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"Enjoy The Experience" an interview with author Johan Kugelberg


Enjoy The Experience – Johan Kugelberg, editor (Sinecure)

Enjoy The Experience is the largest anthology of American private press vinyl ever amassed and presented, featuring over one thousand cover reproductions from 1958-1992. Special 2xLP and 2xCD compilations feature selections from albums mentioned in the book, and a limited-edition collectable bundle is also available, featuring the book, 2xLP, posters, iron-on patches, and several albums, including Dutch sensation Bud Benderbe’s inimitable rendition of The Velvet Underground & Nico!


It is our pleasure to sit down with Enjoy The Experience editor, Johan Kugelberg for the following interview.


Your book focuses on private pressings between 1958 and 1992. What is unique about this period? What happened in 1958 that you chose to start your analysis here and why end in 1992?

Well, I don't know if analysis is the right word. What I started noticing once I had perused hundreds upon hundreds of private press records is that the cover designs started revealing themselves as a visual language, a vernacular and a great bizarro world Americana, like crazy-quilts or regional hamburgers. Listening to hoards of these records certainly brought about thrill-seeker music fan moments that brought about appreciations for hyper-obscurities a la Acid Archives, but for me more importantly was a sense of these amateur recordings and homemade music products en masse, where one could start finding similarities in execution and style, not only upon listening to, say, the 500th version of 'MacArthur Park'.

Starting point and exit point were arbitrary, but not completely so 1958 was a good starting point as the LP had started to gain immensely in popularity, and 1992 was a good exit point because of the CD.

Today it seems that vanity pressings are becoming the norm rather than the exception, particularly as anyone with a homemade recording studio and a computer is capable of recording and releasing an album. What is different between today’s private pressings and the ones you cover in your book?

It was so much more difficult to get your music out back then, that there really is no comparison between the two in my opinion. I certainly believe that there must be enormous amounts of amazing musical discoveries online nowadays, but the gargantuan effort and astronomical expense of releasing your own LP record back in the day meant that only the most driven, idiosyncratic, and visionary people followed through and made an LP.

You mention at the outset that vanity pressings are most common in the US? Why do you think that is? Surely there were artists around the world pressing their own home grown recordings?

Yes, but nowhere near as common as here. I blame/celebrate American ingenuity: where a buck can be made, America will make a buck. The pressing plants that mushroomed across America 50-odd years ago needed to churn out product, hence vanity LPs as a parallel to vanity book publications.

Do you think that these artists never intended to try to get a label to release these albums and so they were recorded without much expectation of commercial recognition? Were these mostly recorded for family and friends, or were the artists actually hoping to see their albums in record stores, but no label was interested in releasing their work?

The answers to that one are as many as there are private press recording artists. I think some people used their record as a demo, hoping to get that major deal; other people had a smaller appetite for recognition and were happy to sell a souvenir album at their local bar & grill or church or swap meet, and for some people no doubt these records were truly pressings of vanity.

Where do you find these things! Paul Major has turned you on to a lot of the albums you discuss, but is there actually some sort of secret underground cabal that regularly seeks out and trades these recordings?

When I stepped off the boat from the old country 25 years ago, these records were everywhere, rejected by all but the most ardent vinyl weirdoes. The internet has provided an enormous hunger for obscurity, so a weird and unknown local record can become a most desired totem-object overnight, sort of like how northern soul or breakbeat records can work.

In most instances, the people who are enthusiastic about these records have friends that share their enthusiasm. This book came together through friendships spanning decades, and we were truly standing on the shoulders of giants such as Mike Ascherman, Jack Streitman, Geoffrey Weiss, Gregg Turkington, Brandan Kearney, RIch Haupt, and Will Louiviere who shared their knowledge and enthusiasm.

Regarding finding these records, I have a couple of friends who still crisscross this great nation, finding completely amazing and insane records in thrift stores and flea markets constantly. There are a lot of undiscovered records in America.


How do you draw the line between the “collectable” private pressings that trade for hundreds or thousands of dollars and get listed in record guides like Vernon Joynson’s Fuzz, Acid and Flowers (e.g., the Ya Ho Wa 13s, C.A. Quintets, Mystic Sivas, Rising Storms, et.al. that Paul mentions) and the 25 cent flea market finds that no one cares about?

I actually didn't. Part of the point of the book was for it not to be about rare records, but more about Americana, grassroots-creativity, and the DIY self-starter nature of the American frontier spirit, especially when the frontier explored is the inner landscape.

The book is extremely patriotic, and I hope conducts some of the awesome happiness I feel for the creativity of this great nation, as a first generation immigrant.

Is there a hierarchy that a small group of collectors sets when it comes to these recordings? Paul mentions folks like Erik Lindgren and Gregg Turkington and you alluded earlier to Patrick Lundborg’s Acid Archives that also discusses vanity pressings from the same approximate time frame as your book. Are these the “experts” when it comes to setting values to these recordings and separating the wheat from the chaff?

I don't quite know how to answer that one. I think that in this day and age, we should be grateful for any credible curators of popular culture that can bring us gnosis and/or thrills, especially of the thrift store variety. This book is actually about not separating the wheat from the chaff, but finding enjoyment in the entire experience.

Why does it seem that so many “Christian” music albums seem to dominate the private pressing field? It almost seems to be a genre unto itself that some collectors can’t get enough of? Is it the evangelical message so inherent to the lifestyle that generates these recordings?

I think yet again it is great American capitalism: a church is a captive audience, and religious peers can easily be browbeaten into purchasing something to celebrate the mutuality of having the same lord and master.

Do you think there’s more than just the “so bad it’s good” reaction that make it worth the effort to seek out these recordings? I’m sure a lot of them are better than what the major labels actually deemed suitable to put out and flood the market with over the years?

I am really not into the “so bad it's good” thing. I think it is elitist, short-sighted and rather sad. I turn away from internet record snark automatically, as all this stuff is supposed to be fun. Some of these records are doubtlessly laughable, some of these record covers are bafflingly idiotic, and some of the aesthetic musical choices are idiotically baffling, and I think that is absolutely wonderful - anything to avoid the blandness of mass-market music product!

At this point, I think pretty much all of it is better than the major label sounds of the same era. Where it gets truly mysterious, fascinating, and fun is when you can bring a vanity/private-press listening experience to major label groups. I have recently started to love the Doors, solely on listening to them as an over-the-top lounge band with a Palmer Rockey/Kit Ream-style vocalist. Shirley Bassey and Richard Harris are other examples of major label vanity pressing artists.

You introduce a great point in your conversation with Paul: there’s just so much of this stuff out there, how can anyone possibly discover it all and wade through the junk to get to the “good stuff”? Mike Aschermann and Jack Streitman offer a list of their favourites, and you’ve included excerpts from Paul’s catalogues. But are these albums ever offered for sale and do people collect and trade them to actually listen to them? Or is it just a matter of conversation starters among the “real people” collector cognoscenti?

I don't really know. I see sound files from these records starting to do the rounds, and I hope that this will continue. I think these recordings really provide an honest human flavour that counteracts mass market swill. Think amazing regional hamburgers and sodas and pies, where an amateuristic homemade element truly adds to the tasty flavor!

A perfect example is listening to the Art Martin Quartet's version of 'Fire & Rain'. I love it, I find it truly moving, and I have never even been able to tolerate the sound of James Taylor. My emotional response to this amazing/insane cover version does mean that I need to reevaluate my opinion about James Taylor!

Some of the art work on these albums is fantastic. Does that alone add to the value of the album? Do people collect them purely for the cover art and maybe never even listen to the music?

I hope not, but boy are some of those covers eye-ball pleasers! I just hope the book leads people to look out for these kinds of records and that it brings about some sort of sense of the beauty of everyday human expression.

Is the grading and valuation of these records different from the standard “collectable” ratings? I mean, many of the albums pictured in your book have drawings, scribblings and other writings and colourings on them! Normally, this would kill the value, but is there a separate criteria for these albums?

I think anyone who collects records as an investment has grabbed the short end of the stick. Some records in this book have changed hands for lots of money, but money isn't a yardstick for an art experience, and the price of an artwork is solely what someone else is willing to pay for it, notwithstanding if said artwork is the Russ Saul album or Picasso's Guernica.

Some of the albums discussed in your book have actually been reissued and are more readily available; albums by Rex Holman, Jade Stone & Luv, Plastic Cloud, Bobb Trimble, John Rydgren’s classic Silhouette Segments, and of course The Shaggs. Does that detract from their value or do collectors still crave the originals?

The more the merrier. I don't pay much attention to the recent surge of reissues, as there really aren't any labels anymore where I feel that the aesthetic vision is on the level. I pick up the odd reissue, and there has been some amazing ones, but there are only so many hours in the day. Something I think is a bit of a problem these days is what I call "straight to rare", where people will only listen to rare records or obscure musics, which I think is completely missing the point. All this stuff is supposed to be enjoyed, and God and his pals aren't going to hold up scorecards for coolness and hipness when we die. Music serves us, we don't serve music, as Michael Daley pointed out. Art experiences that are derived from attempting to impress other people will always be hollow.


Have you been contacted by any of the artists you discuss or whose albums are included? Do they appreciate the attention and acknowledgement or is there the danger of a negative connotation – sort of like rubbernecking at an accident? How do you convince your readers of the value of these recordings as something more than a recording freak show?

They all seem really happy, and I think they notice that this book is as far from rubbernecking and freakshowism as possible. I hope that the tone of the book reflects our love and admiration of the creativity and spirit of all these people.



















Interview made by Jeff Penczak/2013
© Copyright http://psychedelicbaby.blogspot.com/2013

The Lad Mags - Various Singles (2013) review


The Lad Mags "Various Singles" (2013) 

Not much I can say about the Lad Mags that these singles haven't already said. These gals plus one guy craft some of the best soul inspired spooky garage rock I have heard in forever. The best part is they seem to like to record because they put out 3 amazing singles this year alone, 2 physical (Lover/You Don't Love Me. & Trick/You Stole My Mind) and one real wicked Halloween digital single (Dig My Grave/Awhoooo). Not many bands know how to create the image of a band setting up shop in a haunted house like these guys do, I would expect there might be a Scooby Doo type chase scene thrown into the mix at some point, ending with a house party. Pass the bong to Casper the 420 Friendly Ghost and throw these tracks on a playlist and ride the wave!

Review made by Matt Yablonski/2013
© Copyright http://psychedelicbaby.blogspot.com/2013

Bad Liquor Pond - Blue Smoke Orange Sky (2012) review


Bad Liquor Pond "Blue Smoke Orange Sky" (2012)

I sincerely doubt that any of the songs lifted from Blue Smoke Orange Sky could pass a drug test, as the duo of Dave Gibson and Poridge Blackwell mix a hazy concoction of bright wide-awake psychedelia, where they trip-out the genre of shoegaze by keeping all of the songs to a manageable length, lacing the edges with bits of jangling Americana and retro 60’s garage psych smoke-rings to mindfully edge you on, and spaciously enlighten your trip.

This is their third album, and was a delight to my senses as it melted between my ears, ebbing the warm summer galaxies ever closer.  Bad Liquor Pond understand the nature of what they’re doing, and that in itself is no minor achievement, where the listener seems to be held on an outstretched feather, as the boys envelop and divide, putting all of their energies into first rate songwriting and delivery, managing to avoid the pitfalls of escalating and expansive stoner jams.

This is full spirited psychedelic music at it’s very best ... and at just the right altitude.

*** The album cover is in perfect step with their music, harking back images of the notorious Acid Test posters of the early 60's.

Review made by Jenell Kesler/2013
© Copyright http://psychedelicbaby.blogspot.com/2013

Harald Grosskopf interview


Harald Grosskopf worked with Klaus Schulze, Ash Ra Tempel, Cosmic Jokers and was also a member of Wallenstein. In the late '70s he began working on his solo project – Synthesist, which remained very influential album. Here's an interview we made with Harald about his past and current projects.

You were part of many bands back in the '70s, but the very first recordings you made were with the band called Wallenstein. You played drums and the band produced mixture of space rock with prog elements. You were part of this band for a few years, recording their debut called "Blitzkrieg" and "Mother Universe" and later two more albums. How did you join them and what can you say about this group?

Kindergarten, 1952
1960

As so many things in life happen by accident, so this time in mine. It was way back in early 1971. Just had finished my community service I had to do it instead of getting drafted by German military, because I was a conscentious objector. I was living in a commune near Hannover. We four people shared a little house. Two of them; my old "Stuntmen" buddies. The Stuntmen where a beat music band. The other band in town where "The Scorpions". I went to kindergarden and school with Rudolf Schenker, head of "The Scorpions". A few times I joined in that band, when their drummer was ill, or for other reasons not able to perform. I was interested in joining the Scorpions, after my community service, but after they did not appear three times in their rehearsal room, where we had an appointment so I gave up the idea.

Stuntmen, 1966

One day two young dudes from the area near Cologne appeared in our house. A friend had met them in Hannover and had brought them in. They had a casting date in Hannover. They where looking for a drummer, but the dude did not show up. My buddy told those two dudes that he knew a drummer, which was me. So he brought them over to our little house on the countryside. The next day I was on my way to become a member of "Blitzkrieg", the former name of "Wallenstein". 


We worked very very hard. The bandleader, keyboarder Juergen Dollase set up rehearsals every day for at least five hours and more. That made us able to soon perform live before rehearsing became boring. We were quite successful and recorded four albums before I quit.

Wallenstein, 1972
Jürgen Dollase, Jerry Berkers, Harald Grosskopf, Bill Barone
 Jerry Berkers
Wallenstein and Gille Lettmann, 1972

In the meantime you appeared on many other albums; for instance you played with acid folk duo Witthüser & Westrupp then with Walter Wegmüller, Cosmic Jokers, Ash Ra Tempel... It seems that all of you were friends in one way or another and that's why also members of Wallenstein, Bernd Witthüser, Ash Ra Tempel's Manuel Göttsching and Hartmut Enke, both on guitars, Klaus Schulze (electronics) appear on Wegmüller's Tarot. This particular album was really special especially due Wegmüller's talents as an artist. There are many inserts and extras, which include a set of 22 hand painted tarot cards, one for each musical piece on the recording, and 12 smaller inserts in card format: eight with Wegmüller's portraits of the musicians and four describing the album concept, the line-up, the music and a few words on tarot philosophy. The album was released on Rolf-Ulrich Kaiser's Kosmische Musik in 1973 and out of this project another one was born – The Cosmic Jokers, which was more of a jam. Would you like to tell us what are some of the strongest memories from recording and producing "Tarot" LP? Perhaps if you can explain the concept behind the album?


One of the youths reaction against the still remaining Nazi culture in Germanies Sixties, was either strong political, culminating in student riots, mainly in Berlin, Frankfurt and Munich, or a retreat into the realms of the esoteric, combined with individual quest and the use of all kinds of available drugs. I and many of the involved musicians where among the last mentioned group. So were the two heads of our record company "Ohr Music" (Ear Music), later changed into "Pilz Music" (Mushroom Music). 


A secret reference that drugs were involved. I and I guess also many of my music colleagues where pretty stoned on LSD, hash and marijuana when we prepared the Tarot album in the farmhouse of farmer Plath in the tiny village of Dill, the rural place where Bernd Witthüser and Walter Westrup had rented a generous flat to spent their lives for a bunch of years. My most impressive experience was the Discovery of Manuel Göttsching`s Gibson guitar, his WEM copycat tape delay and corresponding WEM loudspeaker cabinet. I played guitar for hours, thrilled and fascinated by the repeating echo, until my fingertips started bleeding, because I wasn't guitar player. Another strong impression was the encounter with Sergius Golowin. 



He was a former member of the Swiss parliament and author, was such a humble, wise and smart man. Universes different from my experiences with the elder German generation and their Nazi mentality, including my own parents. Later in the Dierks Studios we improvised those 21 Tarot music pieces. Again under the influence of certain illegal substances.

Walter Wegmüller

What gear and in what studio did you record the album?

Moog 3P

Schulze just had bought his MOOG 3P model from Florian Fricke I guess. I played the studio drum kit. Hartmut Enke (R.I.P.) electric bass, Juergen Dollase grand piano and Hammond B3. All recorded on Studer 24-Track tape recorder. Manuel Göttsching played his Gibson axe via the WEM copycat tape delay. That was it I guess.  

Manuel Göttsching

How about The Cosmic Jokers? You appeared on their second LP titled "Galactic Supermarket".

That's the only Cosmic Courier title I like. Not because I´m involved, but because it is the only serious piece of music. All other stuff from this series, out of my sight is pretty much crap and I never understood this choice, because in my memories there was much better material on hours of tape which must be dormant in the Dierks Studios or where ever.


Later you were part of Kosmische Kuriere and after that you appeared on three albums by Klaus Schulze, then Ashra and many others. What can you say about your collaboration with Schulze and joining Ashra?

"Irrlicht" (twilight), Klaus Schulzes first album was unbearable for me. It was pretty intelectual, which in general is no problem, but I definitely couldn't share the emotions of that strange electronic album, if there are such. 


His third album "Blackdance", which I heard the first time on radio, while laying in bed, thrilled me. It had strong rhythm patterns and melodies and it was very original. Something I had never heard before.


I immediately wrote Klaus a letter, telling him that I really like these new tunes. He invited me to visit him in his house in northern Germany. 


Klaus Schulze, 1976

I went there and a few hours later, after I had drummed on a plastic bucket, concomittend his sequences, we decided to cooperate on his next album. A few weeks later the tracks for "Moondawn" were layed. 


From this moment on rock music started boring me intensely and I decided to split from Wallenstein, not knowing how my future as a drummer would go on. On his way back from Paris, Manuel Göttsching visited me by accident. He just had finished a France tour with Lutz Ulbrich. He asked me if I would like to join in with Ashra. I moved to Berlin in 1976 and we toured France, Switzerland, England, many years later also Japan and recorded several albums until these days. 

Manuel Göttsching, 1977
Ashra, 1997

May I ask if you (or others) were using any hallucinogens at the time of "Tarot"and "The Cosmic Jokers" and in what sense do you think hallucinogens managed to inspire and influence you to play?

Drugs definitely change ones perceptions. Especial LSD does. It changes perception in such a fundamental way that You never experienced before. Reality become relative. It can be scary like hell or heavenly exhilarating. I am quite sure that drugs influenced me and the other musician involved in those albums. But I've seen Hartmut Enke, the ingenious bass player of Ashra mentally and socially being ruined by these drugs. He died in 2006. I've seen Jerry Berkers, the Dutch bass player and singer of Wallenstein being also ruined mentally and social by these drugs. He died around fifteen years ago in a park, after he had injected an overdose of Heroin. I've seen other friends and acquaintance being destroyed by drugs. The price You pay for taking drugs can be high. I was more than lucky that such a fate was not mine. I do not take such drugs any more since many, many years. Music is my drug and continuing making music saved me from such unfortunate fates. Taking drugs was an important experience in my past, but I recommend to anyone not taking it. It might kill You or can at least irreparably destroy You psyche. 


 Timothy Leary 

In 1980 you managed to record your first solo album, which is these days well known and very influential album. What's the story behind making this album and what can you say about recording it? It was mostly done in your apartment at the times, right?

Until 1979 I never had the slightest idea to record a solo album until a musician asked me why I`m not recording a solo album. I felt being a drummer and needed a band. Ashra was not very active in that year and I was hot to make music. My decision to record "Synthesist" was born sort out of an emergency situation. None was there to make music with me. In the beginning it was so frustrating that I was close to give up. Controlling a synthesizer is one thing. The other thing is, how to handle recording equipment. I expected Udo Hanten (YOU) to act as sound engineer. He was the musician who inspired me to record a solo album and who had invited me to record it in his flat with his equipment. He helped me to set up and than left me alone with millions of problems. The Mini Moog had the typical problem all Moog's had in these days. Changes in room temperature dropped or lifted the tuning. Midi was not invented and I had to think about it how to synchronize different sequences on parallel tracks. There was this electronic freak, who lived in the same house. He manged to build a cable that had a few electronic components, which made it possible to record a trigger signal track, that vice versa could be converted with the same cable back to a signal the sequencer could read. Sometimes after a second sequence was recorded, I found out that it was going to slowly changed its tuning. I more than once had to start from scratch, because the first sequence at the end had a different scale that in the beginning. We put a light bulb near the Moog`s transformer to receive a constant temperature. That helped most of the time. After one week I slowly got into the technique and was able to concentrate myself on music. It needed a lot of smoking illegal substances and gallons of black coffee to keep my motivation alive. At the end I managed to get it all laid and was very happy with the result. By the same time happy to be liberated from all technical hassles. All music was spontaneous improvisation.



What can you say about the cover artwork?

My idea was to create a chromium like silver mask of my face that was folded open and shows my human face behind. But that would have been too much work for the specialists and therefore too expensive. So I put silver colour in my face and top chest part and we started the photo session. The paint was very itchy and I was happy to be able to take a shower after five hours of shootings. Most of the photos were extremely horrible. But the one we used was magic.



What would you say influenced you back then when you started making your own solo album?

My own intention to do something unique. I was fascinated by Minimal Music (Steve Reich, Philippe Glass, Terry Riley). On the other hand by pop music too, but I did not want to create anything out of the boring retro box.  

There was an amazing scene going on in Germany, especially in a field of experimental and electronic music. How do you see it now if you look back to the 70s. You and a few others were really creative and managed to produce some of the most unique records...

Without internet in those days you did not get the spontaneous worldwide response like today. For years I was not aware that outside France and maybe England anybody was interested in our music. Germany media ignored it completely and spread negative opinions. Apart from Kraftwerk no one had not even one hits. Tangerine Dream had a few golden records but the media from Germany did not mention it. So my bank account did not tell me how famous I was. With the amount of sales we had in the Seventies and Eighties today we all would have appeared in the Pop-Charts. 

What are you currently up to and what are some future plans?

I am cooperating via internet with the italian DJ Crono and with Standart Planets, a british electronic band. I made a documentary film about my father and the father of Hollywood director Philippe Mora, who has German, French and Jewish roots (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philippe_Mora). My father was a Wehrmacht soldier and Nazi party member. His father escaped Germany and fought the Nazis as a member of the French Resistance. The family later immigrated to Australia. The film is named "German Sons" (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K87YxRN5JaQ). Apart from that I work on Live performances in Italy and England for next year. Also very relaxed on a new album.

Do you prefer vinyl or CD's? Anyway I want to ask you what are you listening to and what are you reading lately?

Apart from my own creations during recording I rarely listen to music. Vinyl is on the rise. It will not be the mass product that it once was. I re-released my "Synthesist" album on vinyl in New York two years ago. Vinyl definitely is the better product. But as soon as we are able to put 64 bit music material on a storing media with a sampling rate of 96 Khz, which is already possible with actual recording technique, the dynamic of analog and digital will be equal. But as long as MP3 quality is mainstream I don't think there will be need for better quality sound performance.

I`m reading Simon Reynold`s "Retromania". A great inspiring book. It criticizes the boring snatch of actual music into the past with great density of expert information. It seems, that after Punk and Techno, there is no creative music view into future since two decades.



Many thanks for taking your time. Would you like to share anything else? Perhaps a message to It's Psychedelic Baby readers and to your fans across the world?

Dear Psychedelic Baby reader, while listening to and reading about traditional stuff, always keep Your mind and heart open to the visionary new. For artists that take the risk being ignored by their contemporaries. Thank You!
















Interview made by Klemen Breznikar/2013
© Copyright http://psychedelicbaby.blogspot.com/2013

Tough Age - Tough Age (2013) review


Tough Age "Tough Age" (Mint Records, 2013) 

Very few records had came out this year that I knew I would be obsessed over, the self titled album from Vancouvers fantastic Tough Age is just that. Throughout the record you feel like your on a date with your best gal. Throughout that date you take her to a beach party, followed by a trip to the local malt shop to share a shake, perhaps you defend her honor in a back alley knife fight, ending the night in a drag race around suicide bend. Clearly you can hear the different musical influences travelling within this record, Lo-fi fuzz pop you would expect belonging to one of the many Flying Nun bands, elements of Doo-Wop, dip your toes into the water with some surf rock, and finally a mouthful of Bubblegum Pop. Even most surprising is how well everything sounds with some crazy good reverbed guitar. This is a short record, but with so many hooks and surprises hiding in plain sight this is something I bet you will be revisiting again and again.

Review made by Matt Yablonski/2013
© Copyright http://psychedelicbaby.blogspot.com/2013

Monster Magnet @Mill City Nights, Minneapolis(US) – 17/11 Live Report


Monster Magnet – Citizens of the Cosmos

Loyal fans in the US have been waiting more than ten years for the live sounds of the now Ed Mundell-less Monster Magnet once again. Sounds that Aleister Crowley should have been listening to while climbing those mountains, cause the world would be a more peaceful place, maybe, a very different place though.

A Sunday night harvest in downtown Minneapolis with smiles, chills, almost tears of joy, demons and angels, a lot of middle-aged white guys, and of course a dope smell in the men’s bathroom and probably in the women’s too. Not an intimate gathering there at the venue Mill City Nights, unless you were one with your doobie, which you probably always are. Mill City Days does not exist.

I think of and admire Monster Magnet in Jungian terms, as the epitome of wholeness, or, capturing “individuation” for all you psychology geeks out there. A fully integrated rock & roll experience with all good, and all filler. Just notice lone survivor and mastermind of the band Dave Wyndorf’s gear, it’s old and beat in contrast to the rest of the newly acquired member’s stuff. They do retro and future at the same time – ‘70s and 2000s, and everything in between - the usual space rock template.

That most important and now relevant wholeness is best defined by an integration of all aspects of the self, past and present, conscious and unconscious, good and not so good. Psychotherapist Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961) wrote, “The right way to wholeness is made up of fateful detours and wrong turnings.” And “The unconscious is not just evil by nature, it is also the source of the highest good: not only dark but also light, not only bestial, semi-human, and demonic but superhuman, spiritual, and, in the classical sense of the word, divine.” Monster Magnet embodies all that in their music and lyrics, all the time…………………………infinity……….(I do not know any current, or any former members of the band personally).

Well then, how about Wyndorf’s “effects table?” Controlled by his hands with his back to the audience, like Photoshop filters on a computer – creating atmosphere, the haze, taking the place of a smoke machine and a confusing op-art exploding light show in the dark. But in the beginning it was Wyndorf’s mind that was the most important instrument, his vision. A vision that makes me appoint him the Lou Reed of stoner rock. So, arguably, what Monster Magnet did for the heavy rock genre, is equivalent to what Lou Reed’s band The Velvet Underground did for theirs.

Techniques that night? Every song was well executed, sounded great. There wasn’t any special modernization or extra baggage acquired along the way with those old tunes, except an homage to Don McLean’s ‘American Pie’ within the iconic ‘Spine of God’ song. There are still the appropriate space-out-attention-span-freak-out parts, but not overwhelming, and without all the electronics like used in the records after ‘Powertrip,’ records completed after the year 1999.

Casually on the stage, and lyrically, Wyndorf does not seem to care about certainty, a career, a broken string, or any such drama. Maybe because he has a solid backing band that supports and engages in his ways? He has found the planet where that Jungian wholeness within a band works the best, amongst the scientific human - half pig and half chimpanzee?

One thing I do remember vocalist Wyndorf saying was when they came out for an encore - “Hope you guys like space rock” cause this song is eleven minutes long – it was one off of their latest LP ‘Last Patrol.’ ‘Twas right on, hypnotic, deserving of a black light poster, a big one, and you’re only allowed to do one Hawkwind cover in your lifetime anyways, right? And they used that up early in their career with Brainstorm.

I don’t think Monster Magnet “ended up” here. (Holy Grail) There seems to be a mission, a magical universal creation to be discovered somewhere, or like a patrol, a trek through the questionable cosmos with rock & roll as performance, as being real, their purpose and identity through performance – esoterically. So let’s all change our names to “In Search Of,” partially because the rest of one’s life is based off of a first love, right? A conquering?

Anyway, Monster Magnet is still on this plane of existence, for now, and I want to use a word to describe them overall that means the opposite of “destroyers of consciousness,” but I do not know what that is, so, I will end with the idea of gestalt, because Carl Jung would approve and give permission and because Wyndorf and his mystic crew are everything, everybody, all the time.

© Sandi Murphy

Check out the new album ‘Last Patrol’ – out now on Napalm Records.

P.S. I should mention something about the setlist, which had two songs off of the new LP ‘Last Patrol,’ and the rest were from ‘Powertrip’ and before, nothing from the last four records. But buy ‘em all.

Report made by Robert Savela/2013
© Copyright http://psychedelicbaby.blogspot.com/2013

Secret Colours - Peach (2013) review


Secret Colours "Peach" (2013)

Secret Colours stumbled out of the studio hazed and dazed ... well, at least that’s how I like to imagine it.  But truth be told, the band lovingly painted themselves into a corner, where the only way to go was up and out, shimmering the Chicago skyline, and infusing a softly dramatic 60’s psychedelic polychromic vision that ebbs out across the night, causing everything to take on a delightful softness around the edges, where lava-lamp liquid colours melt down the sides of buildings, morphing everything into an oozing bliss of satisfaction.

The album is laced with bright 60’s British pop sensibilities, filled with smokey reverb, dancing drenched vocals that will harken both early Floyd [ah-la Meddle] and circa 1966 Marc Bolan ... and it’s all held together by a kaleidoscope of psych guitar splendor, along with some oddly familiar backwards sounds that will instantly draw to mind lost visions from The Beatles “Magical Mystery Tour,” creating a caravel atmosphere of easy to grab hooks, and subtle grooves from which you’ll never want to come home.

Review made by Jenell Kesler/2013
© Copyright http://psychedelicbaby.blogspot.com/2013

Hawkeyes interview with Ron “StreetKnife”, Patrick “PF/Pink Floyd” Finch and Stacey “SS” Schmitt

© Jennifer Keith

The more you look the more you find.  It’s a good rule of thumb to live by and a great descriptor not only for Hawkeyes but the Canadian psych scene as a whole I think.  The more I’ve dug and picked, peeping into the cracks and dark corners of the psychedelic sludge that is seeping from Canada’s pores the more intense and insane it’s gotten, and Hawkeyes are a perfect example of that.  An instrumental, four guitar, sonic assault of doom tinged face melting psychedelia.  By now you might be familiar with my obsession with our great neighbors to the north as chronicled in several earlier articles but Hawkeyes are the icing on the cake, the cherry on top of the sundae if you will.  Running in the same circles, but not enjoying nearly the amount of exposure as, Krang, Shooting Guns and Powder Blue all of whom I’ve already talked to Hawkeyes are anything but followers bringing their own take on psychedelic, metal, sludge rock.  And damned it it’s not awesome.  With one sold out tape and another on its way I thought it was long past time to sit down with the boys from Hawkeyes and talk some serious shop.  Three of the founding members Ron “StreetKnife”, Patrick “PF/Pink Floyd” Finch and Stacey “SS” Schmitt took time out of their busy schedules to finish this sucker, and it’s a doozy!  If you’re not already listening to Hawkeyes make sure you click the link below so you can follow along with through the hazy smoke filled, foul stale beer stinking air…

Listen while you read: http://hawkeyes.bandcamp.com/

© Jennifer Keith

What’s Hawkeyes current lineup?  Is this your original lineup or have there been any changes?

PF:  Hawkeyes are myself on Les Paul guitar, Stacey Schmitt on hilariously over-sized drums, Kaiser on Les Paul guitar, Blackout on Blackout custom 4 string bass, Lord Streetknife on Explorer guitar and RA on Roy guitar.  SS, Blackout and I formed the band and were quickly joined by all of our cool friends who played guitar and were up for shotgunning some beers and getting fuckin’ loud.  As Blackout said at our initial practice “If it’s not loud, it’s not allowed.”

Stacey:  Hawkeyes is and will always be Blackout, RA, Lord Streetknife, PF, Kaiser and myself.

Are any of you in any other bands at this point?  The more I talk to people the more I realize that people these days are often in several very active bands at once.  Have you released any music with anyone else?  If so can you tell us about it?

Ron:  I play guitar in Saigon Hookers.  We’ve released two CDs and three EPs over the last eight years.  All are available on iTunes, or from the boxes in my garage.

PF:  Kaiser and I released five records and toured in a band called the Stars Here for about ten years.  Now we play in the Hawk Dawsons.  I also play in Tree Lung with SS and Hawkeyes’ artwork designer, Roan Master Bateman.  RA plays in shit-tons of bands, basically anyone who needs a stunt guitar player.  Streetknife is in Saigon Hookers and Blackout occasionally reforms his Portland-based band Village Idiot.

Stacey:  PF touched on that, so there is not much I can add.

Where are you originally from?

Ron:  Kitchener, Ontario, Canada.

PF:  I was born and raised in Kitchener.

Stacey:  I’m originally from a very small village called St. George.  Now I’m a Waterlooian.  Waterlooster?  Yeah, I live in Waterloo now.

Was the home you grew up in very musical growing up?  Were either of your parents or any of your relatives extremely interested or involved in music?

Ron:  Nope.  Music was in the car, on the radio, from A to B.

PF:  Not much in the way of tunes in my house, but my uncle was, and is, a rad guitar player and singer.  He was a big early influence on me.  He looked kick-ass playing his Gibson ES-325.

Stacey:  Not at all really.  My parents made my brother and I take piano lessons as kids and I really wish I retained that talent, but it’s long gone.  My pops played the fiddle at some point in his life, but I never saw him play.

What was your first real exposure to music?  When was that?

Ron:  KISS.  Paul Lynde Halloween Special, 1976 or ‘77?  That’s all it took.

PF:  I started buying AC/DC tapes real cheap at Zeller’s when I was about twelve or thirteen.  You could get their shitty 80’s albums for about five bucks, which was still a little outta my range.

Stacey:  Probably like Streetknife it was the car radio and whatever LPs and 8-tracks my parents had scattered around the house.  There was always music playing in the house, just not any instruments being played.

When did you decide that you wanted to start writing and performing your own music and what brought that decision about?

Ron:  KISS.  Paul Lynde Halloween Special, 1976 or ‘77?  That’s all it took.  Did I say that already

PF:  I bought a twenty-dollar guitar with babysitting money and got lessons.  I learned lots of Hendrix and AC/DC before realizing that guys that played in cover bands were chumps, so I started writing terrible songs.  They got a little better as I got older…

Stacey:  Probably in grade nine or ten, so whatever age that was.  I heard albums by the bands godheadSilo, The Inbreds and Spacemen 3 and although each are radically different in sound, they all hit me hard and made me realize that I had been listening to horrible music and that needed to change.  Since The Inbreds and godheadSilo were both just bass and drums, I went out and bought a shit Fender Precision Bass and tried to emulate them by never turning off my distortion pedal.  I had a terrible band all the way through high school with my best friend at the time and we had fun, but we were pure rubbish.

If you had to pick the most massively important, transcendent moment of music in your life what would that be?

Ron:  Stop asking questions with the same answer.

PF:  Getting called on-stage to play guitar with my heroes, Rheostatics, was a real good one.  First time I heard Are You Experienced? was good too.  It was a real “oh shit” moment where I realized that this was what good music actually sounded like.  Not radio, pop bullshit.

Stacey:  As I stated above, it was those three bands that really kicked my music love into gear, that and when I first heard “Tom Sawyer” by RUSH on the radio.  That song honestly made me stop in my tracks and say “holy shit”!  I went on a RUSH rampage for the majority of my late public school career and most of high school; still love those dudes.  But more importantly was when I heard Spacemen 3 and as a result Spiritualized later down the line.  To me, no one can even come close to what Jason Pierce creates.  After hearing Spacemen 3 for the first time, it led me to an obsessive, some might say worrisome, love of all things J Spaceman.  To this day I worship at the altar of Jason Pierce.  Luckily my girlfriend’s very understanding though.

Where’s Hawkeyes currently located?

Ron:  Kitchener, Ontario, Canada.  The Sweatlodge Coven.

PF:  Kitchener/Waterloo, Ontario.  They’re practically one big city.

Stacey:  Kitchener/Waterloo Ontario Canada.

How would you describe the local music scene where you all are at?

Ron:  Vibrant, overcrowded scene, of minimally to marginally talented singers, songwriters and college musicians.

PF:  Pretty alright, actually.  I think people treat music pretty well in this town, despite people always arguing otherwise.

Stacey:  It’s alive.  Not really a scene though, just sort of pockets here and there.  It’s a bit cliquey with a lot of bands/artists not sharing the stage with different genres and what have you, which is a bit of a bummer, but oh well.  The house show scene here is very alive and well and that rules.  There are a couple of promoters in town that like to book in places that usually wouldn’t have live music and I think that’s incredible.  They are really stepping it up and bringing in some rad bands that I wouldn’t have heard otherwise.  I applaud you Marc and Cory.

Are you very involved in the local music scene?

Ron:  As little as I can get away with.

PF:  I write for the local daily newspaper and I interview tons of local and touring bands as a result.  In the past, I ran a modest label and put on lots of shows.  Now I’m old and jaded and lazy, thank god.

Stacey:  Not as much as I should or could be.  I seem to always find out about rad shows after the fact or right as they are happening.  I understand that I can’t support everything, nor would I really want to, but when I see people really put their neck out on the line by booking shows that they’ll probably be losing money or breaking even on, but still treating the bands like gold and making sure they have money at the end of the night, well hell, damn right I will support that!  So once again, I applaud you Marc and Cory.

Has the local music scene played a large role in the sound, history or evolution of Hawkeyes?

Ron:  Nope.

PF:  Only in so much as we are an anomaly within our “scene”.  Which is cool, you wanna hang on to that.

Stacey:  Not at all.  Hawkeyes play a large role in Hawkeyes’ history and evolution.  It seems like we sort of float on the outskirts of this city.  More people know and care about us nationally and globally than compared to our “scene”.  That’s not arrogant pretension or me knocking this city, we just don’t want to wear ourselves thin in this town like some other bands.  Wow, I sound like an asshole.  That said the support we do receive when we play here is incredible.  We are very humbled when people come to our shows here time and again and actually know our songs.  That’s a great feeling and I thank each and every one of you.

When and how did you all originally meet?

Ron:  I’ve known Blackout since I was ten years old.  The rest I met later.

PF:  Kaiser and I have been tight since we were in grade nine, I showed him his first guitar chords and now he Yngwies all over me.  We went to high school with RA who was the hot-shit guitar player in school even back then.  SS was, and is, a regular at the record shop I manage and we got tight bonding over Brant Bjork.  Blackout and Streetknife are life-long friends who we met through gigs and mutual acquaintances.

Stacey:  PF and Streetknife touched on that quite clearly.  They all knew one another and this yahoo came later.  I will always be the new guy.  I get hazed relentlessly.  Screw those dingos.

What lead to the formation of Hawkeyes and when was that?

Stacey:  PF’s dream of playing music with a lot of hunks.

Ron:  PF’s stoner rock dream.

PF:  About two years ago.  I literally just had a dream one night about forming a stoner band with SS and Blackout and woke up thinking that was a great idea.  I e-mailed them and we made it happen.  Everyone else just wanted to hang.  And it was a great idea.  Good dream!

What does the name Hawkeyes mean or refer to?  How did you go about coming up with and choosing the name?

Ron:  We love college football teams from Iowa and/or Alan Aldas.

Stacey:  I defer that question to PF.

PF:  Coming up with a good band name is pretty much impossible, but Hawkeyes was one I’d had in my pocket for a while; probably because of M*A*S*H.  Turns out, there’s another shitty metal band called Hawk Eyes.  I haven’t actually heard them, but I assume they’re shitty.

While we are talking about Hawkeyes’ history can you share who some of your major musical influences are?  What about influences on the band as a whole rather than individually?

Ron:  Early: Kiss, AC/DC, Thin Lizzy, Iron Maiden, Metallica, Black Sabbath, Alice Cooper, Motorhead, lather, rinse, repeat.  Contemporary: Kvelertak, Hellacopters, Electric Wizard, Uncle Acid, Red Fang, Turbonegro, Biters, Fu Manchu, Brant Bjork and so on and so forth.

PF:  We have a lot of influences musically; Sabbath, Electric Wizard, Brant Bjork, Ty Segall, Dinosaur Jr.  But I think we’re mostly influenced by the possibilities that Hawkeyes gives each of us.  We have no borders, no message, and no goals beyond having a good time.  We get inspired by our phasers, flangers, guitars and cymbals too.  And our pot, and our beer, and our knowledge that we’re the only fuckers that do what we do.

Stacey:  I have musical idols, but I’m not sure if they influence my playing at all, mostly because I’m a hack caveman basher on the kit.  Plus, I wouldn’t want to copy their sound or style as they’ve already done that and do it miles better.  Not to mention then the feel of my playing would be lost I think.  As for drummers that I look up to; first will always be John Stanier (Helmet, Tomahawk).  His work on the first four Helmet LPs are what drumming is all about to me.  Darren Verni (Unearthly Trance, Serpentine Path) is another fave.  Verni just crushes the drums and his tone has always given me a drum boner.  Same with Vinnie Signorelli (Unsane, Swans), his plodding beats in Unsane are pure magic to me, just so primal and driving yet intricate.  The song could have this blazing riff and he plays so slow at times it blows my mind.  Dan Haugh (godheadSilo, Smoke and Smoke) just always gives it his all and usually ends us puking as a result; I can relate to that.  Jim Ginther (Shooting Guns) is mega rad too.  I could watch him play “Motherfuckers Never Learn” all day.  In fact I’m going to get him to do just that to appease me and to watch him collapse around the twenty-two hour mark.  Then there’s always Neil Peart, yeah, typical drummer response, but damn.  As for influences on Hawkeyes as a band; I agree with PF.  Our gear, tone and drugs and booze influence us more than any outside source.  We can barely remember our songs, so trying to emulate others would be a pointless venture.  We basically cover our own songs every time we play.

There are a lot of things that I love about music.  I love listening to music, I love sharing it with people and I love talking about it.  What I do not love is describing music.  I’m awful at it and it just never seems to come off right and I waste a bunch of time on these really awkward attempts at conveying these grandiose emotions about music that just come off really stilted and, well, just dumb.  How would you describe Hawkeyes’ sound to our readers who might not have heard you before?

PF:  You know when the Death Star explodes in Star Wars?  We’re like that; a giant, devastating explosion that’s equal parts joy and release (the rebels), and terror and sadness (the imperials).

Ron:  Cosmic space doom…  From space.

Stacey:  I wish I could channel my good friend Chris Laramee to answer this.  I will go out on a limb and say space grass, laced with LSD stoned astronauts on tequila and Nyquil binges trying to create a black hole by harnessing the solar waves to relive their youth.

Can you tell us about Hawkeyes’ songwriting process?  Is there someone who approaches the rest of the band with a riff or somewhat finished product to work out and compose with the rest of the band?  Or is there a lot of exchange of ideas and jamming during practices with all the members of the band contributing simultaneously?

Ron:  Cram six dudes in a small, hot, sweaty room and, instead of filming a gay porno, have one of them start playing a riff.  Allow magic to happen.

PF:  We don’t tend to have finished products.  We just each make riffs and show them off.  If the riff is cool, we can usually build it into something humongous and scary and melodic pretty fast.  RA is a technical wonder.  He can play anything, and he does.  Streetknife is a metal guy who could shred if he didn’t have such good taste.  Kaiser wants to be David Gilmour and Dean Ween.  I try to hang tight and weird with SS and Blackout to anchor the ship.  As a result, we all bring different approaches.  We work well enough with each other that we never step on each other’s toes; we’re always making room for each other.  And we listen to each other.  We’re adorable.

Stacey:  It’s all about the jams man.  I just try to put a beat behind the electrically amplified waves and hope we remember what we just birthed.

Do you all enjoy recording?  I mean I know that the end result of the recoding process is amazing, there’s not a whole lot in the world that beats having an album knowing that it’s yours and you made it.  Getting into the studio and recording that material though, it can be trying to say the very least.  How is it in the studio for you all?

Ron:  Recording likey.  The techie end of it is lots of fun…  And so is overdubbing guitars over our already-four-axe cacophony.

PF:  The nature of our music dictates that we have to record live; it’s 90% improvised.  We practice and write at RA’s studio, so when we have something we like, we just press record.  It’s very relaxed, set up some good mics and let it rip for a few hours.

Stacey:  I love the whole recording process.  I think it brings out the best in all of us.  It can really push you to be awesome, and I need a lot of pushing to get to that point.  Mind you I nail my beats the first time every time.  Well, in my head I do, and since we record live off the floor as a whole collective, my mistakes can get buried in the swirling vortex those stringed instrument guys create.  I thank them for that.  I dig watching those dudes pull sounds out of their machines and then have RA isolate everyone’s tracks in the control room to see what they’re doing.  It blows my mind that I get to play with these guys.

Do you do a lot of prep work before recording getting arrangements just the way you want them or is it more of an experimental off-the-cuff process with room for variation and change?

Stacey:  Our prep work is trying to remember how our songs go.

Ron:  Totally off the cuff.  We’ve never played the same “song” twice.

PF:  Always very experimental.  We try to practice just enough; so its second nature, but nothing’s written in stone.  Don’t get too comfortable cause it’s all subject to change.

Last year (2012) you released the Armageddon hailing sonic assault that was the SSS 002 A: Spring’s Skull Splits Presents Hawkeyes cassette tape.  With only two tracks and a thirteen minute run time on your side it would have been easy to overlook, but man that album is a freaking ripper!  “Dawn Of The Deaf” is a devastating song to say the least!  Can you tell us about recording the material for that first cassette?  Was it a pleasurable, fun experience for you all?  When and where was that material recorded?  Who recorded it and what kind of equipment was used?

Ron:  Other band members/question answerers:  Yours!


Stacey:  Thanks dude, glad you dig our debut vibes.  It was fun.  It was my first recording experience in ages and that was a blast.  I defer the equipment used aspect of this to RA as he’s the wizard in that arena.  We recorded it in a weekend I think.  There might be other tracks recorded from that session lurking forgotten somewhere.

PF:  Again, recorded at RA’s studio by Ryan Allen, using whatever was around.  All improvised; run a couple of takes and use the best one.  It’s always lots of fun.  We hang out, watch Midnight Special, smoke pot, drink beer and have a lot of laughs.  Then we tune down, turn up and kick ass.

I unfortunately wasn’t lucky enough to have picked one of those up as they sold out in three days!  Who was the split with?  I know that the SSS 002 tape was limited, how many copies was it limited to?  Are there any plans to rerelease that tape or at least your material from it?

PF:  That split was with Eyes Like Candy, a mental solo band by our pal Paul Copoc from the Familiar Fiends.  I think it was limited to 50 copies; that material has since been re-recorded, some of it for our most recent cassette.

Stacey:  Yeah, it sold fast; somehow.  Not sure how many were made, but the good, good people over at Springs Skull put together an incredible package for that cassette.  Hand sewn, hand screened canvas bags closed up with 1” buttons of each band represented.  Class act and it made us look legit, that’s a feat in itself.  No plans to re-release it.  It had its moment and that moment has passed.  You can download it for free off of our Bandcamp page for histories sake. 

You followed up the Spring’s Skull Split with this year’s Poison Slows You Down cassette which is also a limited edition, this time of one hundred though at this point there are plans to press the album to vinyl in the future as well.  Who put out Poison Slows You Down?  Was the recording very different than the session(s) for your earlier split?  When was this material recorded and who recorded it?  Where was it recorded and what kind of equipment was used?

Ron:  We’re getting into Stacey territory here.  I don’t have the inside track on all this releasey mumbo jumbo.

PF:  We put out the tape ourselves.  The recording wasn’t different at all, but we were a little older and wiser as a band by then, which probably helped.  And I remembered to bring my Theremin.


Stacey:  As PF said, we released it ourselves and it was recorded the same way as SSS 002 A.  I asked RA to make my drums and cymbals sound huge and concussive, and he nailed it.  It was initially meant to be released as a vinyl split with the incredible band Atolah from Holland.  Sadly they broke up during the process so that changed our plans a bit.  We didn’t want to sit on these recordings any longer, so we decided to release it digitally and on cassette to get it out there.  I ended up dubbing all of the tapes myself as the pro-dubber we borrowed from a friends bands shit the bed and so did PF’s deck, I was the only one left with the means to dub.  So I got to hear this album one hundred times in real time.  I never want to hear it again.  I stamped/screened each cassette with our logo and such, and then my girlfriend Rebecca, PF, our art guru Roan Bateman and I had an assembly line to put them all together.  Roan cut them out, I folded them, PF numbered each one and Rebecca put the final package together.  Good times.

With the plans to press the cassette on vinyl are you guys solely concentrating on that or are you working on any new material right now?  Are there any other releases in the works or on the horizon at this point?  I know you are you going to be doing a KickStarter or IndieGoGo page for pressing the vinyl version of Poison Slows You Down can you tell our readers how to get involved with that?

Ron:  I learned a new song on stage last week.  And crowdsourcing projects are in their death throes.


PF:  We are always working on new material.  We’ve recently written “The National Anthem” and “The New Real National Anthem”, both of which are strong indicators of our way forward.  We’re going to put out the LP and then see what happens.   We’ll be paying for it ourselves though; no KickStarter or anything.  I’m conflicted about that sorta thing and Hawkeyes have no reason to be beholden to a bunch of shareholders.  I’d rather people bought something we made, rather than something we hope to make if we can raise enough money.  Gross.

© Jennifer Keith

Stacey:  We would love to release this beast on wax but for now we might just focus on the next recording as we just want to keep releasing stuff to keep it fresh and alive.  There are releases in the works, some of which I am not at liberty to say more about yet; but they will be rad.  We really don’t believe in KickStarter or IndieGoGo.  If you can’t afford to release your music in this day and age with all of the tools afforded to you to do so, well, maybe you just weren’t meant to put stuff out.  We would rather give our music away for free than to beg our fans to pay for us for it.  That just seems kind of slimy.

Where’s the best place for our U.S. readers to purchase your music?

PF:  Facebook and the Orange Monkey.

Ron:  Canada, or Bandcamp.

Stacey:  On our Bandcamp page at the moment.  I take care of the mail order aspect of Hawkeyes.  I try to personalize each package I send out and I like to add bonus gifts in there too.  I try my best to get everything mailed out a few days after people place their orders.  So if you have a complaint, I guess I’m to blame.

With the completely insane international postage rate increases what about our overseas readers?  Whenever possible I try to provide them with options when there are any!

Stacey:  I do my best to be honest on the postage when I mail stuff out.  We just want people to have our music.  We’re not in this to gouge our fans for extra money on shipping.  The postage rates are nuts these days and if I have to lose a bit of money to make sure people get our music, well I’m willing to do that.  I think most bands are.

Where’s the best place for our readers to keep up with the latest news like upcoming shows and album releases from Hawkeyes at?

Ron:  Facebook, Bandcamp.  Do we have Soundcloud?

Stacey:  Our Facebook page for sure.  We’re usually on top of that shit.

Are there any special or major goals that you’re looking to accomplish in 2014?

Ron:  Add a fifth guitar player.  You know, to help round out our sound.

Stacey:  Simply to play shows with rad bands and release a ton of music.

What do you have planned as far as touring goes from the rest of the year?  With the New Year rapidly approaching what about 2014?

Ron:  Either random one-offs or a massive international tour preceded by the handing-off of a briefcase full of money.

© Jennifer Keith

Stacey:  What Streetknife said, plus we have a major tour planned with Shooting Guns.  We were able to get the use of Led Zeppelin’s old airplane The Starship and the tour will take all eleven of us musicians, our wives, girlfriends and our pets all over the world for about two years straight.  It’s written in the contract that in year two of the tour, Hawkeyes get the synth wizard skills of Steven Reed.  Shooting Guns have had him to themselves for too long, it’s our turn now.

© Jennifer Keith
© Jennifer Keith

Who are some of your favorite bands that you’ve had a chance to share a bill with?

PF:  I’m really looking forward to playing with Sleepy Sun next month.

Ron:  ShootingGuns.  Period.  And possible Sleepy Suns.  It hasn’t happened yet.

Stacey:  Shooting Guns and Cellos for sure!  Both bands are beyond incredible and more people need to know about them.  We can’t thank Shooting Guns enough for spreading the word about us.  We try to repay the gesture as much as we can; same goes for Cellos.  You will never meet nicer dudes than the guys in Shooting Guns and Cellos.

In your dreams, who are you on tour with?

Ron:  I don’t tour in my dreams.  I run in quicksand from zombies.

PF:  My nude wife.

Stacey:  1st Battalion 9th Marines unit in the Vietnam War in 1969.

Do you have any funny or interesting stories from live shows or performances that you’d like to share here with our readers?

Ron:  No.


Stacey:  Not sure if it’s funny, but the day of a show with Shooting Guns, PF got food poisoning, Streetknife had to have emergency dental surgery and couldn’t feel his face, led alone talk, and I ended up jabbing a screwdriver through my hand.  One other show we were shut down by the bar owner two minutes into the intro of our first song “Their Lust Grows With Their Size”.  She got all up in PFs face and left soon after in a rampage when the crowd started chanting our name and that we be allowed to play.  Needless to say we have not, and will not, ever play that shit hole again.  As Blackout says, “we would rather turn off than turn down”.

Do you have a preferred medium of release for your music?  With all of the various methods available to artists today I’m always curious why they choose and prefer the various mediums that they do?  What about when you’re buying or listening to music?  If so why?

Ron:  Written transcript.

PF:  We all like vinyl.  We’re junkies for it.  CDs are boring.  Tapes are cool and cheap, but even I don’t really have the patience for them.  You get better artwork with vinyl too, which means a lot to all of us.

Stacey:  Vinyl for sure, but really I am not against any medium.  I’m an avid vinyl junkie but any physical media is important and I support it.  Hell, we release cassettes.  We just want to get our music out there.  We’re not doing it because of a fad or to be hip, we just want to get it in the hands of people.  Sometimes we take the path of most resistance, but we get it to you.

Do you have a music collection at all?  If so can you tell us about it?

Ron:  It’s kept in a room inside my house.

PF:  I have hundreds of records and CDs.  Lots of everything good.  No bullshit.  SS just owns whatever Am Rep or Sub Pop have released limited editions of.  I only have stuff that rules.

Stacey:  It’s huge and it keeps growing.  I love the fact that I can use it to introduce my girlfriend to all sorts of bands and artists she might end up digging.  It’s a great romance tool.  Or am I a great romance tool?

I’m an addict and I readily admit it.  There’s something about physically released music that is almost magical to me.  Having an album to hold in your hands, liner notes to read and artwork to look at.  It all serves for a more complete listening experience, at least for me.  Do you have any such connection with physical releases?

Ron:  It’s cool that you dig vinyl records, but I think the larger issue here is your addiction!

PF:  I don’t download and I don’t really burn CDs.  I really don’t think computers are suited to being stereos.  I like to put my money down.  I have no problem paying for stuff I like, or even paying for stuff that I might like.  It’s a good gamble and sweeter when it pays off.  When I was young and buying music, that twenty dollars was hard to come by.  So when I bought a record, I had to justify that purchase and find reasons to like records.  My investment was real and I think that increased my enjoyment.  Today, I’m still broke, so I still have to invest wisely.

Stacey:  Like I said, I support all physical media.  I need to have it in my hands.  I dig when bands/labels put download codes in their releases, as we do, so you can have the portability aspect.  But I need to hold music media in my hands.  I’m a nerd about it all too and love reading the liner notes and making connections to other bands and such.  It’s great.

As much as I love my music collection I can’t deny that I dig on digital music as well.  The ease and portability still amazes me, I never thought there would come a day when I could lug around my entire music collection and not have to worry about dinging, denting, bending, warping or scratching it.  There’s always good and bad with any situation though and while digital music when teamed with the internet seems to be leveling the playing field for independent artists willing to promote themselves and keep up an online presence, it’s also destroying decades of infrastructure inside the music industry.  As an artist during the reign of the digital era what’s your opinion on digital music and distribution?

Ron:  Adapt or die.  And then die.

PF:  I’m a record man.  I’m in Hawkeyes and we release tapes and wax.  We’ll include digital downloads so you can burn it for listening to it in your car, but that’s about it.  Digital music is an easy game, and we’re difficult, pretty much across the board.

Stacey:  I’m all for it.  I have my iPod with me when I drive, go for walks, etcetera.  And yeah, having my entire collection with me at the touch of a button is still mind boggling.  But when I’m home, the digital files go away and the wax gets placed on the turntable.  I love the connection and dedication you have to have when listening to LPs.  But as far as the ease of use with digital files, yeah, I’m all for that.  Like Streetknife said, you have to adapt, but you can’t forget your roots.  Shit, I’m getting preachy.  Shut up SS!!!

If you can’t tell I’m passionate about music!  I love listening to a new band, learning and experiencing something that I’ve never seen or heard before.  Who should I be listening to from your local scene or area that I might not have heard of?

Ron:  Saigon Hookers, and I’m not just saying that because I’m in the band.  Okay, I am.

PF:  Shooting Guns, Saigon Hookers, Familiar Fiends and Cellos.

Stacey:  Two bands in our city that I really dig are Sierra and Exalt.  Both are recently signed to great labels and are touring their dicks off.  Sierra just got back from a month long US tour with Kylesa and apparently slayed.  I don’t think Exalt ever stops touring.

What about nationally and internationally?

Ron:  My iPod played a song on Shuffle while I was at the gym yesterday.  I stopped to look and see what it was because it was awesome and I hadn’t heard it before, but now I forget.

PF:  Fuzz, Sweet Apple, Sleepy Sun, Heavy Blanket and The Warlocks.

Stacey:  Nationally; of course I’m going to say Shooting Guns and Cellos.  Others that are really twisting my melon are Holy Mount from Toronto, Crosss from Toronto/Halifax, Powder Blue and Wasted Cathedral from Saskatoon, Krang from Edmonton, Comet Control, Ex-Quest For Fire blokes, from Toronto and Familiar Fiends from Brantford.  Internationally, hmmm...  The usual suspects like Cult Of Dom Keller, Carlton Melton, The Warlocks, Night Beats, A Place To Bury Strangers, Crippled Black Phoenix, Sleepy Sun and Dead Skeletons.

Thanks so much for taking the time to do this interview, I know it wasn’t short or easy but hopefully it was at least a little bit fun.  Is there anything that I missed or that you just want to talk about?

Ron:  Man, I wish I could remember that song.  It was a dude’s name I think, possibly Spanish.

PF:  My wife’s breasts.  They’re dynamite.

Stacey:  Pat’s wife’s breasts may be dynamite, but my girlfriends are out of this world.


DISCOGRAPHY
(2012)  Hawkeyes – SSS 002 A:  Spring’s Skull Splits Presents Hawkeyes – Cassette Tape – Spring Skull Recordings (Limited to ? copies)
(2013)  Hawkeyes – Poison Slows You Down – Cassette Tape – Self-Released (Limited to 100 hand-screened copies made by the band in four colors: orange, blue, pink and green)

Interview made by Roman Rathert/2013
© Copyright http://psychedelicbaby.blogspot.com/2013