It's Psychedelic Baby Magazine

It's Psychedelic Baby is an independent, music magazine. We are covering alternative, underground, non-commercial and non-mainstream artists in variety of shapes and genres. Exclusive interviews, reviews and articles. A place where musicians can express themselves. We serve an international readership.

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Nest Egg - Respectable (2015) review

Nest Egg - Respectable (Bathetic Records, 2015)

2015 is a good time to be alive if your a fan of psychedelic music, specifically the offshoot genre "space rock". With many bands embracing the sonic soundscapes that seem almost astral we are lucky, nothing better than being blown out of this world by music! A perfect example of this cosmic rock would be Nest Egg from North Carolina. Their album "Respectable" dropped earlier this year helping spread their sound to the masses. Probably best known for being the band that the Austin Psych Fest resident in-house DJ "Al Lover" has been singing their praises since last year. Those praises were quite accurate, clearly wearing their influences on their shoulders you can almost hear the German innovators of Krautrock in the repetitive grooves of the songs, with the sonic overlords "Hawkwind" whispering into their ears much like the devil might do if this were your conscience. Nest Egg were able to record a great album that helps capture the sound of their live show which from what I've seen from YouTube clips, is a must see! Be sure to grip this record before it gets discovered by the masses and goes out of print!

Review made by Matt Yablonski/2015
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Renny Wilson - Punk Explosion/Extension (2015) review

Renny Wilson - Punk Explosion/Extension (Mint Records, 2015)

You may recall from the interview with Edmonton wonderkids "The Betrayers" the mention of an artist named Renny Wilson. Notably known for his uber pop record Sugarglider, if you're familiar with that release you're in for a shock. Recorded off and on between 2007 - 2015 this is some of the sleaziest weirdo punk music to come out of Canada. Pitched shifted vocals are probably the first thing that grab you, don't worry your record player is working. Gnarled screams blend well with the pop song writing Renny is best known for. Humour is prominent on this record as well, I mean seriously listen to his cover of "Jukebox Hero" and try not to laugh at the hilarity of the songs. The name might be a nod to Jon Spencer's Blues Explosion but trust me this is a very different beast. Be sure to pick this up before your favorite skateboarder features a song in their next video and makes this record stuff of legends! A+ 

Review made by Matt Yablonski/2015
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Finchley Boys - Everlasting Tributes (1972) review

Finchley Boys "Everlasting Tributes" (Golden Throat Records, 1972)

Established early 1968, Finchley Boys quickly became a popular live act in and around their birthplace of Champaign, Illinois. The next step, of course, was to transfer the magic onto tape, and in September the band entered the studio with the goal of putting together an album. Sessions continued through June 1969, but the results of the band's work did not materialize until a few years later, when "Everlasting Tributes" was released.

Acid-fried blues rock was where Finchley Boys were at, and their affection and aptitude for the music resonates loud and clear amid the album. Gutted with bone-crushing guitar leads, bristling with venom, "Everlasting Tributes" indicates the band spent a lot of time spinning sides by the Yardbirds, while casting a further ear towards the progressively heavy sounds of bands such as the Litter, Iron Butterfly, and Steppenwolf. Striking a neo-jazz stance, "Once I Was A Boy" emulates both Cream and the Doors, and a shout-out goes to the Kinks via a weighty cover of "I'm Not Like Everybody Else." But influences aside, Finchley Boys certainly had their own personal ambitions in check. The band's arrangements could be rather challenging, and their songwriting instincts were commendable. In fact, two of the album's best tracks, "It All Ends" and "Restrictions" are original numbers. Floating on atmospheric ground, "It All Ends" is wrapped in a lonely psychedelic fog, where "Restrictions" is a hard rocking monster seething with angry vocals, screaming power chords and throttling rhythms.

Navigated by military-styled drumming, "Hooked" and "Who's That Talkin'," a traditional blues piece peppered with a jagged jam and dirty harmonica huffing and puffing, also receive a solid stamp of approval. With the exception of the emotionally fragile "Swelling Waters," there's nothing the least bit poised or pretty about "Everlasting Tributes." Pockmarked with warts and scars, the album inspects Finchley Boys in their natural state. But it's the earthy and edgy performances, topped with an organic production, that make "Everlasting Tributes" the intriguing relic that it is.

Review made by Beverly Paterson/2015
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The Fast Camels - The Magic Optician (2007) & Dead Rooms and Butterfly Dreams (2014) reviews

The Fast Camels - The Magic Optician (Neon Tetra, 2007) & Dead Rooms and Butterfly Dreams

Love's exceptional lead guitar figure Johnny Echols has said of modern-day Glasgow group The Fast Camels that they remind him of Love when the legendary LA group were just getting it together at Bido Lito's club back in 1966. So it's no surprise to learn that there's an inherent inventiveness at work, and also a high degree of musical fluidity at play within the work of the Fast Camels. A vibrant intensity shines through much of their material, and often helps to propel their collective playing overall. And it's this, coupled with a strong sense of identity - to say nothing of the pathos and particular sense of humour that can be heard shifting about inside the music being created here - that gives them a woven together definition, or at the very least sets them aside from a lot of groups that are happening on the current British scene. It's also true to say that many groups whose origins lie over in the west coast of Scotland have inherited some of the qualities outlined above (more so if they're especially blessed) when they gather to write and play music together. I couldn't begin to list all of them but certainly the likes of The Poets, The Sensational Alex Harvey Band, and Teenage Fan Club are but a few of the city's names which readily spring to mind. And so in considering the Fast Camels there is also this mixture of styles going on, gallant innovation, a creative originality beating at the heart of things, and oh yes a super-intended high fun quotient too!
The Fast Camels issued their first album "The Magic Optician" back in 2007 as a one-off CD release on the Neon Tetra label. Even when heard today this is a total blast of fresh air, a set that sounds truly hip and happening, and easily as poptastically psychedelic in places as many names who've gone on to win thousands of fans and garnered many plaudits and column inches along the way... Openers '50 Things On Your Mind' and 'Like A Magic Optician' are perhaps the most '67 British "Choc Soup" acid-sounding the group has ever been! Although 'Comforting Things' and the galloping advances of 'Can You See Me?' are also strong contenders here. The group's widely-acclaimed follow-up "Dead Rooms and Butterfly Dreams" didn't appear until seven years later when their own Magic Optician label unleashed it in the late summer of 2014. At times this comes across like a totally different sounding group altogether; the songwriting appearing more mature and inherently more serious in places; the influence of more west coast USA versus the British '67 early Floyd and psyched-out beat angles coming over very much more resounding. There are very obvious differences too in the various expressions of guitar and vocal interplay.Definite flourishes of those distinctly offbeat musical textures and a certain, hard to put a finger on tangibility that is also heard throughout much of Love's material can also be detected weaving its way in and out of the Fast Camels playing. 'Privately Insane' is one of this sets real standouts, the way it pulls and pushes itself forward in compelling art-jazz style waves. This in itself is a great homage to that '66 Love sound. However, in both full-length collections we hear a modern-day group which is teeming with many such similar qualities and ideas as their forbears and, throughout, the group can be heard reaching out and striving for their own particular identity. 
Yes I know, we are lagging behind somewhat in time as this is now already April 2015 and so even their latest "... Butterfly Dreams" isn't all that new today but, regardless, it is still pretty fresh on the ears and ... well actually this is about as bang up to date as we're gonna get. Well not quite as they now also have 'Cobbler Clarence' (their favourite song from the album) to get a taste of what constitutes this group's humorous, down-to-earth conceptuality and sense of celebration as expressed through artistic enthusiasm and an ongoing burst of momentum. Despite it being kinda challenging, and engaging too, in a strange way it's still a mightily odd choice for a single. Go here now to check it out for yourselves: Purchasers of the single will also be rewarded with a bunch of non-album selections that include 'She's Seen Enough', 'Donnie's Hearse Curse' and the awfully-pun titled 'Swiggin In The Griffin' (a reference to a long-hip Glasgow watering hole) and, although not my favourite of their releases, showcases their continued fervour and wide-ranging scope; both Drew Sturgeon (lead vocalist and rhythm guitar) and lead guitarist Mark O'Connor are the group members responsible for initiating their highly enervating song craft art. 
From the very beginning of "The Magic Optician" the group has openly embraced the countless wide angles, oblique borders and grey areas of what constitutes the multi-coloured world of psychedelia. For the Fast Camels this comes, for the most part, in the shape of a raft of bounding beat-infused rockers and more out-and-out pop-psych styled toe-tappers. While they're not too shy of bringing in overtly vintage-sounding phrases here and there, with many eclectic references influencing the way the songs are built upon, and the general direction and layers of each performance, equally they aren't afraid of ringing the changes with some truly wistful, melodious and modern-thinking interchanges. 'Like A Magic Optician' from (obviously) 'The Magic Optician' as outlined earlier evokes the spectre of such as Syd Barrett's early days and traipses through the toytown psych world quite successfully, while tracks such as 'Golden Greeter', 'Penny Pinching Debt Collector' and 'Ken's Sad Vice' from "Dead Rooms and Butterfly Dreams" evince an atmosphere that comes almost from the opposite side of the spectrum, being much less psych-inclined too, and clad in something "other". Here it seems they are going for a clever, if slightly more indie sounding approach with the songs' rhythmic patterns owing more to the now than the then ...  And so it is with the presence of one or two challenging sounding snatches too that might perhaps be a little unfamiliar, or maybe not so comfortable - at least for a lot of psych and garage beat heads (who might want a slightly easier ride) but this is the bag they're in. 
I do enjoy it when some groups don't readily always fit neatly into my, or your bag too probably, as this can give them their own space and defining stance, a signpost of their own merit and making and can also invoke a sense of unity and of belonging; and not always to the pigeon-hole that you or I will automatically try to slot them into. As long as the material itself has appeal and stands out to gain our attention. Although The Fast Camels sound millions of miles away from either the likes of say The Soft Boys and REM, back in their very early days they held a similar position in the musical landscape of their day. Off kilter at times, we'll certainly, but also highly appealing and with a great sense of occasion. 

Review made by Lenny Helsing/2015
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Orgasmo Sonore - Revisiting Obscure Library Music (2015) review

Orgasmo Sonore - Revisiting Obscure Library Music (Cineploit Records, 2015)

François Riendeau, better known to most by his musical alter-ego, Orgasmo Sonore has been expanding my musical tastes for quite some time now.  I discovered him while plumbing the depths of the Cineploit label’s back catalog after hearing Zoltan, who blew my mind, for the first time.  Most of the Cineploit stuff was either right up my alley or I just couldn’t get into it for one reason or another, but I think that most experimental stuff is like that to be honest though.  When I first came across Orgasmo Sonore I honestly didn’t even know what to think.  His SoundCloud page had me listening to it for days after a while, just checking out all the different kinds of stuff that he was into.  There was some instant common ground that we shared, especially Ennio Morricone, and I knew if he could approach the work of such a talented individual as that with enough reverence to do it justice and not screw it up, I could probably trust him to open up some new doors for me musically.  I was especially fascinated by his knowledge, of all things, of ‘library’ music.  With all the love and attention the giallo genre is enjoying right now there’re a ton of other styles of soundtrack work that deserve just as much praise.  Unfortunately, it’s hard to even hear a lot of that stuff without watching whatever it was used in and next to impossible to find out who performed or wrote some of it.  That’s where someone like Frank Rideau steps in and under the helping guise of the Orgasmo Sonore moniker, walks you through some of his favorite compositions that you probably had no idea even existed.  His latest release Revisiting Obscure Library Music is specifically aimed at just that in fact.  As always it was done for the Cineploit label and is available in your choice of 12” vinyl, CD, or digital formats (hyperlink is a direct webstore link, US orders can be made for some stuff through LiTA).  While Orgasmo Sonore’s previous releases have concentrated a little bit more on some of the more widely accepted types of soundtrack work from across the globe that have seen a big resurgence in popularity lately, Obscure Library Music instead focuses simply on what Orgasmo Sonore likes and listens to.  Flutes abound on the opening track “L’Erba Di Prima” and it instantly conjures images of just about any Italian film I have ever seen right from the get-go.  Orgasmo Sonore’s unique ability to translate and reinterpret soundtrack work has long been an envy of mine, but this album truly takes things to another level.  The intensity with which he recreates the soft, vibrant pallets of sound from the 60s, 70s and 80s without any of the expensive equipment is almost unbelievable.  It’s his sheer will and determination that shine through on these tracks, immaculately constructed, composed and executed by a single man.  The second track “Prairies” moves more into the Morricone zone that I felt so comfortable with when I first heard Orgasmo Sonore, the twanging guitars and wah drenched rhythm tracks bleed Spaghetti Western from every pore.  I should also point out that Orgasmo Sonore’s drumming is done live with a real drum kit, it’s not synthesized or programmed, which for me adds to the finished product of his work in a big way heavily influencing his style and setting him apart from a lot of people that use canned or synth drums.  “Prairies” sounds like a song out of time in many ways, it was obviously written and performed sometime ago, but Orgasmo Sonore breathes such a vivid new life into it that it’s hard to imagine it’s not just a pastiche or homage piece to the songs of the past, but is in fact the real deal.  Following on “Prairies” heels “White Sands” is the quintessential idea of international film muzak to my mind.  Soft, totally non-threatening guitars croon beneath a lithely shifting section of warm mellow strings and keys.  To be honest, “White Sands” actually sounds a lot like something off of the Manos: The Hands Of Fate soundtrack, which is also coincidentally going to finally be seeing an official release on vinyl this year as well.  The surrealistic tones and bizarre structure of much of the Manos material is quite evidenced in “White Sands” and give a very good clue of where the composers from Manos were drawing much of their inspiration.  “Viadotti” keeps the playful warm energy going with the next track, this time relying more on synthesized horns than strings though.  All I can imagine is two young lovers running about in a brightly lit sunny field playfully flirting in the most cheesy innocent 70s cinema sense.  The drums bound and bubble while the bass follows it accordingly and the flutes are most definitely back at this point; you can actually hear several different types if you’re paying attention in fact.  The funky, almost disco vibes of “Viadotti” are seriously infectious to say the least.  Even if you’re not a big fan of this type of stuff normally, I guarantee that this song’s going to get you!  “Tempo Suspero” instantly shifts back into my wheelhouse from there, the original composition is after all by Bruno Nicolai who I have a pretty deep affection for.  The tense, hammered harpsichord key progression that jangles above the ebbing waves of choral voices chanting beneath them, they mix and blend with the distorted electric guitar delivering a secondary lead line for the song, almost battling it out with the synth harp, before seamlessly melding together into a perfect combination of both during the apex and subsequent ending of the song.  “Tempo Suspero” is absolutely, undeniably, certifiably, one-hundred percent bad ass!  And in my opinion “Tempo Suspero” makes Revisiting Obscure Library Music worth the price of admission simply on it’s own, far outshining it’s original counterpart and standing as a glowing example of the magic that Orgasmo Sonore is able to interject into his music even when it’s someone else’s composition.  “Canon” contains a clip of some dialogue from some film from some country, though I have no idea what language it is, what movie it’s from, or what they’re talking about.  All I know is that it isn’t English, but you can draw enough from the way the dialogue is emoted to form an emotional linchpin for “Canon” which is important.  It’s a well thought out plan on Sonore’s part that, as always, plays out nearly flawlessly.  Gentle and yet somehow strong, like green wood able to bend forever without breaking, able to resist fire, able to re-grow and rebound, living and breathing – the music of “Canon” is truly breathtaking.  The seemingly simple shifting melody of haunting strings behind soft muted flutes that breath atop them are at times ghostly and haunting, while at all times absolutely beautiful.  “Canon” appears to be the essence of this project, and I think that Orgasmo Sonore has an ability, an ability to see what others can’t, an ability to breathe a new life into the sounds and emotions that he can see and perceive in the world around us that others miss and “Canon” may be one of the strongest examples of that.  “Canon” should probably come off kind of hackish or uninspired, but instead Orgasmo Sonore drives it home to a deeply emotional place based, in the most simple and pure of memories and emotions.  It’s a level of thought applied to music that very few people outside of the actual soundtrack field are even capable of beginning to comprehend, let alone apply.  Moving forward “Confronto” is another piano and harpsichord driven song.  This time though the song’s much more in the thriller vein, the piano and harpsichord being teamed beside groaning organs and a series of echoed bass lines that hold the entire piece together.  I’d really love to hear Orgasmo Sonore tackle one of these Revisiting albums with just his choice of mystery and thriller stuff as I think that’s where he shines the most, but maybe that’s just my closed mindedness speaking because honestly, given a choice, I’m not sure I’d see a single limitation placed on Orgasmo Sonore outside of something Frank would dream up himself.  His work is always intriguing and his vision unparalleled, being just a few of the reasons he’s one of my favorite things going right now.  His intricate ear for detail and attention to such things makes him perfectly suited for creating rich and vivid performance, even if like “Confronto” they last only about two minutes.  During this finite period of time “Confronto” wavers back and forth between suspenseful mourning tones and fits of diabolical fear of some unknown thing that’s stalking you through dark streets and darkened alleyways of Orgasmo Sonore’s music that lead to “Moonlight Drive”, which is another of Revisiting Library Music’s most interesting moments.  It starts off woefully sullen, a choir of voices chanting in unison behind a slow melancholy melody, before exploding into a synthesizer lead a la the original 60s Star Trek and getting funky with it.  And I do mean funky.  The bass and flutes begin to square off and shimmy down repeated progressions of call and repeat with each other.  Now, some of this album feels like much neglected soundtrack work that could have been, or was, drawn from some of the great composers of the giallo and horror world, but this is not one of those tracks.  “Moonlight Drive” attempts to really bring home the idea that you’re listening to a much more inclusive and altogether probably more interesting and intelligent collection of music than such a stilted pigeonholed view of music from that period.  “A Mind Level” combines¬¬¬ the two opposite sides of the same coin in one convenient package right after that, as if subconsciously agreeing with me.  It’s at once both very rooted in the Carpentercore synth heavy sound of horror as well as the funky giallo and westerns soundtracks from around Italy.  It’s an extremely interesting combination to say the least.  Jazzy 80s guitars team up with a romping bass to tag team on and off with the heavy lead synth lines that permeate from “A Mind Level” from the bottom up.  The next track “Electric Manages” takes the world music genre and ingeniously flips it on its head.  At first it sounds like fairly generic world music, but then the creepy synthesized progressions and blips of keys begin to appear.  It’s also the only song on the album that I’m aware of that utilizes a vocoder, if only for one line ‘electric nightmares’ which is echoed several times throughout “Electric Manages”.  It’s as funk and giallo disco as it is discombobulated horror or thriller fodder, and it thinly treads a line of foraying into almost laughable territory.  But somehow it never once even sets foot there.  Again I think this is proof of Orgasmo Sonore’s impeccable taste and untouchable knowledge of the proud heritage from where he draws his sounds, influences, and sometimes as in this case, even compositions.  “Space Team” may well be the best track on Revisiting Obscure Library Music but I’m not sure I can explain exactly why that is.  The tightly wound synth arp in the background melts into the undulating synthesizers that probe the gritty world around them, gliding effortlessly above the rest of the mix.  It may be the almost flute like tones that Orgasmo manages to smuggle into the song, but it’s one a minute and forty seconds and I’m kind of unsure how such a short piece of work can be my favorite piece amongst such an impressive collection of otherwise pretty well full-fledged full-length songs.  Finishing out the album is the track “Gypsy Manou”.  “Gypsy Manou” seems to combine every type of music present on Revisiting Obscure Library Music, the few extremely heartfelt almost ballad like songs such as “Canon” notwithstanding, however it’s the only other track on the album with any dialogue, and again in another language, so don’t ask me what they’re talking about.  There’s funky dissonant electric guitar in the background though, tight lively drums holding a tightly wound jazz rhythm most definitely inspired by Goblin, and there’s some wonderful piano work as well.  It’s amazing to think that one person is able to simply pick up this many different instruments, sounds and unconnected pieces and then assemble them back into a reconstructed interpretation of music of which most people would have dismissed or simply forgotten about.  The triumphant lead lines of the electric guitar that build and grow along with a hissing synthesizer snarling a repeated melody along it’s side begin to break down more and more and when it’s finally greeted by a small symphony of strings, it exudes one last call into the darkness before withering away into a shrinking pinhole of sound to end the album.  Revisiting Library Music is an impressive album for a lot of different reasons, but none more so than its subject matter.  This is music that other people considered toss away stuff, nothing to be acknowledged or admired.  Frank Rideau not only vehemently disagrees with this sentiment, but with his absolutely back breaking release schedule I have no doubt that he’ll be delivering more testaments of his sermon in his continued attempts to win people over to this kind of music and his style of viewing music.  His all-encompassing, all welcoming acceptance of all things presented to him with a truly open mind.  I still remember the note that he sent me with the LP.  All it really said was, “Hope you enjoy this and it introduces you to a whole new world of music”.  It has Frank, it most certainly has.  I pay more attention to every note on every single thing that I watch or hear.  I appreciate cues and clips more.  In short, Orgasmo Sonore made my world a little bit of a better place with this album and I don’t think I’ll ever be able to thank him enough for it.  If you want to get in on the experience than I highly recommend you get a move on.  Everything that Cineploit puts out is limited, even their CDs are usually limited to no more than 500 copies.  So swing by there brand new webshop (don’t worry there’s a link below, no need for nasty Google searches) and if you need more testament to the skills and diverse nature of Orgasmo Sonore’s music than check out the SoundCloud link below for everything you’d ever need.  Oh, and enjoy!

- Listen to some music here:

Review made by Roman Rathert/2015
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Martin Rev - Clouds Of Glory (2015) review

Martin Rev - Clouds Of Glory (Permanent Records, 2015)

Now most people are probably more familiar with Martin Rev, also known as Martin Reverby, for his work with the band Suicide, but he also has an almost schizophrenically eclectic back catalog of material.  Now, this isn’t to imply that he’s crazy or untalented, as obviously he’s far from either of those things.  It is instead, to point out the jaw-dropping versatility that Reverby is capable of as an artist.  A lot of people like to label use descriptors like, “it’s like a Suicide album/song BUT...” and there’s no need for such things.  I mean, Suicide was supposedly the first band to use the term Punk Music to describe their music for god’s sake, and this is not punk music.  This work, while it does resemble his work with Suicide in the vestigial sense as it’s somewhat in the same vein, has a completely different feel – at least to this reviewer.  As it’s instrumental, Rev seems to have chosen to move in an alternate direction with this material, trusting his gut instincts about the material, favoring certain differing aesthetics and a broader sense of identity than anything he did with Suicide.  I think that a lot of this is because his work with Suicide was of course accompanied by vocals.  Clouds Of Glory seems to be Rev stepping out from behind the shadow of words, which can sometimes be more of a hindrance than a help, depending on what you’re trying to get across and convey with music, and more importantly in this case, depending on the feelings that you’re trying to express.  These tracks seem like they would just as at place on a soundtrack as they would on a standalone album.  In fact, the album reminds me a lot of early 80s action film soundtracks in the best possible sense, and least contrived ways.  The throbbing beats of the album opener “Rocking Horse” just never let up once they start, sampled noises and gargling synthesizers burst through the veil of thickening sound from time to time with small enunciations of melody in a seemingly lopsided conversation between the two.  The stuttering feedback loop that backs the entire track is like a dense soup of mired grit and grime, trapping your ear in a pit of delightful misanthropic musical quagmires.  I’m still not really sure if “Rocking Horse” is a song, or actually a discarded experiment by Brad Fiedel devised for some abandoned film project.  Either way, I’m glad as hell “Rocking Horse” found its way onto Clouds Of Glory.  The bell like progression that ring throughout the song are the only thing that keeps it from going completely sideways several times, with rhythms that seem to unhinge and then move perfectly back into place following sporadic outbursts.  The relentless beat of “Rocking Horse” finally fades and gives way to the tidal wave like openings of “Parade”.  A single pulsating plasma beam of blackened low end synthesizer joins in a blaring Gregorian chant with noise after noise, decibel after decibel, stacking on top of each other like a fifty-car pileup.  Slowly fragmented stuttering bursts of sound and noise start to pop up in the song, each time stranger and more abstract than before.  There’s a pensive dread that builds from the slowly moving mountain of sound that is “Parade”, and as it picks up more and more steam, getting louder and louder, more and more in your face, the shape of what you’re confronted with finally begins to take shape.  It’s a hulking juggernaut of skull battering bottom end.  Bass begins to drip from every possible orifice of your speakers, chocking out anything that’s not slipped into the tight little pockets of slight repentant mercy of the bass.  “Parade” is like staring up at a mile high wave of water moving towards your city.  You know you should turn and run, it should horrify and shock you.  But instead, your legs refuse to work and you just stand there looking, unbelieving at the horrible beauty that you’re starkly confronted with.  Once the onslaught of “Parade” is finished the Rev lets up a little and hits you with an unapologetically sappy pop love song progression in the form of “Whisper”.  I recently heard a synthesized tribute to Angelo Badalamenti’s work on Twin Peaks and this actually reminds me a lot of that – you know, except that this predates that show by more than a decade and all…  There’s a tender softness to the key work on “Whisper”.  Everything is smooth and soft, layered so as to be like silk on the ears.  “Rodeo” on the other hand kicks things back into hard and heavy mode real quick though.  Slamming on the accelerator, a thundering blast of repetitive bass and crunchy explosive beats carpet bomb the landscape into oblivion, accompanied all the while by what I can only describe as the sounds of an oncoming alien apocalypse.  You can hear the ships as they enter the atmosphere, laser and plasma beams (likely in the 40-watt range) levelling entire cities if you just listen.  “Rodeo” puts any 8-bit band out there today, trying to ride the wave of nostalgia of classic video games, to utter shame.  When you hear songs like this you realize there were just some individuals born to write certain kinds of music, and this seems what The Rev was destined for though he may have dabbled in everything else at one point or another.  The disjoined paranoia that seeps from the song like the stench of fear on a cornered rat is overpowering at times; buzzing and whirring sounds escape from one side of the mix to the other, carrying in tow wakes of shimmering gossamer tones that they sprinkle throughout the dark expanses of madness.  The farther you get into “Rodeo” the more it feels like a video game nearing its end.  Things are moving at lightning fast speeds, nearly teleporting at times.  There’s sweat beading up on your brow, and you almost begin to question how much longer you can take it.  It’s overwhelming your senses and the pressure it starting to make your heart beat like a jackhammer in your chest…  At six minutes the song finally begins to withdraw its tendrils of subconscious angst from your brain and begins a new transplant with “Melatron”.   This album was released in 1985, twenty-nine years ago at this point and it’s astounding how well it’s aged.  The music is so dynamic and fluid, shifting like water from one place to another in “Melatron” and Rev makes it seem simple.  The shortest song on Clouds Of Glory is four minutes, and most of the rest, “Melatron” included are around six minutes long.  It’s hard to keep people’s attention, or at least my attention at least, that long when you’re working with really abstract notions and soundscapes.  It can just get into some really murky, monotonous, boring territory for me.  Rev manages to avoid the regular trappings with his music though, as there’s absolutely nothing regular about this man or his music, and there never has been.  “Melatron” is another blatant rejection of the regular idea of how a song should be constructed or executed, something that Martin Rev still continues to toy with to this day.  Throughout innumerable collaborations, projects and releases his strong stance as an unbending, uncompromising artist has remained intact.  And listening to something like “Melatron” you can see why he’s remained so true to his own musical vision – because it’s a damned interesting one.  The album finishes off with the titular “Clouds Of Glory” track, and holy mother!  This thing sounds like what The Warriors soundtrack should have sounded like!  The street grit is just oozing out of pore.  Pensive electronic percussion bites and stings the background of the song, before echoing and rocketing right at the listener in the mix.  Rev’s usage of creative mixing and subtle panning on the album is extremely impressive.  Clouds Of Glory sounded great on my speakers.  Through a set of headphones though, songs like “Clouds Of Glory” really come alive.  Clouds Of Glory really seems like one of those albums designed by another guy out there who loves to stick on a set of headphones and just block out reality for a few minutes.  I don’t know how else to describe what “Clouds Of Glory” sounds like.  It’s fun.  There’s a truly bad ass feel to this song.  The bone crunching blows of synthesizer pummel the listener over the head like a lead pipe, while the entire time the background of the song sounds like it might just pull out a knife and shank you without warning.  Clouds Of Glory ends almost exactly as it began, with an unexpectedly aggressive attack, challenging the listener and making them conform to the music, not the other way around.  While there are a lot of reissues and stuff going on it’s nice to know that labels like Permanent Records are doing their best to shine a light on some of the truly overlooked bedrocks of music.  The heritage of a lot of stuff going on right now is taken for granted and folks like Permanent are trying their best to make sure that while people look back, they examine some of the people who were so important they got overlooked in the past.  Not that Martin Rev was overlooked.  He’s enjoyed a long-lasting, fruitful career and this album is great evidence as to why, this album just hasn’t always been available.  Permanent has done another bang-up job and it sounds and looks great.  It’s limited to only 500 copies world-wide though, so I wouldn’t sleep on this as no wave and ambient dark wave electronica are two things you just can’t keep on the shelves these days.  There’s links below to check out some of the album and of course to pick yourself up some wax.  Oh, and did I mention that if you buy it from Permanent you can get the super limited Silver Wax Vinyl?  What about the fact that the Silver Wax Vinyl is limited to only a 150 copies?  Don’t sleep.  The color version isn’t available anywhere else and it won’t be around long so make sure and secure your copy today folks!

Review made by Roman Rathert/2015
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Slasher Dave - Lunatic (2015) review

Slasher Dave – Lunatic - 7” (Bellyache Records, 2015)

Of all the recent horror themed synth worshipping bands that are out there right now, only a handful of them have really managed to catch my interest.  And at the top of that list is Slasher Dave.  I don’t really know jack about the Slasher Dave outside of the fact that it will occasionally include the odd guest on guitar or something, but for the most part it’s just really the brainchild of one seriously talented dude.  His last offering, 2014’s Tomb Of Horrors (Review Here) was one my top ten albums of the year, but it’s been a while since I heard much out of him.  Now, all of a sudden he’s released his first soundtrack, at least to my knowledge, the Chubbies Original Soundtrack and a brand new seven-inch EP of four previously unreleased tracks of his patented pulsating, wailing insanity, called Lunatic – both of which are for the Bellyache Records label, the guys responsible for Voyag3r’s album Doom Fortress if that rings a bell for you.  I don’t know if the Lunatic EP is a glimpse of some new material for a new record or Slasher Dave just felt like these four tracks were a kind of self-contained series/unit that stood on their own, but either way, man, am I happy to hear some new tunes from this guy!  “Disturbance At The Mackenzie’s” slithers and glides out of the gate with hypnotic tendrils of synthesizers reaching up from a glittering bottomless pit looming in front off you.  Gritty, echoed bass rumbles up from the demonic chasm into your headphones before suddenly beginning to transmogrify and then lift, like a fog in the amber morning twilight.  Pulsating beams of plasmatic sound begin to slither and drift towards you, their grasp gargantuan and inescapable.  Suddenly, sirens in the distance snap you back to some semblance of reality and you realize that you’re knee deep in undulating synths that are drowning out screams coming from another room of the house.  But just as you head to investigate where the muffled cries are coming from, we fade from that scene and the titular “Lunatic” gets underway.  It’s a truly heavy sounding song, thundering drums that threaten to crack and break apart, hammer ominously as a mist of creeping synthesizers slip in from the top end, disappearing and then reappearing like specters at will throughout the short arrangement.  Sinister stabs of bass and a growing sense of impending doom pave the way to transition from “Lunatic” to for “Evil Lives Forever”.  “Evil Lives Forever” sounds like it could easily have come off of last year’s Tomb Of Horror LP but it’s just at home here on this four track compilation of bedlam amongst the inmates of the asylum known as the Lunatic EP.  A slow lumbering rhythm bubbles up behind the veil of the restrained soundscape of “Evil Lives Forever” until the ghastly organ-like procession of synthesizers begin.  One by one they step into the mix, each one darker and more foreboding than the last, until they’ve created a lurching Frankenstein’s monster of unholy sounds.  As they reach the peak of their frenzy the wails of the organs fade and give way to the heavily Halloween III influenced sounds of “Darkside”.  If there wasn’t quoted dialogue throughout the song it literally could have come off of some unused reels from some of Carpenter’s top-shelf stuff.  But the longer you listen, the more you can hear one of Slasher Dave’s trademark pads in the background, a sting that I have fallen in love with over his past two albums, and one that marks it as uniquely his own.  The tracks on Lunatic are all good, they’re short, sweet, and straight to the point – really, I don’t know what else you could ask for from a release.  I can only hope that this is a primer for a new album from Slasher Dave, but either way this is a killer EP of four tracks that any synth loving, horror, giallo or dark wave electronic freak is not going to want to miss out on.  Slasher Dave’s stuff doesn’t always immediately sell out, but rest assured it won’t stay in print long.  For now Lunatic is available in equal pressings of 250 copies on Black Wax and 250 copies on Red Wax, but that red stuff ain’t gonna stick around much longer, so get on it if you want it!  If you’ve read my review of the Tomb Of Horror (Review Here) or even just checked out Slasher Dave’s stuff before than I probably don’t have to sell you on the guy, but I seriously recommend his stuff, it’s top-shelf, certified bad ass with no questions asked and one hundred-percent It’s Psychedelic Baby endorsed!

- Listen to some music here: 
- Buy some music here: 

Review made by Roman Rathert/2015
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Music On Vinyl

Music On Vinyl is a vinyl only record label that releases high quality 180g LP and 7" vinyl pressings of titles licensed from a wide range of record companies and artists who control their own repertoire.

These are both re-issues of classic titles, or a simultaneous vinyl release to complement a CD/DVD release, all marketed under the Music On Vinyl brand, which vinyl lovers worldwide recognize as a trusted name providing a superb LP vinyl product.

When did Music On Vinyl came to realization and what's the story behind its formation?

Music On Vinyl was established in 2009 as a cooperative effort between music distributor Bertus Distribution and vinyl pressing plant Record Industry. Out of a mutual love for vinyl, as well as building on the strength of each individual company in manufacturing and marketing vinyl, our aim is to market fully licensed classic and brand new albums on audiophile quality vinyl.

What was the original concept? 

Apart from reissuing classic albums, we are more and more releasing brand new albums, as demand for vinyl of contemporary artists and their latest releases has been a significant factor in vinyl’s resurgence. Artists themselves also increasingly demand vinyl releases of their latest work, which MOV still facilitates to this day. 

You are covering a wide variety of Rock, Jazz and lately also Classical music. How do you select your reissues?

Good, timeless albums simply deserve vinyl pressings, and we know our music. Each individual in our team has their own taste and deep knowledge of catalogue and new artists. Our audience can file requests for vinyl reissues through our website, which we take into consideration as well. 
Bringing out quality music is the one main factor in our release schedule, regardless of genre. Like our Classical releases, each and every one of them are essential albums in music history in our opinion. Also, last year we introduced At The Movies, a sub label specifically targeted towards soundtracks and scores. 

How many people work in your company?

Currently we are with 5 people working full-time, managing the product development, marketing and promotion. Apart from the core team, we work closely together with said companies (Bertus and Record Industry) when it comes to sales, distribution, promotion, manufacturing, packaging and quality control. 

Can you tell us a bit more in-depth what is the releasing process like?

First we get in touch with the copyright owners and see if there is potential for good quality release(s). After a particular (range of) title(s) is approved for a vinyl release, we source the audio and art from the same copyright owners. We use original metals, tapes and digital master recordings on high resolution audio files. We don’t use CDs as masters. 
We regularly cut new metal masters using the latest advances in technology. Some releases require DMM (Direct-to-Metal-Mastering), some require a lacquer cut. It all depends on the audio, sound, dynamics, time length per side, and so on. Meanwhile, we prepare the original artwork for printing. Sometimes the art needs polishing and fine tuning, which takes additional effort. After everything (audio & art) are approved by the copyright owners, we press the vinyl and sleeves, after which products are packaged, stored and ultimately sold from the distributor’s warehouse. 

DMM cutterhead.

Do you have your own mastering studio?

We use the cutting rooms present at Record Industry. Their mastering engineers have years and years of experience cutting quality records, and the gear is top notch. Whenever needed, they can add the finishing touch to the vinyl master.

How about pressing plant?

We press exclusively at Record Industry in Haarlem, The Netherlands.

Can you tell us about the audio gear you're using? What turntable, cartridge etc. 

For an overview of audio gear Record Industry is using to cut their records:

How many albums have you released?

We have released over 1.500 vinyls so far, including box-sets, 10”s, 7”s, limited editions etc.

You're one of the very few record labels, that really releases only vinyl format. What led to such a decision?

We are a bunch of vinyl enthusiasts who love what we do. 7 years ago, vinyl wasn’t as huge as it is today, but there has always been a consistent demand for classic albums. Very few albums were available on vinyl those days, so our thought was; let’s fill in that gap.

What are some future plans for Music On Vinyl?

More lovingly manufactured classic re-releases, brand new albums, soundtracks, more music in every genre imaginable… and in the best quality possible. Another goal would be to enable record shops to grow their business further, so in 100 years, there will still be record shops for our grand kids to shop at. One of these initiatives is our online store locator (containing a whopping 750 addresses in Europe alone, and growing weekly) which gets thousands of visits each day, and the recently launched VINYL STORES Tumblr photo blog, where every record store worldwide (also those who don’t sell MOV) can upload a few pictures to get more exposure to the vinyl buying public. 

What’s your opinion about the great vinyl comeback, which mostly started in USA, but it’s spread all around the world. I think, it’s the best format and that’s not only because of the analogue signal, but also because it’s a timeless object. Music became easy accessible and one of the very best format is vinyl with digital download code. What’s your opinion?

We think it’s great that a young audience is rediscovering the ultimate music carrier. Who would have thought 10 years ago… About those downloads, including a download coupon surely adds something extra to the vinyl package, but at the same time we see that streaming is rapidly becoming the most convenient solution of taking your music with you, everywhere. 

With all-round global wireless internet for affordable prices around the corner, and cloud based computing becoming a standard, these are very exciting times for music lovers. We love to see what happens in the next few years. 
However - the collectability, charm and experience of playing vinyl is something that has proven to stand the test of time, even in an increasingly digital world, and therefore we have good hopes for the future of vinyl.

Erik Guillot of Music On Vinyl.

Thousands of people are buying your vinyl records. Would you like to send a message to all of your fans.

Thanks to everybody who showed their support throughout the years and we wish large vinyl collections (and much understanding from your significant other) to everybody who just started out buying records!

Interview made by Klemen Breznikar/2015
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The Prefab Messiahs - Keep Your Stupid Dreams Alive (2015) review

The Prefab Messiahs - Keep Your Stupid Dreams Alive (Burger Records, 2015)

The Prefabs made a lot of noise back at the turn of the ’80s (some of it intentional and most of it recently reissued by Burger Records on the 27-track compilation, Devolver). The original provocateurs gathered for some 30th anniversary gigs and since no one got hurt, they decided to have a go at rekindling the old flames and try not to burn too many bridges – or britches – behind them. Keeping their stupid dreams for superstardom alive has resulted in this eight track (not 8-track, about the only medium it’s not available on) set of punky garage psych tunes that suggest the lads are having too much fun for grown up men in their fifties. But as mid-life crises go, this is one hell of a party!
For starters, it’s housed in a bitchin’, day-glo sleeve that’ll transport you, er, straight back to the early ’80s garage/neo-psych scene dreaming of the likes of the Dukes of Stratosphear, Dementia 13, Plasticland, and Plan 9. Going for the jug-jugular right off the bat, “SsydarthurR” swirls around your head like a mouthful of Everclear, peeling away the cobwebs and namechecking essential heroes Barrett and Lee (I guess “BbarrettleeE” was too obvious!) 
If The Monkees ever recorded real garage music it might sound like “Weirdoz Everywhere” (dig those “Hey, hey, hey, heys”!) And every punky garage band had to have a token surf tune, right? So the ‘Fabs through some eerie theremin onto a Peter Gunn theme, toss in a riff right off their old “Paint It Black” record, and graft on some Surf Punks’ shenanigans and lock everyone in the “Orange Room”.
The band continue their tip of the domes to their heroes and influences with a ride in Bobb Trimble’s suped-up wheels, “Bobb’s Psychedelic Car” and circle around for a quick reprise with Syd, Arthur, and all their freaky friends. Hop on board and join the trip to keep your own dreams alive, stupid or otherwise.

Review made by Jeff Penczak/2015
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Pro-Ject Audio Systems

Austrian based company Pro-Ject Audio Systems provided their turntable and headphones. Pro-Ject is a worldwide known company for turntables. What we have here is RPM-1 Carbon with Ortofon 2M red cartridge. This is a radical concept that does not compromise sound quality at an entry-level price. RPM-1 Carbon utilises a lot of innovations and enhancements. If you want to play vinyl records and don't want to spend a lot of money on a new turntable this is the perfect solution. No complications, just plug & play. 

Read more about RPM-1 carbon.

Interview with Justin Jackley

“Tripped Out Lowbrow Surrealism”

Justin Jackley is an artist from Austin, Texas. He’s a great friend of our magazine and also our official illustrator. He made all the headlines and logos for us and his artwork can be seen on the cover of our first paper issue of the magazine. 

Various Artists – Dis Cover – Donna Regina As Recorded By (2015) review

Various Artists – Dis Cover – Donna Regina As Recorded By (Karaoke Kalk, 2015) 

With this, their twelfth album, Donna Regina [Günther and Regina Janssen] continue to evolve and progress, creating music that both interests them, and music that allows them to create an atmospheric adventure that doesn’t so much follow the times or the fads of the day, but holds sway by existing in a recognizable moment ... and by doing so, allows their musical creations to always sound fresh and inviting.  Much of this has to do with the breathy voice Regina Janssen, as it floats in and out of Günther Janssen's melodies, melodies that are delivered with a light hand and sense of expansive beauty.

Though unknown to most, those who have discovered this couple [who now reside in Berlin, by way of Cologne] are well aware of their timeless musical interplay, especially here on “Dis Cover,” where they tribute old and new friends, developing what can only be described as musical gifts.  Donna Regina is one of those groups you’re going to have to stumble on, and once you do, you’ll be off on an adventure that will certainly be worth you time. 

Included on this outing are songs by Dean & Britta, The National Jazz Trio of Scotland, Schlammpeitziger, Chica and the Folder, Leichtmetall, Console, Il Tempo Gigante, Astrobal and Tom Terrien featuring Nina Savary, Dani Siciliano, Bertrand Burgalat, Mouse on Mars, Miłka, and Thomas Fehlmann featuring Gudrun Gut.

Review made by Jenell Kesler/2015
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Inside The Velvet Illusions, by Randy “Jimmie James” Bowles

[This is my version of the history of the Velvet Illusions, for hard-core fans, journalists and other crazy people. In this story, I sometimes use the term, “we”, because it’s easier. But this is my story of the Velvet Illusions as seen by me, “Jimmie James” – co-lead singer and second lead guitarist. I was there from the beginning. I’ve worked very hard, for a long time, to wring some success out of our collective efforts.]

The Velvet Illusions had a brush with fame; but we broke up before we hit the big time. However, in 2015, the band seems to be more popular than ever!

Our story happens in the past, but also in the present. While we performed and recorded in the 1960’s, our retrospective CD, “Acid Head”, is widely available for purchase on the internet, and cuts from it are being aired on Pandora, Psychedelicized Radio, podcasts and broadcast radio. We have a large presence on YouTube. New Velvet Illusions interviews and articles are being published all the time. And, we just released something that collectors will have to fight to get their hands upon: a limited-edition retrospective LP, entitled “Velvet Illusions”, on Moi J’Cannois Records. The North American continental distributor is Seattle, Washington’s Light In The Attic Records.

While the Velvet Illusions traveled from Yakima, Washington to Hollywood, California and back, our records and legend have traveled around the world! Ask any psych/garage collector if they have our material. Watch them pull out a copy of the Grammy-nominated LA Nuggets set on Rhino. — Or a Pebbles CD.

Perhaps they’ll have a decades-old copy of “Acid Dreams”, which contains two of our songs, or the new, updated one, called “Acid Dreams – The Complete 3 LP Set”. Perhaps they’ll have our Tune In CD release. But if they’re really lucky, they’ll have one of our 45’s, which go for as high as $1,800 on the secondary market.

Our songs, especially our theme song, “Velvet Illusions”, have been covered by bands world-wide, including Spain’s Phantom Keys and Italy’s Head and the Hares. In the 1980’s, the Austrian group Running Stream released a cover of our infamous “Acid Head”, which featured an eerie organ solo reminiscent of an off-kilter merry-go round. Collectors, young and old, produce amazing videos incorporating our music, and upload them to YouTube. We have an entry in the legendary book, “Fuzz, Acid and Flowers”, published by Vernon Joynson. We gained a mention in the scholarly tome, “Sixties Rock”, published by Michael Hicks in 1999. Our artifacts are contained in the Seattle, Washington-based Experience Music Project’s archives.  We’re known to collectors as a “Lost California Psychedelic Band”. In reality, we were from the small agricultural town of Yakima, Washington!

The Velvet Illusions were quintessential outsiders. We were even outsiders in Yakima! While other bands dressed like Paul Revere and the Raiders, we sported a set of distinctive velvet uniforms, plus, a second set of rhythm and blues-styled threads. On that note, our set list included songs featuring the Motown/R&B sound. Most of our competitors were covering English groups, while we covered more American groups; plus we soon came up with our own material. Our original songs also betrayed our outsider status: we sang of scenes which we were not a part of. We sang of watching hippies, not being hippies. We wrote of people involved in drug use, employing terms of speech that totally exposed our straight-arrow lifestyle. Eventually, we landed like aliens in the La La Land of Hollywood, in the Summer of Love, 1967.

The Past:

In 1966, Chuck Funk (rhythm guitar), George Radford (saxophones), and I, Randy “Jimmie James” Bowles (lead guitar and vocals) started jamming at the Radford family upholstery shop. Chuck and I had jammed, just the two of us, at his house a few times, and he suggested I meet George. So the three of us began jamming. George Radford, Sr., George’s dad, heard us playing around. Apparently impressed with what he heard, he offered to manage us, and to outfit us in velvet.

Forming the core group: Instead of calling ourselves the Illusions, as we had originally intended, Mr. Radford said we could be the Velvet Illusions. He said we would have the finest equipment. We went for it. He recruited enough members to form a core group, grabbing singer and organ player Steve Weed from the Shy Guys, and a tall, friendly bassist named Larry Linse, who was nicknamed “Lurch”. We acquired a great drummer who could play any beat, with flair: Danny Wagner. We got tight and played a few shows around town. With Steve and me trading off on lead vocals, we offered our listeners a lot of variety. — Because Steve and I had such different styles. But we were able to blend our styles and come up with something new and different. Soon, Chuck Funk had to drop out, because his folks owned the popular Fruitvale Drive In, and he was needed there. I was sorry to see him go. We were close; plus, I had a huge crush on his older sister Sandy. I knew with Chuck out of the picture, Sandy would be out of the picture, too. However, I was also sweet on the beautiful Marla, George Radford’s sister!

Chuck was replaced by another of my besties, Yakima guitarist Danny Wohl. Practically the entire Wohl family played music. Danny basically grew up with a guitar in his hands. And, we added a truly gifted lead guitarist, Dewayne Russell, who could play anything from country to psychedelic music. I had been the young band’s sole lead guitar player; but when we brought Dewayne into the fold, we added a “big gun”.

After participating in a couple of our recordings, which we made in Seattle, WA at Audio Recording, “Lurch” bowed out, because he was in the military reserves. He needed to devote his time to that endeavor. (I have Lurch to thank for turning me on to the great Indian sitar player, Ravi Shankar. Hearing Ravi’s music really opened my mind to many musical possibilities! I remember riding with Lurch as we made our way to Seattle, to record. He kept Ravi’s music on the entire way. I was astounded by it. – In 2000, I saw Ravi perform at the WOMAD festival, near Seattle. I was tickled to see the great female vocalist, Joan Osborne, also in the audience, totally entranced by the great sitarist’s music.) Since Lurch had to leave, another Shy Guy took his place on bass: Dale Larrison, a young guy who really knew his way around the bass. This became the group of boys who recorded most of the Velvet Illusions records. Our lineup was solidified.

We began acquiring Vox equipment. We were a “Vox Band”.  I remember Mr. Radford showing us a letter of congratulations he had received from Vox. As you can glean from our photos, we had as much Vox equipment as any band: three Super Beatle amps, a Continental organ, Vox Royal Guardsman P.A. speakers and various Vox guitars, including a Mando Guitar. It‘s been repeatedly stated in the media, and even by the company which released our CD, that Vox sponsored us. — Not. We worked hard to pay for our equipment. — We lead guitarists used Mosrite guitars, including a beautiful double-neck model which our superb guitar slinger, Dewayne Russell, played. We wound up with much of the same gear as Paul Revere and the Raiders; although we felt our guitars were better than theirs. Vox guitars had cool shapes, but Mosrites played and sounded better. Saxman George Radford used at least three saxophones in the band.

We kept very busy playing or practicing, seven-days-a-week.  We even helped reupholster old couches and easy chairs in the Radford’s shop, selling them to help finance the band. We often rented west Yakima’s Nob Hill Grange, where we threw DIY dances and battles of the bands. We usually contracted with a legendary Yakima group, Chuck Gregory’s Fluorescents, to battle us. (Ironically, in 1972, I wound up fronting a country-rock band called Buckwheat, which was made up of Mr. Gregory on bass, the Fluorescents’ drummer Stan Ruehlow, and myself on guitar and vocals.)

We made television appearances and did in-store performances.  We appeared along with the New Yorkers, who later changed their name to the Hudson Brothers, on Steve Montgomery’s KIMA TV program, “Summer Wild Thing”. — Mark Hudson, one of the Hudson Brothers, went on to produce many of Ringo Starr’s records; his daughter is Kate Hudson. Her mother is Mark’s ex-wife, Goldie Hawn.

One day, we Velvet Illusions traveled to La Grande, Oregon, Steve Weed’s home town, to receive the “key to the city”, where we were met by dozens of cute girls at a menswear shop in-store, who were eager to have our autographs.  We pinned Velvet Illusions ribbons to their blouses. Later, we boys talked about how we felt like real rock stars! That night, we played to perhaps a thousand La Grande teens. (We were polite boys, and always did well with the female set. When we relocated to Hollywood, a group of sweet girls formed a Velvet Illusions fan club.)

Why did we not play in the Seattle area, since it was a big town, and a hotbed of Northwest music? Well, we were contemplating a decision to go south, instead.  Way south!

We were versatile.  In addition to performing rock music, we sometimes donned suits and ties and played ballroom dance music, although we didn’t want to.  I remember playing a Democratic Party event in Yakima, which was held in honor of then-Governor Albert Rosellini. We watched from the stage as people in suits and gowns stared back at us.  I must say, we preferred playing rock music, for our own age group.

Our young keyboard phenom/vocalist Steve Weed was writing songs; plus we acquired compositions from other writers, including the Northwest legend, rockabilly guitarist Jerry Merritt, a former member of Gene Vincent’s Blue Caps. Jerry became our music adviser. We made several trips to Seattle, to Audio Recording, where we recorded around nine sides. (To the best of my memory, we recorded some songs, including “Bigfoot”, which was written about the Sasquatch craze, “Grow Up Young Man”, and “Lonely Girl”, which have not surfaced since approximately 1966. I know they exist; I have no power to make them see the light of day.)

The ten sides which wound up on our CD, and later, our LP, include “Acid Head”, featuring Steve Weed singing of a girl who descended into a personal hell of drug addiction. Its flip side, “She Was The Only Girl”, was written and sung by Steve in the tradition of “Last Kiss” and “Leader Of The Pack”. He almost weeps as he describes his helpless longing for his true love, who has suddenly died.

We recorded Jerry Merritt’s “Town Of Fools”, a song which describes a husband and father who is too busy chasing the dollar to pay attention to his wife and kids. I was proud to have sung this song then, and I am still proud to sing it now in my solo shows. The B-side, “I’m Coming Home Los Angeles”, was co-written by the great standards writer, Bobby Worth. Bobby wrote the Ink Spots’ hit, “Do I Worry”. However, “I’m Coming Home Los Angeles”, done in the style of the Great American Songbook, was not suitable to be covered by a bunch of teen rockers. I consider it the one clunker in our amazing batch of recordings; however, I often hear from young people, who say they dig its campy sound. So, I’m learning to shut up and go with the flow!

Next, we created and recorded our great theme song “Velvet Illusions”, our psychedelicized bird in the face of the Monkees. The message?  “Beware: the Velvet Illusions are coming!” Check out Steve Weed’s spacey Vox organ sounds. The flip side, featuring the vocals of your humble scribe, was “Born To Be A Rolling Stone”, a Jerry Merritt-penned country-rocker which had been previously covered by Gene Vincent, to which we added a touch of psych organ and an ever-so-slightly out of tune 12-string Mosrite. Can you say garage rock? – Or is that early country rock….

One record, “Town Of Fools”, received quite a bit of local airplay. I remember being in a local pinball emporium, hanging with friends, when suddenly, the song burst out of the place’s sound system, which was tuned in to a local radio station. Everything stopped while we listened to my singing! Wow, did I feel great. (Thanks, DJ Randy Pugsley, for playing my song that night!) — But of course, Yakima radio would not program “Acid Head”. They were happy to play the Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit”, but not our anti-drug song. Mr. Radford announced to us, in fact, that the song was banned world-wide. But that’s fine, because today, “Acid Head” is collected all over the planet, is well-represented on compilation LP’s and CD’s, and is all over YouTube and internet radio. So we did fine with that song! At the time though, we were dealing with small-town radio and small-town minds. We began to wonder if perhaps success lay elsewhere….

In June, 1967, after playing countless gigs throughout Eastern Washington and Oregon, six of our seven core members relocated to Hollywood, with our manager, George Radford, Sr. We moved into a nice neighborhood, renting a spacious house at 1260 North Hobart, which featured a beautiful meditation garden behind the house. I was the cook. I was the only one could cook. Mr. Radford gave every boy one day to cook for the others. He had me go last. I said to him, “No, I don’t think I should go last”. But seven days later, when I sat a real meal on the table, six happy boys said, “Randy is the cook”. -- It was a good thing. I felt like it was my band, and I felt like I was taking care of the other six guys. I felt a responsibility, at seventeen years of age. (I thought it was my band then; I see now that without Steve Weed, our group would never have achieved the popularity it has. I realize that while I was a big part of our live show; Steve owned the studio. I have, in recent times, referred to him as a young rock god. He was somethin’.)

We set up our huge Super Beatle amps, drums and Vox organ, and practiced all the time, until the L.A. cops came over so many times to say, “Turn it down, please”, that we practically became friends with them. After a while, we didn’t practice at home very often. When we really needed to practice at full volume, Mr. Radford rented a practice facility for us.

We had a suite of offices in Hollywood, on El Centro Avenue, where we gathered often, to package and mass-mail our 45’s and publicity material.  We also packaged and mailed records recorded by other artists whom our management had taken on. We mailed out records featuring a young woman and her band, the Escorts. Since there was no real Escorts, we became the Escorts! Three of us: George, Dewayne and I, also worked full-time day jobs. So we kept very busy. George and Dewayne worked as ushers at a beautiful Hollywood theater. They’d come home after work and act out scenes from the movie. We all found this to be very funny. I worked in a restaurant, and was able to enjoy some very good food, as part of my working there.

We were not involved in management decisions (for example, my stage name was changed to Jimmie James, against my wishes. I nearly quit the band over that). At least some of us were disappointed to learn that Sophie Tucker’s elderly manager, Jack Oliphant, had been hired as our publicity director. Buddy Matola, an associate of the great writing team of Gerry Goffin and Carole King, was also hired as an advisor. Our management team was made up of older people, whose biggest successes took place in earlier times. They didn’t have the youthful vision needed to carry a rock band forward in the late 1960’s. Had we been consulted, we boys probably would have had better ideas regarding how to move forward in the best manner. We were hard working, thoughtful, dedicated and intuitive.

Due to the incessant promotional work of Mr. Radford and ourselves, our songs did become nationally noticed.  Cash Box Magazine, the juke box industry’s house organ, designated our 45, “Velvet Illusions”/”Born To Be A Rolling Stone” as a Best Bet. This meant that it should have wound up in every juke box in America. I don’t know why that didn’t happen. And while “Acid Head” was being banned by more and more radio stations, in some ways that helped, because we and the song gained more notoriety. We learned that “Acid Head” was popular in Japan. Our music is popular in Japan as I speak. I correspond regularly with some really cool cats in Japan. Some of them are incredible young guitarists! (In another odd coincidence, in 1971, I found myself forming a band with two members of Tokyo’s Flower Travellin Band, aka The Flowers. Their records are also collected around the world.

We performed at LA International Airport as part of the welcoming entourage for the “Queen of English Music Hall”, Two-Ton Tessie O’Shea, the star who appears in an iconic photo with the Beatles.  We, of course, had to have a similar photo taken with her!  The famed New York newspaper columnist, Earl Wilson, wrote a story about this, saying Ms. O’Shea had a special connection to the Velvet Illusions, because young Steve Weed had written her to ask for ukulele instructions.  -- Truth be told, this was only a story, made up by the old gent, Jack Oliphant, who in addition to being our publicity director, just happened to be Tessie’s manager. Ukes were not popular in our set; not at all! This was a little before Tiny Tim released “Tiptoe Through The Tulips”, and way before Eddie Vedder released a CD of uke tunes.

Speaking of our songwriter/keyboardist/singer, Steve Weed, and our time in California:  many websites and DJ’s continue to perpetuate the myth that he was either the boyfriend or husband of Patty Hearst, the newspaper heiress who was kidnapped by the Symbionese Liberation Army in 1974. – Not. That was a different Steve Weed. In fact, that fellow was known as Stephen. — Even the record company which released our 2015 LP tried to use that connection to sell more product; they took it a step further and referred to Patty Hearst as our “lefty manager”. That is simply ridiculous. I made them correct that in their publicity material.

Being kids from Yakima, we did had some fun living in Hollywood during the “Summer Of Love”, when we weren’t busy with our day jobs, or with practicing, or with mailing out 45’s at the office.  We sometimes dressed up as “hippies” and walked up and down Hollywood Boulevard, waving at all the gawkers.  We thought this was so funny! We also enjoyed visiting the Stash head shop. We were totally straight-arrow kids, who didn’t even drink, so this establishment really opened our eyes to what was happening. We saw our first black light posters. It was amazing how they glowed, seeming to jump right off the wall. It was a great day when the Stash added one of our 45’s to their juke box! Eventually we were barred from visiting the Stash by Mr. Radford. Our management’s goal was to keep us innocent and squeaky clean, so that we could be marketed as the alternative to dirty hippies. (I had to wait a year or so before I became one of those!)

As I briefly mentioned above, a group of neighborhood girls formed a Velvet Illusions fan club. When we did have a little free time, we had fun just hanging with them on the lawn, sharing talk and soft drinks. They were very sweet. On a totally voluntary basis, they formed our fan club. They also shared their extra food with us when they saw that we were a little undernourished….

I worked at Hody’s Hollywood and Vine Restaurant as a busboy, and later as a “soda jerk”, 40 hours per week, and I got to know some of my co-workers a little. They came from all over the world. I made my first Iranian friend: “Toraj” managed to sneak me into the famed Bat Cave nightclub, where this under-aged Yakima boy saw a band with a horn section throw down on a sensational version of “Hip Hugger”, while smoke poured out of the huge red-eyed bat’s nostrils, as it glared at us from the stage. — Very striking, to say the least. Before we were escorted out by the club’s owner, who saw immediately that I was too young to be there, I had a great time soaking up the atmosphere of the Bat Cave. When I later noticed its presence in one of those teen-exploitation movies, I said, “I was there!”

I also had the pleasure of waiting on some Hollywood stars who frequented Hody’s, including Michael J. Pollard, an actor my dad idolized, who played C. W. Moss in the great Bonnie and Clyde movie, and also, “Little Eddie Hodges”, whom I idolized due to his work in various Disney Movies.

Also, the famed actor, the little person, Billy Barty, paid a weekly visit to Hody’s, bringing with him enough beautiful starlets to fill our largest booth! They would have a big party every time they came in. He was very easy to wait on. Under four feet tall, he was a nice man who loved being a star, who enjoyed being around a lot of women, at once!

When I look back, it’s memories such as this, which I cherish the most. I was seeing the real Hollywood. But I wasn’t part of it. As usual, I was an outside observer. But I had fun working around those stars; and it was a respite from having to think about the band’s problems.

Because, in the face of what looked like success, we boys wound up moving back to Yakima and splitting up. Rather than getting into a lot of details here, let’s just say that we were very young and far from home; and we eventually became discouraged and/or homesick. We worked very hard, but we had no say in decisions, we played almost no shows, and we saw little return for our efforts. We slowly started migrating back to Yakima, and out of the band. I left in the late summer of 1967. – The subject of our breakup has been covered elsewhere. It seems whenever we are written about, our troubles and eventual breakup are emphasized, rather than our successes. I realize that writers and fans want to know those kind of things; but we surviving members do not agree on what are the facts. I’m throwing out an olive branch here by filtering my comments. There’s too much good which I can speak of.

Before the ultimate breakup, Steve Weed, George Radford and some new guys, including Eastern Washington rhythm guitarist Bruce Kitt and drummer Jon Juette, not only appeared on the Mayor Yorty show; they also recorded four essential, iconic sides, sung by Steve Weed, at the famed Sunset Sound Recording. I was shocked to discover in February, 2015, that the guitarist on at least some of those records was none other than Roland Bautista, who went on to be a guitarist for Earth, Wind & Fire! Upon learning of his involvement, I attempted to contact Mr. Bautista, to ask him to share his Velvet Illusions story. However, I learned from his producer that he passed away in 2012. His producer confirmed that Roland had indeed been in the band. I wish I could tell you which songs Roland played lead on. I wasn’t there, so I can’t. But I’m proud of those songs, even though I’m not on them. I’m glad I helped form the band that eventually recorded those final four songs.

Here is some detail about the tracks which were laid down at Sunset Sound Recording:

“Hippy Town” addressed the LA hippie scene, as viewed by young, small-town outsiders. The song included a wailing, psych-jazz sax performance, done inventively by George Radford. Side B, “Mini Shimmy”, was written about a beautiful girl who danced in her miniskirt, all night long. The sound and subject of the song proves the fact that the band came of age playing scores of teen dances in the Pacific Northwest.

Also recorded during the Hollywood sessions was “Lazy”, the fastest song ever played about lying around doing nothing. It sounds like Iron Butterfly on speed. Check out the San Francisco-styled lead guitar. And finally, “Stereo Song” was a great song about the joys of listening to records. The song approaches the subject with a punk-rock attack.

These four songs surely helped establish our place in rock history. They’re garage/psych gems. I wish I could say I played on them; but as I mentioned, I’m very proud of them, nonetheless, as I helped start the group which recorded them. I promote them, in their fuzz-tone drenched glory, as if they were my own.

After the breakup, in the fall of 1967, Steve Weed, Dale Larrison, Danny Wagner, Danny Wohl (who had stayed behind when the rest of us relocated to Hollywood) and I reunited in Yakima as the Peppermint Tea. We provided the half-time musical entertainment for the famed Harlem Clowns basketball show in Yakima’s Eisenhower High School gymnasium.  We played just what we wanted to play, and had fun. However, our new group didn’t record, and we didn’t last. We were unable to find suitable management in that small town. And, Mr. Radford formed a new band around sax man George, calling it the New Velvet Illusions. That group also didn’t last.

I went on to form my own psychedelic blues band, Felix, which played loud, hippie concerts all over the Yakima area. Later, I formed a band with the two members of the Flowers, Katsuhiko “Katz” Kobayashi and Remi “Lemi” Aso, playing hippie country music. I later led my own country rock groups, playing behind several legends of country music, including Rose Maddox and Japan’s Eddie Fukano. 

Relocating to Seattle, Washington, I joined Stampede Pass, a very popular country rock band. Willie Nelson and his bassist, Bee Spears, sat in with us for two hours, at a club located on the shores of Seattle’s beautiful Lake Union. We also played a show with the great honky-tonk singer/guitarist, Hank Thompson, and his Brazos Valley Boys. And we did many shows where we acted as the backup band for Rusty Draper, who previously had his own national TV show.

2015 finds me performing 3-hour marathon, solo folk-rock concerts at the age of 66. Usually, my audiences are young enough to be my grandchildren. I love playing for them. They just want to soak up all music. If you ask me about the members of today’s generation, I’ll simply say, from my heart, that I love them. If I had my choice, and could do anything I want to, I would move to Tokyo, Japan and do a tribute to Bob Dylan five-nights-per-week. I would be tickled to do that, and it would get me out of my senior citizens apartment building! I am way underutilized; I have way more to offer, if I can just do it.

Sad to say, I haven’t seen any of my former band mates in almost 50 years. I hear them every single day on our songs; but I don’t ever see them. However, I’m in touch with Steve Weed and Danny Wohl. I must inform you that drummer Danny Wagner and lead guitarist Dewayne Russell passed away years ago. I recently learned that our first bass player, Larry “Lurch” Linse, passed away in 2011. Dale Larrison, our second, but primary bassist, passed away in December, 2014. There is no way the original band can reunite; but as long as Steve Weed and I are around, and can play, there’s always a chance he and I could do a project. We of course, would not even call it by the old name….

The Present:

Since our breakup, the Velvet Illusions’ career has definitely gained momentum. In 1987, twenty years after our split, I discovered that our records were being collected, sold and resold, and compiled onto, at first, LP’s and then CD’s. I remember a day in 1987, when I was talking on the phone with the great record collector/re-release man/rock music writer, Neal Skok, discussing a famous psychedelic blues group we both liked, Canned Heat. Neal happened to ask if I had been in any bands of note. I mentioned the Velvet Illusions. After placing me on “hold” for about two minutes, Neal returned, and he played one of our songs over the phone. I just about died! Well, when Neal told me how collectible our recordings were, when I found out that people cared that much about us, I began strategizing to make our music even more well-known. I was also concerned with protecting our legacy and history. I spent a lot of time contacting various websites, writers and publications, asking them to correct glaring errors in their Velvet Illusions bios. Among other things, I wanted it known that we came from the little desert town of Yakima, rather than LA.

In 1993, Vernon Joynson published his huge tome dedicated to our style of music, “Fuzz, Acid and Flowers: A Comprehensive Guide To American Garage and Hippie Rock (1964-1975)”. We Velvet Illusions were rightly featured in the book. The information printed about us was not quite accurate; but it still served to get us noticed. The book has been periodically updated; and I am assured that any future update will feature a proper Velvet Illusions entry.

Over the years, I held out hope that we surviving members would work together and release a CD of our songs. Well, quite a few years went by. I finally discovered the existence of the Pacific Northwest Bands website, a reference source which lists thousands of classic Northwest bands. In 2006, I posted a long Velvet Illusions bio there, which is now quite out of date. But on more than one occasion, our entry has been one of the most visited on that site. And, industry people found it and took notice!

In 2009, we were contacted by Warner’s Rhino Records, who produce the great Nuggets series of records and CD’s, which spotlight 60’s psych and garage band music. The upshot is, our “Acid Head” wound up on their fall, 2009, 4-CD release, “Where the Action Is! Los Angeles Nuggets 1965-1968”. The set was nominated for a Grammy; but it lost to a Beatles re-release project. Also nominated for the Grammy were a Hank Williams re-release project and a Buddy Holly re-release project! So we were all in good company!

In early 2010, Londoner, Gray Newell contacted us with an offer to produce a CD containing ten songs, to be released on the well-respected label, Tune In. I’m so happy to say we released that CD, “Acid Head”, in 2011. It contains a 12-page booklet penned by Gray, which contains rare photos, facts and a complete discography of our music. It continues to be available via the internet. This is easily our crowning achievement.

Gray Newell later authored a six-page, Velvet Illusions article for the great print fanzine, “Ugly Things”, which was published in 2012.

I was subsequently very pleased to learn that the awesome Pandora internet radio station added Velvet Illusions songs to its playlist, as did the up-and-coming, Psychedelicized Radio. I wrote a bio for our Psychedelicized Radio page; plus I recorded some “promos” for them, which air on a regular basis. Why, I was listening to a live recording of a Pentangle show which Psychedelicized Radio presented in April of 2015; my promo ran immediately after that great show concluded. A couple of weeks ago, it ran right after Psychedelicized aired the Rolling Stones’ famed Hyde Park concert. So, it’s definitely being noticed….

I’m happy to say that “Acid Head” is no longer banned! The above fine internet stations program it. It and our other songs are also played by DJ’s on podcasts and traditional broadcast stations around the globe.

A visit to YouTube land will reward you with page after page of Velvet Illusions videos: young, talented people have taken our songs and coupled them with their inventive videos. You could spend hours viewing them. Some feature other bands covering our tunes, some are made by skateboarders. There are several Ferbguy “Ed Edd n Eddy” animated videos featuring our songs. – And then, other folks, including YouTube itself, have generated scads of videos using our songs, without adding any true video to accompany our music. I don’t have much respect for those videos or their makers. They show no creativity whatsoever. They just use our songs, for free.

In June, 2013, New York Magazine/’s pop critic, Jody Rosen, posted a Spotify song list entitled “100 Years, 100 Songs”. The list includes great songs recorded by everyone from Bing Crosby to Barbara Streisand, to Willie Nelson, Stevie Wonder and Aretha Franklin. Our “Hippy Town” was 1967’s iconic song!

In September, 2013, the internet music site, “Cosmic Mind At Play”, whose motto is “Exploring wigged out garage and psychedelic sounds from the swinging 60’s to the present day”, named our theme song, “Velvet Illusions”, and its flip side, “Born To Be A Rolling Stone”, #64 on its Classic Singles list!

New York Magazine surveyed its critics, asking them to list “60 Great Albums You Probably Haven’t Heard”. The article was posted on in November, 2013. Our “Acid Head” CD made the list for the 1960’s!

In March, 2014, I created the Facebook Page, “Velvet Illusions Fans”, an unofficial Page for fans. I combed the internet for the best photos, YouTube videos, articles, and other Velvet Illusions goodies, and put them all onto one Page. Whether you are a fan, a record company staffer or a writer, the Page is the go-to source for all things Velvet Illusions. Lately, I’ve been posting photos of happy young fans from all over the globe, holding their own copies of Velvet Illusions recordings. I’m always working to make the Page more interactive. — When I really get old, my brilliant young Hungarian friend, Peter Garami, will take over the administrative duties of the Facebook Page. Peter already has a Facebook Page dedicated to another band he really likes: Them. Van Morrison came from that band. Coincidentally, there is a very collectable bootleg on Moxie Records which features songs by the Velvet Illusions, and by Them.

I find myself being Facebook Friends with hip, young people from around the world. Fans in Japan, Greece, Scotland, Italy, Spain and more, have “friended” me; we chat about music which was made decades before they were born.

I let go of my personal archives recently, selling the two Velvet Illusions 45’s I had for 49 years. I was sure to give my two young friends an extra-good deal. I wanted those 45’s to go to someone who would appreciate them. I found the perfect people! And, Peter Garami will soon find his postal carrier leaving my 1967 newspaper advert on his doorstep. I can rest easy, knowing that cool young people will safeguard my “artifacts” far into the future.

In May, 2014, the rock writer, Kevin Rathert conducted an interview with Steve Weed and me, resulting in a 32-page, very frank interview published in this on-line zine, “It’s Psychedelic, Baby”. I wrote two articles for the same publication, “When Yakima, Washington’s Velvet Illusions and Tokyo, Japan’s Flowers Came Together”, which was published in August, 2014. Then, I wrote “Randy Bowles of the Velvet Illusions Interviews Randy Bowles of the Velvet Illusions”, which appeared in It’s Psychedelic Baby in September, 2014. — The magazine also appears in a print edition, and I am hoping at least one of the pieces will appear in a future issue.

In July, 2014, the producers of the famed “Acid Dreams” compilation, in which “Acid Head” and “Velvet Illusions” first appeared in 1979 (unbeknownst to most or all of us ex-members), recently released a 3-LP limited-edition, hand-numbered set, which again features those songs. Sadly, most, if not all of us, once again receive no compensation for our work. It’s hard to feel honored when our songs are appropriated; but at least our music is included in an extremely notable release.

The Swiss record company, Moi J’Connais, recently secured the rights to produce and market a limited-edition (1,000 copies) Velvet Illusions LP. The LP, simply entitled “Velvet Illusions”, was released in February, 2015. It sports a DIY-look cover, and is accompanied by Gray Newell’s text from our CD. It contains the same ten songs which are on our CD. Any fan purchasing one of these rarities can rest assured they are getting a quality product. At this writing, almost all copies of the LP have been sold.

News Flash! Steve Weed, our chief songwriter, my co-lead vocalist and Vox Continental organ player, is adding new tracks to a song I wrote and recorded in 1990 called “Walk With A Light Foot”. It will be our first collaboration in 49 years! I recently sent the basic tracks to Steve, who has his own recording studio. Steve and I plan to share it with the world, when we complete the recording process. Stay tuned….

So, the Velvet Illusions’ story goes forward! While we “survivors” are getting fewer, and longer in the tooth, our music will stay young forever, and it will be collected, programmed, written about and loved, far into the future. To all loyal Velvet Illusionites: thank you, one and all, from “Jimmie James”.

For much more information, videos, photos, etc., visit the Facebook Page, “Velvet Illusions Fans”:
For even further information, here are two more links:
“Psychedelicized Radio Bio”, written by Randy “Jimmie James” Bowles:
“My Journey From Garage To Grunge”, by Randy Bowles:
YouTube video: Here is your author, singing his original song, “Elder Hippie”, in May of 2014, at his favorite venue, Black Coffee Coop, in Seattle, Washington:

Review made by Randy Bowles/2015
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