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The Songwriter Who Tore Time Asunder - Part 1, Amboy Dukes / Who - 1967 Southfield High

Original DIY GANG promo picture (Steve Farmer in shades) next to Greg Arama.

I had awoken a bit groggy this morning. No surprise, considering my excursion with the SRC at the Magic Bag the night before. Brewing some coffee, I ordered up for breakfast, then checked my calendar just to confirm the date. Ah yes, present time, I thought to myself. This is good—or is it?

I opened the hotel curtains and stood at the window for several minutes, gazing at Windsor on the other side of the glistening Detroit river.  Figuring that some music might perk me up, I turned on the bedside radio. Some local station was spinning psychedelic classics—just the ticket to stimulate my drowsy mind.

I was really enjoying the retro ‛60’s tunes. But then a song came on that really blew my mind:
‟You’re got to redefine yourself...If you wish to find...The crystal visions of an open mind...And it’s easy, it’s easy, it’s oh so easy to do....” 1
Astounded, I turned up the volume on ‟Starvation” by one of acid rock’s most eternal bands—Golden Dawn. Their groovy sound and insightful lyrics filled the room.... I was diggin’ the way the music was opening up my eyes and mind. How much better could this get? What a way to start a day!

An original GANG flyer '63

Lighting up a joint while still groovin’ with the tune, I spied the card on my hotel nightstand that had been handed to me the night before by Satori Circus. Was it possible he could assist me in my time-tripping? I was still very much a novice in this, and knew that my trans-dimensional moves were ‟par chance”, under only modest control at best. Satori Circus had, without question, made quite the appearance at the Michigan Palace, and I surmised that he was way more experienced in this than I.

With that thought in mind, I flipped open my cell and began to hit the digits—3-1-3—and so on. Damn, I thought, it's ringing....    

“Satori Circus speaking. Bonjour Mischa!”

‟How did ya know it was me?” I asked, surprised.

“I have you scheduled at this time for a call!” came the matter-of-fact reply.

Before I could say another word, he stated that he would be waiting for me at the hotel front in an hour. Just as we ended the call, the waitstaff arrived with my omelet and morning wine.

Feeling renewed after my breakfast and a refreshing shower, I made my way downstairs and outside the hotel just as the Lincoln pulled up, with Mr. Circus behind the wheel. The concierge opened the car door and I stepped inside.

Once seated, I pulled the card Satori Circus had given me from my billfold, glanced at the tag-line, and inquired, ‟Monsieur, what does it mean—‛Gets You There On Time’?”

Smiling, he replied, ‟Wait and see.... See and believe! Relax Mischa—Turn on the radio and enjoy the ride!” I did just that—or tried to, anyway—as we motored down I-75. Problem was, I couldn’t seem to tune in to a station—all I was getting was a bunch of annoying static.

Soon, Satori announced, ‟Next stop—Southfield High!”

‟Southfield High?” I was curious. ‟Why there and who are we going to see?”

‟Exactly!” he exclaimed.

His answer confused me, but before I could ask him to explain, the static from the radio increased in volume to near unbearable levels. Just when I could take no more of it and reached to turn the device off, the tuner suddenly landed on a clear signal, and I heard the words: ‟Many things will come to pass / And the smoke shall rise again / To the place above where it began....” Ah yes, groovy, the Bubble Puppy, I said to myself. I’ll leave it here. It’s good to hear a band with a keen appreciation of Aldous Huxley.

‟Time will bring the fire and flame / As surely as it brought the rain / But in the gardens of the moon / Time is held within the silver spoon.” 2

I was firing up a joint as the song faded out, but just as my lungs had filled with the heady vapor, my ears were suddenly blasted with that incredibly annoying static, back in full force. I exhaled, and through the thick cloud of smoke, I saw my hand reach out to switch off the sound system...and a multitude of colorful trails following behind. I froze, uncertain. I hadn’t taken any hits from the Grande Ballroom card, so what could be up?

The buzzing in my ears had increased now to a roar, which, oddly, wasn’t as uncomfortable as I would have expected.  In fact, it was strangely soothing...reverberating and expanding...filling my head completely until there was nothing else...nothing at all....

‟—sorry about that, Mischa.... Mischa! Are you alright?” And the voice of Satori Circus came forth, lassoing me, pulling me back from the void.

‟Yes—I’m...I can’t explain...”  My voice trailed off, struggling to comprehend.

‟You’ll be fine, Mischa. Just a little ways more to go!  In the meantime, take a listen to this—I think you’ll really dig it!”

The psychedelic sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators burst through the speakers.  But in my fragile state of mind, the lush, overlapping instrumentals were almost more than I could bear. Instead, I lit a cigarette and zeroed in on the lyrics, which soon pulled me in, carrying me along their exuberant groove.

‟She lives, no fear
Doubtless in everything she knows
Through time unchecked,
The sureness of her flows.
She leaves herself inside you when she goes.

She lives in a time of her own....

You have always heard her speaking,
She's always been in your ear.
Her voice sounds a tone within you,
Listen to the words you hear.
Her time has no past or future,
She lives everything she sees.
Her time doesn't spin outside here,
It's in every breath she breaths.

She lives in a time of her own....” 3

Damn! Stunned by how the lyrics had captured my innermost visions, I felt renewed and completely alive in the moment.... Smiling, my eyes met those of Satori Circus, looking back at me in the rear-view mirror. And it was as though he was reading my mind, and wordlessly declared: Yes! I knew you’d dig it, Mischa!

As the song wound down and began to fade, we pulled into the parking lot at Southfield High. My door opened and Satori Circus extended his hand, saying with a gleeful smile, ‟Got ya here on time! Enjoy the concert, Mischa. I’ll be back to pick you up at midnight.”

But what concert was Satori referring to? Before I could ask, he was gone.

I scanned my surroundings as I strolled toward the auditorium, and immediately noticed several mimeographed fliers that were taped up all along the building.

Oh my gawd, it suddenly dawned on me—the mimeographed fliers—November 22—The Who! Oh, fuck yeah! This was the famous Amboy Dukes and Who concert of 1967. This was freekin’ far out! Unbelievable...but happening indeed. How could I ever on this green earth ask for more!

This was going to be way cool. I would be witness to the Dukes in their original incarnation.

I had arrived at just the right time to be able to hang with the members of the bands in the gymnasium’s changing room during the supporting act’s performance. For some reason or other, the Who’s stage outfits had never arrived. This minor issue was solved when the Amboy Dukes’ girlfriends supplied the English lads with some cool looking clothing of their own.

It was not long after the weed was lit and the incense was flowing that Steve Farmer began reciting the story of how the Amboy Dukes had come to be. This had occurred when members of the Gang, led by Steve Farmer, had united with the Lourds, led by Ted Nugent. We all sat spellbound as the Brian Jones look-alike continued on.

Early days of The GANG, one of the first bad boy bands in the Motor-City.

‟We had this musical competition going between the Gang and the Lourds,” Steve stated, ‟as we were from the Detroit area, and the Lourds hailed from Chicago. However, here was the caveat—one of their members had grown up in Detroit, and he had a cool rep—everyone had heard of him. This, of course, was Ted.” Farmer paused briefly, taking a heavy toke from a joint just handed him. ‟The Lourds dressed more in a stylistic hippie manner, whereas us members of the Gang wore the Brooks black leather jackets. We believed that our look, and most importantly, our attitude, captured the reality and vibes of the Motor City,” he stated with a grin.

‟My friends and I were all in high school together, right here at Southfield High, and it was my fascination with the bad boy look of the Rolling Stones that really gave me the drive to form a band,” Farmer recalled. ‟The Beatles were just too clean cut and more of a girl’s band. But the Stones, you see, had that image and style of the working class that we all identified with. It was with this in mind that I began developing my first band, the Gang, with Greg Arama, Dave O’Brien, Jim Butler, and Don Henderson. We jammed around the Detroit area and soon came across others of the same mindset. I’m referring here to our camaraderie with the Fugitives, who, by the way, were to evolve into the SRC. Any show in which we shared a stage with the SRC was always a great show!” At this point Rick Lober nodded in affirmation.

‟There were places we hung out at that really fit the image, such as The Cellar and The Hideout, which was in all actuality Hideout Records....” On and on Farmer went. Both the groupies and even members of the Who sat listening attentively, taking in all the groovy background on the band as the joints were passed.

‟It was when Ted moved back to the Detroit area with his band, the Lourds, that the melding of our two distinctive outfits took place. Much like the pulp novel, we united and formed the Amboy Dukes. The band was rockin’ tight for our first three albums. And everything seemed to gel when ‛Journey to the Center of the Mind’ hit number one nationally.”

What? Wait a minute—first three albums?  If this was 1967—and I was fairly certain it was—the Dukes had only released one full length album so far. Looking around me, I noticed puzzled expressions on the faces of some of the listeners in the room.

But Farmer carried on, giving detailed impressions that he knew of what was to happen in times yet to come. Launching into a history of the Amboy Dukes from the vantage of ‛72 to ‛86 and then on to 2001, he painted pictures so vivid there was no question he had already lived it all. What the hell, I thought. I knew the history of the Dukes, as I had traveled from the future to be here, but could there be others in the room who were time-travelers as well—in particular, Mr. Farmer himself?

It was all here: the beginnings of the Dukes, how this had brought about the subsequent formation of the Wilson Mower Pursuit, and Ted’s recognition of the talented ‟Wheatgerm” as the only guitarist in Detroit he felt could hold a candle to his own expertise. Steve spoke of the legendary Grande Ballroom with such passion that it came alive. There were details of the Dukes’ tour with Hendrix, the recording of their first albums, and the origins of and inspirations for both ‟Journey” albums, from ‟Journey to the Center of the Mind” in the ‛60s to the band’s comeback sans Ted on ‟Journey to the Darkside of the Mind” in 2000. And get this—the time Ted did LSD (did I hear that right?)!

All the while, Ted himself had been unbelievably quiet, tuning the strings on his guitar off to the side of the room (thank God for small favors)!

Mesmerized by it all, I was completely absorbed with the energy of the room. Then it hit me—I was not the only LSD time-traveler here. This was evident by the words and expressions I was hearing from some of the others. It seemed they had also returned for this historic event.

Damn! This was one step beyond the twilight zone! What an incredibly freekin’ treat this was turning out to be! Farmer became more than a storyteller; he was rendering a private viewing, in 3-D technicolor, of the history of the Detroit music scene—and we all had front row seats.

Beatle Bob (front) along with Wheatgerm, George Korinek and newest member Bob Franco hook-up with ex-GANG spin-off members Dave O'brien and Jim Butler to form the Detroit psychedelic rock outfit The Wilson Mower Pursuit.

So, my fellow time-travelers, tune in for the next exciting feuilleton chapter in this band’s most incredible journey, where you will witness the conflict between Hendrix and Nugent, and ride with a youthful Ted high on the gonzo waves of  LSD. Get ready to revel in the rebellious adventures of one of Detroit’s most galvanizing bands, and marvel at the never before talked about exciting escapades of one of the finest outfits to ever emerge out of psychedelia. All this and more, coming to you from one of the most creative musical eras and grooviest locations to ever exist on this planet...the 1960’s Motor City!

Stay turned on for part 2

1.Golden Dawn – Starvation –  George Kinney / T. Ramsey 1967
2. Hot Smoke and Sassafras – Bubble Puppy - Fore / Prince / Cox / Potter - 1969

3. She Lives (In A Time Of Her Own)  - 13th Floor Elevators –  Roky Erickson / Tommy Hall 1967

Column made by Michele Dawn Saint Thomas/2014
© Copyright

Belzebong interview with Sheepy Dude, Alky Dude and Cheesy Dude

The narcotic properties of Belzebong, while not fully medically tested at this point, will definitely hinder fine motor skills and impair higher brain functions.  The fun doesn’t stop there though.  Belzebong is guided by a deranged Bong Jinni that offers up ancient riffs from the Pagan witch Sabbaths that occurred in the mountain ranges surrounding their hometown in Poland.  Now normally I would scoff at such a claim, but the more I listen to Belzebong the more I wonder.  They do sound heavier and harder than ninety-nine percent of the biggest metal bands going, and they do it all without having to play a million miles an hour.  It’s like this, have you ever had your dope dealer tell you to be careful with drugs before?  A sale preempted by a cryptic warning or the obligatory, “Only take one hit of this, don’t smoke too much of that…”  Well take it from Uncle Jerk when I tell you to carefully inhale the riffage on this one!  Prepare to feel your body fade away, your brain turn to sludge and your face melt instantly.  I’m serious.  Be warned, this is some heavy shit.  I’m not sure there’s any other way to prepare listeners for the blistering, stoney, Armageddon style riffage that is Belzebong.  I listen to a lot of heavy music, stoner rock, desert and even dead ahead metal from time to time but Belzebong take the cake.  While they might not even have a full-length album out yet, their songs are plenty long enough to lull the listener into a false sense of security while they’re becoming so inebriated by it that I’m sure it’s illegal for them to operate heavy machinery after listening to the complete “Dungeon Vultures” or “Acid Funeral” tracks.  Don’t take my word for it though, judge for yourself…
Listen while you read:

Bayeté (Todd Cochran) - Worlds Around The Sun (2014) review

Bayeté (Todd Cochran) "Worlds Around The Sun" (Omnivore Recordings, 2014)

               I generally hesitate to review jazz music. To do that you really ought to be an aficionado with extensive knowledge of the genre, and I’m just not that. But I’ve spent plenty of time listening to records by the likes of Coltrane, Monk, Mingus, Miles, as well as things like B-3 grooves and the Blue Break Beats series, etc. This underappreciated gem from 1972 puts me in mind of all of that, and then some. While there isn’t a note on here that you would call easy listening, some of the tracks are steady enough to sound good over the speakers of an urban coffee shop during the morning rush. Other pieces are more challenging, freeform wailing in a way that could bring knowing looks from fans of the likes of Albert Ayler. One selection is a moody number that could have worked as a soundtrack theme to an art film about inner city culture in the late 60s/early 70s. But it’s not a straight jazz album. The political “Free Angela” is driven by a chanting vocal, was later covered by Santana, and could have fit on a Gil Scot-Heron album. And “I’m On It” is far-out funk/soul/rock a la Shuggie Otis. All these records pass through my mind as I listen to this: A Love Supreme, Mingus Ah-Um, On the Corner, There’s a Riot Goin’ On, Inspiration Information. Look for it mid-March.

Review made by Brian Greene/2014
© Copyright

Chatham Rise - Chatham Rise (2013) review

Chatham Rise "Chatham Rise" (2013) review

Chatham Rise hypnotically undulates, mesmerizing in a hazy fashion of lo-fi psychedelia that’s expansive and dense, yet never rises above the trance-like state of chemical intoxication, gently morphing as the Blue Sandoz winds down, as the walls barely move, and you’re finally able to close your eyes and drift as one with the music.  These songs ride like mildly labored breathing, seemingly endless, coming from within and without in a singular breath ... as if these bits of wanderlust exist just for you, in this very moment of time, conjuring images of blue velvet nights, and foaming summer waves lapping like the curtain lace of your open windows.

Consider this my gift to you, when you’ll need it most ...

Review made by Jenell Kesler/2014
© Copyright

Aqua Nebula Oscillator interview

Aqua Nebula Oscillator formed in Paris back in 1999 and had several formations and due to those changes there was a significant difference in the sound of the band. Why did you decide to replace members? Is it only about your idea or the concept?

Well  the original idea was to form a group of people who could come and go as they want, to recreate a dark poetic vision of a psychedelic journey, the idea wasn’t to have a proper group with fix people, but more of a family who was into that! I have never "replaced" or fired people, they just left at a certain moment of their life, when they weren’t into it any more. "Nebula" is an astral factory of stars, so there is many "stars", with the "aqua" there is a permanent flow going into the oscillation of life! Come and go as we want!

You have three albums out, an EP called “Excavation” and a split with Kadaver. Can you take us on a journey through all three records and tell us the differences between them, the inspiration for specific record and how and why did the changes happen?

The real first album was Caves Recording! To me it’s the purest and childish one, made when I came back from India, the desert of Mexico, and Morocco in search of the "light" while listening early Pink Floyd, Soft Machine, ancient tribal music, and reading HP Lovecraft! The UFO one was the result of a coming back from the forest and a collaboration with my brother Juan Trip! The Under The Moon was an immersion into love, decadence and psychedelics with Shazzula (my girl by the time) both fan (by the time) of raw garage punk! Third was a reunion of a bunch of assholes (me and my brothers) living the most decadent life we could, doing speed freak space rock on acid while 2 girls and an old woman was giving them blow job reading Baudelaire ahahaha! poetes maudits!!!!

Who are the members of the current lineup?

The current lineup is totally changed! There is a killer far out jazz drummer Adrian Bang, killer bass player too Alexis Raphaellof, cosmic cowboy on oscillation, flute, harmonica, backing vocal and strange instruments, and me on vocals, space guitar, sitar, organ, and weird noise! Included skul, slave chain dense (new instrument ahaha).

On 5th November new record "Spiritus Mundi" came out. Can you tell us a few words about the record? What can we expect from it?

"Spiritus Mundi" the new one out on Tee Pee and Pan European Recording in November, is the accomplishment of all the albums! The idea was to have the bigger and cleanest valve tape sound, and to have the possibility to play the entire album on acoustic guitar, which means proper songs. We recorded in a really cool studio in Toulouse called Swamp who use only tapes and the album has been mastered in Terrazoni studio who was working for Decca in the 70's for classical music. We used a lot of acoustic instruments as percussions, violin, 12 string guitar, sitar, wisper and oscillation, space guitar, fairy and witches voices and everything. One of the only album of Aqua Nebula that you can play on your stereo without hearing a hudge ssscccccccccccccccccccccccrrrrrrrhhhhhhhhhhhh mosquito sound type ahahah!!!

What inspires you beside music. When listening to your music, it looks like this dark psychedelia mixed with space sounds comes from other parts of art. You must have been a regular reader of occult or am I wrong?

Well since I was born I have been always in a "find the light, infinite & immortality". I have been raised by my mother who was really into religious spiritism, goths and all that, then I took my first LSD trip at the age of 15 and it opened my "eye" and put me into the "real world" then I lived for one year in India, met the kali agori babas, who was really far out into body changes, then to the desert of Mexico to meet ciguri, then in Morocco to see gnawas and trance music! In literature was really into HP Lovecraft, Antonin Artaud, Baudelaire, Melmoth, in painter I’m a huge fan of Hieronymous bosh and Salvador Dali, those people opened my eye too! I have stopped reading 10 years ago, cause to me after a while you have to stop reading and experiencing the life of the others to create your own journey, cause the only thing I have learned is that there is no master, we are our own master! We have all the world, spirits & occult inside us! Just a matter of what you choose to do with it! voila, merci Klemen.

Are you planning any tour in the near future?

We will go on our tour for a month in USA, play at the Austin Psych Fest, then Roadburn in April and we will also record a new album in July. That's about it.

© Monster Rat

Interview made by Klemen Breznikar/2014
© Copyright

DOSES interview with Kristopher Kirk

How do you even begin to describe DOSES to the uninitiated?  They play a twisted, deranged version of punk rock that’s crashing headlong into some definite garage and noise territory, I guess.  Distilled into a mangled corpsy syrup of sometimes atonal confrontation and always mind-numbing riffage, DOSES is both wildly original and somehow manages to float, suspended out of time and space; uninhibited by any wish to sound like anything that you’ve ever heard on planet earth before.  They sport a drum-machine and, at least the lineup of the band that I spoke to, are a devout two-piece band with a single-mind to destroy all that is “false and impure”.  Guided by a somewhat enigmatic religious view of sorts, DOSES has got to be some of the purest, true to its roots punk that I’ve ever heard.  The debut album out now on Going Underground Records instantly brings artists like Francis Harold and The Holograms to mind, but the more I listen to DOSES the less they sound like anything else I’ve heard; and that’s not easy to pull off.  If you’re a noise junky, love some sinister scum rock, or are just a diehard punk freak you’re going to need to hear this album, trust me.  Songs like “Pig Gut” and “Bang Bang” propel you into the start of the manic journey that is the self-titled DOSES album, and once the ride’s started you better keep your hands and feet inside the cage because there are going to be dangerous riffs about!  Sludge monsters that thirst for flesh like “Dull Silk” and “When You’re Gone” or the twisted creatures risen from the depths of your subconscious like “Reasons To Kill” finish out the album.  It’s an insane ride and it’s not for everyone but for those that can grasp what DOSES are trying to say, this is gonna be a good one! 
Listen while you read:

What is DOSES current lineup?  If I understand correctly there have been a few different radically different incarnation of DOSES.  Can you talk a little bit about how the band has changed and progressed over time in those regards?

DOSES consist of Kristopher Kirk and John Gaston at the moment.  There have been many incarnations of DOSES.  This is DOSES version VI.  The previous V incarnations of DOSES are completely irrelevant to version VI.  John and I are not original members of DOSES. 

Are either of you in any other bands right now?  Have you released any music in the past with anyone else?  If so can you tell us a little bit about that?

Neither of us are in any other bands right now.  We both have released music in the past with a multitude of bands.  Those bands are all defunct and have no impact on the current state of DOSES, in fact they mean nothing as those bands weren’t real. 

Where are you originally from?

I am originally from Huntington Beach, California.  Home of PUNK.

What was the music scene like where you grew up?  Did you see a lot of shows growing up?  Do you feel like the music scene there played a large role in shaping yore musical tastes or the way that you play now?

On the surface, the music scene in Huntington Beach is awful.  There’s no place for kids to play really, it’s mainly bars and strip malls.  Bands that are bred from that environment are complete and utter garbage.  I did go to a lot of shows growing up, mainly around Santa Ana, Long Beach and Los Angeles.  The music scene in Huntington Beach did shape my musical taste, because most of those bands were awful.

Was your house very musical growing up?  Were either your parents or any of your relatives musicians or extremely involved/interested in music?

Ron and Barb were not heavily involved in music.  None of my relatives care that much either.

What was your first real exposure to music?

I hadn’t had any before DOSES.  I had exposure to music, but if you read back, it wasn’t a real exposure as stated above.  DOSES is the only real musical force at the moment.

If you had to pick one moment of music that changed everything for you, redefined art and opened your eyes to the infinite possibilities of music what would it be?

When DOSES became real.

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

Krishna delivered a message to me in the meditation trance I was having.  I was told to conquer the world with a single notion, and that notion was that everything before this was superficial.  This was real.

When and how did you two originally meet?

I was introduced to John by our Chinese financial backer in 2012 and we became the recent incarnation you see now.  He saw big things for the two of us.  I can’t pronounce his Chinese name so we just call him Myst.  Myst provides us with the finances we need to move forth in DOSES. 

What led to the formation of DOSES and when was that?

DOSES formed in 2011 as I was told.  It came from two people by the names of Hunter Wallace and Nathaniel Reager.  They were originally from Kansas and DOSES started there.  They’re no longer part of DOSES and are written off as has-beens, John and myself represent DOSES now.  In the future we may not even be a part of DOSES. 

Why a two-piece rather than a traditional trio or something?  Did DOSES intentionally set out to be a two-piece or was it just kind of a natural progression with the band?  Did you draw any inspiration for particular duos that had come before you?  Ten years ago two-piece bands were kind of a rarity, but it seems like they’ve gained a lot of recognition and people are much more willing to take them seriously these days rather than dismiss them as a gimmick or something.  What are the best and worst parts about having a two piece band?

DOSES has always been a two-piece and will continue to be a two-piece at its core.  We don’t want any more dead weight added to this group.  We might include a rare one off entity in a live performance or on recording, but it will always be a two-piece band.  Adam and Eve were a two-piece and look what the accomplished; humanity and life.  That’s what we’re doing.

Is there a shared creed, ideal or mantra that the band lives by?

We share a mantra with the one high and mighty.  Krishna told us to destroy the physical world as it exists and to cherish no tangible devices.  Our music is an extension to fulfill the wishes of the all-mighty.

What does the name DOSES mean or refer to in the context of your band name?  Who came up with it and how did you go about choosing it?

DOSES is an acronym for the way we would like to see ourselves and live life.  It stands for DEPRIVATION OF SELF EXISTENCE SUSTAINS. 

Where’s DOSES currently located at?


How would you describe the local music scene where you’re at now?

The local music scene lacks direction and belief.  It’s full of yester-years rock n roll rip-offs.  It’s very soft.

Are you very involved in the local music scene?  Do you book or attend a lot of local shows?  Do you help to record or release any local music?

I don’t book shows.  Doing so provides a great deal of stress.  I do attend shows as much as a I can.  I have recorded and released local bands in the past but time constraints on my current life have prevent me from doing such anymore.

There’s a lot of stuff that I’m good at when it comes to my job with Psychedelic Baby, or at least I’d like to think so.  One thing that I’m definitely no good at though is describing how a band sounds to our readers.  I don’t think that music fits into these tidy boxes and labels that we like to assign to them.  And that’s usually fine but makes describing music to people who haven’t heard it gets a little muddy and confusing without it.  Rather than me making some long winded weird description of the band that doesn’t make sense would you describe DOSES’ sound to our readers who might not have heard you before?

DOSES sounds like a saw with a dull blade trying to cut cement.  It won’t cut if the blades dull, but one keeps trying.  It squeals and hurts your sense of hearing.  It’s ugly and not for the weak.  Have you ever overheard your younger sister having sex with her obviously older boyfriend?  It sounds like that; bleak.

You all have an extremely interesting sound that seems to combine a lot of different types of musical influences in a fluid sound all your own.  While we’re talking so much about the band’s backstory and makeup I’m curious to hear who you would cite as your major musical influences?  What about influences on the band as a whole rather than just individually?

We prefer to not associate our sound with a direct influence of another act that we put on a pedestal.  We are content enough with being influenced by one another and our surroundings.  When I look into John’s eyes, I know what he’s thinking.  He knows what I’m thinking.  It’s a bond that only we can share. 

Can you talk a little bit about DOSES’ songwriting process?  Is there a lot of jamming and free exchange of ideas when you get together that gets distilled and refined into a song working together?  Or is it more of a situation where one of you will come to the rest of the band with a riff or more finished idea to work out and compose with the rest of the band?

The song writing process is XXXXXXXXXXX.  XXXX  XXXXXX  XX  XXXX X XXXXXXX.  XXXXXX XXX XXX X XXXXXX XX XXXX XXXXXX.  We kind of tend to keep that under wraps and a tight lid on it. 

Do you all enjoy recording?  As a musician myself I think that most of us can definitely appreciate the end result, there’s not a lot in the world that beats holding an album in your hands knowing that it’s yours, you made it and no one can take that away from you.  Getting to that point though, getting into a studio, or even recording the material yourself, especially when it comes to dealing with an entire band, even if that’s only one other person, can be really stressful to say the least.  How is it in the studio for DOSES?

Recording is a wonderful experience.  The studio was flawless.  We woke up like this.  There were no issues at all recording.  We finished the record in about four to five hours.  Having two people made it a most fluid experience. 

How do you all go about recording?  Do you utilize studio environments or is it more of a DIY, on your own time and turf proposition for you both?

We recorded in a studio in Venice.  It was more of a DIY, on our own, proposition.  The only thing we actually utilized was the recording interface and mics.  Everything was on our own time and own merit.

Does DOSES do a lot of prep work before you all record getting arrangements and compositions worked out and sounding just the way that you want them?  Or is recording more of a flexible organic proposition where things have room to change and evolve?

There is absolutely no flexibility.  We use a drum machine, so everything needs to be precise.  The arrangements are already complete and the songs are usually ritualistically performed live before any recording can be accomplished.  There is room to change and evolve a song, but that means re-sequencing the drum patterns. 

Your first release I know of was the Live at The Hogcreek Icehouse in Waco, Texas 10/8/2012 cassette tape limited to only 50 copies which you released fairly early on in 2013.  How was that material recorded?  Who recorded it?  What kind of equipment was used?  Did you all mic stuff up or was it just a handheld recording?

That was our first tangible release.  It was originally limited to 50 copies and was self-released and it was later repressed on Video Disease.  I believe it was 150 repress copies.  There’s different packaging on the earlier press and the latter.  It was all recorded at Hogcreek, live through the soundboard and these room microphones in the Icehouse.  The sound man was responsible for recording it that night.  I’m not positive on the equipment used, I’m sure it was some digital set up they have there.  We were handed a CD after our set and told to leave and to never return to Waco.

Since Live at The Hogcreek Icehouse in Waco, Texas 10/8/2012 received such a limited release I don’t believe it’s available digitally are there any plans to make that material available again via a digital distribution center or rerelease the material in a hard copy sometime in the future?

It actually is available digitally somewhere.  By the time this interview is published it will also be available on our Bandcamp page along with all the other releases.  They will all be free to download but this will never be re-released as a hard copy.  It had its time in the sun and no its over.

You just released your debut self-titled album on Going Underground Records who I am familiar with because they released an awesome Francis Harold & The Holograms single before they unfortunately split this past year.  How did you get hooked up with Going Underground Records?  I know they don’t release a whole lot of stuff.  Can you tell us a little bit about the recording of the material for DOSES?  Was it a fun pleasurable experience for you all?  Where and when was that material recorded?  Who recorded it?  What kind of equipment was used?

You are absolutely correct.  The Francis Harold singles and LP that Going Underground Records put out are possibly the most important records of the 2000’s; I couldn’t agree more.  Ronald, who is an old black man that lives in Bakersfield, had asked us to be part of the Going Underground Family.  We have never met Ronald, but he has a spiritual connection to Jah and we respect that.  We feel the connection with him and felt it was the right decision.  The recording was fairly simple in actual recording terms.  We recorded the bass and guitar together, then did one guitar over-dub.  The vocals were done a week later once the music was completed.  Our dear friend Michael Porter engineered the whole session for us, minus the vocals, I did that on my own time.  My guitar was recorded through a Sunn Concert lead into a Fender Bassman 2x15.  There were two different pedals used, one being a distortion pedal and the other was a harmonic percolator.  I can’t speak for John as I don’t recall what was used. 

There is two version of the DOSES album out, a vinyl edition limited to 500 copies with some of them being colored and then the cassette edition which actually features an entire exclusive side to it consisting of DJ Hate Crime remixing the entire DOSES album and comes in an extremely limited edition one time pressing of 150 copies.  How did the collaboration with DJ Hate Crime come about?  What was the reason for having a remix B-Side on the cassette?  I know that the digital version of the album is available for free on your Bandcamp page for those who want to preview tracks, are there any plans to make the DJ Hate Crime remix material available digitally in the future once the tape sells out?

We met DJ Hate Crime through a mutual friend.  He’s an elusive DJ that chops and screws a lot of punk songs.  He released a mixtape in 2011 I think.  Maybe it was 2010, but it was fantastic.  It’s entitled All Chopped and Skrewed Up Vol. 1.  We loved it and we wanted to make the cassettes different so people would be more excited to buy a cassette then if it was just a clone of the LP.  In reality, I hate cassettes and wouldn’t buy it unless there was something different about it.  The DJ Hate Crime remix will be available digitally as well once this interview is posted as well.  Everything is free.  Free of guilt, free of worries and free of shame.

Does DOSES have any other music that we haven’t talked about, maybe a single or a song on a compilation that I missed?

Just personal demos that aren’t for anyone else’s ears except ours.

With the release of DOSES extremely recently are there any other releases in the works or on the horizon at this point?

We are working on a 7” for Torn Light Records.  There’s no expected release date for that, but it will be amazing obviously.

Where’s the best place for our US readers to pick up copies of DOSES’ music at?

If you aren’t local, I would suggest Going Underground Records or going to your local record shop and urging them to stock the LP.  If you’re local to southern California, I highly recommend people come to a live event and buy the LP from us directly. 

With the completely batty international postage rate increases this last year I try to provide our readers with as many options for picking up import releases as I can.  There’s not a whole lot in the world that drives me up the all more than knowing an album is out, being able to afford the album but not being able to pay for the stinking shipping just because it wasn’t pressed in the US!  Where’s the best place for our international and overseas readers to pick up your music?

I am not too sure at this point.  I’m not aware of any overseas retailers or distros that have it at the moment. 

And where’s the best place for fans to keep up on the latest news like upcoming shows and album releases from DOSES at?

Are there any major goals that you all are looking to accomplish in 2014?

To destroy the competition and annihilate the impure. 

What, if anything, do you have planned as far as touring goes for 2014 so far?

We have one small trip planned to the Bay Area in March.  That’s all for now. 

Do you spend a lot of time on the road touring?  Do you enjoy touring?  What’s life like on the road for DOSES?

No we don’t spend any time on the road.  We love traveling but our jobs and responsibilities in the home land prevent us from doing just that.  I imagine touring with DOSES would be utter bliss.

Who are some of your personal favorite acts that you all have had a chance to share a bill with so far?

Stupid Life, Stoic Violence, High-Functioning Flesh, Blazing Eye, Perfect Pussy, On Parade & Destruction Unit.

Do you remember what the first song that DOSES ever played live was?  Where and when was that?

Since John and I are not original members of DOSES I cannot comment on when and where the first show was and what song was played, sorry.

In your dreams, who are you on tour with?

DOSES.  Headlining everything.

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

We played this small venue in Nevada, I forgot the name, but it was dreadful.  We were promised a guarantee to help pay for our gas and we were shorted a lot after the show.  The promoter claimed we ruined the sound system there and that we drove business away.  Which wasn’t true because the place was packed and no one was leaving.  Luckily we had Myst, our Chinese financial backer, with us and he got our payment.  Myst carries a small axe with him where ever he goes.  So essentially Myst went into the office of the venue, tied the promoter up to a chair and threatened to cut off all his fingers with this axe.  The promoter literally pissed his pants and agreed to give Myst our money.  Myst was already so upset that he just essentially took our guarantee and whatever else was In the envelope of money.  Also Myst speaks very little English so there was a huge language barrier.  We left and didn’t untie the poor guy. 

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

Vinyl only and always.  I mainly buy vinyl when it comes down to it, but sometimes I will purchase a tape if it’s the only thing a band has.

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

I do.  It’s huge.

I grew up around a good collection of music and I developed an appreciation for physical music from a pretty young age as a result.  There was always something magical about being able to saunter up to the shelves and shelves of music, pull something off completely at random, pop it in the player, stare at the artwork, read the liner notes and let the music transport me off to another world.  Having something concrete and physical to hold in my hands always made for a much more complete listening experience, at least for me.  Do you have any such connection with physically released music?

Of course.  That is the sole reason we press our music onto vinyl.  CD’s are disposable.  You treat them like shit when you handle them, they’re a format of music that has come and gone.  There’s a reason why vinyl is still relevant to so many people.  Owning vinyl gives you the responsibility of taking care of something you cherish.

As much as I love my physical music portability has always been an issue for me.  I really enjoy listening to music when I’m doing just about anything and I just couldn’t ever take enough of it on the go with me to keep me happy.  The advent of digital music has alleviated that problem almost overnight and when teamed with the internet has proven to be a real game changer.  It’s exposed people to a whole world of music that they otherwise wouldn’t have been privy to.  On the other hand though illegal downloading is running rampant and the digital conundrum has dealt a hefty blow to the music industry, as most of us know it at least.  As an artist during the reign of the digital era, what’s your opinion on digital music and distribution?

I feel digital music should be free to anyone.  Why deprive someone of hearing something that was created?  That makes no sense to me.  Also, what is the music industry nowadays anyways?  There are no more rock stars.  If someone truly cares about music they will support that artist by attending a show or buying their physical product.  Those people are the people I want supporting us.  If you’re just going to download it and not support the band, that’s fine.  At the same time though, fuck you.  You don’t really care about that band and that is also fine. 

I try to keep up with as much good music as I possibly can.  I spend more of my life online listening to music, searching through bins at the local shop and talking to anyone I trust for good recommendations than I would like to admit here.  A lot of the best tips that I get though come from musicians such as you.  Is there anyone from your local scene or area that should be listening to I might not have heard of before?

Abortion Reels, Stupid Life, Stoic Violence, Pretty P, Blazing Eye & High-functioning Flesh.

What about nationally and internationally?

Too many to go through.

Thanks so much for taking the time to make it to the end here!  I know this wasn’t short but I don’t like to half ass stuff and I hope it didn’t bore you to tears, completely.  Before we sign off and call it a day is there anything that I might have missed or that you’d just like to take this opportunity to discuss with our readers here?

Only I can destroy I and I will never destroy I.

*Photos by Madison East & Graphic Garrett

(2012)  DOSES – Demo – digital – Self-Released
(2013)  DOSES – Live at The Hogcreek Icehouse in Waco, Texas 10/8/2012 – Cassette Tape – Self-Released/Video Disease Records (Self-Released edition limited to 50 copies, Video Disease repress limited to 150 copies)
(2013)  DOSES – DOSES – digital, 12” – Going Underground Records (Limited to 500 copies, 100 copies on Gold Vinyl, 100 on Blue Vinyl and 300 on Black Vinyl.)
(2014)  DOSES – DOSES + DJ Hate Crime – Cassette Tape – Going Underground Records (Limited to 150 Cassette Tapes.  A-Side is the DOSES album, B-Side is the DOSES album remixed by DJ Hate Crime.)

Interview made by Roman Rathert/2014
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The Social End Products - Nutre Tu Cabeza (2013) review

The Social End Products “Nutre Tu Cabeza” (Radar Eye, 2013)

The debut full-length from this Greek neo-psychedelic quintet ticks all the right boxes to recreate and expand upon the delicious sounds of 60s garage psych with a slightly punky undertone, a la Brian Jonestown Massacre dissected by Green On Red. Stinging guitar lines weave around omnipresent organ flourishes and singing drummer Sta Stea has just the right degree of snarky eloquence in his voice to solicit favourable comparisons to the likes of Chocolate Watch Band’s Dave Aguilar and The Seeds’ Sky Saxon.
               All the vocals are in English and their song titles illustrate their self-confessed interest in Satanism and lysergics, e.g., “I’m Strange”, “Slit Your Wrist” (featuring a gnarly fuzz solo), “Rise From The Dead”, “She’s Off Drugs, She’s So Boring.” There’s also a distinct Stonesy swagger throughout the album that transports the listener back their late-60s output, ca. Aftermath through Let It Bleed.
               Fans of everything from 60s garage psych to the paisley underground take note – the sound is alive and well and flourishing in Athens!

Review made by Jeff Penczak/2014
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Mean Red Spiders - Places You Call Home (1998) review

Mean Red Spiders "Places You Call Home" (Teenage USA Records, 1998) 

You honestly cannot believe how stoked I am to discover this album. Dreamy psychedelic rock from Toronto in the 90s?!!!? This is the kind of 90s Canadian indie music I was wishing to hear for years. With so many Canadian bands around that time falling into the similar sounds of the band Sloan this is a breath of fresh air. With lush guitars that just melt when the sound hits your ears you would immediately think this band should have originated in the UK back in the late 80s with all the other shoegazy dream rock acts. This could easily be the cool younger Canadian cousin of the band Slowdive, family reunions wouldn't be awkward if these two bands got together. This record is hard to find, but I do believe it is available digitally through Amazon or Itunes, it is totally worth the dollars, and if you manage to find a physical copy cherish it because they probably wont be repressing this anytime soon!

*I would also like to note that Sloan isn't a bad band, they are actually really awesome. Hence all the copycats!

Review made by Matt Yablonski/2014
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String Driven Thing interview

“It’s A Game, so, come on and take me to the Circus!!!”  A String Driven Thing interview with guitarist/vocalist/songwriter Chris Adams and violinist extraordinaire Grahame Smith!!!

String Driven Thing is a Scottish band best known for their second self-titled LP released in 1972 on the Charisma label, and featuring the single “Circus” which has been a favorite of mine since I first heard it on WOAI, an AM radio station in San Antonio, TX, USA.  Recently, Chris Adams and Grahame Smith of String Driven Thing were kind enough to share the band’s saga with It’s Psychedelic Baby’s Kevin Rathert.  

Chris, where did you grow up?  What role did music play in the Adams household?

Chris:  I grew up in Glasgow.  There was a piano in the house but neither of my parents played and seemingly I never showed any interest in learning. 

How old were you when you began playing music?  Was the guitar the first instrument you played?

Chris:  I was about fifteen when I first started playing music and it was on guitar.

When and how did you meet your wife Pauline?  How long had you known each other before you began playing music together?

Chris:  I met Pauline when I was nineteen, at which point I was playing bass with a band called The Witnesses.  It was a year or so before we started singing together.

Did you play original songs straight away or did you begin by playing cover tunes?

Chris:  Almost from the start, I began writing my own stuff, but we did cover songs by artists like Dylan, The Byrds and The Loving Spoonful.

What was the first song written by the band and who wrote it?  What was the first song you recorded as String Driven Thing?  Was it an original or a cover?

Chris:  The first demos were “July Morning,” “That’s My Lady” and “Another Night In This Old City,” which are all my songs.  We never recorded any covers.

String Driven Thing became a trio when percussionist John Mannion joined the band.  How did you come to know him and when did he join the band?  The three of you were joined by Les Harvey and Jimmy Dewar (both later members of Stone The Crows, thus forming a sort of Scottish supergroup).  There were recordings made at this time.  Do you remember the songs you recorded?  Have these recordings ever been released?

Chris:  John played 12 string guitar, not percussion.  (That’s an internet factoid!!!)  I met him while doing a summer job, selling vacuum cleaners.  We only ever did one session with Les and Jimmy, but we never even picked the tapes up because the studio sound was so bad!  

In 1969, you, Pauline and John went to London with some acoustic demos.  You signed with Concord Records to record an album, but only one single was released.  What was the single and how was it received?

Chris:  You have this wrong.  The single “Another Night In This Old City” was from that self-titled Concord album, which was recorded in 1969, and then released in 1970, although I’d say it escaped rather than being released.

In 1970 your debut, self-titled album was released.  Where was it recorded?  How long did it take to record?  Who produced it?  What label was it on and how many copies were pressed?  Did the album receive radio airplay?  How was distribution handled and how many units were sold?

Chris:  It was recorded in a studio on Denmark Street in Soho.  I finished up producing it myself and it only took about a week all in.  It did get some airplay, and it was distributed through CBS but the record label was hopeless, so I never even received statements showing sales figures.

String Driven Thing became a four piece with the addition of bassist Colin Wilson.  How and when did he become part of the band?

Chris:  Colin, who died last year, joined us in 1971.  His brother, Charlie, was our roadie and he was a really talented player, so I invited him on board.

Grahame, how and when did you become a member of String Driven Thing?  Whose idea was it to change the sound of the band so dramatically with the addition of you on violin?

Grahame:  As far as I remember, I joined SDT about 1971 or 1972.  I was a member of the Scottish National Orchestra under Sir Alexander Gibson (known in the business as Flash Haggis).   I had a good job there are assistant leader.  I started moonlighting with a band of school kids, mostly Glasgow Grammar, a band called Chaconna.  It was highly psychedelic jazz/rock/prog.  What it wasn’t was blues, more classical if anything!  Chris rang me and persuaded me to play a few gigs with SDT.  I liked it a lot, especially because it was already popular, and I got paid.  Therefore, I moonlighted from the other band, in which of course I had been moonlighting from the orchestra.  It really worked with the violin.  I think it worked because I didn’t really know what I was doing.  I was certainly not all that blues, so I brought an unusual element, which contributed to the magic the band already had.

Chris:  I saw Grahame playing with another outfit and invited him along to our flat for a jam.  So it just happened, like adding nitro to glycerine!

In 1972 you went to London to shop a three song demo tape.  What were the three songs on the demo?
Chris:  The three songs were “Let Met Down” “Easy To Be Free” and “Regent St. Incident.”

Can you tell our readers the saga of how String Driven Thing came to sign with Charisma Records?  What were the terms of the contract?

Grahame:  It was a fairy tale.  We were offered a contract, a wage and a record.  I left the Scottish National Orchestra.  They were glad to get rid of me because I was an embarrassment with my long hair.  They thought I was crazy.  (They may have had a point.)

Chris:  I went to London to meet with The Strawbs manager as Dave Cousins and I were friendly.  With time on my hands, I went into a phonebox and found “Stratton Smith Enterprises” in the Yellow Pages.  The guy I spoke to handled Strat’s music publishing.  He told me to come round to their office which was above a dirty book shop on Brewer Street.  When I got there, he listened to the demos and asked if I could leave the tape.  I said “No” and explained about The Strawbs meeting but promised to send a copy.  When I did, Strat came up to Glasgow to see us play and obviously liked what he saw.

Your second album, also self-titled, released on the Charisma label in 1972, had all the makings of a breakthrough for the band, including the single “Circus” which gained much airplay both in the US and UK.  Where was the album recorded and how long did the sessions last?

Chris:  As I remember it, the album only took a week to record at IBC Studios, because Shel Talmy was old school and didn’t like to hang around.  In fact the Hipgnosis sleeve cost more than the recording.

How were sales of the single and did it chart anywhere?  “Circus” was my first exposure to SDT.  I’ve got to know, who wrote the song and what inspired it?  When you recorded this single did you think you had something special going on?

Chris:  I think we were told it charted in Monte Carlo!!  I wrote the song after seeing posters for a travelling circus that came through Glasgow.  Charisma didn’t release it as a single initially, because it was “too long” (this is years after “Like A Rolling Stone” should have consigned that sort of thinking to the waste bin.)  The American label, Buddha, just cut the last verse off and it became a “turntable” hit in parts of the States.

How was it working with producer Shel Talmy?  Would you share some recollections from the sessions?  Were you pleased with the finished product?  How were sales for the album?  What was the mood of the band at this point?  Did you feel like you were on the verge of a real breakthrough?

Chris:  On the first album we worked from late morning and finished early in the evening.  Shel was into six hour sessions, capturing a performance, which is what he undoubtedly did.  He was really good at getting fresh energetic takes on tape.  He left the engineer to handle the sound details and concentrated on catching the essence of the song.  Sounds simple but very few “producers” can do it.  On the downside, there was a lack of attention to detail.  At this point we were very “up,” convinced that we were just about to break through.           

What was the relationship between SDT and the band Genesis?  You had played New York City with them and were slated to tour the US and UK with them, but tragically this was not to be.  Health issues would not allow SDT to play all the dates.  Chris, would you describe for our readers the health problems you suffered at this time?  How much of the tour were you able to complete and what impact did playing those dates have on your health Chris?

Chris:  It wasn’t easy to have a relationship with Genesis.  Apart from Steve Hackett and Phil Collins, they were all Public Schoolboys, very upper class, remote and unapproachable.  Peter Gabriel was genuinely shy, but nice with it.  Steve was a great guy and Phil used to give Pauline all his cracked cymbals for her set up.  As for the other two….  My health problem was a simple collapsed lung.  We did actually do the UK stage of the Foxtrot tour with them, but then I did something which upset Strat greatly…I smuggled a drummer into the band.

Grahame:  We got on well with Genesis.  Peter Gabriel was one of the nicest people I met in my rock years.

As of 1972, the four piece lineup included guitar, bass and violin, but as had been the case since the band’s inception, no drummer.  Was this a conscious decision by the band or was it more of a case of simply not finding the right person to man the drum kit?  In 1973 you released the prophetically titled “The Machine That Cried.”  Did the title reflect the mood within the band following Chris’ illness?  Where was the album recorded and would you share some memories of the sessions?  This was SDT’s first album recorded with a drummer, Billy “The Kid” Fairley.  Why did the band decide to add a drummer to its ranks?  Was it a case of the band wanting to add a drummer or did Billy just seem to be a good fit for SDT?

Chris:  The album was a direct result of my hospitalization, which was freaky to say the least.  It was also recorded at IBC, Shel’s default studio, but unlike the first, I insisted that we spend time getting the little details right, so this time we often worked well into the evening.  I also smuggled Billy in because we had come to the conclusion that we were at a real disadvantage having no drummer.  It had worked in small clubs, but as the venues got bigger, it got harder to have an impact without one.  Billy came to us through a contact of mine and hit the ground running.  He did the audition and got the job.  His two favorite drummers were Ringo and Charlie Watts.  Need I say more?

Grahame:  The band did not fit in to any of the usual rock categories-the record company was baffled.  What the band did have, and has, is the X factor-charisma!

The album rocks harder than previous SDT recordings.  Did you play all the guitars, Chris?  Do you have a preference as to whether you play electric or acoustic guitar?

Chris:  It rocks because that’s what constant gigging does for you.  If you want to survive on the road, you stop taking prisoners.  I’m playing an old Telecaster on this album and it had a lot of bite.  As for acoustic or electric, it’s just forses for the courses.  I can’t imagine playing “Heartfeeder” on acoustic!!

That same year the band released what may be its most memorable song, “It’s A Game.”  Who wrote the song and what was the inspiration for it?  Did you think you had a hit on your hands?  Did it chart in the UK?  How many units were sold?

Chris:  I wrote the song because we were being treated like pawns.  Shel Talmy was in Greece when we made the demo, so Strat let us go into IBC with just the studio engineer, Damon Lyon Shaw.  We recorded, mixed and mastered it in six hours at a cost of 150 pounds sterling, and yes, we thought we had a hit, but Charisma did not put it out to the shops SOR (Sale or Return), so it never charted.  I have no idea how many copies it sold.

Following the release of “The Machine That Cried” it would be nearly twenty years before you two recorded another SDT album, 1992s live “Suicide Live In Berlin.”  That’s a long time.  What brought you back together?  Who were the other members of the band that recorded the live album?  How did it feel to be back on the stage together?

Chris:  It was Chris Hewitt who organized the reunion gigs.  Without him it wouldn’t have happened.  I put a band together from players who had worked with me on a solo album called “The Damage.”  (Drummer John Bradley and Guitarist George Tucker still play with me from time to time.)  I haven’t seen or heard from bassist Nick Clarke for over a decade.  Playing again with Grahame felt surreal, but it’s a bit like riding a bike, once you’re up there, it feels natural.

Chris Hewitt’s Ozit/Morpheus label has made the classic String Driven Thing albums available once again.  How did SDT and Chris become acquainted?  Why did you choose to sign with Ozit/Morpheus?

Chris:  We met Chris because we went to the same East German dentist.  We signed with him because he was into the music, simple as that!

The heyday of SDT live has been documented on two Ozit releases.  “Live On The Foxtrot Tour” includes performances from the 1972 tour with Genesis while “Live In Switzerland ‘73” is included as a bonus disc on the reissue of your 1972 Charisma album.  Are these good representations of String Driven Thing concerts of that vintage?

Chris:  I’d say the first of these two is very representative of the four piece SDT.  There was a special unique energy going on that it captures really well.

Grahame:  The band went down really well with audiences.  In my view, the record company had no idea.  The things that made SDT a bit odd were the very things in its favor.

Have you two recorded any studio material under the String Driven Thing moniker since “Suicide Live In Berlin?”  Are there plans to record any new material in the future?

Chris:  We’ve had two albums out in the noughties.  “Moment of Truth” and “Songs from Another Country.”  
(Please note:  April 2014, a new String Driven Thing LP “The Steeple Claydon Tapes” featuring sleeve notes by Pete Frame of “Rock Family Tree” fame, will be released by Ozit/Morpheus Records, UK.  A link to the label for further information regarding the release follows this interview)

What are Chris Adams and Grahame Smith up to these days (2014)?

Chris:  Nowadays, the band plays mostly around Glasgow, but we do make forays down South now and then and if the promoters budget will allow then Grahame is added to the band…We’ve had the same rhythm section for over ten years, Andy Allen on bass and Dick Drake on drums.  My son, Robin, plays lead guitar and sings blood harmonies.  We’re talking about doing another studio album soon, so watch this space.

Grahame:  I have retired from a successful teaching career, write novels and still play and teach music.

Is there anything that was not addressed in this interview that our readers should know about Chris Adams, Grahame Smith, or String Driven Thing?  Any final words from either of you?

Grahame:  It was a great trip.  We made mistakes.  Given, the time again, I would have stood up to the record company more, but then, hey, we are still here, and still performing!  And I must not forget the high quality songs from Chris without which none of this would have happened!

Chris:  Charisma didn’t really know what they had with us and if we’d had good independent management we would have never broken up.  But then again, Pauline and I would never have had two more sons, Mervyn and Robin, both of whom we wouldn’t trade the world for!!

Please visit the band’s official website at:

A brand new String Driven Thing LP is due out April, 2014, “The Steeple Claydon Tapes!”  Featuring sleeve notes by Pete Frame of “Rock Family Tree” fame!

For information regarding the LP please visit:

Other wonderful String Driven Thing releases are available from Ozit/Morpheus Records at the website above.  Many, many thanks to Ozit/Morpheus owner and String Driven Thing manager, Mr. Chris Hewitt for his kind assistance in conducting this interview and for caring about “the music.”  Chris truly “Gets It!!!

Interview made by Kevin Rathert/2014
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