It's Psychedelic Baby Magazine

It's Psychedelic Baby is an independent, music magazine covering a wide range of alternative, underground and mostly non-mainstream music. Exclusive interviews, reviews and articles. A place where musicians can express themselves. We serve an international readership.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Bob Dylan - Fallen Angels (2016) review

Bob Dylan - Fallen Angels (Columbia, 2016)

With none of the arrangements on Fallen Angels being true to the originals, it would be easy to say that this was just Bob Dylan being Bob Dylan, and putting his personal mark on these songs ... though almost to the point where they are unrecognizable. I have to wonder what’s going on with this his second album of covers, and I have my thoughts, having seen and heard this concept done time and time again by other aging artists.

There are some muted jazz arrangements here that should stand with more strength and life, yet Dylan, a huge jazz fan, has chosen to nearly hide what he appreciates most. “That Old Black Magic” has been turned into a rockabilly shuffle, “It Had To Be You” barely holds together, as he seems to be nearly reading these songs rather than singing them. In all honesty, this album sounds like another dreamy look back at his own youth [in much the same manner as Sinatra did] trying to figure out where he fits in during this, the first half of the 21st century, or if it even matters that he does.

Call this gathering of songs whimsical if you will, but please, do not call them great or inspirational, as they come off rather lightweight, shadows of shadows, delivered by a man who may or may not be in the moment as these tracks were recorded. In a strange way though, the songs all do hang together, but mostly in a manner where Dylan is trying to prove that these vintage ballads are still valid, and thus, if they are, then so is Dylan.

Of course there are those who are gonna tell you that it’s all brilliant, but it’s not, and it’s a real shame that for all his greatness, Bob Dylan can’t take his time and present his vision of his later life, or the worlds he’s lived through, rather than stepping back into some long lost comfort zone where he no longer needs to gaze out of his window.

But ... you may find it all touching and romantic, so by all means celebrate with Mr. Dylan, for his times, they certainly have changed.

Review by Jenell Kesler/2016
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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Heron Oblivion interview

Those of you who've been following underground music for the past ten years might know bands like Comets On Fire, Six Organs of Admittance, Sic Alps and Espers. Now, if you are familiar with those bands you can imagine how a fusion between them would sound like and you'll get near of what Heron Oblivion represents.
I've been following music for as long as I can remember and I have to admit that Heron Oblivion are among the top discoveries lately. Recently they signed for 'Sub Pop Records' and they released their debut album. Like mentioned above, band consists of singer/drummer Meg Baird (Espers, Watery Love, The Baird Sisters. She also has a solo carrier), guitarist Charlie Saufley (Assemble Head In Sunburst Sound), Ethan Miller on bass (Comets On Fire, Howlin' Rain, Feral Ohms) and guitarist Noel Von Harmonson (who was also in Comets On Fire, besides being in Sic Alps and Six Organs Of Admittance).
Lineup itself is very promising and just wait until you hear their debut. Imagine a band marrying US Psychedelic Rock with British Acid Folk. Their sound is unsaturated and overall the production is really good. It seems to me they are drawing ideas from each band they were part of in the past and result being Heron Oblivion today.

How was Heron Oblivion project born?

Meg: The collaboration started when Ethan and Noel invited both Charlie and I to join them for a band called Wicked Mace - their project that incorporated a rotating cycle of different musicians. Those first sessions got us started playing together.

Charlie: Some due has to go to Watery Love - the Philly cave-punk band that got Meg behind the drums. I think hearing and seeing Watery Love, who could be ferocious, opened all of our eyes about what Meg could do beyond singing and playing guitar. The deliciousness of those possibilities was there from the start. But we were thinking primarily about very open-ended jams that were pretty barbaric in nature. Meg's vocals and the songs were not some part of a bigger plan. That potential made itself apparent over time and through playing together.

As mentioned earlier you were part of many different bands that produced a lot of releases. How do you think Heron Oblivion reflects your past involvements in music?

Meg: The band draws on a life-long, genuine attraction to music for all of us. We draw on everything from our music history. Not just the music we've heard and loved and decoded along the way, but the unique, personal experience of playing music together - the things that you can only learn directly and from other musicians and from being around live music for so long.

Charlie: Everything goes into the H.O. pot. I don't think the influence of past bands exists apart from the fact that those bands were reflective of our personalities and the personal musical influences. Those same forces are at work here. I think anyone that waded through our rehearsal space jam tapes would be surprised at how much is on the table stylistically speaking - and that comes more from following the spark at the moment than the past.

Album is a very "live" sounding. Would you like to get in details regarding how it was recorded?

Noel V. Harmonson: We recorded all of the instruments together live in a tiny basement room and Meg did the vocals afterward. A few of the songs were just barely finished by the time we hit the studio so we needed to be able to see each for a few visual cues and signals to make sure we got things right. More importantly, the songs on the record are really group pieces and needed that cohesive unit feel for them to get the energy right. We did a handful of takes of each song with slightly different approaches and then went back and chose the best performances.

What can you tell us about the material on the album? Do you collaborate on a song writing or is it made more on an individual level?

Meg: The approach is really collaborative. Most songs start from a chord structure someone brings in, or that we just hit upon while working together. Everyone adds ideas to help arrange, and melodies are composed either on the fly in the rehearsal space, or in a few cases, at home over rehearsal tapes. Ethan's incredible energy and drive for documentation and quick ear for arranging has been especially critical to our process of getting this group of songs together.

Charlie: I think much of the original Wicked Mace - style concept of open architecture persists. Everyone gets a real kick out of whittling away collectively at a simple set of chords someone has brought in.

You supported Kurt Vile on his tour. How did that came about?

Meg: I've known Kurt and Jesse for a long time from Philadelphia, but I'm not entirely sure where the idea came from. It could have also been our mutual friend Rennie Jaffe who works with Kurt and is always so filled with great ideas and support. It was very natural. I'd never really thought about it that specifically.

Charlie: That tour was so fun and symbolic in a way. Meg brought Kurt and Jesse out to the west coast several years ago - Kurt's first acoustic, West Coast tour. Meg and Kurt both played at an eviction party that Comets and Assemble Head were having because we'd been kicked out of our shared practice space. It was fun thinking about that tour as an extension of that moment. There's just a lot of simpatico there too. Kurt and his crew are cut from the same curious, still-searching, kind of musical cloth as were are.

Is it too soon to ask if you have any new material?

Meg: Not too soon! It kind of feels like we should already have a new album ready! But we are working on getting new songs to take shape, and it's really nice to let some time and space pass before latching on to exactly what's going to happen next.

Noel: Yeah, we have a lot of new stuff kicking around. Lots really interesting ideas. Some stuff in the same vein and some stuff pushing a little further out in all of the directions we've flirted with so far. Our creative process is flowing better than ever, it's very exciting.  

Charlie: Yeah, I like the new stuff coming together in the jam space. I can see a lot of horizon and potential directions from where we're standing collectively.

Lately we're pretty much obsessed with categorizing music into a frame of genre. Back in the 1960s and early 1970s terms like 'acid folk' or 'psychedelic folk' weren't even born and were not used when describing bands. It was only 'rock' or at least 'folk rock', but these days we are way too occupied with genres, sub-genre and so on. We are experiencing such a vast wave of 'psychedelic' bands that you begin questioning what 'psychedelic' really means. How would you describe your music with a few words and what is your opinion about categorizing music just for the sake of promotion etc?

Meg: I do feel like those hyper specific categories are really marketing terms, and they don't really reflect the long conversation in recorded music history. Could it be an "everything music?" Everything bagels are really popular when you can't make up your mind, so maybe something like that could work?

I feel like some of the attempt to categorize music in this way - especially the term "psychedelic" - relates most closely to the super ancient idea of an Apollonian/Dionysian dichotomy. I can't speak to it on any kind of a real academic or philosophical level, but I often feel like this is really what people are talking about when distinguishing music as being "psychedelic" or not. The Dionysian stuff would be the chaotic "psychedelic" type of music that lends itself to interior and expansive spaces. The Apollonian would fit into the order of accepted institutions much better - it would be at home in the white columns and white box. It feels like asking the question "Is this a chaotic, from-who-knows - where outsider rock and roll party, or a known-quantity kind of art party?" I always hope it's both and I'm pretty sure that these two ideas are supposed to be intrinsically inter-related at their root, and that's a big relief.

Charlie: Yeah, I don't mind the psychedelic label. Increasingly, it tends to be a very inclusive term and more suggestive of a mood or feel, really. I think we've moved beyond the term evoking velvet flares and backwards solos exclusively. That's good. I wish more of life, in general, was more psychedelic and mysterious. The Internet age can be very bland and monochrome.

Who is behind the cover artwork?

Charlie: Ethan shot the front cover. I can't remember if it's Mexico or Panama. The back cover is a Polaroid of an abandoned shack on the coast between San Francisco and Santa Cruz I took many years ago. It probably doesn't exist anymore. We were gravitating toward very Tarkovsky-like images when we picked those. Lots of thought about the subconscious and weight of memory. Things like that.

What are you currently up to?

Noel: Just hanging around. Went out to something like a sample sale at a great local ceramics shop a few towns over and day tripped in the rain. Gave the dog a bath and then we ate dinner and watched Polanski's "Carnage" from a few years ago (it was great!) and sipping on this sparkling drink that I make with apple cider vinegar, ginger, and maple syrup. A pretty wild Saturday night.

Meg: Hey, Noel-that sounds great! Yes, we have been at home of late, and alternately enjoying (or dreading) the day-to-day, working on other projects, rehearsing for an upcoming tour, and thinking about new stuff ahead. I'm trying to buy a really big book shelf, and get over a newly found driving anxiety I've gotten since moving out to the Bay Area.

Charlie: Trying to be in the natural, real world as much as possible.

Is Heron Oblivion your only musical occupation or are you also involved with any other projects?

Noel: I'm currently working on another album with Dylan Shearer. I'm playing drums again for him with Petey (from Thee Oh Sees). The record will be released by 'Castleface' whenever we actually finish it.  

Meg: I'm still working on my solo work and I'm always playing music with Charlie at home too. I'm really excited that it looks like a Baird Sisters release may be happening later this year too.

Charlie: Meg and I are always stockpiling stuff for a record we keep meaning to make - a kinda spooky homebrew record. I also work with Mike Lardas, the drummer from Assemble Head in a project that's based on little more on beats and sonic collage. I'll try to finish my own spooky homebrew record too before too long, though this year will probably be too busy for that to happen.

What's the story behind band's name?

Noel: It’s a friend we know.  

Meg: Naming a band is a pretty humiliating process.

In the past few years we've seen a vinyl revival and lately there is an interest in releasing music on tapes, which was a few years back pretty much a dead alley. What's you opinion about old music formats coming back to live? Are you yourself a vinyl collector?

Noel: I think we're all vinyl collectors to a certain degree but none of us are obsessive about the format. I'll take whatever I can get whether it's an LP, a coverless CDR, or some audio files. I'm anxious to dig into tunes and the format isn't really a dealbreaker for me. I would prefer to own everything I love on vinyl if I only had the space for it!

Meg: I'm not remotely an audiophile or into anything like that when it comes to music formats. I do know that stuff can be very real and can be heard, and it's really fun to go to someone's house that's all set up with a system, but it's certainly not the main part of listening or liking music for me. Sound can be streaming online or an mp3 and it's not going to prevent me from hearing and enjoying the music. There is a point where the sound quality can get so poor and annoying and frustrating (mostly because if what you aren't hearing) but I have a wide threshold.

I also love vinyl records like I love printed books, and how they feel closer to a longer history of manufacturing, engineering, and disseminating information. I also prefer how flaws sound in an analog format. I like the way those adjustments happen far more seamlessly in your mind than they do in digital formats - where the info is either there or it's gone - with no wobble.

I also really like just the process of listening to records or tapes or cd's - it feels like a closed system that sounds good, garners all your focus and isn't tied into a bossy, organized online digital system. That stuff is fine, just not my first choice or preference at all. My father was an electrical tech at RCA communications, so I come by all this very naturally. His work was focused on communication satellites, but there was no lack of "his master's voice" imagery around the house. I talked to him about sound and technology a lot. My father still likes CDs best as the noise from vinyl records bothered him, and he really appreciated the engineering that went into the CD format.

Cassettes are cheap and fun and immediate to produce - I think it's nice that they are having a little comeback, I don't find it precious or anything like that. They can probably even be recycled these days?

Charlie: Maybe a wider audience is seeing through the illusion of digital music - choosing convenience while ignoring the fact that it's the crappiest, most ephemeral form of all. That would be encouraging. Digital music so often sounds so bad.  I do think there is a little cultural fetishization at work when it comes to the vinyl renaissance - there's a lot of marketing based on "authentic" experiences, largely directed at digital age kids. But if it sends them in a positive direction, that's a good outcome. I'll enjoy music any way I can though.

Before we say goodbye I would love if you can share some music you recently discovered.

Noel: Just by taking a look at what's near the turntable: Maki Asakawa LP collection, The Beat of the Earth LP, a few LP’s by Bill Orcutt, Phil Yost Touchwood’s Dream, an LP by Jacqueline Taieb that's probably a collection of her best YeYe stuff and a copy of the Frank Wright Quartet's "Church Number Nine" that my friend Tim Daly gave me that absolutely scorches.

Charlie: Loving Matt Valentine's new Blazing Grace LP. Ben Chasny turned us on to this Les Filles de Illeghadad LP that's astounding. Second Noel on the Bill Orcutt stuff. A few recent performances we saw were pretty hot and illuminated. And The Beat of the Earth and Electronic Hole records have been in regular rotation too.

Interview by Klemen Breznikar/2016
© Copyright

Various Artists - Day of the Dead (2016) review

Various Artists - Day of the Dead (4AD Records, 2016)

These epic compilations, and usually for a good cause, have always managed to stumble me, often leaving me to feel that by reviewing something of this nature, that I would be less than noble by leaving people to feel that the endeavor is hardly musically worthwhile.

Certainly the Grateful Dead in all of its incarnations has left us with a staggering catalog of music, and like all artists, often times hearing another musician’s take on a song might spark a light, bring back some long forgotten memories, and perhaps bring some fresh vibes to the table. Though having said all of this, there seems to be but a few artists on the outing who actually fit the nature and theme of The Grateful Dead ... in that they’ve nothing in common with the late 60’s and early 70’s mind-bending psychedelic alternative country weirdness that spawned a movement that lives on to this very day. Most of these artists, try as they might, merely see these songs as bits of broken mirrors that they can neither piece together, nor fully understand the nature of what these songs reflect.

Major exceptions of course are “Touch Of Grey” by War On Drugs, “Box Of Rain” by Kurt Vile, “Goin’ Down The Road Feeling Bad” by Lucinda Williams. These artists, along with the other twelve tracks that I’ve kept, have managed to not only make the songs their own, but have managed to find the heart and soul of the numbers they've chosen to cover. Most of the other artists, while presenting a good rendition, just don’t own what they’re doing. Most of these songs will not give you respect for The Dead, they only showcase the artist who’s presenting, leaving me to feel that many of the songs by the nature of their presentation ended up not being even faithful variations of Grateful Dead music. All and all, there is not a cohesive flow, no contextual point of reference, no emersion that guides you down the rabbit hole and out the other side a changed person.

*** The production and sound are outstanding, creating a full rich dense body of sound. Don't miss "Touch of Grey," "Sugaree," "Candyman," "Cassidy," "Box of Rain," "New Speedway Boogie," "Friend of the Devil," "Garcia Counterpoint," "Morning Dew," "Goin' Down the Road Feeling Bad," "Playing In The Band," "Ripple," "Brokedown Palace," "I Know You Rider," and "Standing on the Moon."

Review by Jenell Kesler/2016
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Monday, May 23, 2016

Where Have All the Hippies Gone?

Mike Hobren playing guitar at Liberty Lunch, Austin, Texas)
(Cover of White Light’s self-titled album on Shadoks Music)

(A Short Story Based on Actual Events)

Mike Hobren of “White Light”

San Francisco, USA, late 1969

Rainbow strolled into The Heads Shop wide-eyed and excited like a kid in a candy store. At once the sights, sounds and even the smells of the place grabbed hold of her senses. A thick cloud of sandalwood incense wafted through the air. Sitar music whined from unseen speakers. Numerous prismatic charm crystals dangled enticingly in the shop’s front window, refracting the morning sunlight and casting a rainbow of colors on the floor. Rainbow delighted at the sight. It was her favorite natural phenomenon and thus her chosen namesake.

As Rainbow looked around the dimly-lit shop she saw even more hippie paraphernalia. A Grateful Dead poster, yin and yang, a pentagram, a “Make Love Not War” poster, and a picture of the Maharishi surrounded by the smiling faces of John, Paul, George and Ringo – it was all there. In the book bins the works of Ginsberg, Kerouac, Kesey, Leary, Thompson and Watts were prominently displayed. The titles “If You Meet the Buddha on the Road, Kill Him,” “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance,” and “Be Here Now” – three of her favorites – caught her eye. There were also works by Ferlinghetti, Hess, Huxley and other writers she had never heard of. Near the book bins were the record racks: the Airplane, the Dead, the Doors, Dylan, Janis, Jimi and Quicksilver Messenger Service. She knew them all and had seen most of the groups perform at the Fillmore. Behind the shop’s glass counter were bongs of various shapes and sizes, hash pipes, peace-symbol necklaces, patches, love beads, tarot cards, rolling papers, talismans, runes, and even some homemade roach clips.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

JAZZ CORNER Presents: Et Cetera - Knirsch (1972)

On the album Knirsch [which means ‘crunch’ in German, and explains the album’s cover] Wolfgang Dauner sets out to complete some unfinished business, ideas that he’d been unable to bring to fruition on his 1970 release The Oimels ... though here too he seems unable to bring those ideas into the light of day. Unhappy that he could not grasp his own visions and expectations, he abandoned the concept on future releases. Nevertheless, here Dauner sounds more than a bit like Herbie Handcock on the explorative fusion based “Sun,” which stands in stark juxtaposition to the nearly heavy metal explorations he takes on “The Real Great Escape,” seeming a bit out of place on this outing, and certainly channeling the Hendrix driven and derived rock of the day ... sounding slightly like John McLaughlin meets Carlos Santana, in that mixing the lightening speed of Carlos, and the higher key heavy fusion of Mahavishnu Orchestra, Dauner finds the space to achieve his elations, based on the nature of his vision of free form and fusion jazz.

It’s not until “Yan,” clocking in at thirteen minutes, filters in that one gets a sense and connection to what Dauner had done on the album Et Cetera, and was hoping to expand on here.  All and all, even with the intoxicating grooves laid down on this expansive undertaking, Knirsch at times comes off as musical melodrama.  Having said this, I want to take it all back, as I’m not certain this feeling is from hindsight, as upon it’s release, Knirsch was an exotic bit of improvisation and creative passion that was securely framed and structured, keeping the work from being chaotic, and bringing forth a sound that continually evolved each time it was played.

Regardless of the times or the decade, this is still a very worthy album to privately immerse yourself in.

Review by Jenell Kesler/2016
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Friday, May 20, 2016

The Asteroid #4 - An Amazing Dream (2006) review

The Asteroid #4 - An Amazing Dream (Apollo, 2006)

Nearly everyone wants to consider Asteroid #4 as part of the beautiful psychedelic haze of the '60s, locking them into being a backward looking band. Please, allow me to assure you that had Asteroid #4 been around during those heady nights, the beautiful psychedelic haze of the '60s would have been that much brighter, that much more profound, and entirely more liberating.

Asteroid #4 continue to deal with their own interpretation of what shimmered those nights so long ago, yet they do it with their own blend and brand of lo-fi psychedelia, where every song and every instrument is drenched in reverb and echo ... and often times, both in the same breath. Asteroid 4 bring much to the table that’s new, consider their effects driven swirling backgrounds, which don’t only create a sonic atmosphere, but these aspects hold in check what could be monstrous hooks, giving their music a restrained feel, a feeling that the music could instantly bust right out of the bag and lay waste to the world. Yet as Quicksilver Messenger Service did on Happy Trails [probably the most profound psychedelic album ever], Asteroid #4 do the same here, and that’s to guide the listener with a gentle hand, assuring the listener that A4 will take them exactly where they want to be, but with sensibilities and production, rather than noise and feedback.

There are others who feel there is an inconsistency to A4’s music, and that’s just not true. The fact that the band has chosen to incorporate songs that revolve around the acoustic guitar is essential to the atmosphere they’re creating ... that being, worlds within worlds, and this technique requires transitional steps to induce the listener to turn corners with the band, leaving them with something dreamy and half remembered in the morning ... and best of all, something that still sounds fresh and intoxicating on future listens.

Review by Jenell Kesler/2016
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Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Jesse Colin Young interview

Jesse Colin Young is a singer/songwriter who recorded a lot of great albums during his long and profound carrier. He started as a Folk artist playing in Greenwich Village and making his first solo albums. Later he formed The Youngbloods with some of his friends and soon they became a band that released several albums. After The Youngbloods, Young proceeded a successful solo carrier with albums like Song For JuliLightshine And Songbird and others all currently in a process of reissuing by Audio Fidelity.


It's a great pleasure to have you. What currently occupies your life?

Since I am no longer performing "live" regularly, I make up my work day as I go along. Strong British tea in the morning and a walk with my marvelous Labrador is the way I start most days. Then I might work on a song or just practice the guitar. My wife and I have two children in college who often need some moral support. If it's warm enough, I might take a short ride on my Triumph Scrambler and then have lunch with Connie. It's a quiet, reflective life and after 50 years of touring, I enjoy it. These days when I write an important new song, I make a date with my local videographers and we record a simple solo video of the song and put it up on U Tube. The last song we released was "Lyme Life" back in December. It is about living with Lyme disease which has been my fate for the last 15 or 20 years. In America, there is a lot of misinformation and misdiagnosis of this disease which creates needless suffering. So I try to help with my music.

Audio Fidelity will be releasing complete catalogue of your music. After seven albums with The Youngbloods, you released more than 15 solo albums. Your very first album being reissued by Audio Fidelity is 'Song For Juli'. Many critics consider it as your masterpiece. Would you like to take us back and tell the story behind making this amazing album?

The recording of Song For Juli was a time of major musical transition for me. I took a summer off from The Youngbloods circa 1970?, bought a big Dodge van and hit the road with the musicians that would become the co-creators of the new music... Scott Lawrence on piano, Jeff Meyer on drums and David Hayes playing bass... A great rhythm section. We soon added the multi talented Jim Rothermel to play flute and saxophone and spent the next year recording in my newly built studio next to my Ridgetop home in Marin County, California. This was the fulfilment of a dream of mine... To write and record, produce and engineer an album of new music in the woods.

Audio Fidelity is known for its quality. Are you part of the mastering process?

Yes, I was present for the mastering of Song For Juli. Connie and I rented a plane and took the original masters to a mastering lab in Nashville called "Welcome To 1979". They have a recently refurbished Neumann lathe, the same equipment that was used in the original mastering of all my records in the '70s. Cameron James Henry did a super job of bringing this precious music back to life in the vinyl grooves. The albums Lightshine And Songbird will follow the release of Song For Juli on Audio Fidelity at 2 month intervals as well as On The Road and The Perfect Stranger.

What can you tell us about songwritting process?

I write mostly early in the morning before my mind is engaged in the details of the day. The songs on July were all inspired by the grand adventure of living on a ridgetop in West Marin and being a father to my daughter Juli and my newly born son Cheyenne. Before this we had spent 6 years on the Lower East Side of New York until we played the Avalon Ballroom for the first time and discovered the San Francisco music scene. It was a bold move for us to make our new West Coast base in the rural countryside of Marin and one that opened up a whole new life for me and my band mates. 

Was music a big part of life in Young household?

With the studio right next to the house, music and family life were easily intertwined. All days started with the amazing view of Tomales Bay from the house and a trip to the studio to listen to the latest music with fresh ears. Kids were welcome to come along. It was an idyllic life for a musician born in New York City.

Would you mind telling us about early '60s when you were living in Greenwich Village. What were the early Greenwich Village days like and what do you recall from recording your first albums like 'The Soul Of A City Boy' or 'Young Blood', which featured supporting musicians, including John Sebastian and Peter Childs?

I moved to the East Village in 1961 to attend New York University which was right in Washington Square in Greenwich Village. Coffee houses were opening up on St. Marks place and the Folk scene was gently exploding. I tried hard to focus on studies but I had already become more interested in playing the guitar and singing than in French literature. By 1962 I had dropped out of school and was playing in the "basket houses" in the village where you play and pass the basket. Tourists were already paying 3 or 4 dollars for a cup of coffee and our music which the owners got for free. Through a request from my sister, my brother in law who worked for CBS News sent me to see Walter Bishop who overlayed the canned music for the news. I sang my songs for him and he said, "I know someone who would love your music!" And so I got to meet Bobby Scott. He was a talented young Jazz musician turned Tin Pan Alley songwriter and he did love my music.

He worked for TM Music which was a music publishing company owned by Bobby Darin. One month later he took me into A&R studios in midtown, sat me down in front of a couple of microphones and said "Play everything you know." Four hours later Soul Of A City Boy was recorded and mixed. Next morning it was on Darin's desk who made a deal for me with Capitol Records. Released in 1963? I went right to work in the coffee houses starting with the Club 47 in Boston. A local DJ on AM Radio started mixing Folk music in with Pop singles on his night show and that's how "Four In The Morning" got it's first airplay. A year later, Bobby moved to Mercury Records to work for Quincy Jones and I went with him and recorded my second record Youngblood, this time not solo but with sidemen like John Sebastian who was then forming the Lovin' Spoonful and Peter Childs. The rhythm section was Grady Tate and George Du Vivier. I had no idea these were famous Jazz musicians. 

Then came the formation of The Youngbloods and it would probably take a few hours to tell the whole story about them so I'll limit myself to a few questions.
How did you guys come together and what are some of the early memories from playing together?

Cambridge Massachusetts was really the center of the Folk scene and that is where I met Jerry Corbitt. We became friends and he started coming to my gigs to sit in on 12 string and harmonica. Soon we were talking about starting a band and so with Lowell "Banana" Levinger who lived down the street from Corbitt and a Jazz drummer, Joe Bauer, who lived upstairs, we started The Youngbloods. I soon decided I needed to play bass and so the quartet was complete. It was a struggle at first playing the Folk clubs with a band because some people just  wanted acoustic music... No bass and drums and electric amps... But they soon got over that.

The Youngbloods released three albums and then you decided to start your own label Raccoon Records (and released two more albums).
What are some of the most memorable concerts you had with The Youngbloods?

The best music The Youngbloods ever played was at free concerts in the parks of San Francisco. There was something about giving the music away that made us all happy and it actually helped us create a following for our paying gigs. After recording Elephant Mountain in L.A. we had completed our contract with RCA and we went over to Warner Brothers who gave us our own label Racoon. Everyone started making solo albums none of which was as commercial as the early music and the band was no longer the sole focus of our creative efforts. With my best friend Corbitt gone from the band, inspiration just seemed to slip away from us and I eventually disbanded the band to start my solo career on Warner Brothers which brings us back to Song For Juli, our first release.

You're a man of broad interests. While staying in Hawaii you started to build a Waldorf School and grow organic coffee. What's the deal with coffee? 

The deal with coffee began with Connie and I buying a small farm in Kona in 1988, 2 days before we were married there. When the macnut crop failed, we decided to plant coffee. After all we were in the Kona district. Then our house burned down in Marin in the fall of 1995 in the Mount Vision Fire which took out 15,000 acres of the Point Reyes National Seashore. We decided to move to the farm and raise the kids there. They were 4 and 1 at the time of the fire. Connie was very interested in Waldorf education for them and we discovered a Waldorf kinderhaus 10 minutes from our Kona farm. We eventually bought some land and built the first buildings of what is now the Kona Pacific Waldorf School through 8th grade which eventually morphed into a charter school. We are proud to say it is still going strong at 4 times the size of the original school. And we became coffee farmers which was a stretch for a boy from NYC but turned out just as well as the school.
Our organic coffee has got to be one of the best tasting coffees in the world but the crop is small which is just as well because we prune the orchard ourselves and more acreage at this point would be beyond me.

Thank you very much for taking your time. Would you like to send a message to our readers?

I am currently writing songs for a new CD which I will hopefully record with my son Tristan and his fellow graduates from Berklee School of Music in Boston. My daughter's song writing and singing keep getting better all the time as she completes her degree at USC. I still write mostly from my own experience rather than from fantasy which seems to slow down as life goes on. But adventures do keep coming, perhaps just at a slower pace. It's all good.

Interview by Klemen Breznikar/2016
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Sunday, May 15, 2016

The Myrrors interview

I discovered The Myrrors a few years ago when they only had Burning Circles In the Sky uploaded on Youtube. I was really carried away with their unique desert-like atmosphere and got in contact for an interview (read here). Soon they issued debut on vinyl and started to record new material. Today they are very busy recording various of music material. The Myrrors are a band of very creative individuals, each also working on their own project. Their music is based on improvisations. 
Awhile back they recorded a brand new album which will officially get released on May 27, 2016. Pre-order your copy here.

Read our new interview with Nik Rayne of The Myrrors. We talked about making Entranced Earth and much more. Enjoy.

'Entranced Earth' is your upcoming album being released by Beyond Beyond Is Beyond Records. I would like if you can tell us about the concept behind it.

Entranced Earth more or less picks up where our last album Arena Negra left off, both musically and thematically. After the release of our last LP there were a lot of spare ideas sitting around the studio that we wanted to pick back up and explore, especially as we had sort of worked the kinks back out of the band and were hitting the road, jamming and seeing what worked and what didn't. As reflected by the cover of the record, the guiding light for this one ended up being minimalism - exercised in this case through cycles and variations on certain repeated themes. There is also a constant pull to bring our music closer to the dirt and the dust and the roots of the scrub.

What was the songwriting process like? Where was the album recorded?

The album was recorded at my sort of ramshackle DIY home studio here in Tucson, Arizona - the same place we cut Arena Negra. The songs mostly evolved out of jams and concepts worked out both at home and on the road, with a few exceptions being reimagined pieces shelved from the sessions for our last album. Everything on the album is built from layers of improvisation - including experiments like "Invitation Mantra," which is a loosely guided meditation on a cut-up tape loop extracted from a Lawrence Ferlenghetti poem.

Most of your cover artworks really reflects the music you play. Who is behind making those wonderful artworks?

The first album's sleeve design as well as the artwork for our side of the split we did with Cult Of Dom Keller was drawn by our former bass player. Arena Negra's is based on a wonderful photograph of a decaying nopal by Joanne Cuellar, who has taken several band photos for us as well, and the new one is simply something that I painted on the back of an old record sleeve after a particularly awakening trip out into the desert down here around Tucson. These days I'm pretty much doing all the artwork and design for the band.

Are you planning to go on tour to promote 'Entranced Earth'?

Yes! We're going to be hitting both the east and west coasts of the United States this Autumn, which will somehow be the band's first full US tour. Then we're working on arranging a return trip to Europe sometime next Spring through Fuzz Club Records. Hopefully we can keep the caravan moving after that, as we would really love to play Mexico D.F. and maybe even head down to South America, where we know a lot of folks are really enthusiastic about our music.

After proper physical release of 'Burning Circles In the Sky' you seem to get some additional motivation and you started recording more often. There was 'Solar Collector', 'Southwest Tour EP', split with Cult of Dom Keller and 'Arena Negra' album. Would you like to comment each of the mentioned releases and what's the story behind making them?

Well, the reissue of Burning Circles In The Sky kind of just happened to coincide with the band getting back together. We actually did quite a lot of recording back in the day, especially considering how short a time the band was together, but most of those recordings got lost. Solar Collector came about as a result of us testing the waters after reuniting, and was an extremely quick one-day jam recording. Work out a melody of some sort, run a take, dub to tape. Hundred handmade copies or so of that first run put together for the merch stand before Cardinal Fuzz eventually got ahold of it and asked to do a UK vinyl pressing.

Arena Negra was sort of the real "second record", or at least the first since Circles that we cut with the intention of making a long-playing album. Grant and I came into that one with little intention of imitating the band we were when we made that first album, so the recording process ended up being largely about finding the sound of the band as it exists now and trying to refocus ourselves. The sessions that went into that one were rather extensive, with a ton of scrapped material ending up on the cutting room floor, including the track that became "Funeral Ark", which ended up on our split with Cult Of Dom Keller. That one was something Casper from Fuzz Club had asked us to do a couple of years ago but the release was pushed back and it became more of an archival type thing for us. The Southwest Acoustic Session CDr was just a mono, straight-to-cassette recording I had made of a hazy acoustic jam session at Grant's house out near the hills. Most of it was a weird exploratory improvisation on the second side of the Arena Negra album spontaneously re-arranged for bouzouki, viola, flute, frame drum and tape looped voice. Messy but interesting enough, I thought, to burn some copies of for our Southwest Acoustic Session around our appearance at last year's Levitation Festival.

Each of your material is not continuation of the past but you're always coming out with something fresh and original. How does your song writing process look like?

Everything comes out of improvisation really, or at least the roots of the songs. The leaves and branches are worked out later as each piece naturally takes shape. The most recent album is a little more structured I think than Arena Negra was, probably the result of us having a clearer idea of what we wanted to do and where we were able to go. Being on the road this last year probably fed into the new album, as did the shifting landscape and a desire to draw out different aspects of our sound that we thought were not highlighted as strongly in our previous recordings. But as for trying to keep the music fresh, I can only say that we always have so many things we want to try out and squeeze onto our two meager LP sides that we really can't afford to repeat ourselves! There are always things we have wanted to include on a previous record that we didn't get the chance to do and just ended up saving it for the next one. I'd love to do some kind of triple-LP box set one of these days including some of the stranger and less typical sounds we've cut during these sessions.

Do you have any unreleased material?

As suggested, the archives are large and largely incomprehensible.

Are any members involved with any other musical project? 

Several of us play with friends around town or in various configurations when the opportunity presents itself. Grant and I have recently started studying with a Gamelan ensemble in town, which has been a really rewarding experience. Basically we're usually making music of some sort. Grant has been working for several months on an ambient early new age solo synthesizer record that he should hopefully complete soon, and Miguel has done some music for local theater productions. I've been writing some material that is a little quieter and more in a middle Eastern Folk vein than The Myrrors usual fare - maybe I'll do something with that sometime in the future.

Oh, and then there's Sky Lantern Records, the experimental music label that I started a couple years ago, which has been more or less inactive, as I've simply been too busy to keep up and put together new releases. I hope to kick that back into gear sometime this year and get some more wonderful music out there, as I'm always hearing new sounds that I can't believe aren't getting released by anyone already!

In the past few years we've seen a vinyl revival and lately there is an interest in releasing music on tapes, which was a few years back pretty much dead. What's you opinion about old music formats coming back to live? 

Human beings are tactile animals, and real musicians will always be artists who often tend to get excited about presentation. The cursed economic side of music is always changing, and rarely for the better, but I think a re-emphasis on the value inherent in these formats has the chance to let musicians reclaim some of the earnings they are losing out on through media uploading and sharing sites. Throw a download code into a cassette tape and people might get excited about paying musicians for their work again, as you get something to bring home with you.

Before we say goodbye I would love if you can share some music you recently discovered.

That beautiful anthology of Paul Bowles' Moroccan recordings from the 1950s that Dust To Digital issued and that new Träd, Gräs Och Stenar box set have largely taken over my life, but one mindblowing recent discovery was Hartmut Geerken's Rock and Free Jazz Group Kabul, a radical mid-seventies Afghan Avant-Rock ensemble that also collaborated with the legendary John Tchicai. Sets me dreaming of the day when the land of my father can give birth to music like that again!

Thank you for your time. Last words are yours.

Might as well mention some other projects we've taken part in that are a little more under-the-radar than our new full-length: we've contributed an unreleased recording to a 2LP set benefiting victims of the recent earthquakes in Nepal put together by Evil Hoodoo Records; an exclusive 45 that will be coming with the new issue of Optical Sounds Magazine out of England; and a split single on the God Unknown Record Club. Another split release is in the works to that we're all very excited about, but we'll keep that one under wraps for the time being. Keep an ear wide for tour date announcements and, as our friend Christos would say, yamas!

Interview by Klemen Breznikar/2016
© Copyright

Friday, May 13, 2016

British Psychedelic Folk issue

We are proud to announce our British Psychedelic Folk issue, which will get released by Guerssen Records in the following months. Everything is almost complete. We are currently in a phase of proof-reading. We have a few places left for advertising (bands, labels, stores should get in contact for ad rates). 
Cover artwork was made by Justin Jackley. I had an idea to capture the pastoral scene of Britain and Justin made illustration full of symbolism (Trees, Comus, Stonehenge, Wicker Man). I gave my very best to make this a special issue and I managed to interview members of:
Incredible String Band 
Fairport Convention
Fresh Maggots 
Magna Carta 
Stonefield Tramp 
Magic Carpet 
Courtyard Music Group 
Bob Theil 
Can AM Des Puig 
Mellow Candle 

We will keep you posted how things are rolling along. Those who would like to purchase other two issues please click here or see below.

USA Loner Folk Special
Available at:

for USA readers:
Texas Psych Special
Available at:

Thursday, May 12, 2016

The Kitchen Cinq

The Kitchen Cinq - When The Rainbow Disappears: An Anthology 1965-1968
Light In The Attic (double vinyl edition)

Since way back in the early 1980s when some of us (at that time) young ones were busy discovering all manner of beat, garage and psychedelic sounds from the 1960s for the first time, a good pal of mine took a chance upon a rather odd looking album by an obscure, weirdly named group who called themselves The Kitchen Cinq. No sooner had he got it home to the flat and dropped the needle on it than we were immediately sold, being drawn in and furthermore altogether smitten by the breadth of vibrant, lively beat sounds being offered up on each of the featured cuts we were hearing. 

The title of the album, Everything But... The Kitchen Cinq, had originally been released on Lee Hazlewood's Los Angeles based LHI label back in mid-1967 but the group themselves originally hailed from Amarillo, in Texas: Jim Parker (guitar and vocals), Johnny Stark (drums and vocals), Mark Creamer (lead guitar, organ, harmonica and vocals), Dallas Smith (bass) and Dale Gardner (lead vocals) had already recorded a rather excellent 45 under the name "The Y'Alls" for the Ruff label in 1966. Here was a disc that pitted a terrific version of the Beatles' Revolver cut "Run For Your Life" with some scorching teen punk majesty in the shape of one of their own compositions, the supremely infectious "Please Come Back". For the making of their album, however, and with the hope of a thrill-filled life beyond the confines of their less glamorous Texas upbringing, these smart teenage hopefuls grasped the opportunity afforded them by their managers, and industry moguls and lit out for the bright lights of Hollywood and the beckoning rock'n'roll dream. Johnny Stark and Mark Creamer's "Determination", alongside Jim Parker's "Young Boy" and a different, later take of the afore-mentioned "Please Come Back" its title now amended to "Please Come Back To Me" (Stark and Creamer again) are inherently strong, energetic and intentional examples of the group's efforts at the craft of songwriting, not to mention their striking vocal abilities; three and occasionally four-part harmonies filling out the sound as well as showcasing a natural ability to conjure up some truly great, and thoroughly holistic-sounding pop moments. The Kitchen Cinq's inventiveness and keen drive are evidenced time and time again throughout the original album tracks and, here too, beyond, and before. 
"Determination" itself is an unstoppable juggernaut of commercial sounding garage punk treasure, while Parker's equally heartfelt capturing of the essence of youth in song that is "Young Boy" is both thought-provoking and breathtaking in its measure. "If You Think", penned by LHI staff writers Raul Danks and John Taylor, meanwhile successfully channels the path of folk-pop introspection and whilst it's over all too quickly there is something truly magical in its overall brevity. And who could forget the splendid, if cautionary intonation of this collection's splendid title track written by Bob Corso, "When The Rainbow Disappears", their final '67 release for Hazlewood's outlet, but - as was the bulk of the sessions for the album - recorded back in the final months of '66. Although this 45 was to also cinq (ouch) without much trace at the time, it remains one of the group's defining moments, yet where the emphasis is dialled more towards the now somewhat more prominent psychedelic sound! This and the hugely appealing jangling, and echo-fueled guitar dynamics that can be heard throughout are part and parcel of what makes The Kitchen Cinq's rather unique sound. And on the opening track "You'll Be Sorry Someday" there is what set compiler and producer Alec Palao calls these "dead air" pauses, or as I tend to think of them; great, expectant cliff-hanger stop/start instances which throw you every time. Genius! This too was written by Bob Corso. He was a friend of Hazlewood's that was brought in to help the group try to find more potential hit-making material at the time. Anyone know of anything else that Corso has done? 

Specifically, those above-named tracks remain among the core highlights of The Kitchen Cinq's recorded works, all of which has recently been compiled for release on When The Rainbow Disappears: A Kitchen Cinq Anthology 1965-1968 issued by US specialist label Light In The Attic. The original album would also feature a brace of thoroughly convincing, and well-played covers, including The Hollies "I Can't Let Go", Neil Diamond's "Solitary Man", and a tremendous version of Hazlewood's own "Need All The Help I Can Get"; also issued in a version by The Kitchen Cinq's assigned producer Suzi Jane Hokom. The group also delivered up a supremely intense version of Buffy-Saint Marie's oft-covered (but seldom bettered) "Codine". This hard-hitting tale of woe was much beloved by the burgeoning freak-scene. 

Largely ignored for decades by all but those ardent admirers of mid-to-late 60s rock'n'roll beat raunch, US specialist label Light In The Attic has recently teamed up with core members of The Kitchen Cinq, alongside 60s chronicler extraordinaire and super-fan Alec Palao to put together this long-anticipated overhaul and re-evaluation of The Kitchen Cinq's lone long-player, here resplendent with an attendant cache of forty-five sides - including largely unsung beauties such as "Ellen's Fancies (Ride The Wind)" and Al Kooper's wonderfully atypical "The Street Song". There are also some remarkable, hitherto unheard demos here, among them Jim Parker's strangely compelling "Figareaux", a raw 'n alive garage romp called "Try" and a cool, spirited bash through everyone's favourite three-chord early punk-style smasher, the Them perennial "Gloria", all done as by The Illusions. Also praiseworthy is their adept reading of Goffin & King's elegant pop panorama "Wasn't It You" also covered by top London mod beats The Action. That this sensational compendium can now usher the music of this long-forgotten 60s Texas combo into the homes of those who have been seriously appreciating these kinds of sounds forever is nothing short of a revelation. Not only that, but The Kitchen Cinq's Anthology should also prove a hugely rewarding experience for those still out there who dig to hear such sounds but haven't, up until now, been acquainted with the 'Cinq's many, various and versatile talents. Yeah! And about time too!

Interview with Jim Parker, Mark Creamer and Johnny Stark of The Kitchen Cinq by Lenny Helsing.

Just for some background info and context, the five-piece rock'n'roll group The Kitchen Cinq originally hailed from the town of Amarillo, in Texas, and had been operating throughout the early-mid 1960s, firstly under the name The Illusions, issuing one disc for Dot before releasing a tremendous piece of teen punk on 45 for the Ruff label as The Y'Alls, coupling a sonic, fuzz-driven take of The Beatles' "Run For Your Life" with their own exquisite "Please Come Back". Soon after they would split for Hollywood on the advice of their managers, signing a deal with Lee Hazlewood's newly-birthed LHI label. But before any new recordings were released, the group was given a new name, The Kitchen Cinq, and would then go on to issue a bunch of great singles and one solid LP, Everything But... The Kitchen Cinq which LHI released in USA and Canada during the spring of 1967! All this and much much more is unveiled in the accompanying booklet of When The Rainbow Disappears - A Kitchen Cinq Anthology 1965-68 issued recently on CD and vinyl courtesy of Seattle-based label Light In The Attic. 

Lenny Helsing: First of all I can't tell you how excited I am for those people who don't have to search high and low any more to find copies of your original album and singles. How does it feel to know that the material of The Kitchen Cinq is now currently available on both CD and vinyl courtesy of the good people who run the Light In The Attic label. It's certainly good news for those people who are already fans of the group, and for those, perhaps, younger folks who are potential fans and appreciators of the group?

Jim Parker: Let me thank you for your part in making this project possible. You were a player in this too! I am pleased that our recordings have all been put on "old/new school" vinyl and digitally re-mastered for the CD. Alec Palao did a marvelous job on the booklet and liner notes. I hope it does generate some more appreciation for our skill level at the time. Truly a wonderful feeling of being validated for some of our earliest efforts in the business of music.

Mark Creamer: I am so flattered that Light In The Attic produced the Anthology… and the fact that it was packaged so beautifully and not only with CDs but with actual VINYL just makes the feeling more special.

Johnny Stark: It feels great to have our songs out there again. It is nice to see the additional cuts which were recorded here in Texas. You know everything is bigger here. Very nice to know we have fans and that the material must have stood the test of time. You know I've always heard that "everything old is new". I guess that's true. Love the fans and so glad they enjoy our music. Really wish that Dallas and Dale could be here to enjoy this.

Lenny: Can you give a little background information to our readers as to how this all came to be, and how long this has been in the pipeline?

Jim: I was totally blindsided by the call from Alec Palao early 2014 asking if he could come to my home in Alabama and interview me in person. I’ve been approached by others over the years who interview me over the phone or emails for their websites and blogs so that was impressive to start with. I had the feeling that this was legitimate and that The Kitchen Cinq Anthology was going to come together after 50 years. After my initial call from Alec I told him Mark Creamer was in California and gave him his contact information so he could interview him first.

Alec came to my house and hit the record button from his first step in, through lunch, to his last step out. I was moved by his questions and depth of his knowledge of the Cinq. He actually knew more about our works than we did collectively. I supplied many photos and articles I had saved over the years. I was kind of the historian of the group. I have acetates of some of our work.

I had been in touch with Johnny Stark over the years but his numbers had changed and he dropped off Facebook. I got the number for Suzi Jane Hokom, our producer, from Alec and had a pleasant chat with her. Her sister is Johnny's ex-wife so she contacted him and had him call me for the good news. Alec and Johnny made contact at that point. 

Mark: It has been at least a couple of years in the making. When Jim first called me, I was working in Bakersfield, CA and was so surprised that anyone would be interested in what we had done so many years before.
I got a call from a wonderful gentleman named Alec Palao and we made arrangements for him to come to Bakersfield for a "chat". I had no idea that Alec would be so incredibly prepared for this little chat. He had copies of music that we had done that (frankly) I had forgotten. Bear in mind that I had been doing all kinds of music since we recorded those songs, so I can blame my forgetfulness on either the mass of music that I had worked on …or my (gulp) age.

Johnny: Alec Palao made this his project. I was told that he found the album in the $1 bin of a record shop in London. After he moved to the US, he played it at raves on the west coast and got positive reviews. He went to work at Light in the Attic and convinced them to reissue it along with the additional tracks.

Best tracks for me I guess would be "Codine", "Determination", "Ellen's Fancies" and "Still In Love With You Baby".

Lenny: The new collection, 'When The Rainbow Disappears - A Kitchen Cinq Anthology 1965-1968', has some extra material recorded in the group's early days when you were known as first The Illusions, then as The Y'Alls. Are you happy that these songs are finally out there for the fans and the still curious to hear, and what are one or two of your favorites from this period?

Jim: I am ecstatic to have something like this project to pass to my children and grandchildren. From the Illusions I liked our first release on Dot that didn’t make the cut because of technical issue. It was one I wrote that I would sing over the phone and could put any girl's name in and have them think I wrote it for them. "Don’t Put Me Down". As for the early tunes I think "Run For Your Life" and "Determination" and "Young Boy".

Mark: Again, I am absolutely flattered and very happy that these recordings are available. Not only for the newly found friends of the band but also for myself. I now have a single source for all of the music that we did back then.

As far as my favorites go ... It is just so wonderful to be able to revisit this incredible collection. What I now take from it are the memories that are brought back to me …in full fidelity and technicolor. Things like my dad playing on one of the recordings ... Watching Jim, Dale, and Johnny singing … Reviewing just exactly where Suzi Jane was sitting when I finished singing the ending segment of "The Street Song". It was that she was sitting in the control room with her back to the glass. There was this incredibly long pause when I finished. She didn’t move ...she didn’t speak. I started wondering what was wrong …either with her or with the way that I sang. I was finally asked to come in to the control room and found (to my relief) that she was, in reality, moved by the song and was without words. Whew! 
Favorites? I really don’t have just one or two. That is just who we were …where we were …and what we were doing. I love them all for that.

Johnny: The name The Y'alls was just on the Ray Ruff record. We never played under that name. I might add that by the time we arrived in Hollywood the band could play about 350 tunes. Everything from "Big Balls In Cowtown" to "Summer In The City".

Lenny: I love that the packaging too has some real exciting information and pictures contained within it. The full colour photograph used in the gatefold, of the group stylishly bathed in a swirling psychedelic light show, for example, really brings the vinyl presentation alive. What can you remember of shows like this the group played at? 

Jim: That photo was taken at the famous Cheetah on the Santa Monica Pier. It was one of the coolest places any band could play since it was the legendary Aragon Ballroom in Ocean Park. That was the first place my Mom and Dad came to see us play since our arrival. Dad brought his ear plugs. I guess we were loud but the ballroom was huge. It was a social-dance venue opened in 1942, my birth year and was 14,000 square feet. A few of the bands that played there were The Grateful Dead, The Doors, Pink Floyd, Alice Cooper, Iron Butterfly and more between 1967-1970. I felt like we were doing pretty good and keeping good company. I always looked forward to something besides a bar gig although the Whiskey A Go Go was cool. I have an article about us that evening in my personal scrap book.

Mark: My hat is off to the wonderful people at Light In The Attic. The whole package is an incredible piece of work. Alec Palao is a genius. The liner notes are a thing of true art and a manifestation of what had to have been many … many long hours. I’m so grateful that I was able to spend some time with him.
I guess that we need to write a book about those "times" with the band.

Johnny: It was time for me to go. LHI placed (the group) in the studio with other players cutting the music and I would never allow that to happen. I was the drummer and that was that.

Lenny: You were signed up to put out records through Lee Hazlewood's LHI label outlet and indeed you were one of the first acts to do so, the idea being that you guys were gonna help launch the label and in the process both The Kitchen Cinq and LHI were gonna smash the charts and reap the benefits of such a success - the name change came courtesy of your manager Tom Thacker as it was thought the previous name The Y'Alls was alright for a group still residing in Amarillo, Texas, but would sound way too parochial and goofy if you wanted to be a part of the new, modern Hollywood pop elite - but of course the reality of the group's success was kinda different wasn't it?

Jim: Absolutely! It was tumultuous from my point of view. I was married and had responsibilities. We were not that well organized in that our managers were both doing other jobs. Tom was running LHI and Red was on the road doing his "singer/songwriter/cowboy" thing. There was no strategic plan except to chase the areas that we were getting airplay in and book us. I don't know if there was an independent record promoter working our single but I do know we had a publicist who I don't recall ever interfacing with. We were out there with no support and hungry since we were not receiving any money when we were touring. There was a time when unnamed members would "lift" items from the corner markets because we were broke. When we returned from Atlanta Georgia my 1963 Chevy Super Sport, 2 door hardtop, 4 in the floor, was being repossessed because our "accountant" had not paid my $75.00 a month payment. We got it taken care of before I lost it. Rock 'n Roll heaven Lenny!

Mark: There were all kinds of trials and tribulations with the band. Music, places, with many very funny happenings that were separated by lots of driving and a few moments of equipment related terror.

With my newly found memories, I can truly say that I loved it all.

Johnny: Jim, Mark and myself came together later to write and record under the name Armageddon with an album of the same name issued in 1969 on the Amos label. A lot of growth between the the talents.

That's about all I can remember as it has been so long ago. I would like to thank you again Lenny for your time and wonderful reviews. Love & Miracles, Johnny.

Review and interview by Lenny Helsing/2016
© Copyright