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.

Tame Impala - Lonerism (2012) review

Tame Impala “Lonerism” (Modular, 2012)

Following up his Album of The Year-winning debut Innerspeaker, Perth multi-instrumentalist Kevin Parker went for a more accessible, poppier sound on Lonerism. The stomping opening to “Be Above It” features the ambient sound of someone walking down the street past his hotel and this thematic use of found sounds features prominently throughout the album. Todd Rundgren was another huge influence, particularly the cheesy, disposable synth pop of his early 70s albums Runt and A Wizard, A True Star. Bubbly confections like “Endors Toi” and “Apocalypse Dreams” also display an appreciation for the quirky, Beatles-cum-Beach Boys effervescence of the Elephant 6 stable of artists such as Olivia Tremor Control and the walking-on-air ear candy of Pink Hedgehoggers Cheese (cf. Enlarge Your Johnson) and Garfield’s Birthday (try Let Them Eat Cake).
               Parker’s soaring vocal harmonies all seem to be treated with treacle and effects that give the impression they’re floating on a breeze from somewhere down the block, catching your attention here and there to interrupt your daily revelry and wrap your troubles in a marshmallow overcoat. The slow-motion effect of swimming in meringue permeates dreamy, 60s’-flavored concoctions  like “Why Won’t They Talk To Me” and “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards”, leaving a pleasant John Lennon-fronting-Strawberry Alarm Clock taste in our ears tempered with liberal doses of like-minded, latter day enthusiasts like Anton Barbeau and Norwegian Øyvind Holm (cf. Dipsomaniacs).
               Minor reservations about the tinny drum sound, Parker’s unimaginative drum(machine) fills, and the occasional production overindulgences (some tracks like “Keep On Lying” and "Nothing That Has Happened So Far Has Been Anything We Could Control" just go on interminably with little more than loopy sound bytes or overdramatic drumming to add to the proceedings) can be overlooked in favor of the enjoyable trappings enveloping most of the tunes, particularly the unforgettable, brain rattling “chunka-chunka-chunka” drive of “Elephant”, perhaps his most familiar creation so far.

               A worthy follow-up shows that Parker has not lost his touch for crafting wonderfully memorable pop tunes, but he has to be careful not to fall into a rut and risk rehashing the same material. His decision to record everything himself yields an inherent sameness to his albums that might benefit from the addition of some of the live band members to the recording sessions to expand the bass or drum sound and relieve some of the potential monotony. But as long as the listener understands what’s in store, there’s no reason Parker’s Tame Impala releases to date can’t stand proudly alongside the best of other “one man bands” like Rundgren, Prince, Nick (Bevis Frond) Saloman, Karl (World Party) Wallinger, Kurt (Ultra Vivid Scene) Ralske, et. al.

Review made by Jeff Penczak/2013
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Hedvig Mollestad Trio - All of Them Witches (2013) review

Hedvig Mollestad Trio “All of Them Witches” (Rune Grammofon, 2013)

Quick – name a female-fronted power trio. Female guitar goddesses are few and far between – the short list includes obvious choices like Lita Ford (The Runaways) and the late Kelly Johnson (Girlschool), but there are other accomplished string benders that have been flying under the radar and Norwegian Hedvig Mollestad Thommassen should be at the top of your list of guitar heroines worthy of serious investigation. Her trio (including bassist Ellen Brekken and drummer Ivar Loe Bjørnstad) delivers a barnstorming set of fire-breathing instrumentals that’ll set your pulse a-throbbing and your head a-banging.

               Right from the start, “Sing, Goddess” sets the scene for a tight collection of explosive, riff-driven rockers that’ll pummel your brain into a freakazoid frenzy. “Lake Acid” adds some jazzy licks to the attack and answers emphatically that chicks can play Hendrix. If Sabbathian sludge is more to your liking, then treasure the Iommi-like finger-flexer “The New Judas”. And that’s not all , folks. Mollestad knows her Japanese speed metal improvisers like Keiji Haino, Michio Kurihara, and Kawabata Makoto and extracts much inspiration from their reckless abandon and avant garde meanderings.

The key to instrumental, guitar-based albums is the variety. No one wants to listen to the monotony of the same chords pounded into their head over and over again. Thankfully, Mollestad has a number of tricks up her sleeve, such as “Achilles”, which trades on blues licks that’ll impress Page fans and “Indian River”, which gives her rhythm section a chance to shine in the spotlight with tasteful soloing that doesn’t wear out its welcome or have you reaching for the Skip button. And fans of Nick Saloman will relish the gentle floating psychedelia of ”Shawshank” or “Ghrá Rúnda”, that would not be out of place alongside his early “bedroom” recordings like “The Shrine” or “Song For The Sky”. Overall, a very impressive follow-up to her 2011 debut (Shoot, also on Rune Grammofon). This “Heddy Witches’ brew” (apologies for the multi-level pun!) is highly recommended to fans of metallic energy, free-jazz skronking and psychedelic navel gazing.

Review made by Jeff Penczak/2013
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Echoes of Eon interview with Grzesiek Wieliczko and Rafał Korecki

© Michał Piłat

Pound for pound Poland has been pumping out some of the best kraut and space rock the last couple of years.  Emerging from the growing scene come critically acclaimed fan lauded favorites, Echoes of Eon.  After winning the eye of the public Echoes of Eon spent nearly two years honing their skills with live performances and festival after festival until the time came to record their debut album Immensity.  By this point they are a well-oiled machine, a prog-rock space monster.  Bleeding but not tied to an obvious Hawkwind influence Echoes of Eon are proving to be a unique musical voice among the growingly chocked Polish scene.  With so many great bands out there it’s hard to keep people’s attention but that doesn’t seem to be a problem with Echoes of Eon, they certainly interested me enough to talk with them about the history of the band, recording the new album Immensity and what the future has in store for them. 

What is the band's lineup?

Grzesiek:  Echoes of Eon are Mateusz Narkiewicz on guitar, Rafał Korecki on bass, Paweł Głębocki on drums and myself Grzesiek Wieliczko playing guitar.

Are any of you in other bands at this point?  Have you been in any other bands that recorded or released anything?

Grzesiek:  Each one of us has gained experience from other bands.  Many years ago I recorded an album with an industrial black-metal band Nepauz Had.  After that I created The Rack Tripp which was entirely my project.  Nowadays besides Echoes of Eon I have a solo project Become the Ocean.  It’s in the very early stages of development though, and because of my lack of time I’ve had to put it on hold for the moment.

Rafał:  Before Echoes of Eon we were playing with Mateusz and Pawel in a project called Circle's Closing but it kind of died a natural death.  A few years back Mateusz and Pawel also played in a band called Good City, Mateusz recorded two albums with them but Pawel’s only on the last one.

Where is the band currently located?  Are you very involved with the music scene there?

Grzesiek:  The matter of location is rather complicated in our case.  Three quarters of the band come from Dobre Miasto which is where our rehearsals take place.  I lived in Olsztyn before, about 20 km from there so there was no problem, but now I live in Gizycko which is 120 km away.  Because of that we only rehearse when we’re preparing for a concert.

Rafał:  We played our first concerts here in Olsztyn and Dobre Miasto we are very involved with the music scene but we’re very open-minded and eagerly cooperate with bands from all over Poland.

How would you describe the scene there?

Grzesiek:  In Olsztyn itself the music scene isn’t very big.  We had a little problem finding bands that play similar music in the beginning.  We played concerts with strictly metal or even pop-rock bands, but after few gigs we got to know other bands that were on the same wavelength like MOAFT from Morag.  We were, and still are, very eager to play with them.  The music scene itself in my opinion is a little bit narrow and consists mostly of metal bands.  I recommend you check out Cerber and Messa, and of course MOAFT!

Rafał:  In Dobre Miasto we only really have three very resilient bands:  Hyperial, Kohorta and ourselves.  It's a small town and we don't have many musical events going on.

How did you all meet?  How long has Echoes of Eon been around?  What led you to form the band?

Grzesiek:  We met two years ago. The band was originally just me and a drummer, Krzysiek.  We were looking for musicians who would fit in our post-rock form and after a few personel changes, Rafał and Mateusz joined the band.  Finally due to the band’s evolution we also changed drummers, Krzysiek was replaced by Pawel who fits in perfectly and is a very solid foundation at the moment.

Rafał:  The band's form is a post-rock and post-metal hybrid but we don't assume that we are going to do that all the time, it’s just in all of us and comes out during composition.

© Michał Piłat

Was does the name Echoes of Eon mean or refer to?

Grzesiek:  The name refers to the music and space that we are trying to create with it.  I don’t think anyone knows the real meaning at this point, we’ve had a few theories in the past but no one remembers them at this point haha!

Does Echoes of Eon have any music other than the upcoming album Immensity available?

Grzesiek: No, not at the moment.

In March you performed at least part of the new album live for Radio Olsztyn, how did that go?  Did you just debut some new songs or did you perform the album in its entirety?  Was it nerve wracking playing new material live for broadcast?

Grzesiek:  At the Radio Olsztyn show we played Immensity almost in its entirety.  We probably would have played the whole album but it didn't fit within the time limit.  Personally I was a bit stressed with the monitors (foldback) in my earphones, having an additional cable on me I couldn't move while playing and what's more we normally play very loudly.  Having an earphone monitor (foldback) I didn't really feel what I was playing.  It was however, a very interesting experience and I think it went really well.

Can you describe your song writing process?  Is it a lot of jamming or does someone come in with a more finished idea and flesh it out with the rest of you?

Grzesiek:  We come up with 90% of the material while jamming.  Usually someone starts to play and the rest of us just join in.  We’re trying to memorize and link the most interesting sections for the most part.  The exception is Ganimedes that I composed on my own.  While playing it at rehearsals everyone added something though, their own parts and ideas, and thanks to that the song fits in perfectly with the rest of the material.

Rafał:  I would mention two songs as great examples, Delusion I and Delusion II which we actually composed with Grzesiek in a hotel room while recording Immensity.

Immensity comes out April 30th.  Who is putting it out?  Where can our readers get a copy?

Grzesiek:  We put Immensity out on our own and we are selling and distributing the album ourselves. You can buy our album at the online store:

What does the album title Immensity refer to?

Rafał:  Immensity was actually my idea, I wanted to underline or even direct the listener to our vision of Echoes of Eon’s music. I only had one word in mind, immensity. I think it perfectly describes our musical journeys into vast spaces and  the infinite.

Can you talk about the recording of Immensity?  Who recorded it?  Where was it recorded at?  What kind of equipment was used?

Grzesiek:  Immensity was recorded at the Sounds Great Promotion studio in Gdynia.  Our producer was Jan Galbas, mixing and mastering was done by Kuba Mankowski and Jan Galbas.  We established that we wanted the album to sound like we were playing live so we played on the same equipment that we use during concerts.

Do you enjoy recording?  It seems like bands either love it or they hate it.

Grzesiek:  It was the first time in professional recording studio for all of us so we didn't really know what to expect.  Fortunately our producer Dziablas approached us with a lot of patience and we managed to record the album comfortably in six days.  Actually we enjoyed it so much that we’ve already started to think about the next time, what kind of mistakes we made and can avoid next time around.

Rafał:  Although it was our first time the session was very good.  The mood was great.  We didn’t really have any problems during production and ended up with even more interesting ideas than we had prepared before entering the studio.

Other than the release of Immensity on April 30th do you have any other plans or goals for the year you'd like to accomplish?

Grzesiek:  Our main goal is to promote the album and play concerts. We’re not really thinking about anything else at the moment.

What plans do you have as far as touring goes this year?

Grzesiek:  Upcoming shows include Bring The Astronauts Fest and the Dobremiastock Festival, both in Dobre Miasto.  We’re also supporting Long Distance Calling in Poznan at the Post Rock Festival.  We usually learn about upcoming shows as they happen as opposed to doing a lot of planning, we will probably organize a small tour promoting the album shortly though.

© Paweł Gil

What's the best place for people to keep up with the latest news like record releases and upcoming performances from Echoes of Eon at?

Our website and facebook fanpage:

I don't like to label music, it's just doesn't seem applicable to me.  Rather than classify or label it, how would you describe Echoes of Eon's music?

Rafał:  Echoes of Eon is indescribable!  No I’m joking.  But seriously I don't know, maybe... Hurricane Katrina?

It sounds like you have a pretty varied source of music you draw from; can you talk about some of your major influences?

Grzesiek:  Well I probably won't surprise you by saying that everyone of us listens to a different type of music.  Of course we all have some bands and types of music we enjoy in common with each other as well though.  I have a few bands that I'm always listening to and always will be.  Those are King Crimson, Tool, Neurosis, Meshuggah, The Mars Volta, Russian Circles and The Ocean.  Other bands and inspirations change all the time, if I were to answer this question next week the answers would be different but at the moment some of them are Cult of Luna, Puscifer, Red Fang, Karnivool, Bon Iver, Muse, Nine Inch Nails, Mastodon, Rosetta I Ufomammut.  Polish bands also worth mentioning include Blindead, Obscure Sphinx, Nao, Ampacity and my latest discovery, Hetane.

Rafał:  We share a lot of those influences in common like Tool, Meshuggah, The Mars Volta, Russian Circles, The Ocean.  For my part I would mention Tesseract, Gojira , Isis, Opeth, Porcupine Tree and Cloudkicker, which is actually a solo procject of mine but also very inspiring.

It's a double-edged sword in and of itself, but digital music has exposed me to an entirely new cosmos of musical exploration.  How do you feel about digital music and distribution?

 © Michał Piłat
Grzesiek:  I think it's a good phenomenon.  The whole music industry should switch their model to publicizing music mainly in the digital format.  CD's and vinyl should be the privilege of music lovers.  It’s a result of the times we're living in.  We consume so many products, including music, that it’s so much easier to download a mp3 and play it with one click on a computer than it is to look for a CD, remove it from the package and put it into a CD player.  In my opinion good music defends itself; people who collect albums will always collect them, the thing is to get to people who don't buy CDs or vinyl for different reasons, who are comfortable with downloading mp3s from the internet interested and involved.  Delivering them music in a digital format for less money seems like a good solution, in fact we’re planning on offering an online digital version of Immensity soon.

© Michał Piłat

I'm always on the hunt for good bands, who should I be listening to from your region that I might not have heard of before?

Grzesiek:  Certainly!  MOAFT, Moose The Tramp and Frozen Lakes.  There are other bands I already mentioned above; those are Blindead, Obscure Sphinx, Nao, Ampacity, and Hetane.

© Michał Piłat

(April 30th 2013)  Echoes of Eon – Immensity – CD – Self-Released

Interview made by Roman Rathert/2013
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Ides of Gemini @Mill City Nights, Minneapolis(US) – 4/05 Live Report

On May 4, 2013, the Tao was everywhere, including the venue Mill City Nights, a former church in downtown Minneapolis. The just enough to recognize as, hinting at, psychedelic doom metal band Ides of Gemini performing like it’s Plato’s Allegory of the Cave.

These words may ruin an experience, may contradict it, not the best if actually in a conversation with someone, but the reader shall create the reality, not the author. Only one translation.

The “prisoners” chained in the “cave” – hearing the echoes. The crowd was not as beardy as a hotspot like Portland, OR., and without a proper metal tribute to Jeff Hanneman two days after his death - only one person seen wearing a Slayer shirt, with just the logo, and it looked like that fake, distressed vintage type.

With the curtains open, visually, an anti-distortion, the band color coordinated in minimalism, not unlike a White Stripes’ style of black and red. But guitarist J. Bennett’s wearing of a necktie, pure psychedelia in its concept. Vocalist Sera Timms’ bangs vs. her blazing red bass of ironic intensity. And the sometimes mallet use of Kelly Johnston, a metal Moe Tucker, but with a traditionally arranged drum kit. All seemed so far apart, assuming, they know each other’s tarot readings.

Less is more heavy psych, which makes it easy to pick apart, technically, and not the point. An esoteric drone vocal being the point, framed by the other two participants in the ritual, the third was the audience being watched. This is not a revolution in sound combinations, maybe it is, because all doom is retro thanks to Cathedral, wait, I mean Black Sabbath. It’s classy (which could mean the opposite of what it should mean), literary, atmospheric, primal womb metal. The guitar maintains the heartbeat, only seconds here and there of quickness. The drums a modern chariot.

Then again, “Silence is a source of great strength.” – Lao Tzu

(Before the first day, god created silence, and that trembling feeling), as my experience was, “in the cave,” within the beginning riffs, eventually fleeing the cave into the forest with an Artaudian confusion. The lyrics are available in the forest, available for everyone that is open and receptive to the experiment. Ideas, not the present material things, are the most important of the realities, like what shadows represent for the prisoners.

Escaping the cave, not just being able to leave - the journey leading to acclimation and nowhere in the end, but the path, the meaning. Is the freed one not considered anymore by the prisoners? - Like the best thing about the internet being the fastest way to the truth. The clever one is the chained one that can guess what shadow they will see next. Others say the want of knowledge, the seeking of experiences, the escaping of the cave, and running through the forest is the right way, the feeling I got as the band played. But the releasing of the prisoners, only a dream?

Report made by Robert Savela/2013
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Tame Impala - Innerspeaker (2010) review

Tame Impala “Innerspeaker” (Modular, 2010)

Innerspeaker is the award-winning debut album from Tame Impala, the nom de group of Perth multi-instrumentalist, Kevin Parker. It’s a gorgeous collection of sunny day reflective songs, with swashes of swirling guitars, psychedelic effects, and dreamy vocals. Opener “It Is Not Be” is Revolveresque pop at its best, but then Parker breaks out the fuzz distortion pedals for the garagey “Desire Be Desire Go”. It’s like leapfrogging from Olivia Tremor Control to Flaming Lips, but before our brains have time to regain our musical perspective, “Alter Ego” strolls through the room with a dose of sunshiny, West Coast pop with hints of the perky power pop of fellow Aussie solo artist Donny McDonald.
               Parker’s faraway vocals form the heartbreaking plea at the core of the melancholic “Why Don’t You Make Up Your Mind”, but spirits are lifted on the ensuing, Barrett-influenced “Solitude Is Bliss” and the glistening guitar opening to “Jeremy’s Storm” belies the brewing chaos within (complete with swelling wind effects and manic drumming) that eventually explodes into a current of guitar shredding that is equal parts prog, Hawkwind, and post rock guitarscapes, a la Tortoise.
One of Innerspeaker’s many charms is the variety of approaches Parker successfully pulls off, none more jarring than the stalking, bluesy swagger of the near-metallic “The Bold Arrow Of Time”, which sounds like Cream on steroids. It’s a little half baked and almost seems like it hasn’t progressed past demo form (everything stops for a moment while Parker counts his way back into the main riff and then he switches the whole mood with an atmospheric coda that prepares the listener for the ensuing, “Runway, Houses, City, Clouds”. As it’s multi-part title suggests, this suite runs the gamut of emotions and musical styles, from the quietly ascending opening salvo that lifts the listener heavenward to the meandering, Tangerine Dream-inspired, synth-driven central part representing our floating journey around the island to view the tiny “houses and cities” below, and culminating in the Floydian finale, as we tickle the “clouds”.
               Parker’s been making music in one for or another for more than half his 26 years and brings all his influences (from Rage Against the Machine and Cream to The Beatles and Brainticket) to bear on this inspiring debut, which deservedly won Album of The Year honors at the Rolling Stone Australia awards in 2011.

Review made by Jeff Penczak/2013
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Allah-Las - Allah Las (2012) review

Allah-Las - “Allah Las” (Innovative Leisure 2012)

Once upon a time, when a warm enchanting sun rose and set around just me, a bit of musical wanderlust floated in from California ... it was called Garage Psych.  The songs were filled with cascading distant harmonics, stories of emotional walls, dreamy romanticism, cutting cynicism, fuzzy guitars, a solitary loneliness, and above all, it sounded honest; as if the bands were singing directly to me.  If I were pressed to define Garage Psych, I would have to say that it captures that easily missed breath, when youth is both a moment in time and a memory.  That’s why so few garage psych bands last long, and why so few garage psych bands ever release more than a couple of defining records.  After all, they’re too young to know the ways of the world, too young to even know themselves, and too young and inexperienced to understand the musical inner-workings of a music studio.  Garage Psych is not a learning process, it’s almost a one shot deal, so finding bands who can capture and define that internal moment in time, yet alone set it to a seductive groovy infectious sound, is always a delight.

Garage Psych has never gone away or out of style, it’s just become more rare and highly prized, and to that end the Allah-Las have encapsulated and distilled all of what makes garage psych so good.  There’s nothing visionary about this twelve track release, it will forever live perfectly in the moment ... a warm balanced stylized dizzying sunset smile for those like me, and an emotional breakthrough of profound enlightenment for anyone under the age of twenty.  The vintage sounding music and lyrics combine effortlessly, there’s a delightful stoner quality to each of the songs that are rendered from the heart, and filled with an alienated vulnerability that’s almost apocalyptic in nature.

The release sounds very off-the-cuff and easy going, but as always, the things that appear most laid-back are often the most complicated to capture, with the band diving headlong into an analog recording process that hung-on for a bit, and all but vanished somewhere in the late 1950’s with with rise of dynamic stereo.  You don’t just hear this album, you feel it, it’s warm, it's layered with magical musical and vocal harmonies, it’s private and restrained, yet open-ended enough to cause you to stand preoccupied within your own thoughts, staring off into space.

Review made by Jenell Kesler/2013
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Samsara Blues Experiment interview with Christian Peters

Samsara Blues Experiment has been performing for the better half of the last decade and they have the back catalog to prove it.  Prolific and memorable, Samsara Blues Experiement has been quickly earning their place among the resurging international psychedelic revival.  Riding that wave long and high Samsara Blues Experiment is one of the few bands out there with fifteen and twenty-minute songs that has a discernable song structure to their music, relying more on their songwriting abilities than improvised chaos and screaming feedback.  High flying solos and a rhythm section of berrating drum and bass have combined to form a unique fixture of the psychedelic stoner and space rock scene.  The release of their newest album, Live At Rockpalast was teamed with an announcement that they were working on a new studio project due for release later this year!  It’s hard to keep up with Samsara Blues Experiment sometimes so I took sometime and talked with lead guitarist and vocalist Christian Peters about the bands past, the new live album, the upcoming studio album, what the future has in store for them and what it’s like working a day job after 2AM festival appearances!

What is the band’s lineup?  Is this your original lineup?

For five years now the band has been built on Thomas Vedder’s drumming, Richard Behren’s bumping Bass, Hans Eiselt’s Rhythm Guitar and my own vocals and lead guitar, plus I play the occasional Sitar or Synthesizers on our records.  I’d say the four of us are the classic Samsara Blues Experiement lineup.  I played with several other guys before now but most of them disappeared or left for various reasons.  Most noteworthy would be my former Terraplane bandmates who all played a significant role in Samsara Blues Experiment’s very early beginnings; Andreas Herbst, Florian Furtner and Robin Niehoff, a very young but seriously talented musician.

Are any of you in other active bands?  Have you released anything with other bands?

Richard is also in a band called Heat whose first album Old Sparky was released on my label Electric Magic Records.  Hans is in a band Rodeo Drive, but they haven’t released anything yet; although they do have some pretty cool songs.  Thomas and I, while we might do some jamming with friends from time to time, are in Samsara Blues Experiement exclusively.  Nothing else very serious these days.  I, of course had several other projects and bands before, Terraplane and my former soloproject Soulitude which I think are interesting if  nothing else.  I’m going to release some of that stuff in the future on my label Electric Magic Records.

Where is the band located? 

In Berlin-Weissensee.  Only Hans was born in Berlin, the rest of us is are originally from other areas.

What is the local scene like there?  Are you very involved with it?

There’s some interesting bands, of course most of them are pretty much unknown because they hardly play and almost never play out of Berlin.  I lately discovered a band called Suns Of Thyme whose first album will also be released on my label Electric Magic Records.  Obviously there´s a huge variety of groups in Germanies biggest city but I don´t go to concerts that often and actually I‘ve become rather lazy when it comes to discovering young groups while there´s so much good stuff from the past and those bands whole vibe is often much more appealing to me anyways.  These days it seems that too many young groups try to relive “the glorious 70’s“ and shit, which often doesn´t work for me and makes them boring to me because they lack individuality if you know what I mean?

How and when did you all meet?

I met Thomas through a common buddy, while Richard and I met in the German forum of back in the day.  Hans is a long-time buddy of Richard.  We all came together first time in October 2008.

What led to the formation of the Samsara Blues Experiment?

A wish to express myself, lyrically and as a musician but the end of my former band Terraplane in 2007 also led to the formation of Samsara Blues Experiment.

Can you talk a little bit about the meaning behind the name Samsara Blues Experiment?

The term Samsara is derived from "to flow together," to go or pass through states, to wander. Mostly a great revolving door between life and death and a new life reincarnated cycle of life.  The Blues was always an import part of my life as a musician and music listener and is regarded as the basis for any kind of Rock music.  Experiment could stand for the long-term aim for some kind of "fulfillment" and more than that the will to constantly improve and work on things without asking or thinking about it too much.  Most of what I do in my life as a musician is from intuition you know?  I don´t write down any tabs or notes or shit.  I don´t care about the rhythm when it feels right.

Tell us a little about Electric Magic Records?  When was the label started?  How did it get started who started it?

I started with the re-release of Samsara Blues Experiment’s USA Demo in January 2012.  I started Electric Magic Records because I always wanted to have my own label and I had the contacts, the money and the will to work it out a this point.

Are you planning on releasing Samsara Blues Experiment material in the future exclusively through Electric Magic?

Probably yes.  I gave some thought to searching for a bigger label, something that would reach more people than we ever could, but I‘m not so sure if I’d really want to do that because I enjoy the freedom, which we probably wouldn’t have any other way.  I like being free to do what we want to do, when we want to do it.  Thankfully people have given our band a massive amount of support over the last few years which brought us to this point and position.  We wouldn’t be here without the thousands of fans who buy our albums so thank you all very much!  I hope I can give something back with the label by releasing some, in my opinion, good stuff for reasonable prices.  I think it’s my destiny to do this and I’m highly looking forward to more enjoyable records in the future, music that means something to me and hopefully to others as well.

While a great majority of artists have made the push to extremely limited edition releases as Samsara Blues Experiment you have made a pretty big point of trying to keep your back catalog in print and readily available worldwide.  Can you talk a little bit about why you have avoided limited edition releases?  What’s your opinion on limited music?

Good question!  To me it sucks big time when a similarly big and widely well respected band, Colour Haze for instance won’t release their back catalogue.  Some of their greatest records remain undiscovered and unheard.  I’d love to have a LP of Ewige Blumenkraft, I’ve even bothered Stefan Koglek about re-release it.  He has the power but he doesn’t think it´s worth the effort.  I don’t undertand this kind of thinking.  They’d sell 500 copies in less than a week for sure.  As much as I can I will always make sure our albums are in print as long as our band exists.  On the other hand there’s a massive load of albums especially in the psychedelic scene that I’d never release and it’s okay when they remain fan issues of 500 copies.  I don´t mean to be brag but only very few are real classics, like Nebula’s To The Center, Gas Giant’s Mana, Colour Haze’s self-titled album as well as Kyuss and Fu Manchu rather obviously.  I mean not every band even sells 500 copies you know?  I’m happy we got along very well with World In Sound, not every label can also afford to always have their own back catalogue in print all the time.  In the end it very much depends on the demand.  When you’re in a band that sells, why not sell as much as possible!?!  There’s still a lot of people that buy records and are happy when they return home with a new LP instead of a Mp3 they got after hours of research on the interwebs.

Where is the best place for our readers to get music and merchandise from Samsara Blues Experiment?

From us directly I’d say, because still we handle our own sales.  Which is cool but most people don’t know anything about what happens when the band leaves the stage.  We all still have jobs.  I’d say this is obvious, but a lot of people look at us with eyes like an Owl when we tell them that we have to work the next morning.  We’re all really quite "regular" people.

You are going in to the studio to record your new album Waiting For The Flood the end of this month (May 2013).  What can listeners expect from the new album?  Are you going to attempt anything radically different with this album?

We feel like this album could be the perfect mixture of our last two albums.  A combination of psychedelic mellow moods and unknown, sometimes almost brutal heaviness.  Of course everything will be groovy as ever.  We’re all looking forward to the finished album.  It will take some time I guess, but I think this could become a real masterpiece.  Four songs in about fifty minutes.  The album is supposed to come out in November, which means no vacation in Summer, we’ll be working very hard on this!

Where is it going to be recorded and who’s going to be recording it?

We’ll do it all by ourselves again.  Richard is a professional sound-technician.  He also owns his own professional studio with all the equipment one could ever need.  Just look up Big Snuff Studio Berlin, it’s the place to be when you play real music.  We’ll probably have some recording assistance by either Richards brother Luke or our long-time buddy Daniel who are both co-owners of the Big Snuff.

What is the songwriting process like with Samsara Blues Experiment?  Is there just a lot of jamming or does someone come in with an idea to share with the rest of the band?

It’s a mystery to me.  We try to jam from time to time, but mostly end up tootling in D all the time.  Then there’s moments of divinity, some higher form’s input, when someone’s hands receive information that he can’t understand but has to instantly transform into a riff that might crush everybodies heads.  Hence a songs is born.  Haha, whatever, I really have no idea how to explain it properly, it’s mostly based on intuition.

You just released your first live album, Live At The Rockpalast, in April of this year.  How did you go about recording that show?  Was it just a soundboard tap or did you mic everything? 

They miced everything and everybody on that stage.  Since the "glorious 70’s" Rockpalast has become quite an institution on German television, their artists have become almost mainstream.  It’s a bit odd these days, but they started with a Rory Gallagher and Robin Trower played the very same stage as we did.  So we were happy that they allowed us to wreck the room.  It was a good experience.  I wish they had been more cooperative with the album release, but it is what it is, so it has to remain a 500 CD release which is cool enough anyway.  For the fans you know, all for the fans...

Was the Live At The Rockpalast album easier to record than your studio output knowing you only had to play it once or did that add some lever of pressure and difficulty?

Not much pressure.  Noooo.  You have to understand that this is a show on German TV.  There were three or four huge cameras following my every move.  It was not planned to become a live recording.  It just happend to be the best recording we have of a show to this day, so we thought it was cool to release a Live at Rockpalast just like Trower's and all the other guys, even if I guess we’re still very much the underdogs, which is even cooler.  An underground band releasing a Rockpalast album.  Just great!

When you play live is there a lot of improvisation or is it all meticulously planned out?

We have real songs.  All of them.  These songs have structures and sometimes a shorter or longer section of improvisation.  I never play a solo the same way, but don’t mistake all of it as improvisation.  The others members in our band don’t improvise a lot.  It would end up in chaos.  We’re not Amon Düül.

Where’s the best place for fans to keep up with the latest news like album releases and live performances?

Facebook I guess, though I am also ashamed to say, but I am too lazy to put everything on our website.  What would we do without the internet?

What do you have planned as far as touring goes for 2013 so far?

We are planning a three weeks tour through Europe for the release of the next album.  We’d also like to follow our fans calls to play on other continents but it’s not that easy, not any more.  There’s so many things to keep us from playing, like jobs, family, lack of contacts and money, money, money...

Do you have a funny or interesting story from a live show that you’d like to share with our readers?

No, we’re very serious musicians, wink, wink.

Who are some of your favorite acts you’ve played with?

With Samsara Blues Experiment?  I’d say Pater Nembrot, The Machine and This Is Ghost Country because all of these guys became true buddies over the years we’ve been touring and getting to know each other.  Then we’ve met several big and small names in the scene.  Those were good experiences but nothing more.  I’d never brag about meeting this or that "famous" person.  I guess I got old and realized that everyone‘s just a normal person when you get to know them.  Where are the true idols?  Not in the music scene, that’s for sure...

Speaking of favorite acts can you tell us who some of your personal influences are?  What about the band as a whole?

Each of us has very different favorites.  We could all agree on Kyuss and some "glorious 70s" bands though.  My favorite at the moment is Rory Gallagher, a rare and exceptional person.  Other influences are pretty obvious I guess.  You know, all the big names...

You have been releasing rare and live material on a weekly basis via links on your Facebook page for some time now.  Where did the idea to post free downloads of rare and live material for a limited time come from?

The gods told me to share and make some peoples happy.

What’s your opinion on digital music and the way the rapidly changing affects it’s having on the music industry?

The world needs digital music, but then again it doesn’t need it at all.  It just depends on you, do you want to spend your life in front of a computer searching the endless plains of the world wide web for more and more music or leave that crap and plant a tree, return home happily and listen to that old Neil Young record.

I love having a digital copy of the album to listen to wherever I want, but there’s something magical about a physical album.  A special something about holding a record in your hands, creating a world with the music you are hearing that can never be achieved via a disposable digital copy.  Do you have any such connection with physical releases?

I like looking at things, touching things, especially when there’s a beautiful woman on the cover!

Is there anyone from your local scene or area that our readers should be listening to that they might not have heard of?

Suns Of Thyme if you’re open minded.  I happen to really dig that band.

What about nationally and internationally?

Imaad Wasif.  He’s got a rare gift.

Is there anything that I missed or you’d just like to talk about?

For now that’s really okay.  Thanks.  Thank you for having Samsara Blues Experiment in your magazine!

(2008)  Samsara Blues Experiment – Samsara Blues Experiment Demo – CD-R – Self-Released
(2009)  Samsara Blues Experiment – Samsara Blues Experiment EP USA Tour Edition – CD-R – Self-Released
(2010)  Samsara Blues Experiment – Long Distance Trip – CD, 12”, 2x12” – World In Sound
(2011)  Samsara Blues Experiment – Revelation & Mystery – CD, 12” – World In Sound (1st pressing 12” Limited to 1,000 copies, 150 on Yellow Vinyl, 850 on Black Vinyl.  2nd pressing of 2,000, 200 on Yellow Vinyl – Black Vinyl not limited)
(2012)  Samsara Blues Experiment – Center Of The Sun/Midnight Boogie – 12” – World In Sound (Limited to 1,000 copies, 200 on Orange Vinyl, 800 on Black Vinyl)
(2013)  Samsara Blues Experiment – Samsara Blues Experiment EP (Remastered) – CD – Electric Magic Records
(2013)  Samsara Blues Experiment – Live At Rockpalast – CD – Electric Magic Records (Limited to 500 copies)
(2013)  Samsara Blues Experiment – Waiting For The Flood – ??? – Electric Magic Records (November release planned)


Interview made by Roman Rathert/2013
© Copyright

Tame Impala 12.8.2013 @Ljubljana (Kino Šiška)

From an informative point of view, Tame Impala are Kevin Parker, Dominic Simper, Jay Watson, Nick Allbrook and the most recent addition, Julien Barbagello. Loosely formed in 2007, their first EP was released in 2008, followed by the debut album Innerspeaker in 2010 and the follow up, Lonerism (2012) …

Oh boy. Who are we kidding. You know all of this. You also know that whether you’re listening to an album, or watching a live show, Tame Impala is an experience that is completely mindblowing, filled with simplistic beauty and boundless creativity.

The Tame Impala sound is one equally informed by The Beatles as it is beat poetry, by Turkish prog as it is by Turkish Delight, and by English folk as much as homeless folk. Basically, it’s all about the feeling.

It was the release of Innerspeaker (2010) that made the globe stand up and take notice of the boys from Perth. It was thanks in part to its irreverent, contemporary spin on assumedly dead and forgotten sounds, as well as its unique, infinitely surprising way around a melody. The album, recorded and produced entirely by Kevin at what is essentially a treehouse with 180 degree views of the Indian Ocean, a few hours South West of Perth. With Flaming Lips’ Dave Fridmann on mixing duties and Death in Vegas’ Tim Holmes at the engineering wheel, the album achieved the “absolutely explosive” sound that Parker was aiming to reach.

As each single rolled out from “Solitude is Bliss” to “Lucidity” to “Why Won’t You Make Up Your Mind”, the world had gone from standing up and taking notice to jumping up and down with arms flailing madly. Tours were organized, festival offers came through thick and fast, Jimmy Fallon called, and the world got to see, instead of just hear, what it was all about.

After the Innerspeaker whirlwind, the boys came up for air for a bit. Not long after this, Kevin went into the creative wormhole and started getting the ideas for album number two from his brain and onto his trusty home recording set up. Thankfully a portable set up, the album was recorded around the globe, most prominently in Perth and Paris. Again, mixed by Dave Fridmann, the end result was Lonerism, gifted to the incredibly eager world in October 2012.

In Kevin’s own words, Lonerism incorporates “an expanded sonic palette, more emotional song writing, and a more pronounced narrative perspective." The songwriting is as joyously screwy as ever. Songs swerve when you expect them to duck, and turn themselves instead out when you expect them to straighten out, there’s so many melodic curveballs, it’s marvellously dizzying. It’s lyrically sweet and casual, it’s relaxed but deadly serious at times, and best of all, deeply amorous.

“Be Above It” applies a cleansing pressure hose to the brain, and “Endors Toi” plunges you into a deep sleep of ripping guitar riff dreams. “Music To Walk Home By” is as it says on the tin, announcing its arrival at the front gate with the kind of ceremonious, shredding guitar riff that makes home seem like a good place to be. “Keep On Lying” intentionally drifts in and out as if in the middle of a wandering jam at the end of the earth, “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards” is as close as Tame Impala will ever come to a top down cruising anthem, albeit one from a cracked reality and soaked in a deep, solo melancholy. “Elephant” doesn’t hide it’s rollicking, outerspace glam strut, while “Nothing That Has Happened So Far Has Been Anything We Could Control” arguably boils the essence of the album into a dense, ecstatic brew of utopian proportions.

So excited was the globe for Lonerism that the outcome was a phenomenal sold out world tour at the end of 2012. If we pull out the calculator – that’s 29 cities, 33 dates and over 45,000 punters soaking up the mindblowing bliss that is a Tame Impala show. And that’s not including festivals!

So in demand are these dudes, that yet another world tour is kicking off in February, with the majority of the huge string of dates already sold out.

Lonerism has received worldwide praise and endorsements from fellow artists and celebs, and has garnered all star ratings from industry and tastemakers, including perhaps the most heartmelting accolade of them all, the adorable kids of PS22 covering “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards”.

Please keep your arms and legs inside the ride at all times. Clearly, we’ll be continuing on this wild journey for some time.

Lonerism Accolades
• #1 NME Album of the Year (UK)
• #1 Triple J Album of the Year (Aus)
• #1 Filter Magazine Top 10 Albums of 2012 (USA)
• #1 Rolling Stone Album of the Year (Aus)
• #6 in The Guardian’s 2012 Album Poll (UK)
• #11 Uncut's Albums of the Year (UK)
• #11 Stereogum's 50 Best Albums of the Year (USA)
• #12 MOJO's Album list (UK)
• #26 Spin Magazine 50 Best Albums of 2012 (USA)
• #7 in Triple J’s Hottest 100 – “Elephant”
• #9 in Triple J’s Hottest 100 – “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards”

My Bloody Valentine, Werefox 7. 6. 2013 @Ljubljana (Kino Šiška)

My Bloody Valentine (MBV) are one of the most influential and unique acts in alternative music history. They were formed in 1983 in Dublin, Ireland, by musical visionary Kevin Shields (guitar and vocals) and Colm O Ciosoig (drums). The band’s line-up has consisted since 1987, after moving to London, of founding members, with singer-guitarist Bilinda Butcher and bassist Debbie Googe. As MBV’s music evolved, their radical approach to the guitar, use of distortion, pitch bending, and digital reverb resulted in a sound that came to be known as “shoegazing”.

My Bloody Valentine put out two albums and a string of EPs from 1985 to 1991 that effectively changed the conception of what rock music can sound like, introducing a groundbreaking concoction of discordant effects and fragile melodies.
Band released the era-defining debut LP “Isn't Anything” in 1988. The group's magnum opus, second album “Loveless” (1991), received extensive critical acclaim. It has reached mythical status and remains iconic. The NME review of “Loveless” declared, "...however decadent one might find the idea of elevating other human beings to deities, My Bloody Valentine, failings and all, deserve more than your respect".
The band was known as a formidable live act. On stage, MBV played deafeningly loud, creating “wall of noise” but it's members were passive, inspiring the phrase “shoegazers” to describe the band's (and their followers') introspective demeanor. Soon there were legions of other shoegazers.
Following “Loveless”, MBV became inactive, with Shields rumoured to have recorded - and shelved - several albums' worth of songs.
In 2007, Shields announced that the band had reunited and were working on new material. MBV subsequently toured successfully across Europe and USA in 2008 and 2009 - they played the European festival circuit as well as major cities in North America, including the All Tomorrow's Parties festival, New York.
After 22 years MBV released their third album, titled “m b v” in February 2013. One of the most anticipated albums, “m b v”, was greeted with excellent reviews and heralded as a masterpiece, a perfect follow up to “Loveless”. When MBV also announced their 2013 live dates – MBV will play some of the most important world’s festivals and solo shows - it is certain MBV, iconic alter rock act is back and it’s return is heroic! The world tour already began with sold out shows in GB. Reviews of past concerts are enthusiastic, describing the MBV performance as an outstanding experience. A must for all MBV loyal fans!

Price:25 EUR, 28 walk up

Haunted Leather - Red Road (2013) review

Haunted Leather “Red Road” (Stolen Body 2013)

Bristol-based Stolen Body have just released a limited edition (250 copies), red-vinyl version  of this Michigan septet’s sophomore effort as part of Record Store Day. “Shapes On The Wall” stalks into the room on the back of a haunting bassline that explodes into ferocious, Sabbathian riffs, monotonic vocals unintelligibly and probably intentionally buried in the mix, and a frightened-as-fuck atmosphere that suggests listening alone in the dark could be detrimental to your psychological well being. Dusty’s crystalline guitar lines throughout the album recall Robert Smith’s, creepy-crawly pyrotechnics on the Cure’s early suicide trilogy (Faith, Seventeen Seconds, Pornography) and Lou Reed’s serpentining ostrich guitar squawk on seminal tracks like “All Tomorrow’s Parties”, but there’s also an enormous My Bloody Valentine wall-of-guitar vacuum that sounds like you’re standing in the middle of a runway with a supersonic transport about to take off. Then there’s that heavy, Doorsy chest pounder, “Diamond Sleep” which sounds like Mr Mojo Risin’ just bellied up to the Roadhouse Blues Saloon and ordered a few rounds of devil spit…in a dirty glass.
               The band’s sound is hard to pin down after your initial listening session, because just when you think you’ve got another retread of Sleep’s Jerusalem/Dopesmoker on your hands (e.g., tracks like “Midnight’s Child”), along comes the Brian Jonestown Massacre bluesy, slide-guitar swagger of “You Shouldn’t Ask”, the hypnotic mindfuck of “Mirror” and “I Don’t Mind”, and the headswirling haze of “Indian Road” and you’re glad for the variety of influences (Spacemen 3, The Warlocks, Loop, Velvets) and executions. Simply mesmerizing!

Review made by Jeff Penczak/2013
© Copyright

Knickerbokers & Righteous Brothers interview with Jimmy Walker

So, if you don’t mind, let’s go back right at the beginning…

You are originally from the East Coast, is it true that you were born in the Bronx?

This is true! I’m from New York.

How was it like when you grew up?

When I lived in the Bronx, well… growing up there was kind of interesting. It is New York and it is one of the most interesting places on the planet. There’s so much to do and see and I was an avid sports fan so I could go to see The NY Yankees play. I played a lot of sports myself. There were a lot of outlets for that and also for music. I used to go downtown to Manhattan with friends and we go to Birdland and other Jazz places and, you know, watch the really great musicians play. I think that people who come from NY, if they take advantage of it, are around some of the greatest situations in the world, best musicians and artists. Because people from other places, other states, other countries go to NY to act and play, to study music and study writing. So you have the advantage of people coming to your city, bringing their talent with them and you don’t have to travel very much. It’s a melting-pot. So, I think that was really cool. I mean, you’ve got great stuff like museums, the Natural History, the NY Public Library on 2nd Avenue.You’ve got the zoo, the best zoo in the world is in the Bronx… the Bronx Zoo. You’ve got all kind of places that you can go and take advantage of for educational purposes and just to broaden your views of the world.
I feel that was the greatest part about growing up in NY… It had its disadvantages. In my neighbourhood it started to get…. It started to get tough! There were a lot of gangs started to come up in the late 50’s.That’s when it was starting to get downright dangerous. That was the disadvantage of being a teenager in a dangerous neighbourhood, you really had to watch yourself. But you know, it makes you street smart!

Do you come from a musical background or are you the only artist in the family?

The only person in the family who had any musical ability was my dad, he could sing really well. And he could play the drums, same as me.

Well, actually my next question was about your discovery of the drums, where it came from… What attracted you to that particular instrument. So it came from your dad?

Yeah! I think if you have a talent, at least me at a very early age, (I was maybe 7 or 8 years old), you just naturally gravitate towards it. I watched drummers on television. My uncle was a musicologist and a copyist for the army band at WestPoint. He bought me my first snare drum and sticks and brushes when I was 9. He was also a kind of saxophone player and even in our first little jam session in my house, my uncle pulled out his saxophone and we started playing old swing stuff. He noticed and said that I had an unusual gift for it. So even at an early age, it was just totally natural for me to be able to play the drums. I couldn’t understand why everybody couldn’t do it!

So, before you joined The Knickerbockers, you were in a New York band called The Castle Kings. What sort of music did you play?

Yeah! Well you know, the street doo-wap, rock’n’roll, Elvis, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, The Isley Brothers, Little Richard- the early rock’n’roll stuff.
One late afternoon, we were standing outside in front of Atlantic Records. We just had a meeting with Dot Records, they were in the same building as Atlantic. So we’re standing outside, harmonizing, waiting for one of the guys’ dad to pick us up- this is a true story- harmonizing to some goofy song that one of the guys in the band wrote and Ahmet Ertegun, the president of Atlantic Records heard us and told us to meet him the next day. So we did! He actually signed us to a contract and we recorded 3 or 4 records. I was recording with some of the legends of the business. People like Phil Alley, Phil Spector, Ahmet Ertegun and his brother Nesuhi. These guys were legends and we were in the studio with them and I didn’t know who they were! So I mean, at a very early age, we were doing things with the heavyweights of the business and we didn’t even know it.

Apart from being an amazing drummer, you also sing… They wrote somewhere that you are part of a somehow limited club of singing drummers. Is it true you that you joined The Knickerbockers because of that extra talent and why were they looking for a drummer who could sing?

They were looking for a drummer and the first time I saw The Knickerbockers was in a neighbourhood venue. It was a supermarket that had been emptied, sold-out and it was reopened to do a little party on Memorial Day. I was walking down the street and I heard this music so I went back and they were set up playing as a trio. Buddy, the saxophone player was playing the drums, really well, and I thought, boy this is a band I’d love to play with! A couple of weeks or months later, they called me up because they’d heard I was a drummer and that I was looking for work. So I went and set up in John and Beau’s house and we played, but my drumming skills were a little bit on the amateur side because I was still young. Then they asked me to sing, I sang some rock’n’roll stuff and John and Beau’s mum heard me sing and she said “Hire that guy, he does sound good”! So my skills with drumming didn’t get me the work, it was the singing. Then I improved as a drummer because you get to play a lot. Also, Buddy taught me a lot of stuff on the drums that he got from other good drummers. But it was actually my voice that got me the job.

Actually my next question was about your first experience of the studio with The Knickerbockers. But it wasn’t in fact your first because you just said you recorded with your previous band. According to Beau, it was pretty intimidating to experience the studio for the first time. How did you feel about that?

Actually, I was really thrilled. I thought recording was really exciting, that was the next step to being a real musician. The next step after that was, I don’t know, money and fame and the journey through the studio was the way to get there. I thought it was a great opportunity and I love listening to stuff that you played and then you listen to it back. I love doing that, I still love it, it’s just no different. Absolutely no different, I still love to record! Music as an art form is like a painter, who paints a picture and can step back and look at it. But if you’re playing live in a nightclub, you can’t step back and listen to what you did. So I always thought that the neatest part of the music process was somebody recording what you did. I love to be recorded live too… I feel that it’s a real way to learn from your mistakes and learn from what you did well.

At the time, you met the producer Jerry Fuller…

We met Jerry Fuller on the East Coast, up in Albany NY. We were playing in a place called, believe it or not, The University Twist Palace! He came through as an artist trying to…he was in Buffalo NY, which is in the Western side of the state. So he did a little tour, trying to sell himself as an artist and he was working his way down to Manhattan. He was going to open an East Coast publishing company for 4 Stars Music. So on the way there, he was playing with all these bands, singing and he was already a writer of 4 hit records himself. He did “Travelling Man”… When he ran into us, he really liked us a lot. I remember at one point, we were doing some rock’n’roll stuff and then he said “You guys wouldn’t happen to know “Misty”, the old Johnny Matis tune?”. And we just laughed, Buddy started playing the intro and boom we were into it! He was just flabbergasted that a rock’n’roll band could play “Misty” with such sophistication. Beau, the guitarist is a master of chord progression. He was really well schooled in that kind of genre. So Jerry was really impressed with the ability as a band to play a song like “Misty” with such flair. That blew him away. So he called the West Coast people at Challenge Records and he told them about us. We did some demo stuff in New York studios. Challenge Records was not really that big of a record company but, you know, we did that to, I don’t know, to show off our abilities to the record company.

So you did find yourself playing the Red Velvet Club in Hollywood quite regularly…

Jerry wanted us to move to the West Coast so he got hold of the owner of the Red Velvet and he booked us there. It was a kind of a neat venue because a lot of people from television and the music industry would go there to hang out. It was like a local watering hole for the celebrities! So we got the gig there and… you know, the rest is history. We got a hit record a month later!

Is it there that you first met Bill Medley and especially Bobby Hatfield of The Righteous Brothers with whom you collaborated a few years later?

Yeah, they used to come in and listen to us and we got them to sit in with us a bunch of times. We got friendly with them and… You see, the thing is the show “Shindig” was being shot at ABC Studios which was close to home for them. So they would do their “Shindig” show and drive up Sunset Boulevard out West to where they lived in Beverly Hills. They would drive by the Red Velvet and drop in. Everybody heard about this group (The Knickerbockers) in the business and how good we were so we just drew a lot of curiosity seekers to see what we were all about.

So after the release of “Lies”, the band wanted “Just One Girl” as the second single but your record company Challenge wanted “One Track Mind”. In retrospect, do you still think that was a mistake? I find both songs very exciting and bursting with energy…

I think “Just One Girl” was a more exciting record but it’s all conjecture to what would have been a hit. You never know, but the song was written by one of the members of the band and “One Track Mind” was written by Keith Colley and his wife Linda. The record was good and we liked it. It was a good song and I thought we did a good job on the record, but like I said, in this business you never know what’s gonna hit and what isn’t. With the original copy of “Lies”, the record company had assigned it to be the B side. If it wasn’t for B. Mitchell Reed, one of the big DJs in Los Angeles at the time, who used to come in and see us at the Red Velvet… he asked our promotional guy when he brought the record up to him and said “Where did you guys record that ‘Lies’ song that they play in the club?”. He replied, “Yeah, that’s the B side” and B. Mitchell Reed, without even hesitating went, “No, it ain’t now!” and put it on the air. He didn’t even listen to it, he just put it on the air, put the needle down and said “Here’s the brand new record by The Knickerbockers!”

You also mentioned the lack of time in the studio when you were recording, which must have been very frustrating. Nevertheless, the band sounded very tight and that rhythm section between you and John was really happening!

Well, we’ve been together for a while and John and I always had a good groove together. We used to rehearse like crazy before we went in the studio so we knew in front that we won’t get the time to mess around in the studio. I’m kind of a proponent of that. I think that by going in the studio and spending a lot of time on a track, you loose the spontaneity and the electric energy that you can get in the first 5 or 6 takes. After that, it can get kind of stale. You know, on top of that, I’d have liked to have spent more time on overdubbing vocals and other instruments. But for the track itself, I like to have it well rehearsed and just play it. Try to get that energy right away.

But you were still trying things in the studio. For example, on that alternate instrumental track of “Lies” released by Sundazed, we can hear you talking and trying to get a certain drum beat.

Oh yeah! Sure. You can rehearse all you want but when you hear what you rehearsed played back, then you have an objective view point of it. You can stand back and listen to it and discuss good and bad points. Maybe we should try to change this or that. On the first couple of cuts of “Lies”, I was playing too much stuff on the drums and it was pointed out to me by the producer/engineer Bruce Spotnick. Bruce said, “You know, maybe you should cut down on some of those fills”. So I thought about it and the guys in the band agreed so I just kept it simple. You know, stuff like that would happen. I was so used to playing that song live that I was just playing too much stuff. And we were just young and still learning what works and what doesn’t.

The band apparently did all the Dick Clark tours. Do you remember playing with The Yardbirds?

I don’t think we ever played with The Yardbirds that I can remember…

Because they did one of those tours when Jeff Beck was in the band. That’s when he had a nervous breakdown and quitted!

I don’t remember that! I didn’t meet The Yardbirds or Jeff Beck. They’re one of the greatest bands of all time. I love Jeff Beck. I played his material in different bands over the years and I always found his material really interesting.

Oh he’s a genius, he’s very unique…

Yeah, I agree… That’s it! He is unique. He stands totally different from most of the other guitar players. You can’t really tell his roots sometimes. You think, “where did he get that from?”.

So on those tours, did you feel at times like close to a nervous breakdown or did you actually had quite a bit of fun?

A lot of guys had nervous breakdowns on the road. The road is a killer.You know, when I first met the Rolling Stones, they looked totally beaten down! In the interview I read that Beverly Paterson did with Beau, he said they came in and they looked dark and scary. They looked like they were undertakers! He really couldn’t believe the way they looked and acted. They didn’t say hello to anybody, they just looked spent.

Yeah, it’s true that touring is very tiring…

It’s the hardest thing you’ll ever do in your life. Doing one-nighters, travelling and putting out all that energy every night. It’s very hard. I mean, look what happened to Clapton back in the 60’s. He had to go in for rehab for a while because he was using drugs to get him up and down. That’s where drugs came in. The guys would be using the upper drugs to get up and then the downer drugs to go to sleep. First thing you know, you’re addicted.

Jerry Fuller once commentated on the very separate personalities in the band, something that makes the nucleus of a good group. Judging from the pictures, you seem rather outgoing and from your playing, very energetic. How would you describe Beau, John and Buddy back then?

Well, we were all pretty young and we all had the same sort of East Coast sense of humour. Self-depreciating, poking fun at one another a lot but knowing it was fun. I mean, we still make one another laugh. The last time we were together in 1990, we were just cracking up all the time!

It was that reunion, wasn’t it?

Yeah, and we still have that same look about things. Jerry loved being around us because we were constantly just cracking jokes about each other. Similar outlook on life! Yeah, we had a lot of energy. I talk to Beau regularly, he’s still playing. He’s doing a little Jazz solo thing locally.

You co-wrote “Come And Get It” with Beau Charles and “Can You Help Me” with Jerry Fuller. Did you write the music or the lyrics?

The lyrics and the melody. That’s how I write and then I go to someone who plays a cordial instrument and put chords to the melody that I wrote. Then we discuss that until we come up with something that we both like. I always write both the lyrics and the melody. I just walk in, sing the song and then they’ll figure out what I’m trying to say with the chords.You know, songs occur to me in the most mysterious ways. I find myself singing and saying “Hey, that’s a song!”. It’s almost as if I’m not even listening to what my mind is doing until I had stepped back and go “Wait a minute, that’s a song!”.

So you were the last to join The Knicks and the first to leave…

Unless you consider that Buddy kind of disappeared… After we had “Lies” and after we had toured a lot, we were kind of looking for another record company but we were stuck with Challenge. They would not let us go, it was a mess. Buddy got into using substances and one night he didn’t show up to work. We were playing a place out in the Valley called The Rag Doll. We played the first set without him and I called his home. His wife said “Oh yeah, he left about an hour” and we said “Hum… that’s weird!”. He never showed up and I didn’t see Buddy again for years, until after I joined The Righteous Brothers. He just skipped out of town and left everybody. So he was the first one to leave… That was one of the reasons that I wanted to leave because it just wasn’t the same without him. He was a pivotal player in the band, he was a very powerful player and when he left I felt…You know when you get used to 4 guys and you think like one mind, when part of it is gone you kind of have a big gap in the energy and the process of making music. We really missed him. We tried to get other guys. We tried drummers and then we tried a keyboard player, he was a let down. So the band at that time was kind of flandering.

So at the time, did you feel a bit bitter and felt the band could have achieved even more or was it “pas de regrets” (no regrets) and you were looking forward to the future?

Well, a little of both. I think that when Buddy left we were kind of lost. Buddy was one of those kind of guys…On one side of the coin, he was very brilliant and on the other side of the coin, he was a high maintenance kind of guy you had to baby-sit because he had some issues. It’s true of a lot of great players. When he left, we didn’t exactly know what to do. So when Bobby Hatfield hit on me to do the Righteous Brothers’thing, I then thought “Yeah, let’s go there” because the band was not going into any direction. Also, you have to remember Beau had spoken to me in a coffee shop in Seattle while we were on the road, about seriously considering leaving the band. He wanted to just quit playing for a while. So he was not up and full of energy like he was anymore, he wasn’t happy. He wanted to spend more time at home with his family and he planted that seed in my head. So when I was approached by Bobby Hatfield to join The Righteous Brothers, I had nobody at all so it was time to make a change.

You recorded the album “Rebirth” in 1969 on Verve/MGM. How much did you write on it and did you play drums as well?

Yeah, I wrote a song called “Nobody’s Gonna Take Me” and I played drums on every cut. I didn’t really want to because my skills as a drummer had eroded a bit as I had not played much. I wanted a band sound and I wanted the same drummer on the whole album but couldn’t get anybody to be available for the whole project. I also produced the album with guitarist Barry Rillera and the engineer, mixing and arranging, Bobby would get bored and leave.

Where did you perform?

All the major Universities in America and clubs like the Coconut Grove in Hollywood. We played in Japan and the Phillipines and were regulars in Las Vegas. We had sell-out crowds, we were a very popular act at the (legendary) Sands Hotel in Vegas. I was with the Righteous Brothers for over 4 years. I got really good by the time Bobby decided to take a break. I wanted to carry on but Bobby didn’t want to so he broke the act.

You also appeared on many TV shows.

Yeah, we did the Smothers Brothers and Glen Campbell’s Good Time Hour amongst others (note: both can be found on YouTube. They did a great Sam & Dave medley on the Smothers Brothers Show).

Around the same time, you signed a record deal with Columbia Records as a solo artist.

Yeah, Jerry Fuller left Challenge Records and went to work for Columbia. I recorded 3 singles including “I Got The Best Of You”. I had a dual contract with both Columbia and Verve/MGM which is quite unusual. Jerry discovered Gary Puckett (and the Union Gap) and he had the songs that became hits for Gary like “Young Girl” and “Woman Woman”. I was supposed to record them before he did but my previous label Challenge would not let me go. I had to record an album to close the contract. It’s called “How Can I Forget” and has recently resurfaced on iTunes and other digital downloads outlets. One single was released at the time called “Drown In My Broken Dreams / Always Leaving, Always Gone”.

To close the subject on the 60’s, what do you miss the most and the least about that decade?

Well, to me that was one the most interesting eras of music because it was very experimental.

And very creative…

Yeah, a lot of creativity. The artistry was being allowed to happen. The record companies were more or less standing back and just taking what the artists gave them and then marketing it. Whereas later on, what they did was tell the artists what song to do to make it easier for them to sell it. Instead of the marketers saying “Just give me your art and I’ll market it”, they say “We want this so we can make it easier for our marketing department to sell it”. That wasn’t happening in the 60’s. I don’t think that Jimi Hendrix would have made it today. Or The Doors, or a lot of bands like Crosby, Still, Nash & Young. I don’t think they would have passed the front door. Even The Eagles. Because they were different, they were creating something entirely new. Even Otis Redding. I mean, who sounds like Otis Redding? Nobody. They would say, “Well you don’t sound enough like so and so therefore we’re not going to sign you”. But in those days, it was much more open policy and it was a great era of music. The 50’s had some great moments too. Then in the 70’s & 80’s and even the 90’s, the marketing took control because they could see the huge amount of money that was being made. 

We are now in the 70’s… In the mid-Seventies, you were in a band called OASIS, with a real hot Soul/Funk sound like Tower Of Power.

Yeah, we had 5 vocalists, we had a great arranger and had a really good writer in Coleman Head. We had a lot of good ingredients vocally so it worked out. It was one of the best bands I was with. I think The Knickerbockers and Oasis were two of the best bands I’ve ever been with in terms of vocals and cohesiveness together, as far as a unit, as far as playing in a band.

Did you sing in Oasis?

Oh yeah, I was the lead-singer.

Did you record anything?

Yeah. Jerry Fuller recorded and produced an album for us up in San Francisco at Wally Heider studio. It never came to fruition because I think we just didn’t know what we were doing enough. Jerry got us some potential deals but not with any major labels. And the business at that time was changing. There were more smaller independent labels starting to happen. There were a couple of them that wanted to release our stuff but we were trying to get a major record deal. And then the band started breaking up! The bass player Victor Conte hem… of the steroids scandal fame, you know who he is?

He’s Bruce’s cousin, isn’t he?

Yeah, he got embroiled in a big steroids scandal with other athletes.

Yes I heard about that…

Yeah well, he was kind of pushy as far as telling Jerry Fuller what he wanted out of the record companies. Jerry called me and said “ What’s this guy want?” (laugh) “Who does he think he is?” you know… So he kind of broke up the band in terms of… I didn’t want to play with him anymore. I got fed up with him. And so did the trombone player Jim Waller. Jim was the guy who started Oasis, he put it together from the ground up and he got fed up with Victor. He was a tough guy to get along with.

Bruce Conte was not in that band, was he?

No, Bruce and I formed another band called Hot Street.

Yeah, Hot Street…

That was a good band too.

Was it a similar Soul/Funk type of sound?

Yeah, but we had more of a universal appeal. Hot Street was a real good club act because we did some Top 40 material. I did some Blues material like in a Ray Charles big band sort of way and we did all The Stones material. So it was a mixture of Top 40, Blues, original music which we had and we even did some of Coleman’s tunes. It was kind of an interesting little package. The line-up did change a few times.
We had Julian Molina on bass and a guy by the name of Elliot Smith on keyboards. It was me, Bruce, Elliot, Julian and a girl singer, Terry Smith. We also had Louis Pain on keys. Then we had another mixture with Chester Thompson on keys from The Tower of Power who started playing with Santana. He was in the band and we had a bass player by the name of Gary Calvin and that was another good style. But every time we changed players, the band would change a little bit. Which is OK, you know, it went from this to that to the other thing but it was always the same school of songs. It kind of had a Tower of Power, Doobie Brothers, a San Francisco City band kind of sound.

Yeah, you were playing mainly in the Bay Area of San Francisco, weren’t you?

Pretty much, yeah… we played all over the whole Bay Area from the Southern part all the way down to St Louis Obispo, all the way up to San Ramon and everywhere in between. Redwood City, Burlington, we played all the cities throughout the Bay Area for 2 years. That was tough because we played 4 or 5 one-nighters in different clubs every week.

Were you living in Northern California at the time?

Yeah! I had moved from Fresno to the South of the Bay Area.

You’re now back in the Bay Area after spending a few years in Vegas. Tell us a bit more about your time in Sin City.

I put a band together, the Jimmy Walker Band, with some good musicians I knew in town. Pat Marlin on keyboards/saxophone, Carl Gottman on bass, Tim Manion on guitar. Tim moved to California so we got TK Kellman who used to play with Bobby Darin. This was a really good band and we played all over town, including BB King’s. Most of the times I sang upfront, that’s what I really want to do.

You’re not exactly shy (laugh)

No, absolutely not! I’m really good with an audience. I have a lot of experience of being up front and that’s what I love to do. I mean, all through The Knickerbockers, Buddy would play drums and I was the other front man. And of course I did that for over 4 years with Bobby Hatfield as the Righteous Brothers.

How do you keep your voice in shape?

You know, I sing better now than ever before. I don’t drink, smoke, take drugs, anything.

Not even the odd glass of wine sometimes?

No, nothing. I just wanted to see what it would be like to be completely clear and free of any kind of altering substances. So I quit drinking over ten years ago. I used to smoke Marijuana and I just got fed up with it, and just said “Enough of that!”.

That’s great but you don’t miss the glass of wine though? (laugh)

No, actually I don’t miss it at all. And I used to love a glass of wine! But I just decided… once I make up my mind about something, I’m kind of stubborn. I really wanted to feel what it was like to be completely free of any crutches, substances, you know, and just to use my own mind and my own self to see what it was like. And I like it! It’s a neat thing.

So while in Vegas you recorded the album “Playing to Win”.

Yeah, I wrote all the tunes, all the lyrics and the melodies. A friend of mine, Jeff Palmer, did all the keyboard work and it’s all sampled. All the drums are samples. It really sounds like a band but it’s not! He did all the chord changes and most of the arranging and I did all the writing and the singing. It’s all me. I even did the vocal backgrounds.

What does it sound like?

You know, it’s a mixture of stuff. The closest thing to describe it would be a kind of Pop/Rhythm’&’ Blues album. There are different beats, different kind of feels. A little Johnny Guitar Watson, a little Steely Dan, a little this, that and the other. I am a Soul & Blues singer but I don’t like to be labelled.

Where can we find it?

It’s available for downloads on CD Baby, iTunes and all the main digital outlets.

What’s your current project?

In the past few months, I have performed live with 2 really good musicians, Blues guitarist Alvon Johnson and bass player Bill McCubbin.
I’ve wrote some new songs and I plan to record them for a new album. I’m also working on doing a tour in Europe. I never played there and I think my style of music would get over really well. Europe has more of an open mind artistically than in America. They’re far more advanced as far as listening to what you do, rather than saying “No, I like this and I want you to play that”. It’s less plastic and there’s more respect for artists like me.

Please visit Jimmy Walker’s website:

Interview made by Katy Levy/2013
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