU-Carbondale, the college here, a state university with about 23,000 students, I’d say, at that time.  I was actually just finishing high school at University High School of Pulliam Hall.  We called it ‘Om’ for a short while and it morphed into ‘Devil’s Kitchen’, named after a lake near here.

 Robbie and Brett - OM 1967

Did you think that there would be an interest in psychedelic music until the present day, with new bands playing psychedelia?

I am pleasantly surprised in many ways that the level of interest in this period of music/psychedelic rock is as strong as it is.  Our singer, Webmaster and prime historian Brett Champlin has done much to reinvigorate all this.  Wolfgang’s Vault started it all back up.  It’s pretty cool!   When I toured Europe in 2009 with Chicago Mike Beck, I noted the great interest in American psychedelic rock, especially in Holland.  My friends ‘Skinny Jim and the Number 9 Blacktops’ tour Europe a lot; they do one of my compositions, ‘Little Obie and the Creepers’.  My friends ‘Heat Tape’ are on tour in EU now, actually, and the bassist in my current band (‘The Venturis’) is also in the ‘The Stace England Band’ and THEY, too, tour EU.

Who are some of your influences and some of your favorite albums?
 
My influences are wide, and range from Chet Atkins, all of the American blues greats, plus George Harrison, Pete Townsend, Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix (who I met in San Francisco), and all the great San Francisco guitarists of the 60’s, most of whom I also met, jammed or worked with.  Rubber Soul/Revolver, Who’s Next, Disraeli Gears, all 4 classic Hendrix records, you name it...it all factors in!

What bands did Devil's Kitchen open for, during the 1960's?


Devil’s Kitchen opened for Creedence Clearwater Revival at our first pro gig in SF.  We also opened for Big Brother and the Holding Co., Jefferson Airplane, Taj Mahal, Savoy Brown, Humble Pie, the Allman Bros., the Grateful Dead and others.


Any rememberances of the time that you wish to share?


As a professional sound technician, my early exposure to sound system legends like John Meyer, Lee Brinkman, Dan Healy and Owsley (‘Bear’) have helped me keep my standards of audio reproduction very high to this day.  I recall that those guys used to be at our shows, either working them or hanging out. One time I went to a press party for a Creedence (CCR) tour at Fantasy Records in Berkeley; rhythm guitarist Tom Fogarty had recently left the band.  I had the cheek to ask John Fogarty if I could join up!  He
made a joke about it and basically ignored me, but it’s still a cool memory! I also jammed with John Mayall one night at the Avalon Ballroom, Mick Taylor let me play through his Fender amps.  I have hundreds of stories like this, actually.  I got to back up blues greats Big Mama Thornton and Lightnin’ Hopkins, I’ll never forget that.  I also played with Norman Greenbaum, the ‘Spirit in the Sky’ man.

  
What other bands were you with after Devil's, during the 70's and 80's?

In 1970 DK broke up and I formed a band called ‘Coal Kitchen’ with some friends.  I should have stayed with them, but the California pull was too great (my first wife didn’t care for Illinois too much.)  Coal Kitchen eventually signed with Epic Records and toured.  I did jam with them regularly, though, into about 1980.  I was also in ‘Vision’, the ‘Buster Boy Band’, ‘4 on the Floor’, ‘Big Larry and the Lady Killers’, ‘Dr. Bombay’, and others.

Was Devil's Kitchen involved with any political causes during the 60's?

DK did play at a civil rights rally once in Carbondale, at which famed civil rights figure (and comedian) Dick Gregory spoke.  For the most part, we didn’t get really involved.  We broke up quite awhile before that all really started.

  
What are up to nowdays? Whom do you perform with?


Our band ‘4 on the Floor’ still does the odd corporate or private gig.  Our new thing is the aforementioned ‘The Venturis’ (like the Italian physicist, pronounced ven-ture-ees).  We play the classic rock hits from roughly 1963 through 1973, arguably the most fertile period in rock.  I still give it my all, of course we have a great sound system, and we have a lot of fun.  I’d love to tour Europe with the Venturis, we’d go over great I’m sure!  recently we’ve done sound for LMFAO, the Supersuckers, the Schwag with Melvin Seals of JGB and Mark Karan of Ratdog, and Travis Tritt...we do SOUND a lot!























You are welcome!
-----------------------
Robbie Stokes
Robco Audio
robcoaudio@hotmail.com
www.robcoaudio.com

 
Interview made by John Wisniewski / 2012

© Copyright http://psychedelicbaby.blogspot.com/ 2012

The Solar System


The Solar System is a project by Chris Oliver. His albums are available on bandcamp for free download. In the future he would like to release a vinyl LP of his psych music. He needs a bit of our help. So please check his music. 

Ever since I started recording music when I was around 16, I dreamed about one day hopefully releasing something on vinyl. Now I feel is that time, Sadly I lack the money to do so by myself so i'm asking for your help. My goal with this kickstarter project is to raise 4 thousand dollars to  press 400 copies of the new as of yet untitled new Solar System album. I plan on pressing it on 180 gram random colored vinyl. I also have Stacie Willoughby who is doing the front and back cover art. She is an amazing psychedelic artist and has done concert and album artwork for some many modern psychedelic rock groups such as MGMT,Animal
Collection,Dead Meadow etc etc. Here is a link to her work.


So on top of all of that I also need the money to mix and master the new record for vinyl and also money to be able to ship out these records to everyone who donates. I know 4 thousand dollars is alot of money but I believe so strongly in this music and it deserves a chance to be pressed onto vinyl. Many thanks and much gratitude to everyone who donates and who supports helping dreams come true. I love you!


Sic Alps interview with Mike Donovan


 © Brian Pritchard

In early 2000s Sic Alps started as a collaboration between Adam Stonehouse and Mike Donovan. They have released several singles and the first LP. Sic Alps already released three LP’s. Currently they are recording a new one. They are also on a tour (you can check their dates at:  http://www.sicalps.com/). I spoke with Mike about some plans. Check our short interview below.

Interview:

Hi guys, how are you?

Very good, thanks.

What are you up to lately? Any new stuff coming out?

A 7" just came out called "Vedley"....there’s also another 7" called "Pangea Globe" coming out April 24th...it’s all covers of Tronics songs.  Both records are on Drag City.


Let’s start with a bit of band history. How did you guys came together to form Sic Alps and why such name?

It started in 2004 when I befriended Adam from the Hospitals.  The name had already popped into my head.

What are some of the main influences? What are some obscure albums or films you dig?

Pip Proud is obscure....his first album.  George Brassens is a favorite.  Also the Dead C.



I love the movie "Ali: Fear Eats the Soul" by Fassbinder....or "Broadway by Light" by William Klein..obscure in the U.S. anyways! 


You released a couple of EP’s in 2006 and then you recorded your first album called Pleasures and Treasures. Tell me about this recording sessions?

We threw a large pile of gear into a minivan and drove to a rented house in Mendicino, north coast of California for a weekend.  A lot of mixing came later. 


Many people consider LO-FI as a genre. I don’t agree with that. How bout’ you?

I disagree with all genres.

After that you released a really great EP called Description of the Harbor and an album U.S. EZ. Would you like to share a story about that two releases?


Description was recorded for a friends label which is why it’s good I think... we recorded the songs in the same order they are on the record....U.S EZ was very difficult to make- the working title was "Apocalypse Nowadays"



Napa Asylum is your latest album. Please present your new album.

Its old now!  its a year old now and it took us two and and a half years to produce it so some of the songs are ancient.

 
What gear did you use to record it?

A Tascam 388, a studio projects C1 microphone, a memory man pedal and some reverb.  Bare bones style.

How is touring going? Would you like to share any particular moments from the tours in the past?

Once, my ass made a permanent heart shape on the van seat I was in for 6 weeks straight.

Can we expect you to come to Slovenia? We have a great avenue for alternative culture called Metelkova…

No, sadly but pretty close - Zagreb...also on April 24th!

What are some of your future plans? New record perhaps?

New record is in the works...new LP in 2012.

Thanks guys! Would you like to send a message to the readers of It’s Psychedelic Baby?

Be good!


















 Interview made by Klemen Breznikar / 2012

© Copyright http://psychedelicbaby.blogspot.com/ 2012

The Mercenaries of Time (Part 1) The Stooges with Elephant's Memory – Michigan Palace, February 9th, 1974 Special appearance: Satori Circus by Michele Dawn Saint Thomas

Stooges Michigan Palace 1974 (c) Saint Thomas archives

I was oblivious to it at the time but the signs were all around. The counter-culture scene in early '70s Detroit was was in a state of free-fall, towards a tragic demise from its epic creative height of the sixties.

Plum Street's attempted bohemian arts colony had completely collapsed, along with efforts by local artists to establish a street fair on Woodward Avenue similar to that in Montreal. The existing brick and mortar business were strictly opposed to this effort, in the belief that when people came downtown the local artists would seize profits from the larger stores of the establishment. Problem was, people were just not venturing downtown like they used to. Life had changed. Two major aspects, one, the “white flight” exodus, and two, the high crime rate, were keeping people away from Detroit. Plus, something new was on the horizon: the suburban shopping mall. Why travel beyond your neighborhood community when all could be found locally?

One would think that the release of White Panther leaders John Sinclair and Pun Plamondon would have sparked more energy in the air in terms of a revolutionary earnestness. However, there was something destroying the inner city culture that all the radical politics and bohemian artists in the world were unable to prevent. An inner city struggle for a greater share of a shrinking pool of decreasing financial resources was inevitable. False hope was held by the ever-dwindling diehards. Some said that Detroit would make a comeback: a phoenix rising, the Renaissance Center, and all that jazz. But it didn't.

The toll was staggering. Motown left the city. Eventually, the music icon whose very band was representative of the power and glory when Detroit had exploded musically and creatively, Rob Tyner of the MC5, would himself depart Detroit for Birmingham, a suburb on the outskirts of the city.

It was in these years that the mighty bands of the Motor-City and the surrounding areas began a downward tumble. I thought of the phrase that I had heard manically repeated during one of my past trips: It is time for you to read the signs. Yes, it was true, the signs were apparent, and I knew others must have seen them as well. As the symptoms of the decline became impossible to ignore, two questions came to mind. Why would a city become a perpetrator of its own implosion? And why would a nation's power elite allow one of their top ten cities to collapse?

It was the circumstances of this era that my thoughts kept returning to, and I became obsessed with the idea of somehow altering history. Was it possible that the events of the past could be changed? And if so, how?

I knew that I could effectively travel back to the past, and was getting pretty good at arriving at my targeted destinations in time. But as I looked through my hotel window at the surrounding wasteland that encircled downtown Detroit, my mind again became enraptured with the thought: Could there be an alternative reality to what I was seeing?

In this mindset I pondered, and into this time frame my thoughts latched unto.

Although many years had passed and much had transpired since the time of Detroit's glory days, the thought of Michigan's very own Palace being just a rotting curtain on a stage in the parking lot of a vacant city was more than I could bear. This was the image that became the catalyst in my premeditated attempt to alter history.

For most of the Palace acts I had attended in my youth, I had been accompanied by Julie. However, for some reason or another, I could not remember why, I had originally attended The Stooges' concert solo. This fact just made my decision easier. I could not tolerate any distractions. There were to be no encumbrances to influence my moves in my quest to alter events, and to that end my re-attendance of this concert was to be the ultimate test in my most righteous plan.

My first appearance at this concert had been cut short due to the violence of the crowd. But I had never really understood why a local crowd would vent in such a terrible manner to a local band, especially one that was beginning to make inroads to national acclaim. What had compelled segments of the audience to be so demonstratively hostile? How could I possibly alter that? What could I myself do to change anything at all? I was not a player of any sort, not a producer, musician, celebrity. No, I was just a young kid, barely out of my bubblegum waifish years.

I was stymied. Then I latched onto the idea of testing my hypothesis, and to this end I made a simple enough plan. I would purchase a camera prior to the concert, and see if I could take photos of the event, and have the photos in the new time stream after the event. Not exactly a life changing alteration to anything, let alone time itself. But if this idea worked, I would have the proof I needed that time itself could be changed by virtue of this time travel photographic magic. The rest, of course, would begin a journey into an incredibly dramatic pursuit!

It would take two hits of acid. I immediately dropped one, and began my thought process. The first hit would take me back to the time period. The second hit was required to obtain the intensity I needed to achieve the desired effect, thereby attaining my goal. It would be a trip within a trip. The first was easy enough. I floated through time and space. My landing, although spinning, was surprisingly relaxing, and I was soon back in 1974 on the day of the concert, once again, alone in the front room of my parents' home in Lincoln Park.

I then tore the second tab from the WMP Pursuit card that I had brought along with me, and, taking a deep breath, I readied myself and prepared to change fate. I knew that my idea to transverse this realm solo was the ideal and only way. After all, I would need to be in top form and focus my entire energies upon the task. I had no idea how I was to deal with the events, nor what I might expect to occur once the time streams had been altered.

This was indeed going to be an outrageous adventure! I started my turntable spinning with the licorice pizza of The Stooges' newest, which I had recently purchased from a hippie boutique on Dix Avenue, along with an Ann Arbor Sun that had the headline “Weed Wins,” and some incense. I lit the incense. Colours were already forming misty fogs of ever-changing patterns on the carpet. Then, much like a cue, a guttural belch launched the sounds of Raw Power, and the music began to spill into the room. Within a very few moments, I was once again in a glorious time traveling mood. Grasping the cork screw, I opened the Cabernet, sipped some wonderful red, and downed one more tab of acid from the card.

Seemed like only moments passed Can ya feel it, can ya feel it, and again it got me floatin', round and round. God, how I was loving these journeys. Always an exciting adventure, and now, if only to myself, an important mission!

I projected myself upward and outward in astral travel until I spied my '67 Pontiac Catalina motoring on Fort Street within a mile or two of the Palace. Seeing myself in the auto, I made a beeline to my own body and entered it. Simple enough. I was instantly renewed with my real time thoughts, even allowing myself the necessary time to stop at a drugstore, pick up some smokes, and buy the best possible camera they had. It happened to be an inexpensive Olympus 35mm camera. Smiling, I thought to myself, This is perfect! I knew I did not have this apparatus previously on this outing.

The clerk, happy to make such a nice sale, inquired “Anything else?” “Pack of Kool,” I replied. The amount for the camera and cigs were moderately priced, and I was prepared. I had saved small face denominational bills for this very reason, and they worked like magic. If the clerk had checked he would have discovered that the mint dates were in the '80s, but who would have ever noticed?

Back in my car, I loaded the film into the camera and started the engine, now only minutes away from the Palace. Luck was on my side; I obtained excellent parking adjacent to the venue. Crossing the street towards the Palace, I noticed the bright lights of the marquee displaying “The Stooges” in bold neon. The night so far seemed to be flowing like a breeze.

I paid my admission and entered the main lobby. The palace had elements of the sexy girls in nylons and garters parading with their gentleman friends, remnants of the Dolls show a month or so earlier, but the gritty street rockers of Detroit were much more prevalent in attendance. I sat for a brief minute and took in some of the beautiful ambiance of the theatre. It was then I was approached by a lean, long-haired rocker. Exchanging introductions, we immediately took a liking to one another. Several years my senior, his name was Dave, and as I accompanied him upstairs to the balcony, I discovered he was from Ann Arbor. We spoke at length and shared a joint while I tested out the camera with a few shots of the first band, Elephant's Memory.

Dave and I talked about the Stooges in their earlier days, when it seemed everyone knew them as the Psychedelic Stooges. He had been at the Grande many times when they had performed there, and recalled how nearly everybody used to laugh and make fun of them at the time because they could barely play their instruments. I mentioned how my sister Betty used to speak of them in the worst terms ever: “They just can not play!” she would say, or “They sound so distorted you can't even hear proper notes!” Dave laughed as I related this to him, but we both agreed that those very sounds were becoming The Stooges' stock in trade. “I Wanna Be Your Dog” represented this well, but the beauty of this song was its simplicity and gut appeal. It affected you with an angst and sexual ennui that rang true with the teenage condition.

We seemed to be in agreement that Elephant's Memory was just not the proper supporting act for The Stooges. It would have been far better to have had an act such as Detroit 's own superstars The SRC or Frijid Pink, as each band had their own unique distorted fuzz-guitar sound. Even The Dogs, with their electrifying high energy, would have been a much better warm up in voltage for both the crowd and The Stooges. After all, where would the rock and roll guitar be without Detroit—we invented electricity!

Following the opening act, Dave wanted to stay in the balcony for a bird's-eye view of The Stooges, while I wanted to shoot them from the main floor. So, during the intermission, we said our goodbyes and I headed downstairs. Making my way closer to the stage, I lit up a cigarette and inhaled—there's always something refreshing about a menthol cigarette to follow up a marijuana high—and awaited The Stooges.

The Stooges were the stand-outs of the Michigan counter-culture music scene. The first years of the '70s saw many of their local contemporaries slowly slipping into the dark crevices of oblivion. Such was the lot with most hippie acts who, by the end of the '60s, had been unable to evolve—musically speaking, they simply had nowhere else to go. But The Stooges stubbornly refused such a fate; after all, they were never really part of the flower-child set. They did not harmonize the mellow grooves of the free-love generation, but screamed out a raw convulsive energy.

 James Williamson, Iggy, Scott and Ron Ashton - 1974, Detroit (c) Saint Thomas archives

The effects of the grass were still abuzz in my head; I felt excitement flowing in my veins. The Stooges were the creators of three innovative albums, and I was here to rock to any combination of them. Soon, a Victorian-styled gentleman in a top hat walked to the mike and announced that The Stooges were ready to take the stage. I squeezed up even further and prepared myself for what I had originally believed would be the Detroit kickoff-off to their world-wide fame. Boy, had I ever been mistaken!

The band's stunning appearance on stage visually attracted everyone's attention, even before Iggy's arrival. They began rocking out an a instrumental reminiscent of earlier Grande days. It was weird to see Ron on bass and the sound certainly had that eerie vibration to show for it. To hear someone on bass playing a lead-like rhythm to the pounding beat of the drums was something you'd never expect, but only with The Stooges could it be a method. But as for Williamson on lead, who I had never seen previously with the band, with his space-age glitter well beyond current fashion, offered up an astonishing orchestration of vicious fuzz guitar. The drumming kicked in and the theme harkened back to the days of “Shake Appeal,” which rocketed the music forcefully outward to the crowd.

They held this vibe for minutes the sound oscillated with trappings of a hypnotic trance that began to get the kids in the crowd boppin' to it's manic beat. Everything at this point seemed to be going exceptionally well, and with the added promise of this being an incredible show. The beat grew stronger, James slamming his axe near center stage, and Ron to his brother's right banging the bass notes down. Ron being dressed provocatively in military jacket, and swastika armband, appeared to have a air of fascistic fasination. How groovily decadent I thought, this was so way cool visually that it was exciting to even see, let alone hear.

In a language of musical terms that fondly described two of the most prominent bands known in Detroit. If the MC5 were the high energy of a powerful acid induced locomotive, The Stooges were the results of the glorious psychedelic mayhem of it's chaotic train wreck!

I first thought that they would segue-way into Loose but the band's angle of attack was in an bizarre cacophony of Williamson's guitar twanging out screeching notes in typical Stooge fashion. Then dancing with a primal out of control instinctive angst appeared Iggy dressed provocatively in black leotards and flaunting a ballerina's Tu-tu dancing like a magical imp, and moving catlike across the stage more or less in sequence to the music and over to the center micro-phone stand.

The band's maniacal musical pace intensified. Firing fuzzed out volleys of splattering notes, their sound was like the noise of a head-on car crash. Yes, these were The Stooges, so insanely unsettling, like an overdose of a San Francisco speed-ball—heroin and cocaine mixed with LSD—their sound so diametrically opposed to their '60s flower-children counterparts. “Cock In My Pocket” was slammed out in such a disturbingly wicked manner that it captured the feel of the band's beginnings as the Psychedelic Stooges. So much so that I believed everyone in attendance would undoubtedly rock out to this. However, to the contrary, it got real twisted, real fast.

Their devastatingly acid sound flowed easily from one song to the next. It wasn't like there was much of a break in the chords. Perhaps they began another song, I could not tell, but I began seeing bizarre trails of colourful flying objects targeted towards the stage. I was momentarily taken aback. What the hell?!

The chaotic power of the music, twined together with Iggy's sarcastically vulgar vocals, had unleashed the worse in a segment of the audience. Coins, food and other objects were thrown. Bottles shattered on the stage, a few nearly missing the targeted head of the spastically moving front man himself. The band continued jamming out their unique madness of auditory dementia, but were barely able to finish the piece amidst the barrage of Stooge-seeking missiles. Iggy pranced about wildly, taking verbal shots at various audience members with quick-witted profanity. All the while, Williamson held his ground like an out-numbered soldier on the front flank, stage-left. The Ashton brothers were positioned back a bit; ironically, Ron, in his commanding military attire, appeared dressed for the event, and seemed initially unfettered by the continuous airborne assault of objects. Scott, in his black “Detroit Wheels” Tee, was perhaps the best protected, his kit offering somewhat of a shield.

Being pelted left and right, The Stooges for a time held their ground, and the band played on til it was near impossible to do so. By this point, the stage was littered with broken glass and other miscellaneous debris. Boos and jeers prevailed. Those who had come to see a Stooges performance were in a very distressed state. The Palace had been transformed into a demented hall of havoc. When a flying bottle made direct impact with and exploded off of James' guitar, they had had enough. James unplugged his instrument and they all walked off...

However, those in the crowd that were fans quickly became very vocal and united in voice for The Stooges, Stooges, Iggy, Iggy... til the members returned back on stage one after another. I remembered the concert from New Year's and with all the variations of styles that the rockers wore, and the words of a Mod that I met at the Dolls concert on New Year's Eve and a conversation with him about music, and his speaking about Mod mentality vs. mob mentality. Gee, I thought it truly made sense, especially now. This venue could certainly use some of this valuable mod thinking right now. And in seconds Williamson began firing out the salvos again with the combination of piano and pounding percussion the Stooges were back with a blistering counter attack. Some in the crowd still continued throwing items, I myself grabbing the arm of a kid throwing small objects on stage, and when he protested, my threatening a bitch slap made him quickly fade away. A momentary respite in the mood of the crowd as those fans of the Stooges took control of the whimsical attitude of those hostile in the audience. Another bottle broke on stage right between Iggy and James, But then the others could take no more the band again departed, the debris cluttering stage again. It was all but over, the top-hatted emcee came out requesting in no uncertain terms that the people responsible had to exit the palace, some did, but conflicts were everywhere.

 Satori Circus makes his entrance!
 Satori Circus travels through time!

Admist the backdrop, I was frantically snapping a shot here and there, extremely eager to see the band retake the stage, as I knew from my future reality that this was to be their last show. Yes, The Stooges were to return again, this I knew, but what magic was it that would make this happen, what did I miss the first time here, I thought to myself as the mayhem reigned and fights broke out here and there. The Palace being now a total madhouse. It was then, when I glanced upward, towards the balcony stage left that I saw him, the Amaranthine himself, illusionist and prankster.... Satori Circus.


The Caretaker interview with James Leyland Kirby


James Leyland Kirby is probably better known for his other project called V/vm. Since there has been an article in Wire magazine about that, I decided we should talk about The Caretaker. So here is our interview. I hope you will enjoy.

Interview:

Thanks a lot for taking your time to talk about your project called The Caretaker. What are some of the influences that had an impact on you at the beginning of The Caretaker?

Initially it was all about ghosts and memories, taking cues from Stanley Kubrick’s ‘The Shining’ also Dennis Potter’s ‘Pennies from Heaven’ and the film ‘Carnival of Souls’. The music itself too from the 1930’s has its own sadness and melancholic senses of loss as it was recorded inbetween the Wars when so many souls were lost.

How did you got the idea to paste so many different things together and where do you get these tunes? Are you a collector?

I used to collect more, I was lucky as there was a shop where I am from which specialised in old 78rpm records called the ‘78 Record Exchange’. Two old guys used to run that place and I was able to get so much incredible music from there before sadly it closed down some years back.

Your first album is from 1999 called Selected Memories From the Haunted Ballroom. It’s a very dark ambient album. Would you like to tell me how did your music changed through your different Caretaker releases?


The sound has developed from creating old memories and feelings into looking at specific conditions of memory loss and dysfunction. There was a big leap forward with this when i released ‘Theoretically pure anterograde amnesia’ as I had to make a release which could not be remembered but still had points of reference. The newer works have dealt with conditions where people are stuck in their own loops of thought. One of the aims was to make something which can appear very beautiful on the surface but when you listen deeply can also be very frightening and leave you feeling strange.

You also have some other very interesting projects. Among them there is V/Vm. What is the concept behind it?

V/Vm was probably one of the most extreme projects of its time. It covered so much and maybe this was its problem  as it became too big to work out and connect with. It abused copyright and other musicians too in a very powerful way.

The mad thing was I gave so much music away and did some really crazy projects where so much music was created. Nowadays nothing is online from this project at all except some you-tube videos as I had full control over all of it.

There was great article I did for the Wire about this which you check at http://www.thewire.co.uk/articles/8136/

What can you tell me about your record label? How did it started and what are some future plans for the label? Any upcoming releases?

I have been running a label since 1996 but decided to stop working on V/Vm Test and set up a new label ‘History Always Favours The Winners’ to release what I want to release again with perhaps a more focused ethic in the way releases look and are presented to people. It’s a lot more personal now, especially the works under my own name which feature no samples at all. There I hit for the more emotional feelings and connections. Right now I am very excited about the possibilities for future work but there is no plan at all. Each day I get up and work on something and hope overtime something stands out and work will flow in that direction.

An Empty Bliss Beyond This World is your latest album. Would you like to tell a story about it…how did you record it etc.

A lot of people really connected with this record and it really did get out there in a very organic way and keeps reaching out in unexpected ways. It’s amazing really it was made. I had no plans to do it but found myself in New York with the Demdike Stare guys Miles and Sean. They took me record shopping when I had a terrible hangover in Brooklyn and I went into this shop and found all of these records which were very cheap, i think 50 cents each. Everything else in the shop was expensive. So i bought them and when I got back to Berlin I had no plans to do anything with them. Then I was staying at this great flat but the girl whose flat it was didn’t like my lifestyle at the time of bringing an endless stream of girls back there (Her neighbours must have been spying as she was in China) so she told me I had to leave within a month. She had a turntable so I thought before I go I will record all these vinyls and luckily I had a sound recorder from a random road trip I did with two girls I found in Spain when the volcano erupted in Iceland. I recorded the vinyls using that too and there was something special in all of them. When I got to the flat where I am now I got to work straight away and you now hear the finished result. Really without all of those factors the release would not have happened at all.


We can then say it was a combination of the volcano erupting, road trips with Spanish girls, a crazy landlady, Berlin girls and the luck in finding some amazing works and spinning them in an emotional way. Luck always plays its part. Nothing was planned at all and I think you can hear that.

What can we expect from you in the future?

Well I have no idea right now. At the moment I work every day and hope something makes sense from this work and release things which I have a strong emotional connection with. It’s important right now to say less and make more I feel. I am very excited about the possibilities right now and feel very inspired and hope to capture these feelings. I’m interested to see what is next.

Thanks for taking your time! Would you like to send a message to the readers of It’s Psychedelic Baby Magazine?

Well it’s a fantastic time for music right now, everything is available out there and sometimes it may seem a little overwhelming but the key is focus and search and the surprises and connections can still be found. Always we all search for the magical moments and hope they too will find us. 


















Interview made by Klemen Breznikar/2012
© Copyright http://psychedelicbaby.blogspot.com/2012

Crow interview with Larry Wiegand


Interview:

We are really happy to talk to you regarding Crow. First of course I would like to start the interview with some questions about the early years. You were in bands before Crow. The Rave-Ons is one, that released a couple of singles. Were there any other bands? I would really appreciate if you could tell us the story about The Rave-Ons?

Rather than write it all down here go to this website: http://minniepaulmusic.com/ Its a treasure trove on Midwest bands from the 1950-1970's. In a nutshell...the Rave-Ons (1962-1967) were a 4 piece band covering everything from the Ventures/Duane Eddie Instrumentals  to British Invasion. Including Bo Diddley, C.Berry, Eddie Cochran, etc. We were heavy on the Yardbirds, Beatles, Byrds, Kinks songs after 1964. 

Crow was formed in 1967 by singer David Wagner, guitarist Dick Wiegand, bassist Larry Wiegand, keyboardist Kink Middlemist, and drummer Harry Nehls under the name South 40 and you actually released an album under this name called Live at Someplace Else! Before the talk about that album I would like to know why the name South 40?

Our agent at the time came up with that name. He was a great market man and when we were putting the band together, he started an ad campaign that he sent to Ballrooms, Clubs, Schools, etc. Stuff like: "South 40...Under Construction" or "South 40...ready for inspection". Like it was a new Interstate highway or something. Got us a LOT of gigs just on curiosity. To us it sounded too country and we really didn't care for it all that much. But we were working around 250 dates a year in 1967-68. 

 
So how exactly did you guys came together and what are some of the memories from Live at Someplace Else! Album? What label released it?
 
It was released on the Metrobeat Lable in the Twin Cities. 3 members from the Rave-Ons and 2 members from the Jokers Wild got together and re-formed as South 40. Our agent likes to say he put us together and he had something to do with it. But we were already working on it ourselves anyway. Memories about the Someplace Else recording are that it was a packed house, VERY rough recording sound, a very thrilling event for all of us, and of course somebody got stabbed in the parking lot after the gig. We didn't know him. We started getting a taste of the big time with that record.  


In 1969 you tried at Columbia, but nothing happened. Then you were signed up by Amaret. What can you tell me about getting signed up with Amaret and why did you change the name to Crow?

 
We were connected to a Dunwich Productions guy out of Chicago named Bob Monaco. He and 2 others from that company finished producing our first LP and sent it to a number of lables to see if anyone was interested. We heard from Atlantic and Amaret. They decided to sign the masters over to Amaret. We wanted to go with Atlantic but were out-voted. Thought was to be a big fish in a small pond with Amaret rather than the other way around with Atlantic. It was our first big mistake. After we finished recording the LP we knew we had to come up with a better name. We kicked it around a little bit and the name Crow came out of it. The name seemed to fit our style of band and music. We loved it.

Crow Music is your debut. What are some of the strongest memories from producing and recording this LP?

 

Recording most of that at Universal Studios in Chicago. Much better studio than what we had in Minnesota at the time. Working with some savvy old Chicago Jazz guys on the horn overdubs. Chicago was a hotbed at the time of successful bands like the Shadows of Knight, Buckinghams, Chicago, etc. We knew we had at least one good song but possibly more. It was exciting getting to know and work with our producers and new management team at Dunwich Productions. 


What gear did you guys use and at what studio did you record?
 
We recorded it at Universal in Chicago and a small studio in Michigan someplace. Ludwig drums, Hammond B-3 organ, Les Paul Guitar and Fender Jazz bass. Not sure of the studio equipment.

What can you tell me about legendary “biker” cover?

Shot was taken in downtown Minneapolis in 1969. Two of the bikes belonged to me and my brother Dick (our guitar player). The other 3 belonged to the Hell's Angels. Shot it at rush hour and we got quite a few gawkers when we were taking the shot. Folks thought something nasty was going on with all the funky leather & jeans look. We had a gnarly look in mind and they helped us out with that. I remember folks trying to avoid us on the sidewalk like we were gonna jump them. 


Evil Woman was a hit! What impact had that on you? Black Sabbath did a cover of it, how did you like it? 

We immediately started getting much bigger gigs. Opening for all the biggest names at the time on huge shows. We really liked the fact that Sabbath recorded our song. It sounded a lot like us. We didn't have horns on stage and the Sabbath version was more like us on stage. We thought it was pretty close to our version. Also Ike & Tina Turner used it on their "Come Together" LP in 1970' 


How about touring? Where all did you tour and with who? What festivals did you play? 


From one end of North America to the other. Toured with Janice Joplin in 69'. Played many times with the likes of the Allman Brothers, Chicago, Blood, Sweat & Tears, Steppenwolf, Vanilla Fudge, 3 Dog Night, Iron Butterfly, Grand Funk, Savoy Brown, Fleetwood Mac, Neil Diamond. The list goes on and on. We played at many festivals. Toronto Pop Festival, Vancouver Pop Festival, Miami Pop Festival, etc. Can't remember them all. Also Whisky a Go Go in LA, Fillmore West in San Francisco, Ungano's in NYC, etc. Hundreds of gigs for about 3 years. Lots of colleges and clubs in the US. It was a very exciting time for us.


Crow by Crow was your next release. Would you like to share a story about it?
 
Recorded it in 1969-70 at TTG studios in Los Angeles. We think this is the closest we got to what we sounded like "live" on stage. Our best effort and most satisfying record. Of course we were all in our early 20's and in LA. Need I say more? A great time for us. Came up with some classic Crow songs on that one. 


Mosaic was a lot different then other two releases, don’t you think? 

Absolutely a different LP. Some songs on that one had a few leftover songs from the TTG sessions in LA. The rest of it was recorded in Minneapolis at Sound 80 Studios. We tried to expand our style and see what we could come up with. A little Jazzy stuff, a little country stuff, and some blues/rockers also. Didn't come together like we hoped it would. Some good stuff but some ideas left undone, in our view. 


What happened next? You disbanded in 1972…  

Yes, we had been pushing extremely hard since 1967 with South 40 and then Crow. Lots of good times.But there came a time where we felt the urge to start families and/or go in different musical directions. Hard to do when your that busy. Add in some problems with our own personal manager and tax problems, we thought it was time to put it down for a while. That's what we did and re-formed again in 1988.

Do you perhaps have any favorite Crow memories you would like to share with us? 
One great memory was working with Janice Joplin for some gigs. She really impressed us with not only her voice and power but her command of these huge venues we were playing. Every eye was on her when she was on stage. Also flying to big gigs in our own plane, the limos, making friends with a lot of famous folks, and (in my case) playing in front of  70,000 people in Toronto. Along with Chuck Berry, and a lot of the acts named above. At that time these were the biggest acts around and very impressive for a 20 year old to be on stage and hanging out with them.

Dave Wagner recorded a solo album and I would really appreciate if he could share a few words about it? 

Well I'll tell him about your request and he'll have to get a hold of you. He's living in Phoenix now and we don't see each other except when he comes into Minneapolis to do rehearsals for our upcoming gigs. 


What was the scene back in the mid 60’s in Minneapolis? 

When I started playing in Minneapolis 1961 there were about 20 bands playing rock n roll in the Twin Cities. Doing mostly Elvis/Chuck Berry/Buddy Holly songs. In about 4 years there were about 500. It was a magical time. I suppose that happened to a lot of towns in those days. Especially after the Beatles came on. The Boomers were just coming of age.

Thank you very much for this interview! Would you like to send a message to It’s Psychedelic Baby readers? 


Just would like to thank all the folks for being fans of Crow. It's very rewarding to us to know that we connected with so many people through our music.  We still play at a few select venues in the USA and would love to play in Europe or anywhere else in the world that would like to see us. It's even more fun now that it was then. Thank you all. If your interested in CD's or upcoming dates, photo's, etc. go to Crow's website located at: www.thecrowband.com

 Keep rockin'

















 Interview made by Klemen Breznikar / 2012

© Copyright http://psychedelicbaby.blogspot.com/ 2012