Strange interview about ‘Souvenir’ album

January 20, 2014

Strange interview about ‘Souvenir’ album

Souvenir is a very rare privately pressed album by a group called Strange. The band was influenced by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, the Moody Blues and the Mothers of Invention.

The Strange were Tom Hackett, Robert Rensel, David Chamberlain, Rick Rackleff, Mike Pitcher, Don Morris and Carl Dexter. Shadoks Music located Tom Hackett and reissued and remastered the album.

You formed back in 1974, while still in high school. Were you schoolmates at Olympia high?

All of us besides Rick were from OHS.

Why the name “Strange” and were you in any other bands before forming “Strange”?

We chose “Strange”, cos we thought of ourselves that way and other kids did too. Strange was my first band and I also learned to play there.

What’s the story behind your debut album? It was released in 1978 and only 100 copies were pressed.

It was an after thought distilled from 5 years of “letting tape roll”.

What kind of equipment did you use? 

Everything from crappy battery powered cassette recorder to Ampex AG-440 with Quad 8 chan frontend, Sennheiser md-421au, EV RE-15 at first we built all our own gear like plastic people….but we had access to TESC.

At TESC they had a nice studio in the basement. We used TEAC stereo decks with MD421au. The 8 track studio had the 441 hyper-cardioid and EV re-20, Quad-8 mixer Ampex AG440 1″ 8 track tape. With the exception of the 2 or 3 horrid cassette recordings we relied on Teac 1/4″ reel to reel (maybe a-1230) and the usual SM-57/58 some AKG d-1000e.

At KAOS radio they had similar hardware RE-20, SM57… The college was a great resource for us. Our own PA was scrapped together JBL/EV homebrew SWTP amps. Tapco 6 channel mixer. We never made any $ so it was a labour of love building and maintaining this PA. A fender Rhodes, a Hammond organ, Guitar, Bass, Drums etc…

Where did you play gigs?

Mostly local schools, skate rink and few pubs (we were under age).

What’s the story behind your album artwork?

Robert and I did an “exquisite corpse” style surreal drawing. The artwork was on a separate “insert,” not part of the blank sleeve/cover. Tickets were included in the package. They were long expired.

It must have been pretty hard to pay for the pressing?

The album was really DC’s project and I think it ALL came out of his pocket. It was never for sale.

The “hippie” spirit was gone from mainstream, but you were still keeping your freak flag fly.

Yes, Moody Blues, Jefferson Airplane, Zappa., CSNY, ELP (locally very little interested me. Maybe the local jazz scene).

Were you experimenting with psychedelics?


Perhaps you heard about “Acid Archive”? Author Patrick Lundborg made a quiz about extremely obscure bands and collector from Spain won. His favorite album is Souvenir. How do you feel about the fact that people are still listening to your music?

No I didn’t. That’s very nice and yes Thomas was a great contact.

Would you share your insight on the albums’ tracks?

“Segment From BARAPP”
Recorded live improve in TESC library basement.

DC and Carl. Not really “Strange” per se.

“The Ballad of Hollis Spaceman”
DC being a rock god. Live St.Martins college.

Live KAOS radio.

“Segment From BARAPP”
Part 2 TESC library.

“Segment From ‘On Winning the War’ & A Faced Dream”
Horrid recording of early recording @Skateland. My first guitar solo.

“Rick’s Song”
Ricks first song (I think).

“Segment From Mushroom Wednesday & Lies By Poetic License”
Lies is one of my fav vocals by Robert. DC wrote it. Makes me cry.

“Twelve Boats”
One of my first songs w/ DC help totally botched recording. Crappy cassette in local church.

“The Last Song”
Another of DC’s mighty tunes. His songs always demanded the most of my musical ability.

There was another release but I don’t know anything about it. 

Never heard of it!

What happened next? 

I have been in a few bands (as have the others) Rick, DC and I were in the Grufs. I was in Blood Paradise and Human Skab etc.

Are you still in contact with other band members?

I am in contact with all but one.

What currently occupies your life?

I design and build audiophile hardware, some recording, teach guitar…

What’s on your turntable and what are you reading?

Sweetheart Of The Rodeo, the origin of Satan- Pagels.

Thank you for taking your time. 

I’m so happy the interest still exists. I’m trying to make Blood Paradise accessible. There is a DVD about Human Skab. I know DC and Rick have projects.

– Klemen Breznikar

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