Guerssen Records are going to release this WILD FUZZ monster around November. This is really an amazing find as far as underground psychedelia goes. Do you still remember when we did an interview with 'Cerebrum'? Well, they are in the same league and thanks to the label I did an interview with one of the members of 'Shock'.
'Guerssen Records' announced a few days ago a major find in Spanish 'underground' and I was really excited to check this fresh discovery. I was absolutely amazed what an acid fuzz monster this is. There is nothing known about you guys. Let's start at the beginning. Where were you from and what can you tell us about your music backgrounds?
We were from Madrid, Spain, but one of the members, although born in Spain, was of Belgian origin. Our musical background goes back to 1963-64, we were following the latest musical trends: The Shadows, The Spotnicks and later The Beatles, The Kinks, Rolling Stones...
I'm sure, that you were probably in some other bands before forming 'Shock'.
Yes, we started playing in different bands since 1965: Selvis, Spot, Cosacos, Boxer, Alta Tensión, Momia, etc. At first, we only did cover versions of our fave bands, trying to imitate their sound but soon after we moved forward new sounds and styles.
When was 'Shock' formed and who were the members of the band?
Shock was formed in 1969-1970. The original line-up was: Juan Robles Cánovas (drummer, later a member of famous Spanish band C.R.A.G), Frederic Siret Depiesse (bass, he had dual Spanish-Belgian citizenship), Juan Martín Rueda (rhythm guitar), Antonio Quintana Fernández (singer) and José Luis Gordo Álvarez (lead guitar). Cánovas left the band to join prog-rock band Franklin and Bernabé Hernández Ortega took his place.
What are some bands, that influenced you back then?
We were very influenced by bands such like Led Zeppelin and Santana.
Awhile ago I interviewed another great Spanish band called 'Cerebrum'. Do you know them?
Yes, they were a very innovative band, I remember going to some of their shows, they were pretty good! In those years in Madrid, Cerebrum, Franklin and Shock were part of the Underground scene but each band had their own sound.
Let's talk about material, that 'Guerssen Records' will put out. What is background of this recordings and what can you tell us about this unreleased songs. Where and when were they recorded?
After many years of playing cover versions of famous tunes which suited our style, we learned that we needed to start playing our own kind of music, we wanted to do something different which would produce a big impact on the audience. Since that moment, thanks to the experience acquired and our big hopes, we started writing our own material. We opted for an aggressive acid, heavy rhythm sound without long instrumental jams or any soul-blues influence. All of our tacks had a similar vibe and we wanted to "shock" our audience.
In 1970 we entered the Sintonía Studios in Madrid for the recording of a radio jingle. Once there, we managed to record a professional demo which turned to be a finished LP. Ten sung in English original tracks were recorded. The owners of Sintonía liked so much the recordings that they offered us a deal for the release of one album on their label: Espectra / Sintonía, famous for being the Spanish label of artists like The Equals. The Shock album was going to be the first LP by a Spanish band released on the label. The album was never released but I kept a copy of the master.
What would you tell us about concerts. Did 'Shock' played any live shows? If so what were the reaction from the audience?
Shock live shows before the album recording consisted of well-chosen covers from bands like Led Zeppelin, Santana, Guess Who, Free, Steppenwolf, Hendrix...We combined those covers along with with self-written tracks and we noticed a good feedback from the audience. We played all the main clubs from Madrid: JJ, Picadilly, Cadena Consulado, Galaxia 2001, Caravell...We also played in Zaragoza (Papagayo Club) and León.
After the album was recorded, we didn't play any more shows cause the label wanted to preserve the repertoire and name of the band for an important album launch party. We prepared a new show featuring all the tracks in the same way and running order as they appeared on the intended album. We played a few shows under another name with the intention of test the new material on the audience and the reaction was positive, especially when we played tracks like "I want to laugh", "What's your name", "Mister Harris", "I'm being mad", "Every Sunday"...Sadly, the awaited album launch party show never happened.
What were some of the other bands, that you shared stage together?
Before the recording of the album, we shared the stage with names like Sirex, Juan y Junior, Bravos, Módulos, Reflejos...
Were 'psychedelic' drugs part of the band?
No!! We never considered necessary to be under any drug influence to create or play music.
What would you say is the main reason, that you never released an LP back than and how do you feel know so many years later with the upcoming release of your material?
We'll never know it for sure. In my opinion I think it was due to commercial reasons and a lack of understanding between Espectra / Sintonía (owner of the rights at the time) and EMI (the label which later signed us for the recording of a 45).
The release of the lost Shock album more than forty years later is really surprising! We come to live again after all those years, It's really amazing. For us it's like a dream come true. We're very grateful to Guerssen and all the people who are showing an interest in Shock. Without their motivation and knowledge, this miracle would have never happened and Shock would still be another mysterious Spanish psych band.
Were you in any other music related project after the band disbanded and since we talk about this, when exactly did you disbanded?
No, I wasn't. The only member who continued in the music scene until a few years ago was our drummer Bernabé Hernández. He was a member of a professional band for many years. The main reason for our rupture was the Obligatory Military Service, which altered and killed our career. Another reason was the economic crisis from 1972-73. There was less work for live bands and the live clubs were turning into discotheques with DJs instead of live bands. When we returned from the Military Service, our situation was precarious so we called it to an end.
Are you still in contact with other members of the band?
Yes! I'm in touch with two of the members, Juan Martín (rhythm guitar) and Bernabé Hernández (drummer). I lost track of the other members (Frederic Siret and Antonio Quintana) many years ago. I'd love to track them down, give them a copy of the Guerssen album and try to reunite all the group again.
Thank you very much for the interview. Would you like to send a message to It's Psychedelic Baby readers?
Thanks to you for your support and for giving us the opportunity to re-emerge from oblivion and share our story and music. I wish there had been more people who understood and felt music like you or the Guerssen guys at the time. We would have a large musical legacy and other musical ideas would have not been lost forever.
Interview made by Klemen Breznikar / 2012
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