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Small Faces - Ogdens' Nut Gone Flake (1968) review

Small Faces "Ogdens' Nut Gone Flake" (1968) review

An ambitious concept album from one of the greatest of all british invasion bands...The Small Faces- Ogden's Nut Gone Flake.

Steve Marriott- Guitars & Vocals
Ronnie Lane- Bass & Vocals
Ian MacLagan- Keyboards & Vocals
Kenny Jones- Drums & Percussion
Stanley Unwin- Cockney Double-speak

The Small Faces will forever be my favorite British mod band with The Who being a close second. Blasphemy? Well if it weren't for Roger Daltry's "devoid of emotion" vocals and his seemingly disinterested stage presence, I'd entertain any arguments to the contrary. But I digress, let's set the controls for the heart of the sun.

In the hazy, somewhat crazy Summer of Love, 1967, The Small Faces smoked "dey pot like goods lads" of the day and decided to record "Ogdens Nut Gone Flake", a concept album. Largely a departure from the strengths of most bands, concept records were considered overindulgent and resulted in a lot bands swan songs. "What's this? A concept record? We'll have none of that!"

You could argue that The Beatles set the bar with "Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" in June of 1967, while the Moody Blues explored this territory with their November release "Nights in White Satin." January of 1968 The Rolling Stones jumped into the foray with "Their Satanic Majesty's Request" and in July the Moody's hit it big again with "In Search of the Lost Chord". ["Lost Chord" is a wonderful musical journey, largely put down these days, celebrating the LSD trip and Dr. Timothy Leary.] And I would be remiss unless I got on my knees and chanted "I'm not worthy" in the direction of The Pretty Things' "S.F. Sorrow"...!!!

The Small Faces put out their masterpiece "Ogden's Nut Gone Flake" in June of '68 and The Pretty Things finished the year with the closest thing to Sgt Pepper: "S.F.Sorrow".. brilliant and under appreciated at the time. The Who and The Kinks put out "Tommy" and "Arthur" in 1969. Now that we've set the record straight....forward, Tin Soldiers..onto "Ogden's!!!"

Released in June of 1968, "ONGF" took a year to record and mix. Half a concept LP drenched and dripping with psychedelic jams and tongue-in-cheek cockney humor. It was released with its' die-cut tobacco tin artwork and potent music wrapped around four stoned, cockney Elves.

Side 1:
"Ogden's Nut Gone Flake": The self titled opening track has Ian MacLagan's phased organ arc-ing from speaker to speaker pounding you into submission .."more you little bastard, MORE!".

"After Glow" written by Steve Marriott about one of his girlfriends [some say Pat Arnold] is a wonderful journey loaded with spatial effects.

"Long Agos and Worlds Apart" written & sung by MacLagan stands on it's own and is a perfect segue into-

"Rene", a paean about a loveable East End prostitute, Rene Tungate. "Rene" starts off with Lane singing in a cockney accent and ending with Marriott's guitar and the Mighty Midget Rhythm Section of Lane & Jones plowing a path through your brain into....

"Song of a Baker"...I give up! What a great record! The Mighty Midgets at it again! Some fans consider this the bands best song. At 2:22 you can hear Lane prompt Marriott with "Jump", the lead in to the next line. I love the seemingly unedited looseness that took a year to create. Incredible! We haven't even gotten to the concept side!

"Lazy Sunday", written by Marriott about his neighbor just to fill out the side, was released and climbed the charts much to his chagrin.. he never liked the song. "Ere we all are, sitting in a rainbow..blimey, hallo, Mrs. Jones, how's yer Bert's lumbago?" I find it a revealing and stunning window into Steve Marriott's former career where he played the Artfull Dodger in OLIVER at the Noel Coward Theatre in London's West End. This was 1960 and led to Marriott working in radio & television...but as I usually do...I digress.

Side 2:
Narrated impeccably by BBC Radio & Commercials star, Stanley Unwin, side two starts the magical journey of Happiness Stan, a electric fairy tale about the cycles of the moon. Casting the double-talking Unwin was a stroke of genius. Unwinese is hard to decipher but who cares? It's hysterical. Having spent spent some time with the lads during the recording, Stanley wove some of their daily dialogue into his own cockney double-speak. For all it's linguistic pretentions, it's a load of bollocks, but brilliant nonetheless.

"Happiness Stan" starts the tale with Unwin at the top of his form, "Are you all sitting comfty-bo two-square on your bodieee? Good then I'll begin.." [Professor Irwin Corey would be proud] setting up the harp intro into Marriott's pop-psych phased vocals.

"Rollin' Over" with Stan's intro blows the Un-Unwin 45 rpm mix away.

"The Hungry Intruder" has the Faces at their whimsical best.

"The Journey" features Ian MacLagan's trademark pumping keyboards.

"Mad John" is prototypical Small Faces of the day. Marriott's wonderful acoustic guitar & MacLagan's piano set the backdrop as Marriott trades verses with Ronnie "Plunk" Lane's nasal intoning morphing into a medieval romp!

"Happy Days Toy Town"....Unwin- "Clap twiceee, lean on yer back-edo and twistee for awhile-oh'..don't worry about the moon. Oh dear joy....cockney, cockney, cockney..remember in your brain bockle, lad: Wrong starts with a Wubble-U! All joyfold! Goodlee bye-lod-ee!"

A cockney knees up. Indeed! 

Review made by Bob Mickey Spillane, The Dangerous R&R Show/2014
© Copyright

Bionic Cavemen interview with Andy Morgen and Jose Bernal

Bionic Cavemen might sound like they come from some far off place in the future, but they sound more like a band that travelled forward in time from the late 60’s or early 70’s than anything else.  Hardcore rock is the name of the game here.  It’s as though Black Sabbath, Muddy Waters and Canned Heat all teamed up for an album.  And it didn’t suck.  Andy Morgen’s sickeningly sweet and gravelly voice shows off a personality that most front men would kill for and the music is filled with awesome no-holds-barred guitar riffs and solos, but it has plenty of room to breathe which lets the vocals really take on a life of their own.  I think that’s something most bands are afraid of these days, burying their vocals and adding so much reverb and echo you can hardly make out the garble.  For all of the bands out there talking about the rock revival these days, I’ve not heard a band that’s as sincere as Bionic Cavemen really are about the proposition in a long time, so it’s no surprise they don’t talk about it.  Allow me to do so now on their behalf.  This blues infused rock is some of the wickedest hard riffing teamed with a myriad of classic rock influences that’s sure to impress even the most skeptical of the “dad rock” classic rock crowd, as much as it will intoxicate anyone riding the revival wave feeding on the added energy and learned lessons from the past.  Bionic Cavemen truly are the best of both worlds, inhabiting the future and the past simultaneously, a band at once out of time and completely at home in the here and now.  My descriptions might sound mysterious and eclectic but I implore you to simply click on the link below, listen to the music and draw your own conclusions from their Predator album.  It will be time well spent I assure you.  Not without further ado I present to you, Bionic Cavemen; hey it is Psychedelic Baby!

Listen while you read:

What is Bionic Cavemen’s lineup?  Is this the original lineup or have you all made any changes since the band began?

Andy:  The lineup is Roland Morgen, Larry Drennan, Jose Bernal and myself Andy Morgen.  The band began with Jose, Larry and Roland. 

Jose:  Roland, Larry, and I were jamming for about a year or so.  Our friend Bart played percussion as well at one point.  Andy is Roland’s older bro, so he showed up at our studio one night and we played some Zeppelin tunes.  He had a raw voice and a credit card, so we let him stick around.

The more people I talk to the more I realize musicians are usually in more than one band these days, either trying to make ends meet or just doing what they love.  Are any of you in any other active bands at this point?  Have you released any music with anyone else?  If so can you tell us a little about it?

Andy:  Jose is now drumming for Dead Feathers, they’re like a younger, better looking, gentler and less angry version of ourselves.  We’ve played a bunch of shows with them.  Larry has been in Foz the Hook for a couple of years now.  They’re like if the drunk professor at the end of the bar suddenly got up and taught you through song for an hour.  I’m still working on and off with Murder Proof Vest.  I also have some other projects that only exist as ideas right now, such as a rapper named Slizz Monteco.  I’m not sure if Roland has formed anything official yet.  I’ve got his Twin Reverb in my basement though, joke’s on him!

Jose:  Aside from my involvement in Dead Feathers, I’m currently starting a psychedelic delta blues project called Evil Snake.  I’m still looking for the reincarnation of Fred Mississippi McDowell somewhere.  It might take a while.

Where are you originally from?

Andy:  Larry is a Mainer, he drifted down a river here at some point in the 90’s.  Jose, Roland and I are all from Chicago.

How would you describe the local music scene where you grew up?  Did it play a large or pivotal role in your childhood?  Do you think the music scene there made an impact on your musical tastes or the way you play?

Andy:  I grew up with everyone wanting to be in a punk band.  I never liked punk music.  If anything, the scene drove me further into “classic” rock.

Jose:  I don’t know what the local music scene was like when I grew up.  I didn’t pay any attention to it.  The minute I discovered Canned Heat with these dudes, I never looked back.

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

Andy:  The only cassette my father owned was Dark Side of the Moon and he would replace it whenever the heat warped it or it just became worn out.  He played harmonica and accordion at bars for fun.  My mother was always really into the Stones and Santana, and she always had The Loop on.

Jose:  My dad exposed me to James Brown and soul music.  That led to me dig deeper and eventually discover blues from the Delta.  That’s where I stayed.

What was your first real exposure to music?

Andy:  Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters, every Christmas.

Jose:  My grandfather would blast old school Mexican romantics at his barbershop.  It made the women go crazy.

If you had to pick one defining moment of music in your life, a moment that opened up all the wondrous doors and possibilities to you and changed the way you perceived music, what would it be?

Andy:  Jimi Hendrix’s Ultimate Experience.  It was a best of, which is lame.

Jose:  Coltrane’s A Love Supreme.  Elvin Jones on the drums was my first lesson in music.  I tried to imitate everything he did.

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

Andy:  I had always tried on my own, but it didn’t start making sense until I was doing it with the Cavemen.

Jose:  I don’t write songs, just drum solos.  And that came about from watching Ginger Baker with Cream.

Where is the band at these days?

Andy:  Finishing our second album and trying to figure out the next step.

Jose:  Three-quarters of the band is in Chicago right now.  Roland’s in Seattle playing blues and staying at random women’s houses.  He’ll be back.  Hopefully.

How would you describe the local music scene there?

Andy:  There are a bunch of great arty and metal bands here.

Jose:  The scene here in Chicago has grown a lot in the last five years.  Shit is getting heavier and heavier.  It’s like all these young kids dusted off their dad’s Sabbath records and started bands.  It’s a great time right now to grow a beard and be loud.

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

Andy:  I’m not really that involved.  I’m a lazy asshole. 

Jose:  Yeah, Andy is a bit of a procrastinator.  I do most of the booking for our shows but I don’t mind.  I keep most of the money anyway.  Ha-ha!  I’m pretty involved in the local scene and help promote other bands.  It’s one big happy family out here.  There’s no sense of rivalry.  Only camaraderie.

Do you think that the scene there has had a large impact on Bionic Cavemen or do you feel like you all could be doing what you are and sound like you do regardless of location or surroundings?  Has the music scene there impacted the way that Bionic Cavemen sounds or played a large part in the history or evolution of the band?

Andy:  I feel like we could have done this in any dirty city.  I suppose the scene in general has affected us, but not the music scene; at least not until we met Thee Arthur Layne.  We did get to work with some awesome dudes on the album, though.  That couldn’t have happened elsewhere.

When and how did you all originally meet?

Andy:  This is probably a better question for Jose.  I met Roland a couple of days after he was born.  He introduced me to the other guys.

Jose:  Roland and Larry met in high school.  Roland started working at a deli where he met me.  We used to drink Modelo’s and listen to jams on our breaks.  One day I maxed out my credit card on a set of drums for no reason.  After screwing with it for a month or so, I invited Roland to jam.  He brought Larry. After that, our weekends filled up with whiskey inspired jams in smoke-filled garages.

What led to the formation of Bionic Cavemen and when exactly was that?

Andy:  I like to think that it was when Roland gave me some demos and I sent them back with vocals.

Jose:  I like to think it was the first time Andy jammed with us.  He came in and asked us if we knew “The Lemon Song”.  So, we jammed on that for an hour.  This slick put a smile on all of our faces.  After that, Bionic Cavemen was born. 

What does the name Bionic Cavemen mean or refer to?  It conjures an awesomely hilarious image for me!  Who came up with it and how did you go about choosing it?

Andy:  I came up with it.  A friend said that Roland and Larry looked like cavemen, which got us talking about the Cavemen Olympics.  ‘Cavemen’ made a lot of sense.  ‘Bionic’ helped it make less sense.  We all kinda decided on it.  I don’t remember any of the other ideas.  Jose?

Jose:  I think so man.  I remember coming in to practice one day and Roland and Bart were wasted while playing Zelda.  Andy laid the name on the table and we all just went for it.  It was better than Larry’s drunken response of naming the band Ketchup Popsicle.

Is there any shared ideal or mantra that Bionic Cavemen live by as a band?

Andy:  Be fucking loud.

I am absolutely terrible when it comes to describing bands!  I love listening to them and I love talking about them, but every time I try to describe how a band sounds it just gets weird and awkward.  Rather than me making some bizarre attempt and describing your sound to our readers who might now have heard you before, how would you describe Bionic Cavemen in your own words?

Andy:  Heavy Stoner Blues.

While we’re talking so much about the band’s back story and influences I’m curious who you cite as your major musical influences?  You have some really interesting stuff bubbling up from underneath the surface of your music!  Who would you cite as major influences on the band as a whole rather than individually?

Andy:  Zeppelin, Sabbath, Canned Heat…

Can you tell us a little bit about Bionic Cavemen’s songwriting process?  Is there a lot of jamming and free exchange of ideas when you all get together to play and practice?  Or is it more of a situation where someone will bring a riff or more finished idea to the rest of the band to work out and compose with you all of you?

Andy:  It goes both ways.  I would say it always starts with Roland, though.  Jose and Larry jump right in, the three of them are very good together.  I’m the one that gums things up.

Do you all enjoy recording?  I know for most bands getting the end result is always amazing, there’s not a whole lot in the world that beats holding an album in your hands knowing that it’s yours and you made it!  Getting into the studio, or even recording the material yourself, that can be a totally other matter altogether though, especially when it comes to having to record as part of a band.  How is it in the studio for you all?

Andy:  We record everything live.  It’s like playing a show for two days.  

Does Bionic Cavemen do a lot of prep work before you record hammering our arrangements, compositions, transitions and the like or is it more of a natural kind of process where things have room to change and evolve somewhat during the recording process?

Andy:  Yeah, we don’t have the money to figure things out on their time. 

How do you all handle recording?  Do you use studios or is it more of a DIY, on your own time and turf prospect for you all?

Andy:  The DIY stuff never seemed to come out with an even sound.  It was definitely important during the writing process though.

You released your debut album Predator back in November (2013).  Was the recording of that album a fun, pleasurable experience for you all?  Can you tell us a little bit about the recording of the material for Predator?  Where and when was it recorded?  Who recorded it?  What kind of equipment was used?

Andy:  We recorded at Electrical Audio with Grégoire Yeche and had it mastered at Chicago Mastering by Bob Weston.

Jose:  When you’re recording at Electrical Audio, it’s nice to not have to worry about shit other than playing.  Everything was taken care of.  The guys picked out some old tube amps that they had and I picked out the biggest Bonham sized drum set they had in the room.  Andy had his chilled bottle of Jager for his vocals.  Each song was pretty much done in one take.

Is Predator self-released?  If not who released it?  I know that the 12” is a split color limited edition run of only 200 copies.  The album has been flying off the shelves out at Permanent Records Chicago and selling extremely well at shows as well.  When the LP sells out are there any plans to repress it or do you have your eyes set on the future in those regards?

Andy:  Self-released.  Jose fronted the money for the pressing.

Jose:  There are still plenty of vinyl records for sale.  They’re on translucent lemon-lime vinyl.  People can get them at Permanent’s store and website, as well as our shows.  Hopefully, we’ll get the second album pressed on wax as well.  We’ll see.  It’s expensive.

Does Bionic Cavemen have any music that we haven’t talked about, any compilation appearances or anything like that I might have missed?

Andy:  Not yet.

With the release of Predator only a little while ago, are there any releases in the works or planned for the future?

Andy:  Yup.  I don’t know when, though. 

Where’s the best place for our US readers to pick up your album from?

Andy:  Bandcamp for digital, Permanent Records for vinyl.

With these completely insane international postage rate increases this last year I try to provide out international readers with as many purchasing possibilities as I can.  Where’s the best place for our international and overseas readers to purchase your album?

Jose:  The good folks at Permanent are really reasonable with the shipping rates.  Tons of people from overseas have bought the record from their website.  We’re currently working out a deal with Ozium Records in Sweden to market and distribute the records soon for our overseas fans though.

Do you remember what the first song that Bionic Cavemen ever played live was?  If so, where and when was that?

Jose:  I don’t remember.  We were all hammered, but I do remember it was in the basement of some Mexican restaurant on Clark Street in Chicago. 

Do you all spend a lot of time on the road?  Do you all enjoy touring?  What’s life on the road like for Bionic Cavemen?  Now that sounds strange…

Andy:  We haven’t made it out on tour.  Day jobs, setbacks, can’t legally leave the state, etcetera.

Jose:  When we finally do hit the road, I picture me driving most of the way, Andy controlling the radio, Roland in the front seat with a bucket of fried chicken and Larry passed out with a 12-pack.

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

Andy:  Nothing official yet.

You guys have played with some seriously sweet bands lately!  Who are some of your personal favorites that you’ve had a chance to share a bill with?

Andy:  Thee Arthur Layne are where it’s at.  Crobot taught us all a lesson.  I used to like Dead Feathers a lot, but I hear they have a shitty drummer now…

Jose:  Funny guy…  I also dug The Dirty Streets, they’re heavy and greasy as hell.  Bunch of sweethearts.

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

Andy:  We all ate at Harold’s Chicken Shack right before a show.  It was a poor choice.

In your dreams, who are you on tour with?

Andy:  Thee Arthur Layne, and we all have go-karts.

Do you have a preferred medium of release for your music, and if so why?  With all of the various options available to artists today I’m always curios why they choose the certain mediums that they do.  What about when you are listening to and or purchasing music?

Andy:  I was the only one of us pushing for digital.

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

Andy:  I do.  If I like an artist, I own their entire catalog.  There are equal portions of both delta blues and doom/stoner metal in there.  And a whole lot in between.

Jose:  I collect vinyl.  Most of my collection consists of delta blues, Chicago Chess Records stuff and heavy bands from ’68 to ‘73.

I grew up around what I would consider a pretty sizable collection of music and I learned to appreciate physical music from a very young age.  There was always something magical about being able to go over to the shelf and grab something completely at random I had never heard of and pop it into the tape deck or CD player, read the liner notes and just stare at the artwork and let it transport me into this whole other world.  There’s something indispensable about physical music to me, having something to hold and experience along with the music makes for a more complete listening experience; at least for me.  Do you have any such connection with physically released music?

Andy:  Not anymore.  I listen to ninety-five percent of it with my phone.  I miss liner notes, though

Jose:  Most definitely.  That’s why I decided to press the album on vinyl.  Scott Miller, our friend who did the cover art, did a phenomenal job making sure our 12” grabbed attention at the record shop.

As much as I love my music collection there’s always been a few problems with it, namely moving it ha-ha!  Seriously though I could never take my collection on the go with me, even with CDs it was always a total pain and I was all freaked out about tearing them up when I had them out in the car and it was like a million degrees in the shade.  Digital music has solved that problem to a large extent, I can carry more music on my phone that I could have in a duffle bag, even with tapes and CDs.  And when you team digital music with the internet you have a whole new ball-game!  Its exposed people to a whole universe of music that they otherwise would never have heard or been exposed to.  But with the good comes the bad as there’s always an upside and a downside to things.  Digital music is rapidly changing the face of the music industry to say the least these days.  As a musician during the reign of the digital era what’s your opinion on digital music and distribution?

Andy:  I’m all for it.  My only issue is that it’s too easy to find some new-to-you, awesome band every other day.  I am not putting in the quality time with bands like I used to. 

I try to keep up with as much good music as I possibly can but there just aren’t enough hours in a day.  I spend more time than I would like to admit looking around online and I basically drive by the local shop on the way home from work so I’m constantly pouring over their stuff as well.  A lot of the best tips that I get come from musicians like you though!  Is there anyone from your local scene or area that I might not have heard of yet?

Andy:  I don’t know if I mentioned Thee Arthur Layne yet.

Jose:  I love those dudes, huge fan of what they’re doing.  Every fucking element in that group is raw.  I can’t help but think of Jamul’s “Tobacco Road” when I hear them play.  Definitely check them out.  I can’t wait for their release!

What about nationally and internationally?

Andy:  Pretty much any stoner rock from Sweden.  Seriously. 

Jose:  Amen to that.  Those dudes have shit going.

 © Marty Perez

Thanks so much for taking the time to make it through this monster.  What can I say?  I’m a curious boy!  Is there anything that I might have missed or that you’d just like to take this opportunity to talk about?

Andy:  Thanks for asking.  Please excuse our typos.

Jose:  Stay tuned.  We’re not through destroying the future.

© Marty Perez

(2013)  Bionic Cavemen – Predator – digital, CD, 12” – Self-Released (Vinyl limited to 200 copies on Translucent Lemon-Lime Vinyl)

Interview made by Roman Rathert/2014
© Copyright

Tom Donahue: 300 Pounds Of Solid Sounds

DJ and freeform radio pioneer, Tom Donahue didn't invent the concept of Freeform Radio, but he certainly put his stamp on his story....

Although he certainly didn't invent freeform radio programming [the first freeform programs were broadcast on KPFA in 1949, with KRAB & WBAI picking up the ball in the 60's] it was the brain-fried child of Tom "Big Daddy" Donahue. Playing long album tracks he initiated an unsuspecting young audience to the joy of eclectic radio programming. A former Top 40 jock on Philadelphia's WIBG-AM, Donahue migrated to San Francisco fleeing the record industry payola scandals of the late 50's. San Francisco was at that time primarily used as the setting for movies such as The Maltese Falcon, Frisco Kid, Hitchcock's Vertigo and The Birds, and various Charlie Chan movies [and much later the Dirty Harry epics.] On any given night you could dig Paul Desmond at the Black Hawk or Gerry Mulligan at Basin Street West. Alan Ginsberg shocked and revolutionized the literary establishment with his reading of "Howl" in a small gallery in November 1955..

"I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked, dragging themselves through the Negro streets of dawn looking for an angry fix, angelheaded hipsters.."

Along came Kerouac, Burroughs and the realization that Frisco was the "weirdo capitol of the world". Then between the years of 1958-1961 the scene seemed to take a dive. Topless bars sprang up all along the Columbus-Broadway area. Carol Doda will be remembered forever as the cocktail waitress who bared her breasts and made "The Swim" an instant hit. In 1962 Tony Bennett sang "I Left My Heart in San Francisco", Merv Griffin was in the first season of his talk show and Phyllis Diller was ready to go national. There were sporadic Top 40 hits on the radio like Vince Guaraldi's "Cast Your Fate To The Wind" and Johnny Mathis' "What Will My Mary Say'. This was fertile ground for Donahue and he talked the management of WKYA into letting him program his own shows. Billing himself as Tom "Big Daddy" Donahue "300 Pounds of Solid Sounds" he played gritty R&B and delivered to his audience an irreverent broadcast style.."I'm here to blow your mind and clean up your face"....

Between 1963-1967 Donahue promoted concerts and in 1964 opened Autumn Records. The second single on the label was a hit by Bobby Freeman, "C'mon & Swim" written by a $100 a week assistant named Sylvester Stewart a.k.a. Sly Stone.

In 1967, according to Jim Ladd's book "Radio Waves", Donahue and his young wife Rachel were listening to the Doors first album, while rearranging their brain cells via Dr. Tim's magic snake oil. The playing cards were starting to melt, and it became increasingly difficult to tell the hearts from the diamonds, when through the haze of incense and acid, [Tom Donahue] shifted his enormous bulk and posed a fateful question: "Why in the hell aren't we hearing any of this on the radio?"

*On April 7th, 1967 Donohue started broadcasting on KMPX, ignoring pop charts and playing long album sides, regardless of length.

*On November 4th, 1967 Vin Scelsa debuted his "The Closet" radio program Midnight-6am on WFMU's first truely freeform show.

*On March 18th, 1968 Donahue and the entire KMPX staff go on strike soon moving over to KSAN.

*2005: The eclectic format coupled with public affairs & news continues on 91.9 FM WNTI.

Article made by Bob Mickey Spillane, The Dangerous R&R Show/2014
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Papir - IIII (2014) review

Papir "IIII" (El Paraiso Records, 2014)

As the title suggests, this is the fourth album from Papir, a Danish post-rock trio with jazzy overtones who rely on intricate improvisation to create indelible impressions on the 21st musical landscape. There’s an intricate, loud/fast dichotomy intrinsic to many post rock artists (cf. Mogwai, Hammock, Stars of The Lid, Godspeed You Black Emperor, et. al.) and Papir follow this dynamic to create emotionally exciting music that will have your heart racing at one moment and your head soaring heavenward the next.
                The anonymity of the track titles (simply, “I”, “II”, “III”, and “IIII”) suggest that the music is more important than a clever little song name, which is a welcome attitude from an instrumental band. It shows they spent more time concentrating on the material!
                It also suggests the “tracks” are merely artificial breaking points or mood changers and are used randomly and interchangeably. In any event, the entire album is best experienced sequentially in one sitting to best appreciate the ebb and flow that the lads put into their spontaneously combustible creations.
                So throughout the album you’ll be dazzled by brain-frying, Hendrixian power riffs (“III”), ferocious drumming, and dazzling bass runs on your way to musical nirvana. “IIII” even wraps things up with a mellow stroll around a tropical paradise, not unlike the work of Vini Reilly (Durutti Column) or Steve Wilson (Porcupine Tree). Another memorable release from the folks at El Paraiso!

Review made by Jeff Penczak/2014
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Bipolaroid interview

When did Bipolaroid form, and what was the idea for the band's sound?

Our first show was on Easter Sunday in 2002. Before then I was recording a lot of sound collages- I wanted to flip the script and try this idea with songs and traditional 3/4 and 4/4 timings. I gave our british guitar player Ben Sumner  a disc of songs and he naturally preferred the tunes that were influenced by english 60s psychedelia. I wanted to take a template of what I liked about rock n roll and start from there, then break the rules as I see it. If that meant sounding like other bands too, that okay, I didn't want that to be a rule either.

Whom are some of your influences in psychedelic music?

Everyone is going to say Syd Barrett. And that's maybe unfair to the Kinks or the Who or the Pretty Things. I do like Syd Barrett. But I really also dig that mid 90s period of lo-fi 4 track stuff like Guided By Voices. I like the appeal of recording anything immediately when the idea is ripe.

Is there a resurgence of interest in psychedelic music-why is it so popular still?

It seems that way? I always liked it, there are definitely a lot more psychedelic bands right now- we had a really difficult time touring before, so I suppose it has it's benefits. Everything has it's cycles, it will pass again.

Will you be playing any live dates, Ben?

We will be at sxsw again this year at the Get Hip Recordings showcase and a two week East Coast/Mid West tour. Perhaps a West Coast in the fall.

How does the audience react to the music at psychedelic music performances?

I see a lot of arms crossed at some band's shows, I don't like that, so I add as much energy and dynamic as I can. This produces the response I'm looking for. I want to see kids dancing and having a good time. I limit the slow jams to the records, unless we get a special request.

Any Bipolaroid side projects that you wish to tell us about?

Well there are a number of songs from the last 2 records that were written for a one man band. I've only performed a few times this way in New Orleans. The band keeps me too busy I find it difficult to break away. Sometimes I play with King Louie & the Loose Diamonds, that's King Louie who played drums on our last record, and some Memphis players like Jack Oblivian. Louie did a lot of co-writing on Exploding Hearts' Guitar Romantic. So there's always discussion we'll do some bubblegum 45's together called Louie & Ben. I have a few written for that, or another project I've been saving. It's kind of secret I want it to remain anonymous. You hope the songs will stick out somehow. I don't do it for self glory.

Why the name "Bipolaroid" for the band?

The name started the band, not the other way. It began a chain of events that made a band, that created an order, that makes it difficult to disassemble. I'm a bit at mercy to it and the process, and I haven't been able to walk away from it. But the name is important because that's where it all started. I could come up with a definition of what the name means for you but it would only be after the fact.

What lies in the future for Bipolaroid?

We're going on a tour in support of Twin Language in April. And writing songs for another record. It might be either closed to finished or finished already. Since the very first album I make every record like it's the last one we'll do. I hope to work with an orchestra again though. I could see it bringing us full circle. I never try to plan farther than that.

Interview made by John Wisniewski/2014
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Robert Johnson - King of the Delta Blues Singers (1961/1970) review

Robert Johnson "King of the Delta Blues Singers" (Music On Vinyl, 1961-1970/2013) 

Throughout successive generations, guitar players who’ve wanted to align themselves, especially, with the pre-war blues scene have looked to one name in particular, Robert Johnson. OK, sure there were a good few others too, Blind Lemon Jefferson and Son House readily jump to mind, however, none would strike the imagination more strongly than that of Robert Johnson, whose reverence, partly due to an enigmatic and mercurial persona, is forever assured and second to none in the world of blues, rock and beyond. Also, something of the simplistic yet unduplicable nature of many of his songs is another facet of why this true blues pioneer was, and still is, such an attraction with a strangely magnetic pull on music lovers – guitar players perhaps especially?

Mississippi-born Johnson’s highly-individual style of playing and singing, heard here on a catalogue of intensely captivating songs, is, I would say, beyond compare. Like many blues wailers down the years Johnson’s songs dealt with internal strife and women-centred turmoil alongside the twin spectres of alcohol and violence, which seemed seemed to compound Johnson’s life in song.

One is being constantly reminded while listening to this latest set of remasters (that made up the original first volume of King Of The Delta Blues Singers) of the immense power inherent in such songs as ‘Hellhound On My Trail’, ‘Travelling Riverside Blues’, the indefatigable ‘Come On In My Kitchen’ and many more pure and unsullied classics besides. The performances, seemingly effortless most of the time, flow out again and again, the button on the primitive tape device pressed to record, thus capturing for all time a succession of truly unbelievable  sounds. That’s why the likes of the ‘Stones, Clapton and Zeppelin were in awe! Moreover, and this far down the line too – seventy-odd years or thereabouts – most of these selections still cannot be matched, either for the qualities already outlined above, or for the highly-charged atmosphere which they bring to any room that cares to air them. The sheer quality and gut-wrenching emotion within Johnson’s vocal alone is indefinable, and hard to beat, but when you add in his trailblazing guitar technique that sits atop or underneath then the combinatory results become absolutely peerless.

As the technology (and the skills of the technicians) put in place to rediscover and re-evaluate many of these ancient old blues recordings gets better; and to be able to hear, say, the closeness of a particular piece of slide action, or a partly hidden vocal nuance, or other subtlety that was maybe a little lost in some previously issued edition that, perhaps, has now become much clearer; without losing any of the edge, grit and downright primitive genius of what sourced it, then yeah, that’s also cause for celebration. I suppose one of the main purposes in making newly available reissues of such as these unforgettable Robert Johnson recordings, is (as with everything else) to try to turn on new generations of people to what are, in Robert Johnson’s case anyway, incredible, and fearsomely important works.

It only remains to say that if you don’t already have like one or two of the K.O.T.D.B.S. variations that were issued donkeys years ago on CBS (or more recently on CD), then I heartily recommend running out and scoring this brand new one if you can. You’ll be sure glad you did.

 Review made by Lenny Helsing/2014
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Insider interview with Marco and Piero

If there’s one thing you can be sure of about Insider, it’s that they won’t repeat themselves.  As a band constantly reinventing their sound, it’s sometimes hard to get a pinpoint on where the band is coming from, and that’s just the way they like it, preferring to craft songs that represent where they’re at and how they feel at the time rather than being mired down by their back catalog of people’s perception of what the band should sound like.  Bringing a myriad of influences to the table improvisational hard rock and hardcore music of a few sorts seem to be mainstays in the ever growing Insider back catalog.  While every album may have a distinct flavor and alternating lineups to some degree, there’s a thread that ties all the albums and the more you learn about the band the more it becomes apparent and makes sense.  Growing from humble beginnings and changing the lineup drastically several times core founding member Marco and Piero have managed to craft and hone a unique approach to creating some of the most interesting and out there music I’ve ever heard.  Albums like Jammin’ For The Smiling God show off the improvisational psychedelic aspects of the band, while the absolutely jaw dropping ...Vibrations From The Tapes… took that even farther, culling tracks from half a decade of recordings to create my favorite album to date.  Land Of Crystals and Simple Water Drops are nice mediums between the two, presenting some definite impov moments, but also displaying a pretty clear vision, making it apparent the band knew where the albums were headed, if not how they were going to get there.  Event Horizon marks a turning point for the band as Marco started his own label Andruid Records which released Insider’s newest effort.  While it’s been years since they’ve been out on the road Insider hopes that this can be a kind of new beginning and is beginning to look into touring for the first time since 2002!  I heard the tracks from …Vibrations From The Tapes… and had to learn more about this band, and the farther I dig the more I found, and the more that I found the more questions I had.  So I tracked down Marco and Piero and conducted a thorough examination of what Insider is all about, what they have planned and when I can expect more of those sweet, sweet jams!
What is Insider’s current lineup?  I know there’s been at least one change that’s taken place since you started back in the 90’s.  Can you tell us what lineup changes have taken place?  When those were?

Marco & Piero:  The current lineup is Marco Ranalli – guitars, Piero Ranalli – bass and Stefano Di Rito – drums.  Yes, there have been some changes over the years, the lineup for the first album back in 1996 was: Marco Ranalli – guitars and vocals, Piero Ranalli – bass, Giuseppe Miccoli – drums.  Land Of Crystals, the second album in 1998, the line up was: Marco Ranalli – guitars, Piero Ranalli – bass and drums, Eugenio Mucci – vocals.  Jammin' For Smiling God, the third album in 2000 was: Marco Ranalli – guitars, Piero Ranalli – bass and drums, Andrea Sestri “Sigly” - vocals.  Simple Water Drops, the fourth album in 2005, the line up was: Marco Ranalli – guitars, Piero Ranalli – bass, Eugenio Mucci – vocals, Gregorio Angelucci – drums.  …The Vibrations From The Tapes…, the fifth album in 2012, the lineup was: Marco Ranalli – guitars, Piero Ranalli – bass, Stefano Di Rito – drums.  The current album Event Horizon lineup is: Marco Ranalli – guitars, Piero Ranalli – bass, Stefano Di Rito – drums.  Therefore, as you can see, the core of the band is represented by Marco Ranalli and Piero Ranalli while singers and drummers have changed over the years. 

Are any of you in any other active bands at this point?  I know at least two of you have had other projects in the past but I’m curious what you still have going on?  Have you all released any music with anyone else?  If so can you tell us about it?

Marco:  No, right now I just play with Insider.  There are other activities that I engage in a lot.  My passion is recording and I spend most of my time in the recording studio, where I have the opportunity, and the technical means, to deepen my knowledge of old analog equipment.  I’m looking for some way of integrating these old machines into the new digital systems, giving rise to hybrid processes; both extremely functional and very efficient.  I also recently started to build stringed instruments of various types, and I have to say that working with wood and other materials has been a real process of discovery for me.  I enjoy building Theremins and guitar effects as well.  You’ll find a section dedicated to these collateral activities on the Andruid Records website.

Piero:  Yes.  Currently I have my own project Unimother 27, an experimental Krautrock style music project which has released three albums: Unimother 27 in 2006, Escape From The Ephemeral Mind in 2007 and Grin in 2008, all of which were released by Pineal Gland Lab.  In the past I played with the prog–rock band Areknames and made three albums with them.  The first Areknames in 2002, the second Love Hate Round Trip in 2005 and the third Live At The Burg Herzberg Festival 2007, those were all released by Black Widow Records.

Where are you all originally from?

Marco & Piero:  We’re all from Italy.

Were your homes very musical when you were younger?  What was your first real exposure to music?  Were either your parents or relatives, musicians or extremely involved/interested in music growing up? 

Marco & Piero:  It’s difficult to give an accurate answer to this question, because no in our family nor any of our relatives have ever introduced us to music.  Our grandmother, when she was a child, played the piano and painted.  But that wasn’t the spark.  That was probably due to a television program we saw when we were kids.  There was a 70’s prog-rock band that played and we were glued to the TV the entire time.  From that point onwards we’ve never stopped listening to, or playing, a certain kind of music.

If you had to pick one defining moment of music in your life, a moment that changed everything for you, the way you looked at the world and opened up new possibilities.  What would it be?

Marco:  I would just have to thank my grandmother who gave me my first acoustic guitar when I was ten, which I still own and take great care of.  And then she also gave me my first electric guitar when I was fifteen.  I live because I eat music daily, in all its forms.

Piero:  I think it happened when I heard Gentle Giant for the first time.  It didn’t seem possible that five people could create a magic so incredible through music.  I was fifteen and that moment was so important to me that I thought one day I wanted to be a musician like them.  Then, at the age of seventeen I bought my first instrument, an electric bass.  From that moment on, my life was forever changed because music has been the focus of my existence.

Where is Insider currently located at?

Marco & Piero:  Currently Insider is located in Pescara, Italy.

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

Marco & Piero:  Pescara’s a small town but the music scene’s very diverse, from extreme metal to psychedelic music.  There’re always several guys playing, but very few of them are able to stay together long enough to actually make an album.

Do you book or attend a lot of shows locally?  Are you very involved with the local music scene?

Marco & Piero:  Our last European tour was in 2002, with the Belgian band Hypnos 69 right before the release of Simple Water Drops.  Our attention has been focused mainly on the recording studio and the label Andruid Records.  We haven’t played live since 2002, but our intention is to literally start over at this point.  With Event Horizon, if possible, we’d like to organize a good European tour and play a bunch of festivals...  We'll see!

Do you feel like the local music scene has played, or still plays, a large or important role when it comes to defining the sound of Insider?  Has it played a pivotal role in the history or evolution of Insider?

Marco & Piero:  As musicians we try not to make our work derivative, as a result our compositions don’t really have specific reference points, we just abandon ourselves unconsciously to the mood.  As listeners, we could make an endless list that ranges from Karlheinz Stockhausen to King Crimson but it would be impossible to list them all here.

When and how did you all come to meet each other?

Marco & Piero:  It all started many years ago in a basement.  It was just the two of us.  Then when we moved to Pescara, we went in search of another drummer and a singer.  The other members have always been people we’d already played with in other bands, or been friends though.  We’ve never auditioned or took out ads to find them.

How did Insider come to be a band and when exactly was that?

Marco & Piero:  As we said before, it all started in 1985 in a cellar.  And over the years and after a couple of demos, first as City Sewer System and then as Insider, the Self-Titled album, produced by us and mixed by Paul Chain, was released in 1996 on Freak Out! Records.

While we’re talking so much about the band’s history there’s been a pretty distinct shift in songwriting from the first album to say the least.  1996’s Self-Titled debut was pretty dead ahead death metal while last year’s Vibrations From The Tapes as well as this year’s Event Horizon and even the Simple Water Drops albums display a much more psychedelic and space rock twinged vibe teamed with your trademark metal.  Can you talk a little bit about the growth and exploration of Insider’s sound and music over the years?

Marco & Piero:  It’s true, every album has had an individual path.  The metal element, for us, has always been an experiment though.  We’ve never been part of the metal scene.  Our background is completely different, we grew up with the bands of the 70’s.  There hasn’t been any progression per say, our approach is always the same.  We’re just very curious, we really like to experiment and combine our sound with very different styles from our own.  Even John Zorn, and he’s a jazz musician, has used the metal style to expand his music.  Our old albums still sound good even though they’re not easily placed within a single music style.  We’ve never been a metal band, we call ourselves the experimenters and live in our musical era with curiosity.  So it may happen that we do albums completely improvised like Jammin' For Smiling God or …Vibrations From The Tapes… and we plan and write to make others, or it may happen that we do albums with a definite pattern like Land of Crystals, Simple Water Drops, The First or Event Horizon but without writing a chronological progression of music.

Can you describe the current sound of Insider to our readers who might not have heard you before in your own words?  I am absolutely terrible at describing the way a band sounds and just end up ranting and raving forever rather than successfully describing anything ha-ha!

Marco & Piero:  We define our latest album Event Horizon, in this way: abrasive totally instrumental psychedelic prog-rock characterized by a complex structure.  A sort of dry, harsh and sharp heavy-prog.  A spectacular succession of instrumental intersections and disorienting changes of rhythm.

What about your musical inspiration?  With the varied sounds in your music I’m interested to hear who you’d site as your major musical influences?  What about influences on the band as a whole rather than individually?

Marco & Piero:  Individually, each of us carries with him a musical culture which then contributes to making up the original sound of the band.  Perhaps the influences that act on the sound of Insider as a whole, and at first listen pop out immediately, are those of two historical rock bands: King Crimson and Black Sabbath.  When we improvise our inspiring muses are Jimi Hendrix, Ash Ra Tempel, Guru Guru, Hawkwind, Faust, Pink Floyd, Agitation Free, Can, etcetera...  We’ve shortened the list, otherwise you wouldn’t have published the interview, ha-ha!

And what about Insider’s songwriting process these days?  Is there a lot of jamming and exchange of ideas when you’re all together playing and practicing or does one of you approach the rest of the band with a riff or more finished idea to work out and arrange with the rest of you?

Marco & Piero:  The last album Event Horizon, was born in the rehearsal room through the contributions of everyone.  The songs took shape during jam sessions and were then arranged with the help of the experience that we’ve accumulated over the years.  It was definitely a collective work from beginning to end.

Do you all enjoy recording?  How do you handle recording?  Do you prefer to head into a studio or work from home?  As a musician myself I think that most people can appreciate the end result of recording, I mean there’s not a whole lot out there that beats holding an album in your hands knowing that it’s yours, but getting into the studio and actually getting stuff laid down, or even recording it yourself for that matter, is a whole other situation!  How is it in the studio/recording for you all?

Marco & Piero:  The recording studio for all of us, is a symbol of freedom.  We transform simple intuitions into something more complete.  No time limits, no external contamination.  It’s how we transform a rough diamond into a diadem.

Your first album I’m aware of was 1997’s Self-Titled Insider CD on Freak Out Records.  Can you share your memories of recording that first album?  Where was it recorded and when was that?  Who recorded it?  What kind of equipment was used?

Marco:  In 1997, we didn’t have a recording studio and it was hard to produce that first album.  I bought a Fostex R8 8 track reel-to-reel and a Fostex 8012 mixer.  It was recorded in an old country house.  We risked the building collapsing on us every time we were there it was so unsafe!  We had to remove the equipment every time we recorded, because we couldn’t leave it there unattended, and then we would have to reassemble it when we returned to record the next time.  The final mix was done by Paul Chain in his studio, with the appropriate means which allowed us to realize the CD.

You followed you Insider with Land Of Crystals a year later in 1998 on Dolmen Records, displaying a markedly different sound while still remaining heavily rooted in the traditional metal sound of your first album.  Can you tell us about the recording of Land Of Crystals?  Did you intentionally set out to change up the sound a little bit or was that a natural progression inside the band?  When and where was that material recorded?  Who recorded it and what kind of equipment was used?

Marco:  In 1998 the Stellar Madhouse Studios was born when I built it in my bedroom.  I recorded Land of Crystals using a Fostex 20-channel mixer and a Fostex B16 16-track reel-to-reel.  We didn’t have a real recording room, so the instruments were recorded live.  We just used one microphone for the vocals.  The final mix was done by Paul Chain in his studio again.

Marco & Piero:  We’ve already partially answered this question.  Your point of view is that there was a progression in style, we don’t see any evolution in our style.  Our approach to music is always the same.  Each album is what we wanted to say at that moment, it isn’t something belonging to the past and or having to do with what we’ve done before.  We use styles without identifying with them.  And it’s for this reason that all our CDs seem very different and kind of disorient the listener if you listen to them in a row.  The evolution and progression, according to our point of view, only affects the recording techniques and thus the sound in that regards.  For us it’s important that the music dictates the times, where we’re at now, and not what we’ve done or released in the past.  We have no shortage of time.  We work in our highly professional studio that allows us to process and reprocess everything in absolute tranquility with our ideas.

Two years later in 2000 you dropped the Jammin’ For The Smiling God EP moving farther away from the Self-Titled album and more towards the stoner space rock sound that you have morphed into on Beard Of Stars Records.  What are your memories of recording that album?  Was it very different than the sessions for the earlier releases?  Did you set out to do anything markedly different with that EP?  Who recorded that and where was it recorded it?  When was that?  What kind of equipment was used?

Marco:  In 2000 Jammin 'for Smiling God was born from the jams Piero casually played together with the help of a drum machine.  It is, wrongly in my opinion, considered the work that best represents us.  The other albums represent us in the same way without any distinction.  It was recorded, mixed and mastered by me with the same equipment used for Land of Crystals.

Simple Water Drops seemed to be a real turning point for you all after a lengthy break from releases some five years later in 2005 but released again on Beard Of Stars Records.  Was recording that album very similar to your earlier albums?  When and where was it recorded?  Who recorded it and what kind of equipment was used?

Marco:  Between 2000 and 2005, I built my new recording studio Andruid Records.  In the meantime, I worked as a live sound engineer on tour with different bands, and in the clubs of my city.  I earned enough money that it has allowed me to purchase the equipment and musical instruments that I wanted.  I became, unintentionally, a collector of vintage analog machines and have bought and sold many.  I have a large number of very rare analog synthesizers, some reel-to-reel recorders, Tascam, Studer, Revox, Fostex, all kinds.  I currently use these recorders to work in the restoration of old tapes and to give a more full-bodied and warm sound to digital recordings.  Simple Water Drops was recorded, mixed and mastered by me again.  It was mixed using an old Soundcraft 1S model, customized by an engineer friend of mine for my specific project.  It was recorded with a Fostex B16 reel-to-reel and poured onto a Tascam 8-track half-inch on two tracks.  The other tracks served for overdubs.

Are any of those earlier recordings still in print or available anywhere?  Were the limited releases when they came out?

Marco & Piero:  Of course, they’re still available and are on sale through our label Andruid Records, just contact us by email at  If you prefer, they are distributed by Clearspot Worldwide Distributions.

In 2012 you re-emerged with a new album …Vibrations From The Tapes… on Phonosphera Records and limited to only 200 copies.  I’ve heard Vibrations From The Tapes and it is a ground-shattering sonic assault on the senses!  When was Vibrations From The Tapes recorded?  Who recorded it and where was that?  What kind of equipment was used?  Was this album a conscious decision to try something new and different or has the band just changed and evolved over time?

Marco & Piero:  We always improvised during the sessions in the rehearsal room, and we’ve accumulated so much stuff over the years we decided to propose the idea of releasing ... Vibrations From The Tapes ... to the label Phonosphera Records.  It wasn’t a conscious decision to try something new and different, we wanted to release it much earlier, but our label wasn’t yet ready.  In the future there will be other volumes like ... Vibrations From The Tapes  ...

While you might have taken a few years between your last few releases you followed up Vibrations From The Tapes pretty quickly with this years (2013) Event Horizon another exploration into stoney psychedelic kraut-metal, this time on Marco’s Andruid Records.  Are you falling into a rhythm with recording at this point?  Has it gotten easier at all over the years?  Did you try anything radically new or different when it came to the songwriting or recording of this album in your opinion?  Where was Event Horizon recorded?  Who recorded that material?  When was it recorded and what kind of equipment was used?

Marco:  Event Horizon was, of course, recorded in my new recording studio, Andruid Records.  The equipment is all strictly analog, the computer has been used only as a digital recorder.  We used a Soundcraft series 1600 preamplifier for the recording and mixdown.  I used two compressions, a vintage DBX compressor, an old Lexicon for rooms and some Roland space and echo delays.  The mix was passed into a Studer A812.  We, however, have fun.

Marco started his own label Andruid Records a while back.  Can you tell us a little bit about Andruid?  When and how did it start?  Does Andruid release material from any other bands other than Insider at this point?  Do you run the label with anyone else?  Is Event Horizon a limited release?  Do you plan to continue to release Insider material on Andruid in the future or are you looking to worth with new record labels in the future as well?

Marco & Piero:  Andruid Records was officially born with the release of Event Horizon.  The label was created to produce the works of Insider and the parallel works of individual members outside of Insider as a band.  We can’t currently satisfy the requests of other bands.  We'll see if in the future if that will be possible.  Yes, we continue to release Insider material on Andruid in the future.  But we also don’t dismiss the idea that there may be collaborations with other labels and other bands, we’ll see what happens!

There was five years in between the release of Land Of Crystals and Jammin’ For The Smiling Lord EP as well as a pretty noticeable shift in the sound of the music.  Then there was the seven year span between Jammin’ For The Smiling Lord and Vibrations From The Tapes.  Do you guys just make a record when you feel like it and not worry about the time between or what caused the gap between those albums?

Marco & Piero:  We believe that we‘ve already answered this question.  The music dictates how we feel at the time and isn’t dictated by what we’ve done or released in the past.  We have no shortage of time, we work in our highly professional studio which allows us to process and reprocess everything over and over in absolute tranquility alone with our ideas.

Does Insider have any music that we haven’t talked about yet?

Marco & Piero:  Excuse us, but we don’t understand this question.

I know Event Horizon just came out, but does Insider have any other releases planned or in the works at this point?

Marco & Piero:  We have no other releases planned at the moment.

Where’s the best place for our U.S. readers to pick up copies of your music?  With international postage rate increases this last year I try to provide people with as many options as possible for imported releases!  What about our international and overseas readers?

Marco & Piero:  Yes, we understand perfectly copies can be bought directly from the label Andruid Records, Clearspot Worldwide Distribution or KozmicArtifactz  in Germany.
From Italy the shipping costs only for one copy are:
-             One CD + €4,50 (Priority Mail -NO TRACKING NUMBER)
-             One CD + €8,00 (Registered Mail - TRACKING NUMBER)
Obviously, the larger the weight of the package the higher the shipping costs.

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

Marco & Piero:  The official website of Insider is under construction, it will be ready soon, but don’t you worry!!!  But you can use these pages to keep up with Insider for now: Andruid Records, ReverbNation or Facebook.

Speaking of upcoming shows what do you have planned as far as touring goes for the rest of the year?  With the New Year right around the corner what about 2014?  Do you have anything planned as far as next year goes yet?

Marco & Piero:  We have no scheduled dates, the tour has yet to be planned.

Do you spend a lot of time on the road?  Do you all enjoy touring?

Marco & Piero:  No, since 2002 our activities have been strictly in the studio.

You have played with some great bands.  Monkey3 is just an amazing outfit in my opinion!  Who are some of your personal favorite bands that you’ve had a chance to share bills with?

Marco & Piero:  Yes, in the past we played at some festivals with other bands like Colour Haze, Hypnos 69 and Astrosoniq.  We also played with Treponem Pal.  We had great fun on tour with Hypnos 69.  We remember it with great pleasure.

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

Marco & Piero:  The experiences are all unforgettable...  Even the negative ones!

Does Insider have any major goals that you’re looking to accomplish in 2014?

Marco & Piero:  No.  For now we just want to enjoy the new release and support it with some concerts if we can.

Do you have a preferred medium of release for your music?  With all of the options available to musicians today I’m always curious as to which methods artists prefer and why.  What about when you are listening to and or purchasing music?  If so, can you talk about why?

Marco & Piero:  We would have liked to have released stuff on vinyl but production costs are always very high.  Therefore, we’ve always preferred the CD to get the album out to more people.  I repeat that vinyl is unsurpassed.  As listeners we like vinyl because it has a completely different sound than digital media, it’s soft and warm.

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

Piero:  Maybe you wanted to say a “music collection”?  If so, I’d been a vinyl collector for a while.  I had almost a thousand vinyl records.  I was a fan of psychedelic music, kraut, progressive and hard rock of the 70’s.  Then one day, it happened that I sudden had a need for money and I had to sell everything.  I assure you it was very painful.

I’m a second generation music collector and if there’s one thing that growing up around thousands of albums taught me it was, there’s more to an album than just the music.  There’s something magical about having a physical object to hold in my hands, artwork to look at, liner notes to read.  They all serve for a brief glimpse into the minds of the artists that helped create it and make for a more complete listening experience, at least for me.  Do you have any such connection with physically released music?

Piero:  Of course I understand you very well.  I have the same feelings about physical music...

If you can’t tell I’m passionate about music.  I’m passionate about collecting it, I’m passionate about talking about it and I’m passionate about the artists that make it.  That being said digital music is a hard subject for me.  On one hand I think that digital music, especially when teamed with the internet, is exposing people from all over the globe to a whole universe of music that they otherwise would have never had the opportunity to listen to.  And on top of that if independent artists are willing to spend the time to promote an online presence and put some work into it, digital music appears to be helping to level the playing field for independent artists who are dedicated and hardworking enough.  On the other hand it’s changing the face of the music industry as we know it drastically to say the least and destroying decades of infrastructure inside of the industry.  As artists during the reign of the digital era what’s your opinion on digital music and distribution?

Marco & Piero:  The era of digital has broken down the boundaries between people, so the connections have become easier and faster.  We like it a lot.  It also made it possible for everyone to put their music online, which in turn has made it possible for everyone to make music and even promote it without too much effort.  We remember when this wasn’t possible and to get results, it took time and sweat.  Instead of discouraging us, this gave us a lot of strength and will to continue to do so and will even make us better.  For a guy who starts and has all these means at his disposal everything is easier, but they’re definitely less prepared for failures.  They want to get everything immediately without any effort.  So we just want to point out that there are positive and negative implications.  If they understand the real value of what they’re doing, everything is okay.  Otherwise it’s just a waste of time.

I try to keep up with as much good music as I possibly can!  I spend hours at the local shop and pouring over reviews, articles and stuff online more than I would like to admit, but a lot of the best tips that I’ve ever gotten come from musicians such as you!  Who should I be listening to from your local scene or area that I might not have heard of before?  What about nationally and internationally?

Marco & Piero:  That’s a pretty big responsibility to put on us, but okay we’ll try!  We recommend you listen to bands that make up the history of Italian music, such as Area, PFM, Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso, Perigeo, Rovescio Della Medaglia, Le Oorme, Goblin, Sensations’ Fix, Osanna, Balletto Di Bronzo, Biglietto Per L’inferno, CIRCUS 2000, etcetera…  We think that at this point, the readers understand our musical tastes.  Sorry but the list really is endless.

Thank you so much for taking the time to make it through this monstrous interview!  I know it can’t have been too much fun but I hope it wasn’t too awfully painful.  Is there anything that I might have missed or that you’d just like to talk about here?

Marco & Piero:  Thank you very much for the interview and the space that you have given us.  A warm hug to all our supporters and the readers of It's Psychedelic Baby.

(1997)  Insider – Insider – CD – Freak Out Records
(1998)  Insider – Land Of Crystals – CD – Dolmen Records
(2000)  Insider – Jammin’ For The Smiling God  EP – CD – Beard Of Stars Records
(2005)  Insider – Simple Water Drops – CD – Beard Of Stars Records
(2012)  Insider – …Vibrations From The Tapes… – CD – Phonosphera Records (Limited to 200 copies)
(2013)  Insider – Event Horizon – CD – Andruid Records

Interview made by Roman Rathert/2014
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