Lumber Island Acid Crew
interaction with Patrick. He was his usual jolly self and had recently spent a
lot of time reminiscing and writing about this era, with a special focus on the
neo-garage scene. Unfortunately, Patrik passed away in early June, and this has
been a devastating blow to everyone who knew him. This piece sums up some
aspects of this formative era in which Patrick was a key person in many ways. A
sharp mind, an encyclopedic knowledge of rare music and culture and a genuine
psychedelic understanding of the universe and beyond. All of these things
Patrick possessed and willingly shared. It was and remains an honor to have
been a part of his mind, as he has been of mine and ours. “May the circle
underground scene. Pink Floyd came to Stockholm in 1967 and a year later Jimi
Henrix Experience played there and left a great impression on the young local
musicians that attended the shows. Jimi Hendrix Experience toured with Sweden
most well known underground acts called “Baby Grandmothers” and
“Mecki Mark Men”. Jimi stayed in Stockholm and jammed with both of
the bands. These two bands weren’t the only one, that went into experiemental –
lysergic way. There was another group, maybe the most psychedelic and
innovative of them all called “Pärson Sound” (later known as
“International Harvester”, “Harvester” and “Träd, Gräs
och Stenar”), which maybe if they originated from US or UK they would have been
very well known and regarded as some of
the original innovators, but thanks to the age of internet their
reputation is growing. In the early ’70s
bands like “Kebnekajse”, “Asoka” and many other appeared on
years later Sweden got back with an interesting, very lysergic (Ken Kesey &
The Merry Pranksters similar), bohemian like closed group of open minded
people, that formed what we know as Lumber Island Acid Crew.
important bands, that made LP’s.
digital/streaming reissues, including detailed liner-notes, interviews and
unpublished photos, of some of the really good ones. Originals are way rare. As
sell as many contemporary bands and finding and reissuing vintage psych from
all over the world. Here’s some of the Swedish groups/albums we’ve currently
reissued, or are in the process of releasing: Baby Grandmothers, Blueset, Mats
Glenngård, Harvester, International
Harvester, Kebnekajse, Kvartetten som sprängde, Nature, Pärson Sound, Resan, Joakim Skogsberg, Telefon Paisa, Träd
Gräs & Stenar, Tom Zacharias, Älgarnas Trädgård…
them were for sure bands like “The Stomachmouths”, “Crimson
Shadows. Stefan Kéry was leader of “The Stomachmouths” and he
explained how they started:
and played in different bands, both psychedelic and hard rock bands, In the
late 1970s to early 1980s I got more and more into rare ’60s punk/garage
spurred like many others in the worldwide music underground, by Lenny Kaye’s
“Nuggets” compilation and other stuff, Gradually layer after layer of obscure
45’s were discovered in North America and gradually all over the world. After
several years, name changes and many gigs, the bands I had ended up as The
Stomachmouts. Finally we also decided to record a single early in 1984. Would
we’ve been a US band we would surely have recorded and released records many
years prior to that but there’s was not really a tradition for making your own
privately released records in Sweden and it was pretty expensive. The 45 was
finally pressed and distributed in early 1985 and to our amazement it became
the Single of the Week in one of the biggest major music magazines worldwide
back then; the UK magazine NME (New Musical Express). This lead to a lot of
recognition, European tours etc etc.
Who were the favourite Swedish bands of your youth?
in Sweden. As a pre-teen I could catch
all the unknown underground bands that played around the local youth clubs.
That was an alternative gig circuit with several shows/dances every week. Yeah,
you danced your ass off to psych/prog rock back then. So many of those bands
were amazing but unfortunately practically non of them ever recorded. During this time, still as a pre-teen, I also
joined my first band; Red Baron. We played some extremely moronic pre-teen
psych hard rock using old radio receivers as amps. I wish I had some tapes
still! Then my first serious band Psychedelic Pink Panther, with a name like to
you wonder if we really were serious but well we were only between 11 and 13
years old). We were totally in to heavy psych hard rock psych (check out the
guitarist Jonta, looking like a young
Hendrix) and played around for awhile. At least I have a photo of us from a gig
in our local schools gym hall. That’ s
me in the middle on vocals. (Actually I played guitar too but on this
particular son we had an extra guitarist who borrowed my guitar). Since I spend
a lot of time finding 1960s-70s bands now it’s ironic that I didn’t keep any
stuff from my own old bands.
scene? Were many of the same people involved?
bands had psych influences. The pseudo R&B purist fad actually sprung up
later. Some people just couldn’t handle the mind expansion.
fanzine called Lollipop and photographed many bands in the Stockholm and
Gothenborg scene and helped to spread the word about it. Carl, how did you get the idea to start the
was a good scene in Stockholm. I also went to London as much as I could, to buy
records and see bands. At the same time I also knew I wanted to be a writer and
photographer. So all these things meshed in my mind. I had previously made a
fanzine about comics. So it all came together very organically. The music
fanzine idea eventually became Lollipop.
contribute a little too. Having had a punk fanzine myself a decade earlier
(Destroy Magazine), I really dug Carl who took the time and effort to do a
Fanzine that advocated the whole scene.
really your own “DIY” project. Did it also include interviews with
retrospective articles, record reviews and photographs. Totally DIY.
Typewriter, darkroom, reprographic camera, cut and paste (with scissors and
glue!), cheap offset printing and hand-to-hand distribution.
Nicklas Kappelin in 1985. We went to see so many concerts anyway, so we thought
we might as well start making interviews too. The first issue came out in 1986
and then it rocked on for six and a half issues up until late 1987. Then I made
another fanzine called Acts of Interstellar Torture together with my friend
Johan Kugelberg in Gothenburg. Basically the same stuff. That only came out in
one issue, in 1988. When that phase was over, I started the occultural fanzine
The Fenris Wolf.
LP’s. Where were they released and how many copies were originally out?
releases out of Sweden had horrible or zero distribution. In fact the label
that released both our Swedish albums only sold them out of their little shop
in Stockholm and couldnt handle the worldwide distribution requests. Our first
45 was a private press done in 1500 copies, two or three pressing runs. Our
most famous album, that was released by a US label ,was actually unauthorized
but tended up selling about 25.000 (!) copies.
That’s because it was the only Stomachmouths release that was properly
them there was a psychedelicist Patrick Lundborg, who is author of Acid Archive
and incredible work called Psychedelia (was featured on Psychedelic Baby. Check
the interview). Patrick, tell us who got the idea to start this Acid Crew
“commune” and how did you got the idea for the name? It seems to me,
that you were “operating” as like minded people, but not really
living somewhere together, just having your own little “scene” or
whatever you want to call it.
was the local neo-garage scene, which began in 1984 and ran on for a couple of
fun and exciting years. All of us were teenagers, more or less, a youthful
group. The neo-garage era is a story on its own and has been well covered
for example), and it was important for us as it brought a lot of key people
together, in addition to being 2-3 years of uninterrupted fun with whisky,
speed, Back From The Grave and groovy mod ladies.
that the moptop teens of neo-garage would start getting into LSD and other
psychedelic drugs. At this time psychedelia was at a low-point in Sweden and
elsewhere, and I recall that it wasn’t easy to find people who had acid to
share. But thanks to some American connections we got some decent blotters and
began tripping. This was in 1986, although some of us had done psychedelics
before. The trip arrived just at the right time and with the right message for
us. From day 1 our minds were blown left and right with the LSD mixture of fun,
weirdness, chaos, and profound insight. We would get together maybe 5-6 heads,
make up plans or themes for the shared trip (this is how we got into Exotica at
an early stage), pick out some recently discovered records to listen to, and
maybe prepare to watch a trippy cult movie like Jodorowsky’s “Holy Mountain”.
But beyond the entertainment there was a more profound change that took place
and affected pretty much all of us, or at least those who truly enjoyed the
experience, which not everyone did. Since the neo-garage scene was kind of
fizzling out here in Stockholm, the transition to a full-blown psychedelic
lifestyle came very natural. Around this time Stefan discovered St Mikael, and
this became an important step forward not just for him and his newly started
Xotic Mind label, but for all of us. St Mikael was a unique visionary artist
and his instant underground success demonstrated to us that psychedelic culture
was clearly alive, and that our Stockholm community could contribute to it,
just like it had in the neo-garage days. Mikael became the first outside
recruit to the Lumber Island Acid Crew; he hadn’t been part of the garage scene
at all, but fit right in with the psychedelicized crew. It was fun to observe
that our local transition replayed the same scenario as the kids in the ‘60s—we
went from moptops and snappy guitars to Oriental clothes and spaced out
attitudes. Except 20 years later!
phrase when I was putting together the original Psychedelic Experience
compilation LP and needed a collective name to dedicate the project too.
Although few people realize it, that album is a sort of private testimony and
summing up of the exciting years spent in this Stockholm community. So I came
up with a mysterious dedication to “the Lumber Island Acid Crew”, and my
friends here in Stockholm immediately understood what I was referring to.
“Lumber Island” is a literal translation of “Stockholm”, so it was kind of a
jokey secret about who we were. And of course “Acid Crew” is precisely what we
were. I think the closest precedent to what we were doing were Ken Kesey &
The Merry Pranksters. We all knew about the Pranksters, who were considered
very cool and inspirational in the 1980s. The mid-60s, pre-Sgt Pepper vibe of
Kesey’s gang made them more attractive as role models than the hairy hippies,
since we were not really interested in Woodstock or flower power.
just because of their great music and Tommy Hall’s brilliant philosophy of
life, but because they had carved out their own path of psychedelic
illumination, which was very different from the lame hippie-dippy stuff that
came later. With the Pranksters and the Elevators, the acid brought you into
intellectual positions that were radically different, and which weren’t really
attainably through any other means. And of course, the Elevators were as
tight-knit a community as the Pranksters, which again appealed to us. Our
interest were always things in the underground and on the fringe, things that
lived in the dark off the common path and required a certain adventurousness to
grab hold of. Had we known more about the San Francisco Diggers I’m confident
that we would have gotten into the Diggers as well, but at that time esoteric
information was hard to find, and you needed to know and read certain,
influential books that created a shared platform in intellectual and lifestyle
terms. Usually these books would point on to the next book, and then another
the Crew had a fairly solid intellectual footing. Intellectual, but always with
a weird twist. That’s how we got involved in the occult, which became a
significant theme here during the 1990s alongside the psychedelic experience.
Almost all the Acid Crew members were also involved in the Thelemic Temple that
was inaugurated here and ran for several years. I was one of the exceptions,
mostly due to my spiritual orientation going in more traditional directions at
the time, such as Tibetan Buddhism. There was no contradiction however. One
reason why I like the Entheogens LP so much is that it reflects both the
psychedelic and the occult element of our Stockholm community, in addition to
being musically inspired by classic Nordic head sounds like Handgjort and
Furekaaben. I think the Entheogens LP is the work that comes closest to
capturing the wide and varied nature of the Lumber Island Acid Crew.
engaged in artistic endeavors, geared mostly towards modern urban underground
themes and recycled pop culture. Our sense of community was reinforced by the
shared psychedelic experiences, and the partaking in each other’s creative
works (putting out records, publishing fanzines, photography, painting,
writing, etc). The sense of outsidership was fairly strong, but it was more of
an amused detachment from the silly world of the 1980s than any type of
aggression. We found it easy to reject the creative dead-ends and dull
naval-gazing of European postmodernism, and developed our own aesthetic
programs instead. The Lumber Island Acid Crew stood outside not just the
typical Scandinavian creativity of the time, but also outside the typical
underground culture of the time. What few contemporary reference points we had
came directly from people in London and New York, but the bulk of the
aesthetics were self-designed from psychedelic experiences and via the
trustworthy intuition of guys like Carl and Stefan, both of whom are
exceptionally productive people. Absorbing the external input that worked and
filling in the rest on our own, our way of life and paradigms seemed to grow in
a different direction from whatever was going on elsewhere. During the later
1990s there was a feeling that what we had been doing since ’86 was finally
being caught up with by a new generation of hip locals. As an example, when
Tiki Culture became a big retro sub-culture, we had been running Exotica-themed
LSD trips since 1990-91. Since then, we’ve had time to observe this validation
over and over.
an “-ism” as much as a group of people who discovered a shared interest in unusual
concepts and esoteric knowledge, and thanks mainly to psychedelic drugs this
group became an identifiable creative community, and their shared interest
became a way of life. The serious attitude towards old underground and pop
culture is typical of this generation, but over time the ironic meta-analysis
of the past became less vital than our own spiritual and visionary experiences,
and the sense of exploration into the mysterious unknown that goes with it.
Looking back, I think the spiritual element is probably that which sets the
Crew most apart from comparable enterprises.
The biggest reward, at least for myself, is the sense of encouragement
and creative freedom that comes in an artist community that has evolved
organically from natural affinities.
in and on garage rock, fueled by booze and speed. But once LSD made its way
into our lives, things changed – Thank God or whomever! When you experience
that together, and several times, it glues you together. Stefan brought in some
incredible psych music and suddenly things changed into something completely
different. We all became actively interested not only in psychedelic culture
and music but also in art and weirdness in general. We experienced an imprint
together and that residue is still there. I’m very happy about that. I think
we’re also living evidence that those early days were beneficial for our own
individual creativities. We’re all very active on an international level today,
each in his own field, and I think we owe a lot to what we experienced together
independent music label through which they could manage to release the work of
crew. That’s how Xotic Mind Productions started and the very first release on
the label was St. Mikael of which five albums appeared, then The Word of Life,
Adam and a few others. Stefan, can you tell us about this releases. What’s the
story behind it?
The Stomachmouths I wanted to start an honest record label. The idea was the
vinyl LP album as an art form and that some of my friends had an “album in
them” so to speak. I wanted to make it possible to release that album. At first
I wasn’t sure if we were goint to have an actual name for the label or just the
musicians initials (hence the 1st pressing of the 1st ST Mikael album says only
MS). Then we opted for Xotic Mind, which was eventually changed in to
Subliminal Sounds later. I’ve released two more recent albums with ST Mikael
also: ”Mind of Fire” in 2007 and “In Harmony” in 2008. Both include
some of his best work ever. Anyways, I
was planning to release my solo stuff (which I hardly found time for when
things started rolling) and then got to hear Mikaels home recordings. I
suggested and gave them some mixing tweaks and psychedelic effects and so we
got the 1st two albums done pretty quickly. I had good connections among the
world’s psychedelic music aficionados and made sure all of them got a taste of
Shadows and Stefan Kälfors with World Of Life live (1992)
my exploring into making different kinds of home recordings on my own, in my hometown – I saw my life in that place
leading to nowhere and with no one. I took the step to move to Stockholm where
I knew nobody. How could I know it was all at the right time? I met Stefan,
hung out with his friends, and some of the anarchic garage musicians I met
there were intelligent enough to have investigated about the psychedelic
movements in the past, and acid was flowing in. I was already initiated and I
knew that all anti propaganda about it seemed to have forgotten the timeless
talents like Hendrix, Beatles and others. Stefan thought big about my simple
home recordings and suddenly, with preparations of course, my first album was
in my hands. Dreams of my childhood came true, AND I was part of that creative
process without the hierarchy of a commercial record label. I had painted my
own cover and all, and my long time fetichism for vinyl records gave me an
orgasmic experience. A kind of magical process, because most of those
recordings on that album had been made in my bedroom or in the rehearsal studio
without any expectations for release in any form. Incredible enough,
sophisticated collectors in the US and Europe, named me St Mikael from my name
S T Mikael which was both funny, silly and interesting, cause my recordings did
actually have a very ethereal quality to them. From then on, I lived totally
for making more music and the layout of my albums. I received immense
enthusiasm everywhere, “it seemed” – and later on, I heard that I had
been inspiring others, much better musicians, to do there thing as well. I
think I showed that my bold attitude to music making, breaking barriers in both
style and sound could be done and taken seriously. It was also great to see
others coming up and being released on the label….
What’s the story behind that?
gatherings and festivals and I had label activities through TOPYSCAN and my
company Psychick Release, which delved more into contemporary experimental and
electronic music. I arranged concerts, film screenings and parties, as did
Stefan and some other people too. It’s not exaggerated to say that we brought
in a lot of good people and events to Stockholm. I think it was just a
willingness to share with others what we had found in our own imprint stages.
That was equally valid for movies and books and music.
new ”psychedelic” festivals in Stockholm. We needed gatherings to bring the
tribes together. I organized lots of these gatherings with my friends over the
years. And then we picked up the thread from the first free underground
psychedelic gathering in Stockholm; ”Festen”, and we got together a really huge
30 years commemoration festival we’re the musicians who had been active back in
the 60s/70s and the current groups could
meet and interact. It was really great and grew in to a even larger festival the year after that
lasted many days. All of these has proven great inspiration for a lot of what
people are trying out now.
of the most spiritual, lysergic albums I ever came across. The group consists
of a lot of musicians. The Gnostic Mass was recorded and released on Xotic Mind
in 1995. Stefan how did you got an idea to start this collective and was there
any particular concept behind the music or was everything made pretty much
communal improvisational band with a lot of the musicians that we’re on the
label, including me, as opposed to the more solo artist based albums. I decided
on the band name Entheogens because I had read an article on a psychedelic
research conference in the US were it was suggested that the term ”psychedelic” should be removed from academic
studies and reports. They believed the word had been soiled by its connection
to rock music and was not taken serious anymore. So someone suggested the
change from psychedelic to entheogen.
Possibly a good move but at the time I felt we much claim that word for
psychedelic music too :). And even more so since it was such a great word
(generating the divine within “to become your own god”). Everything was
done spontaneously in an enlightened state. “Dance of the Priestess” was
recorded live accompanying the priestess dance during a performance of Aleister
Crowley’s Gnostic Mass, ”Fire at Will” was music I made for a film by the same
name, directed by Beatrice Eggers. And the side long ”IO Pan” was recorded live
at a private gathering in front of an assemblage of the cream of the crop of
Stockholms inner circle of occult community at the time. All of the recordings
were completely unrehearsed spur of the moment performances/experiences on
ever manage to get any wider audience or was this just to much for regular
from small private gatherings to the Royal Swedish Opera and even having an
outdoor concert at a huge stage in the middle of central Stockholm (the Swedish
capitol) that was heard all over the inner city and seen and heard by many many
thousands of people (!).
start listening garage and psych rock from The States, which at the times was
pretty much forgotten if we look globally and why Sweden, which is not in
direct connection with it?
it was the peculiar and exhilarating experience of going back to the roots, to
the music I had already been in to and played kind of a thing, but discovering
to my amazement and joy that these very roots went so much further underground
and grew further and deeper (and higher) than I ever would have thought
possible. This trip is constantly evolving.
curious, hungry and active – and we still are. When we heard something
fantastic, we did research on it. Through correspondence, fanzines, networking
etc. An example would be listening to Yahowah 13 while tripping back in 1987. I
just recently saw the great documentary about the Source Family and Father Yod.
They were active some 45 years ago now. But when we listened in, it was only
some 15-20 years after the fact. We were passionate about our interests. Also,
when you start looking into things, other things will then emerge. It’s an
endless journey of exploration. We’re all still on that journey.
pretty easy to find bands of the past and you can get a lot of information, but
back then there wasn’t anything except for a few fanzines. How did you got the
records and fanzines?
local record shops that sold the records and fanzines. I managed a record store
in Stockholm back then for example, this was a good meeting place for the acid
crew and a good spot to spread the gospel so to speak. Another important factor
in the musical underground was of course the mystical record lists that were read
like sacred mystical scriptures. I also made one myself, for the label and
other special records I had available, for a while that we sent out worldwide.
But the whole thing about finding obscure things that you liked (music, books,
films etc) and really pursuing the knowledge about them, took a lot of old
school time and effort and some believe that this made it feel like these
things, and experiences, meant more to you compared to how it is now; when
everything is just a click away. I don’t know.
psychedelic world domination (NYC, 1990s)
stores in Stockholm. Also, we all traveled and bought things abroad, both
records and fanzines. Then it was just a matter of networking. That was a lot
of fun. Writing and receiving letters, ordering records and books and VHS
Texas psychedelic scene, especially cos of the 13th Floor Elevators. They truly
lived psychedelic life and I see resemblance in your collective. Do you agree?
didn’t really learn from any previous psychedelic scene but were more learning
via trial and error so to speak. I think that is the only way.
can be shown also in music made by collective. Hallucinogens had for sure a great impact on your life and
on the music you listened, and played. How do you see the scene now if you look
in early in this scene but the more blatant psychedelic expressions from the
people within the scene might have taken a while to materialize. Nothing of
this has ever stopped for me. I carry on in the same way, still totally emerged
in this, and doing my things on the trip.
Here’s a word from ST Mikael again regarding my question
which perhaps sums it up in a good way:
Mikael Sundström: I guess this interview confirms my view
that the period in discussion was more significant than we thought. I guess we
paved the way for others, younger generations to do “their own thing”
even if not supported by the cultural landscape around our Swedish underground
existence. Many peoples personality is more or less cemented by their upper
teenage experience, but I and many others involved in the psychedelic scenes
were far away from youngsters. That is what made it so cool. We were not
stupid, but rather well informed about the hallucinogens, the alternative rock
music history and an enormous openness
for the new inspiration and what came out of our ideas. I still find
myself thinking about those times as if it was yesterday and most individuals I
learned to know back then and liked, are still in my heart. But it was rather
hard to see that period slowly dissolve, when the necessary involvement into
mass-society when families were formed and everyone had to do other things to
survive. But the records and other artistic expressions from that period
remains. Personally, I never really changed and are still doing what I did and
I think we, who lived in all this in the 1980-90s, still cherish it as a
wonderful life experience which strengthened our personalities for life.
like one ongoing trip. The esthetic imprints were set then and they still
resound now. Methods, attitudes and mindframes ditto. I feel I tally carry on
in the spirit of the Lumber Island Acid Crew today. It’s just there, in
basically everything I create.
Archive and Psychedelia, which probably wouldn’t happen if you weren’t part of
the collective and same goes for you Stefan with now your label Subliminal
Sounds, that is releasing some of the most interesting rock acts of the day. Is
there anything else you would like to share with us? It’s a great pleasure to
discuss about this interesting scene you had up in north Europe.