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.

Gold interview with Ed Scott (guitar) and Ron Cabral (latin percussion and manager)

Gold promo shot.
left to right: Sebastian Nicholson, Ed Scott, Joe Bajza, Center bottom: Louie Gorseau, Richard Coco
Photo © Dave Pallavicini


Gold was a Mission District garage band that had a great raw sound. Critic Phil Elwood said they sounded something like a cross between Santana and The Jefferson Airplane. Gold is a band you may have seen forty or so years ago at places like The Matrix, Keystone Korner, Fillmore-West, Winterland and many other locations in Northern California and Oregon. They also played numerous benefits of all types. 


Interview:

It's a pleasure to talk about your band, Gold. First I usually ask about childhood and teen years. Where did you grew up and what are some memories of teenage years?

Ed: I grew up in San Francisco in The Mission District where I spent most of my time playing Baseball.

Ron: I was born and raised in San Francisco and attended both catholic and public schools. I began playing the trombone in the 7th grade and never stopped. When I attended City College of San Francisco I played in their award winning Jazz band. I also played later in a symphonic orchestra at San Francisco State University when I was working on my teaching credential. I became a regular teacher in 1966 in the middle school program teaching English and Social Studies. I remained in education till 2001 retiring as a middle school principal. Since retirement I have turned to writing and am currently co-writing a book about San Francisco in the 1970’s.

What would you say had a great impact on you in early days that made you later a musician?

Ed: The Beatles. When they came out it changed my focus to music.

Ron: As for my musician days I did play trombone briefly in Country Joe and The All-Stars 1972 and played percussion with Gold on some of the recordings and concerts.  In 2003 I backed up Country Joe on trombone at several San Francisco Bay Area gigs and we did a TV show and a radio show.  In 2004 and 2005 I went on two tours with the Country Joe Band (all former members of Country Joe and The Fish except for Barry Melton) I went on the Country Joe Band tours as a driver and photographer and to sell my book Country Joe and Me. Those tours went from LA to Canada with many stops in between like Seattle, Portland, Lake Tahoe, and Victoria, Canada.  I read from my book and introduced the band at the EMP (Experience Music Project) in Seattle. The book is also a kind of biography/autobiography as Joe and I shared many experiences in the military, music, performing and education. All during the music part of my life I was a also a full-time teacher for the San Francisco Public Schools – I wrote about some of that in the book.

Ron, there is an interesting story behind meeting Country Joe McDonald and you actually wrote biography about Joe. Would you like to tell the story, for those who don't know the book and might find it interesting?

Ron: Country Joe and Me is about Joe McDonald who I met while we both served in the US NAVY in Japan during the 1960-61 period. We served as Air Control Tower Operators and lived in the same barracks. There is a chapter in the book called In the Navy which describes our time in Japan. Since we were both from California we met up again a few later in San Francisco and then again at the Human Be-in held in Golden Gate Park in January 1967. I didn’t know at that time that Joe had started a band with Barry Melton called Country Joe and The Fish. I got very excited about the music scene that was happening in my home town and I wanted to participate in it.  The book describes my efforts to do so and my managing of a group called Celestial Hysteria. The name was borrowed from a poem written by beat poet Lenore Kandel.  I managed Celestial Hysteria for a year then joined my brother Dennis in managing Gold a Mission District garage band that had a pretty good sound – kind a bluesy Jefferson Airplane/Santana sound. The band went on to play all the Bay Area venues including Fillmore, Fillmore-West and Winterland. Opening shows for the likes of Mike Bloomfield, Janis Joplin with Big Brother and the Holding Company and Full Tilt Boogie, Hot Tuna, Malo, Cold Blood, Country Joe, Tower of Power and even British rockers Ten Years After. It was a good ride lasting till 1973 when the band finally broke up, five years in all.

Country Joe and Me has much in it about my years in music and had 60 photos and memorabilia. Along the way I met and had some very interesting encounters with Bill Graham, Chet Helms, Janis Joplin, Jerry Garcia and many other San Francisco based music people.

Were you in any bands before forming Gold? Any recordings from then?

Ed: No,Gold is the only band I have ever been in.

Who was all in Gold and how did you guys came together to form the band?

Ed: There was Chico Moncada (bass),Louis Goursau (drums), Sebastian Nicholson, Congas, Joe Bajza (lead guitar) and myself on rhythmn guitar and Richard Coco on lead vocals who was later replaced by Robin Sinclair.

Ron: Key members of Gold:  Ed Scott – guitar, Joe Bajza – guitar, Chico Moncada – bass, Sebastian Nicholson –Congas, Louis Gorseau – Drums, Roy Garcia – drums, Jose Lopes, drums, Richard Coco – vocals, Robin Sinclair - vocals, Bob Golden – vocals  note: Ron Cabral – latin percussion was also a manager of the group with his brother Dennis Cabral.

Gold played a benefit in Berkeley and later drove across the bridge to North Beach in San Francisco to play a party for the opening of "Fortune in Men's Eyes" play starring Sal Mineo. Sal played in such movies as "Rebel Without a Cause" with James Dean, he also played Gene Krupa in the "The Gene Krupa Story." Sal really liked the band and he went out of his way to talk to the band members.
Photo © Dave Pallavicini

Is there any special meaning behind the name Gold?

Ed: Gold came about after many longer  names, Golden Gate Meditation Society, Golden Gate and finally I told my manager we should just be Gold, and we were.

Tell us about Gold concerts. Where did you perform and with who? Did you ever tour?

Ed: Gold mostly played in the San Francisco Bay area, at Places such as The Fillmore West, Winterland, Pepperland and others with bands like Ten years After, Tower of Power, Cold Blood, Mike Bloomfield and others.

Ron: Gold is perhaps the most famous unknown band to come out of San Francisco. If they had a hot LP out while they were playing the San Francisco Bay Area they could have broken out, but it just didn’t happen. Another very fine group working in San Francisco Osceola falls into the same category. Both band played on some big shows.

Gold played a private party for the late actor Sal Mineo.

Gold played at a Lesbian bar called Saturnalia in San Francisco.

Gold opened the show at Winterland in 1971 for both Hot Tuna and Ten Years After.

Gold appeared backing Country Joe at Friends and Relations Hall at a gig in 1971 featuring New Riders of the Purple Sage.



In 1996 Rockadelic released your LP. What can you tell me about this recordings? When and where were they recorded and what are some of the strongest memories from producing and recording it?

Ed: The recordings on that album were recorde at Golden State Recorders in San Francisco. We were all very young and very excited about recording our music in a recording studio.



Ron: I do want to point out that during some peak stages for Gold, Country Joe came in to the picture and became a kind of producer of the group both in the recording studio and in out of the studio. He became like a coach in performing techniques when the band played Winterland. Gold recorded part of music sound track for the Saul Landau film Que Hacer in 1971 a film about Chile when Allende was president. Joe appears in the film several times. He also taught the band 2 of his tunes Summer Dresses, and Piece of Your Action and produced a version of Summertime all in the Golden State Recorders studios in San Francisco. Joe tried his best to bring Gold up as high as they could go. Bill Graham gave them several booking in his big venues and still they fell off the edge and had broken up by 1973.

Why were your recordings never released? What happened?

Ed: We really didn't know for sure, but probably due to lack of proper promotion.

There is another LP out called on Mission Rock, released by World In Sound Records. What can you tell me about the material? I know it was recorded live in San Francisco 1971.

Ed: This album was recorded at a time when Gold as a band was probably at it's best artistically,really strong songs.



Ron: The liner notes of both WorldinSound CD’s contain much information and history of Gold. I wrote both of them. Wolf Reuther CEO of WIS has done much in finally getting the GOLD sound out to the world. I want to thank him so much for the great engineering and distribution of Gold to the psychedelic collector world. The CD’s have been out for about 10 years now and have sold all over the world. WIS specializes in finding psychedelic music of the late 60’s and 70’s that missed getting picked up by a record label back in 1969 to 1973. Gold’s recordings were saved over the years. The Mission Rock CD is actually a live on KSAN radio broadcast. The Oregins CD is half studio recordings from Golden State Records and half live at the Fillmore-West during an audition performance for Bill Graham.

Ed Scott found the old Rockadelic LP in a used record store in Marin County back in 1997. It is kind of mystery how that one came out. It surprised everybody. I believe it made Wolf search for us which resulted in the 2 WIS CD’s. Work on Mission Rock started in  2001 and the CD came out in 2002. Oregins  ORE=Gold, GINS=Oregins... The misspelling is correct came out in 2003. I worked back and forth with Miguel first then Wolf back and forth on the phone and computer to create the Liner Notes and other issues concerning making the CD. It was a real good experience.
Of course Golden State Recorders was owned by the late Baron Leo Kulka – an old style record label.  Many groups recorded at Golden State including Big Brother and The Holding Company. Kulka signed the group and many others and tried to sell them off as package deals to other labels.
Rock Czar Bill Graham really liked Gold and gave them several chances to advance their career. He encouraged us to get a LP out back then in 1970- 1971 because he had to book many groups to play Fillmore that had hit LP’s and he booked them 3rd bill. The LP he wanted to hear never came in his lifetime as he died in a horrible helicopter crash in 1991. That CD would have been the 2 products made by WIS but that was many years later. Kulka never released an LP but did a 45RPM of Summertime on the “A” side and No Parking on the ”B” side.
Gold’s biggest gig may have the 1970 Hells Angels party in San Rafael. The bill was Loose Gravel with Mike Wilhelm, Gold, Big Brother and the Holding Company, Full Tilt Boogie and Janis Joplin. It’s all in Country Joe and Me.


Country Joe and Me can be found at www.amazon.com and on the German www.amazon.com.  Also on Kindle and Nook.

Would you like to tell me about songwriting. What inspired you the most?

Ed: I think that I was influanced by alot of the music at the time and it was a combination of various styles that we kind of blended together and created our sound.


What happened after the Gold?

Ed: I guess everyone kind of went there separate ways and did other things.

What currently occupies your life?

Ed: Well,I actually have a new version of Gold and we are still music,some old and some new.

Thanks a lot for taking your time! Would you like to send a message to It's Psychedelic Baby readers?

Ed: Yes, there is also another album out on World in Sound called Oregins,Check it out as well as Mission Rock. Thanks for your interest in Gold.

Ed Scott


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

Zakary Thaks interview with Chris Gerniottis


Interview:

Thanks for taking your time to talk about your music. Let's start at the beginning. Where did you grow up and what are some memories from your childhood?

I was born and raised in Corpus Christi, Texas. I had a fairly unique upbringing due to the fact my father managed a restaurant as well as a night club and my mother was involved with a lot of activities e.g. lifeguard instructor, water ballet, etc., so I had more "freedom" than most kids my age. However, that didn't stop me from playing Little League baseball or being in the Cub Scouts. The most enduring memory I have when I was a child is that I stuttered and was made fun of at school. The way I dealt with this was by being the class comic. That worked for the most part but the taunting still continued a little. Then I discovered that I didn't stutter when I sang; so by the time I was 8-years-old, I was singing in front of the entire school for several talent shows. I had found my calling!

It all started in 1964, when you were just a teenager and began playing instruments. You picked the name The Marauders and later you were called the Riptides. Tell me, how did line-up changed in this period and where all did you play?

I didn't pick either of those names - it was the main guitarist, Pete Stinson, who chose those. The Marauders had basically the same members as the Riptides, except Rex Gregory played drums for the Marauders and then switched to bass for the Riptides. We played in Corpus and the surrounding areas at teen clubs, church youth group parties, and a few private parties.

You never recorded anything, right?

Neither of those two groups ever recorded anything for release; however, the Riptides did get to play once on live television - a local music variety show called "Panorama Latino".

"The Last Five" joined you and you started as Zakary Thaks. How did you choose the name?

The Thaks' drummer, Stan Moore, was drumming for The Last Five when we convinced him to leave that group and start playing with us. We had just changed our name to The Zakary Thaks (a name I had spotted in a Teen magazine's "Letters to the Editor") in order to reflect our evolving sound which was away from surf music and more towards the British Invasion sound & American groups like The Young Rascals and Mitch Ryder & Detroit Wheels.


Soon you got signed up for J-Beck Records. Tell me more about it…

J-Beck Records was interested in signing us soon after we had changed our name to the Thaks. However, it was the night we had won a "Battle of the Bands" against several other bands, including The Bad Seeds, where Carl Becker walked up to me while we were on stage and handed me one of his business cards. Less than a month after that, we were heading down to the Texas valley to record our first record.

You went down to McAllen to record your first single. What are some memories from recording and producing this two tracks?

It was a somewhat "primitive" set up but the owner/engineer (Jimmy Nichols) really knew how to get a great sound. Naturally, we were excited - and nervous - because we had to record everything at the same time. After a few flubs on "Bad Girl", Nichols suggested that we run through a few covers to loosen ourselves up a bit.  The only song (of 3 or 4) I remember us playing was the Beatles' "I'm Down", but it worked. By the 5th try, we nailed "Bad Girl". We got "I Need You" on take #2. Nichols actually recorded us playing through those other songs but the masters were lost in a Valley flood back in 1973.


What gear did you guys use?

We had a hodge-podge assortment of equipment back then. Stan had the nicest gear - a Ludwig drum set. John Lopez was using a Fender Twin-Reverb and was playing a Gibson 335. Rex was playing a Kalamazoo bass initially, but soon switched over to a Gibson semi-hollow body. I believe his amp of choice was a Fender Bassman. Pete also played a Gibson semi-hollow body but he changed amps quite frequently. Pete was the "experimenter" of the group constantly looking for the best sound. We didn't have a band PA for awhile but eventually got a Bogen 120 with two 18 inch bottoms and a couple of bull horns. We always used Shure microphones.

 First single was successful. What happened next?

Following the success of "Bad Girl", we were working on several songs which we thought would be the followup single. Then we had the fortune of opening up for a show that had the Yardbirds on the playbill. After that great experience, we shifted gears and focused all of our efforts on coming up with a song that had most of the Yardbirds attributes we were wanting. John Lopez came up with a great riff and showed it to us at rehearsal one day - we flipped out and immediately started arranging it that afternoon. By the end of practice, the song was basically finished. I went home that night inspired by the song and wrote the lyrics and melody. The next day, we went through the song a couple of times and knew we had a winner. J-Beck flew us to Houston where we recorded at Goldstar Studios and rushed it to the pressing plant. Within 6 weeks time, the song ("Face To Face") topped the radio charts in San Antonio, Austin, and the Valley. The gigs started poring in and we were soon signed to ABC Dunhill Records. It's amazing how one song can open so many doors for a band!


You had tour with "Sam The Sham & The Pharaohs" and "Gary Lewis & The Playboys" and suddenly you were opening for Yardbirds, Jefferson Airplane, Animals and Steppenwolf. How do you remember those concerts? Do you have any favourite memories or a story about it, that you want to share with my readers?


Sam the Sham and Gary Lewis were on Dick Clark's "Caravan of Stars", an offshoot of American Bandstand where a traveling road show would tour around the country to sold out houses. We did get to open for more than a few of these shows and most of the groups you mentioned as well as many others (Standels, The Robbs, Paul Revere and the Raiders) were on the bill. Looking back at these events, I would say the two most memorable times were when we opened for The Yardbirds and Jefferson Airplane. In the case of the Yardbirds, this was the last time that anyone got to see both Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page together. They were incredible! As for Jefferson Airplane, it was a slightly different experience - mainly because their equipment had been stolen at the San Antonio airport so they wound up using our gear that night. They were very impressive but I think if you were to ask any of us about what one thing stood out at that show, the answer would probably be the same - Grace Slick! She was more beautiful in person than you could imagine and what a voice!!


You also had a gig with Moving Sidewalks and you had one with 13th Floor Elevators at the Knights of Columbus hall in Kingsville. How do you remember that?


My memories of the Moving Sidewalks are sketchy, but I remember the first show with the 13th Floor Elevators quite clearly. I think the reason why this show was so memorable was because the Elevators were at the top of their game, so to speak. We really didn't know too much about them prior to the gig, but after they started their set, we all got blown away! It's funny - they were very low key and non-chalant as they were getting ready to play, but once they started, it was like they hypnotized most of the audience before they finished their first song! It's sort of difficult to explain how this happened unless if you were there to experience it first-hand. Rocky and Stacy were the standouts but we really liked the drummer too, John Ikes. Needless to say, the Thaks direction after this show was straight to psychedlia.


What can you tell me about another band called Kubla Khan?

Kubla Khan was the group I put together following the breakup of the Thaks version 3. I knew the other four members of the band before we formed and I felt we could all gel together nicely (which we did). With free access to an 8 track studio that had just been built and my songwriting mode in full speed, we practiced and recorded an album's worth of material in a little less than one year. One has to listen to only a few tracks to figure out where our heads were at - The Band. We dug everything about them and I guess unconsciously wound up not finding our own unique brand or sound. At the same time though, Kubla Khan explored a lot of material that other bands at the time were not. I can also say with confidence that this is the one band I've been in where there was no drama or disagreements. We were friends first, bandmates second. To this day, I still have the highest respect for each of them.

Corpus had a really rich scene. What can you say about the scene? Did you hear about band Corpus, that released an LP in 1971 called Creation a Child? I had been lucky enough to find them and made an interview with them.

Corpus did have a lot going on back then for its size! There were teen clubs scattered everywhere, including a couple on the beach, so there was always somewhere to go hear a live band most every day of the week. Of course, most every town or city in the U.S. had a pretty active local music scene going on as a result of the British Invasion; however, Corpus did seem to have the most robust local music scene - at least, in Texas! As for the band Corpus, I've never heard of them. Granted, I moved to Houston in 1971 to attend the University of Houston.

Liberty Bell was a band you were involved with in the 70's? What else?

I joined Liberty Bell in February of 1968. Their lead singer, Ronnie Tanner, had been drafted into the army at just about the same time that The Zakary Thaks broke up (for the 1st time). I was with them for about nine months or so, but the drummer and the bass player left the group for college and the replacements were not nearly as good so the group just sort of dissolved by November of 1968. We did get to record about half a dozen songs before disbanding though.


What are you currently up to?

Today, I work for the Corpus Christi school district as an instructional adjunct for the language arts department. I still perform at shows but most of them are in Austin nowadays. I am fortunate that there are a couple of Austin-based bands that back me up whenever these shows come up - most frequently with the Ugly Beats. These guys really have the 60s garage sound dialed in!

Before we end our interview I would like to ask about song writting? What inspired you?

Well, I wish I could give a definitive answer to that. I think with the Thaks, we always composed the music first, then I would let the song itself pull the words out of me. I don't think we were particularly "inspired" by any one group, but you'd definitely have to give a nod to the Yardbirds and their influence on us. When I was in the Liberty Bell, it was a different process altogether. Either I or Allen Hunt would come to rehearsal with a mostly complete song. Al took a lot of his cues from Beau Brummels and/or Jeff Beck. As for myself, I remember being into Small Faces and Jefferson Airplane. For Kubla Khan, I basically wrote everything so I would just bring the songs to rehearsal and we'd arrange them accordingly before going into the studio. The Band was my inspiration on most of the songs, for sure! And of course, the main theme that inspired 90 percent of all the songs was girls - usually unrequited love or breaking it off! Let's face it, it's what most young men dwell upon.

Drummer Pat Whitenton, bassist Rex Gregory, singer Chris Gerniottis, lead guitarist John Lopez and rhythm guitarist Pete Stinson from 2006.


Thank you very much for your time. Would you like to share anything else with readers of It's Psychedelic Baby Magazine?

It's a priviledge and an honor to still be remembered as a Zakary Thak after all these many years.

Cheers to one and all,

Chris Gerniottis















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

Shinki Chen - Chen Shinki & His Friends (1971) review


Shinki Chen was considered the Japanese Jimi Hendrix. Chen is one of the most renown members in the japanese psych scene, Playing in such bands as the japanese psych supergroup "Food Brain"  featuring members of The Golden Cups and the great Apryl Fool. They released sadly only one album "Social Gathering" Which is total psych/prog madness. Let's not forget the equally classic "Speed, Glue and Shinki" who's name comes from certain members favorite drug of choice, Now to the album at hand.  "Shinki Chen & His Friends" was released in 1971 and to my ears stands out as one of the heaviest forgotten psych masterworks! 

Within the first few seconds of the opening track "The Dark Sea Dream" you feel like you are in just that, A dark sea dream indeed. Filled with atmospheric backwards piano and backwards guitar that brings to mind a room filled with spirits from the 4th dimension. Have I mentioned this is heavy stuff? Once you have awoken from the dark sea dream you are hit with the fuzzed out bass of Requiem Of Confusion, It should be stated that this is one of the most psychedelic albums to be heard. The tripped out production techniques are at an all time HIGH on this album. Chen's cryptic vocals fed through a leslie speaker set the tone for the rest of the album. Gloomy Reflections lives up to it's title, Shinki is bringing you DOWN and you can feel it. The solo at the end of the song will give you an idea why he is thought of as the Hendrix of Japan. Once you are soaked in the phase that is "It Was
Only Yesterday" which to me sounds like it wouldn't be too out of place on Electric Ladyland while we're on the subject of Hendrix. The only thing that truly bugs me about the album is the terrible mix of the drums. Most of the time they sound like a cardboard box being hit from 100 miles away. Still that alone cannot take away the true genius of this album. One of the most psychedelic heavy albums of the early 70's and sadly one of the most over-looked. If your ready for the trip, well dive right in brother!

Review made by Chris Oliver / 2012
© Copyright http://psychedelicbaby.blogspot.com / 2012

Ian Gillan of Deep Purple and Black Sabbath interview


Ian Gillan took some time for It's Psychedelic Baby to talk about some of his latest project. Gillan and Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi are currently promoting their project called "WhoCares" with the intent to support the rebuilding of a music school in Gyumri, Armenia. Both Gillan and Iommi have spent a lot of time in Armenia, fallen in love with the country and the people and have dedicated a lot of work to a nation still shocked after the earthquake that struck Armenia on December 7, 1988 at 11:41am.

The collaboration of Gillan and Iommi, who have worked together before on the Sabbath album "Born Again" is really something special. We must also mention other names involved with this project, such as Jon Lord on keyboard, Iron Maiden drummer Nicko McBrain, former Metallica bass player Jason Newsted and guitar player Linde Lindström are also featured on the album.

Interview:

It's a great pleasure and honor to talk to you for It's Psychedelic Baby Magazine. You are very active these days and you have been working on a very interesting charity project called »WhoCares« with Tony Iommi from Black Sabbath. Your main intent is to support the rebuilding of a music school in Gyumri, Armenia. You and Iommi both have spent a lot of time in Armenia. Tell us about your views on Armenia. How did you two decided to do this?

Thank you. Our decision was made on a plane whilst Tony and I were returning from a trip to Yerevan where we were honoured by the president for work on the album ‘Live Aid Armenia.’ When I spoke to the mayor of Spitak (along with Gyumri in the epicentre of the devastation that took 25,000 lives and made ten times that number homeless) a year after the event, he told me there was still no music, not in the churches or schools or on the radio, it seemed even the birds had stopped singing. ‘We’re not ready yet’ he said. Almost a quarter of a century later, they are ready. And the music school is symbolic of a new start. Construction begins this month and will take about a year. The contributions of many people are invaluable; our efforts with the music is just a part of it I’m proud to be involved with.


The list of musicians, that also appear on this project is amazing! How was it to work with them and how did you and Tony got along musically?

I know Tony well and love working with him; when he comes up with an idea I know exactly what’s expected of me. Old mates John Lord and Nicko McBrain were in the studio with Tony and myself, and the others were added remotely.

The album features a lot of new songs and also some rare ones. How did you guys decided what to add and what not?

The list was mostly compiled by Max Vaccarro at Edel records. Max has been a driving force behind the project.

Let's travel back in time a bit. I have the 60's in my mind. Between 1962 and 1964 you were in a band called The Javelins, where you were known as Jess Thunder. Then you joined Wainwright's Gentlemen until 1965. The band recorded a number of tracks including a cover of The Hollies hit "Ain't That Just Like Me". The first major band you were part of was Episode Six and I would love if you could tell us a few words from this period of your life.

These bands were the formative part of my professional life and I loved every moment with them. It was in Episode Six where I met Roger Glover who joined Deep Purple with me in 1969.


While being in Deep Purple you toured the whole world and played at so many festivals. Is there any special place, country or perhaps a festival, that you were most inspired by?


Festivals are great; I love the sound of music in the open air. It reminds me of my trips to the fairground when I was a kid. My favourite of all the greats is/was Reading, where I played quite a few times.


A while back I interviewed bassist Paul Dean from Jerusalem and he mentioned your name a couple of times. You actually find them. I'm really amazed what a raw energy they had. Really impressive…

Paul was the brother of my girl-friend at the time and got hooked up with a band called Jerusalem which I produced at my studio Kingsway Recorders. I thought they were original with a great attitude…and their songs were very good – if a bit whacky.


What plans do you have with »WhoCares« and what are perhaps some of your other future plans?

There are no plans at the moment for WhoCares, although the ‘band’ will remain on alert for another project. At the moment Tony and I have our hands full with other stuff.


Since It's Psychedelic Baby has a lot of fans of late 60's and 70's psychedelia I would like to ask you if you could name a few good bands, that inspired you back then in those years. What did you like to listen as far as psych goes? 

Frank Zappa, The Doors, Vanilla Fudge, Cream, Moby Grape.

Monday 16th July 2012 Jon Lord passed away, which is a great loss for the music world. Would you like to share a memory?

Forgive me but it is still too close for that.


I want to thank you for taking your time. I wish you good luck with your charity project and all the best to you and Tony. Would you like to share a message for your fans and for the readers of It's Psychedelic Baby Magazine?

Thank you all in psychedelia, may your gardens be full of Bambis and honey bees.

Cheers,  

Ian Gillan



































Photo © Tommaso Mai


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

Neptunes Empire interview


Neptunes Empire are a little known band from Norway. They released only one LP back in 1971. I found a member of the band and he kindly gave an interview. 

Interview:

A few notes: Neptune's Empire continued as a live band after I left. The band then consisted of Charles Forbes, Lei Aloha Moe, and a few other musicians.  I know little about their subsequent activities

How did Neptunes Empire start?

Charles Forbes (England/Gibraltar) Bjørn Gjerstrøm (Oslo) and I (Trondheim, Norway) met in the LDS church in Oslo, and formed a songwriting trio; Chas(Charles) Dan (me) and Grable (Bjørn). We started to write songs, and Charles and I was joined by  Erna Johansen and later Lei Aloha Moe from Denmark to make a performance group. The name Neptune's Empire stems from my studies in Marine Biology at the time. My suggestion was to call the group Neptun's Empire, but Charles, no doubt due to his finer command of the English language and knowledge of how The Beatles (note the "ea" instead of the double e) got their name, insisted on Neptune's Empire. 
It is also worth noting that Bjørn Gjerstrøm, son  of the Norwegian composer Gunnar Gjerstrøm and his wife Elsa (music teacher) had a brother Jan Gunnarson (they split their parents two last names between them). Jan Gunnarson was an accomplished painter, and had a large etourage of artists milling around him, and somehow Chas Dan Grable was always involved in what went on around these artists.  

I think it would be the best if we start first talking about Junipher Greene. Some of the members came from that band, right?

Junipher Greene were session musicians with us when we recorded the LP. They did practise in our premises in Pilestredet with us a few times before we recorded at Arne Bendiksen Studio, but they were never considered to be part of the group.

Were you or others in any other bands before forming Neptunes Empire?

There is a certain Genesis here, but it is far fetched. With Erling Mylius and two others I formed "The Tempests" in 1962, but the band more or less broke up a year later. Erling, Torbjørn (Tobben) Johansen went on to form another group, and they asked me to name the group. On the spur of the moment I quipped "The Missing Links" and that indeed became the name of the group. Once I sang impromptu with the group at a "Trocadero" reataurant in Trondheim, but I was off on a full time mission to England for two years, and The Missing Links dispersed and Erling and others went on to form the now famed "Difference".

You released a single and whole LP back in 1971. Let's go into detailes regarding this release. Where did you release it?

What can you tell me about the name of the band and what about the cover artwork?

Charles had in some way or other gotten in contact with a flamboyant young businessman Irving Cast who was bent on sponsoring us for a CD. He was going to pay for the entire recording, and then pay for promotion on the BBC and other channels in England. He paid up for the recording and other direct expences incurred in the production. Unfortunately Irving died in a plane-crash in 1971(machine from Oslo to Copenhagen August 28) and that dried up our funds and put an end to the promoting efforts.
The songwriting trio was rather involved with the artists milling around Jan Gunnarson. One of these were the film director Lasse Henriksen, who was starting production of the film "Love is war" He asked us to write a title track for the film, which became a, if not the, major cooperative effort of the trio in 1970. Bjørn Gjerstrøm (Grable) arranged the music and brought some of the melody line, while Chas wrote the words and both he and I contributed to the melody. The rest of the tracks were mainly the combined efforts of Charles and I.

The arwork was the effort of Jan Gunnarson. The picture on the front is actually Charles Forbes photographed and rendered graphic by Jan, an he was adanmant we use green "beccause that is the best selling color." He designed the entire cover.

Share some of the memories from recording and producing this LP?

While a very creative period, the memorable moments are rather unimporessive, they are more for private reminiscence than pompous statements. But we were invited to Bastøy while Lasse Henriksen was filming "Love is War," we did some initial recording at the Henie Onstad Center, we were quite green as to the mixing and the job that the technicians did for us.

What can you say about the songwriting. What are some influences?

We lived in the Mersey-beat era, and Beatles, Rolling Stones and (at least for me) the Beach Boys were the people to emulate. I had an interrest in light jazz, which had led me to Dave Brubeck, Stan Getz and (By that way) to Astrud and Joao Gilberto. Their influenve mey come through in Lingering on and, to a lesser degree, Bbm.

Did you do any touring? If  so, where and with who?

Charles and Lei were joined by others for a live band in 1973 and onward, they toured, I remember them telling me of concerts in Kristiansand, but I do not have the details.

What happened to the band next?

It seems to have disbanded as a performing group in 1975 and Lei returned to Denmark.

What happened after that? What are you doing these days?

Bjørn Gjerstrøm is a composer, I am a teacher (Maths and sciences) and Charles, well that may be a long story...
I still work a little with music, have edited a songbook, sung in choirs, translated texts and so on, but strictly at an amateaur basis.















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

Opossom - Electric Hawaii (2012) review


Opossum is a fresh new band on the New Zealand pop psych scene. Earlier this year they released their debut album Electric Hawaii. The band is fronted by Kody Neilson with Michael Logie (previous members of the now defunct Mint Chicks), along with Bic Runga. Just as I’m sure many of his audience feared Kody would not return to indulge our taste for his musical creation, I’m also sure that for everyone awaiting his next move, this album release was Christmas come early.
Kody has brought with him the experimental noise rock vibes of The Mint Chicks and combined them with some sunshine. The result is something on the same level as what his brother Rueben Neilson (also ex Mint Chicks) had produced with Unknown Mortal Orchestra in 2011. If you wanted to compare this situation with a ‘60s influence heard on this album, the Beach Boys juxtapose nicely. When Brian said goodbye to the tried and true rock and roll that had brought with it their mainstream success, and began to experiment with new sounds in psychedelia, the results were some fantastic pop music. We see the same thing with the release of Electric Hawaii.
The albums single Blue Meanies was released on July 2 of this year, with swirling keys and vocals that make for an enjoyably bright sample of what this album has to offer. Whilst many have many have coined this album as being an emulation of 1960’s psychedelic tunes, the ‘60s influences aren’t as strong as some would have you believe. While they are surely present, the bright upbeat instrumentation combined with the somewhat eerie vocal gives it a modern feel that is more reminiscent of BJM (title track Electric Hawaii) or The Black Angels (Cola Elixir).
Sure, the album does have moments that aren’t at quite the same level of “this is just lovely” as you experience when listening to the rest of it, but it is never boring, and none of it is filler. The track Fly for example doesn’t quite stand up to the rest, but occupies the space where Opossum shows that they can create consistent and quality tunes, keeping it mellow when they want to. On the flip side there is the closing track Inhaler Song that creeps up like a motherfucker (have a listen to understand) and leaves you with something not easily forgotten. It is clear that this album exists as more than just pop psych, with no lack in substance or content.
This really is one of the better albums to come out of New Zealand in recent years and if you haven’t heard it, you have something enjoyable ahead of you. I feel it’s worth noting that Kody continues his past of family collaboration with his dad contributing to this album. Kody has said in an interview that he likes playing with his dad, and listening to the album you get the feeling that Opossum was having a good time recording it. This is something that shows through in the music. With good vibes all round and an exciting hint at the future of the New Zealand psych scene Electric Hawaii is the best of pop psych summer jams.

OPOSSUM is touring throughout the US, Germany and the UK in October and November. Dates, along with the album Electric Hawaii is available on their bandcamp site; http://opossom.bandcamp.com/

Review made by Johnny Thomson / 2012
© Copyright http://psychedelicbaby.blogspot.com / 2012

Savage Grace interview with Al Jacquez


Short chat with Detroit's Savage Grace. They recorded two albums in the early 70's, which are great examples of hard rock. Both albums were released on Reprise Records. They played many festivals while touring the States. 

Interview:

Thank you very much for taking your time for the interview regarding Savage Grace. First 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 Ft Knox, NY City, Upstate NY and Ann Arbor, MI. As a "child" I heard Swing, Broadway, Opera and Classical Music at home and when visiting my artist Grandfather (Albert) in Woodstock.  I listened to radio as well, so I heard whatever was being played as "Pop".

What was the scene in your city? 

I first became aware of a "scene" when living in Ann Arbor.  I started playing guitar during junior high school.  Our teachers exposed us to Blues, and R&B and suggested we listen to the artists who influenced the "British Invasion."  So. . . we listened to BB King, Albert King, Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Sam & Dave, Motown, and some folk artists.  Ann Arbor had many opportunities to play including frat parties, teen clubs, teen dances - I also worked in musicals w/ Junior Light Opera.

Were you in any other bands before forming Savage Grace?

I formed The Hideaways w/ Jeff Jones.  We also had a band called Dunning Maze. We played frat parties, teen clubs and band battles.  Those bands did not release any product.  We usually played 3 gigs a week and got paid for our efforts.

When and how did you guys came together to form Savage Grace and why this name?

I got involved in early 1969.  I knew one of the roadies for Scarlet Letter.  When SL decided to change from a 5 piece to a 4 piece band he suggested they check me out.  That band became Savage Grace.  Jerry Lubin came up with the name at a rehearsal.


How did you get signed up with Reprise? I know you released a couple of singles and then you started recording your debut. 

Scarlett Letter released singles.  Savage Grace started working after three months of rehearsal, and we worked a great deal.  The scene in Michigan was blossoming.  Vince Pernicano, a promo man for Warner/Reprise liked the band and convinced MO Ostin to check us out.  I believe Vince was influenced by a show at Olympia w/ CCR.  During that show we earned a standing ovation.  Mo then came to see us at a gig at a local synagogue.  We negotiated our deal in a face to face meeting w/ Mr. Ostin in John Seanor's Mom's living room.


In 1970 you finally released your debut. I would like to know what are some of the strongest memories from producing and releasing your first LP? 

That's a tough question.  It was a very exciting time.

What gear did you use?

I played direct to tape - I am sure the engineer used a bit of EQ and compression to even out the signal.

What can you say about the cover artwork? 

We shot many pics w/ Ed Thrasher, the art director at Warner's - Warner's picked the cover.

Where was your touring territory?  

We played Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin - there were festivals all over the Midwest - we also toured parts of the East Coast and South.


Savage Grace 2 is your second and last LP... 

Ron Koss and I recorded also a third CD - "One Night in America" - it is available on iTunes.


What were you doing after the second LP and what are you doing these days? 

I never stopped singing.  I have done commercials, acted, worked in the training industry and continued working in bands.  Since SG I sang with Guardian Angel, Lightnin,' Custom Eyes, The Suspects, Burning Circle and Measured Chaos - I recently released "The Blues According to The Gospel".

I heard you are planning to get back together? 

Savage Grace featuring the Grande All-Stars played at the Detroit Music Awards on April 27. I am doing gigs as Savage Grace w/ Measured Chaos (keyboard added) in Michigan.  First date is Friday, June 8 at The Magic Bag in Ferndale.  We have other dates and I am receiving more offers.  The set begins w/ "Come On Down" and ends with "All Along the Watchtower".


Thank you very much! Would you like to send a message to readers of It's Psychedelic Baby Magazine? 























Thanks for your interest - please visit www.facebook.com/SavageGrace2012 and www.measuredchaos.com and aLJacquez.com























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

Human Eye, Timmy's Organism & Clone Defects interview with Timmy Vulgar


Interview:

Hey Timmy! How are you? I'm really glad we can talk about your music. What can you tell us about some of your early influences and where did you grow up?

I grew up all around Michigan and Arizona. I was born in Denver Colorado. Then my folks moved to Michigan when i was a few months old. Then we moved to Arizona when I was 10 years old. While living there, I got into skateboarding I was 11 or so. My older brothers were into metal and Rock and I really loved what I heard. I think music grabbed me at an early age. Stuff like QUIET RIOT, OZZY, PINK FLOYD, RUSH. Those are some of the bands I remember the most. My first favorite song in Kindergarten was "Come on feel the noise"- QUIET RIOT covering SLADE! And I also liked early Rap, I was pretty good at Break-Dancing in 1st and 2nd grade. . But I was still to young to really get into music all the way. I was to busy catching Lizards and poisonous insects, shooting my sling-shot and later on I started skateboarding. I was kind of a "Dennis the Menace" as a kid. 
     
As I got older, I got more and more into music. I had to share a room with my older Brother Joe when we we're about 12 and 14. He would listen to the CURE and the SMITHS and some other stuff I can't remember. But I would barrow his tapes while he was gone and I would draw or read comics and listen to them. Batman and the CURE "Boys don't cry" are vivid memories for me. I remember late one night Joe snuck outta the house to go to a Punk show and when he came back he reenacted "Slam Dancing" for me. He said.."Yeah Timmy it was crazy! All these crazy kids slam dancing in a circle like this!!!" And he slammed me across the bedroom!! And I bruised my hip on the window sill! I did'nt know what to think. Cause I was use to getting my ass kicked by him! All big brotherly love! hahhah!
    
So my family finally moved back to Michigan when I was 14. I was happy to get back "home". When I started back up with school I started a band with some metal heads in my 8th grade class. I did'nt know how to play an instrument so I was the singer, Later on the Guitar player Evan Hershalman, gave me MISFITS "Walk among us" on cassette. That band sent my curiosity and interest in punk to new levels. Anyway. We played two of the school dances. We did cover songs by SLAYER, GUNS and ROSES, the DOORS and the SEX PISTOLS. There's a live VHS tape floating around somewhere. It was the Novi Middle School Dance. In order to go to the dance as a student you needed at least a "C" grade average. Which I did not have, I was terrible in school!! The only A's I received were in art. The principle and my teachers made an exception they let me play live at the dance but I had to be dropped off right before our performance then go home right after. Hahah! Kinda funny, It was like i was an exclusive rock star cause of my bad grades. Born to rock.
   
When I was 16 me and my life long best friend and cousin started a Punk band. We were called the "Kosby Kids" Cause our guitar player was a chubby black kid. We played Veterans halls and partys it was a blast we'd drink 40's of Mickeys and get drunk and played Black Flag syle punk rock. We made fun of the straight edge kids even when our bass player was straight edge! hahaha! It was alot of fun.
   
A year later I met Ian Ammons (aka) Jack Shit and now Nai Sammon(guitarist writer for the PIRANHAS and EPILEPTIX) at a Kosby Kids show. We became friends right away and talked about starting a band. So we did, he put his girlfriend on bass and we found a good drummer and we started rehearsing everyday we could. We turned into an insane reincarnation of the GERMS. But were'nt trying to imitate anyone. Ian made it a point not to have a song that was a familiar riff to an old punk song. A rule I still live by.
   
Listening to punk and discovering old 70's punk bands became a super obsession for Ian and I. We became best friends wrote a ton of songs. He wrote the guitar parts did all the arrangements and I wrote 90% of the lyrics. I learned so much playing in a band with him. Thats when I started messing around with the guitar. Ian taught me the basic bar chords etc. The band played out for about 4 years, put out three 7" records and an LP.

I know one of your first band was called Clone Defects and you released two records. 

CLONE DEFECTS formed in 1998. I called up Chuck Fogg and asked him about starting a band he came by my house and we practiced a bunch. We hunted around for drummers tried a couple out but know body worked Then I met Fast Eddie at the Magic Stick. He was in a band called the Tonsil Boxers they were a fast hardcore punk band so I figured he was a good drummer. So ask him if he wanted play drums for us, So he came by and we jammed. The rest is history. Wild Mid Wes was my roomate and a great guitar player so he joined the band and we started some serious song writing. We were all friends before hand and in bands that played shows together so we locked in quick.


We brainstormed on a band name we almost called ourselves "Get Shocked!" Because we practiced in a suuuper shitty basement in detroit. There was water everywhere in the basement. I had to stand on top of an old door ,set on top of a big puddle. I was getting shocked on the microphone cause the grounding in that dungeon were so horrible. The wall was con caved like a beer belly and when it rained water would just pour threw the cracks. We played our first show in that shit basement!
  
We played around town alot and i feel like we became to the older rock n rollers their new favorite band.

So we got on alot of great shows that way. We would play with..ROCKET 455, DETROIT COBRAS, BANTOM ROOSTER, We would play shows with the GO and the WHITE STRIPES. We recorded three 45's and two LP'S We toured alot. We recorded our first two singles in Jack Whites living room in southwest Detroit. We had alot of fun.He was a big fan. When WHITE STRIPES started to blow up they took us on a 6 day tour. We played for 800 to 2000 people a night. It was cool. When we broke up in 2003. I started jamming with Johnny LZR in Oct. of that year.

Human Eye was born around year 2004. How did you guys come together?

Johnny and I were acquaintances and we had talked about getting together and workin' on some music. He was building peddles and was experimenting with synthesizers. So we got together and jammed. We connected right away it sounded great we just needed a bass player and a drummer. Tommy Hawk was Johnny's roomate and he sorta knew how to play bass guitar so we asked him to jam. One night when i went over to their house for practice Thommy was building this science Model of the "Human Eye" i walked by Tommy and i said that'd be a good band name! HUMAN EYE! Thommy jammed with us that night. They mentioned that there friend James played the drums. We tried him out and it worked. We started writing and played our first show a few months later and recorded 10 songs for our first album.

In 2005 you released your first album. You made really interesting sound on the album and I would like to know what can you say about recording and producing this album?

We recorded the first album in the fall of 2004. Our friend Ryan Sabatis he was the drummer of Detroits most notorious and best punk band the PIRANHAS at the time. He wanted to record us. He was a friend and a fan and I wanted to record with him for the same reasons. His studio was in his basement he had a 16 track a-dat tape machine and some decent Mic's. His studio was nick named the "Snake Pit" cause the people that lived there before him had at least a dozen pet snakes they kept down there. I imagine illegally. Poisonous exotic snake collectors in Detroit.
  
We had alot of fun recording and experimenting with weird sound overdubs & noises. We miked a blender, we put a sock around a mic and put in the dryer and turned on. We drank a "Lake Superior" worth of Milwaukee's best ice! The album Took at least a couple of weeks altogether. It was thee best time I had recording an album. And one of my fondest memories in music for me.

What can you say about the cover artwork?

The album art is a collage/painting kinda thing. I bought a bunch of science books from some thrift stores and cut em up. Glue and pasted, no computers!!
  
Band Name, Album Art are just as important as the Music 100%. So I like to take my time on that stuff. So many horrible band names out there so many lazy album covers.


"Fragments of the Universe Nurse" is your next album. I'm sure you can tell us about making this album and btw I really enjoy the cover artwork.

Thanks glad you dig the art. That album cover is collage/paint markers/paint. I went with the same approach as the first album. The back cover is kinda of a symbolic to a "beast" or "monster of sound." With the yellow green and red "sound waves" coming of the creature. "Fragments of the Universe Nurse" is sorta my favorite out of the tree albums we've done. It has more of variety to it in the song writing. We recorded half of that at the "Snake Pit" and half at "High Bias Recordings" With Chris Koltay. It was a weird time for the band back then, Billy Hafer our drummer moved outta state and we were getting ready for our first European tour. And we Brad Hales joined the band that year 2006.


Now we are moving to your side project called Timmy's Organism. You released an EP in 2009 called "Squeeze the Giant". I bet you are a huge Chrome fan? In 2010 you released album called "Rise of the Green Gorilla", which is in my opinion really an interesting experimental record. Would you like to share your ideas behind the album?

I bought a tascam 4 track from a buddy for $50 bucks. I was addicted to that thing! I recording a ton of stuff. TIMMY'S ORGANISM "Squeeze the Giant" 2x7inch is a collection of home recordings I did on that machine. 3 of the songs on that record are by myself and 2 are with the "Organism" band.
Johnny Lzr left his Synth's over so I started messing with them. I didnt have a drum set so I would base the guitars and vocals around the synth sounds. I was really inspired at the time and had so many ideas running through my head I had to lay down, it was a very strong creative time in my life.


Yes I've been a huge CHROME fan sents I was 17! That was definitely the first weird tripped out psychedelic/punk or whatever kinda band, I really got into. My oldest brother Paul made me a tape of Half machine Lip moves and Alein Sound tracks and it never left my tape deck. Me and my buddies would skip school and drive around in my "Dodge Omni" smoke weed and listen to that tape. It was pretty heavy on an acid trip too.

"Rise of the Green Gorilla" is a collection of home recording's like "Squeeze the Giant." Recorded around the same time and later. On the same 4 track. The cover art is one a handful of drawing's my good friend Jimbo Easter(DRUID PERFUME & PIRANHAS) has drawn of me over the last 12 years.


I hope that album can tell someone a story especially the instrumentals.

This year you released another great album with Human Eye called "They Came From the Sky". The album is very consistent and your sound is hmmm hard to describe...kinda garage flavoured acid rock?

HUMAN EYE-"They Came From the Sky" It's really cool and flattering that reviewers have been saying that its our best work yet and that it's our most consistent album. And that its my best work since the CLONE DEFECTS "Blood on Jupiter."

The record got #1 album of 2011 on three of the reviewers lists on "Terminal Boredom" And it got 7.7 in a  review on Pitchfork. Among other great reviews on the web and magazines. Really, really cool! Means alot. The songs on this record are inspired by classic Heavy Psych and Heavy Blues. And I guess just a mix of other stuff i've been diggin', Kraut Rock and classic Punk etc. We recorded this album with Adam Cox he really has a good ear and vision for recording/mixing and engineering bands in the city lately. We recorded "They came from the sky" with him. And we recorded half of the 2nd TIMMY'S ORGANISM "Raw Sewage Roq!" (out in June 2012 on "In The Red Rec.") album with Adam and other half with Warren Defever at the UFO Factory.


And as of now HUMAN EYE just recorded 9 songs with Adam Cox, We've been mixing and finishing it up.  "the "Gentleman's Club" is a great studio. Its inside a music class room in an old middle school in detroit. Its complete with lockers and stinky bathrooms.

What about touring? Anything crazy happened while touring?

We cant afford to tour as much as these other bands do but We tour a few weeks outta the year to keep people on their toes. I've toured the Mid west, north, west and east coast, down south, up through north/east canada. And we did a month in Europe we need to go back!! Crazy tour storys? Theres to many! I can't type all that.

In Belgium a guy told me the Beer I was drinking was great with horse meat! And I said "you eat horse meat??" And he said "yeah!!" And I said "thats nasty!" And he said "Did I shock you, Timmy Vulgar?"
Hahah! I got glitter all over a guys quesadilla in Columbus OH. I made this mask that shot glitter and silly string and I walked threw the audience to get to the stage and on my way. A bunch of glitter dumped all over this dudes quesadilla, he had just bough itt from the bar and had'nt even taken a bite of it yet! He was suuper pist!! He threw it at me while we were playing. He wanted to fight me! hahaha! Dont mess with people when their hungry. They get animalistic.













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