Tag Archives: Psychedelic music

Digging Deep – The Roots of Punk/Psychedelia

1 Nov

Are you in a psychedelic mood? Well, if not, let me get you in one. The Deep is a perfect example of an obscure classic rock band, one that has been often overlooked by fans of the protopunk and psychedelic genres of music. The band achieved virtually no success (unlike their Cameo-Parkway label mates Question Mark and the Mysterians who scored big with their 1966 hit “96 Tears”) and are rarely mentioned in today’s discussions about inspirational 60s bands. The Deep is categorically underrated and this is unfair. They only released one album (under the name The Deep) and it is quite possible that The Deep were more of a studio band; they did not tour to support their only release Psychedelic Moods. But that one album should have provided the band with a little more popularity.

The Deep was formed in Philadelphia during the mid-60s. Greenwich Village folk musician Rusty Evans (Marcus Uzilevsky) took on the role of lead guitarist and singer-songwriter. Past him, the identity of the rest of the band members is shrouded in a bit of mystery. We have names, but nothing is confirmed. Actually, folk musician David Bromberg is thought to have played on the debut release, but the tracks which he played on are unknown.

Psychedelic Moods does have one claim to fame. It was released in October of 1966. *Disclaimer* – this next comment is subject to an ongoing debate. The Blues Magoos’ Psychedelic Lollipop was released on November 1 of 1966 and The Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators by the 13th Floor Elevators was released later in November. The Deep is thought to be the first band to employ the word psychedelic on an album name. Neat, right? It may or may not be true. Who knows? But it seems plausible. That is not why I think they should have received more attention. Why should they have? Their distinct blend of protopunk and psychedelic music was fuzzy, warm, infectious, and ahead of its time. That’s why.

“Color Dreams” is a great example of an experimental band. You can tell that they are mixing a concoction of psychedelic and garage rock/protopunk. It is tasty. The song’s base is a normal riff and vocal. Layered on this foundation, like moussakka, is a soft portion of strange noises, light piano, and muddled voices. In 1966, this psychedelic experimentation was fresh and exciting. The Deep was one of the first bands to capture this sound.

“Trip #76” is a repetitive piece that plays with a basic, somewhat shrill guitar riff. It reminds me a lot of music that the psychedelic band Love produced around the same time. Drawn-out poetry, repetitive riffs; garage psychedelia at its finest and earliest!

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60’s Band of the Week: Adrian Pride and The Comfortable Chair

8 Jun

Band/Artist: Adrian Pride (Bernie Schwartz)

Origin: West Coast

Genre: Pop Psychedelic

Name: Adrian Pride was a pseudonym for Bernie Schwartz (not to be confused with actor Tony Curtis who was born Bernard Schwartz) that was created by producer (at the time) Phil Everly of the Everly Brothers. Apparently, people do not like the name Bernie Schwartz.

History:

Like I said above, Adrian Pride was the false name of Bernie Schwartz, a West Coast musician with Psychedelic Pop aspirations. And while Adrian Pride does sound like an awesome, but corny superhero, Schwartz only recorded under the name once. Yes, once. He used Pride for his dreamy meditation “Her Name is Melody,” an apt title for a song that attempts to lure listeners into its constant rhythm, eastern guitar and melodic vocals. This example of psychedelic pop is from 1966 and was produced by The Everly Brothers. Well all you have to do is dream, dream, dream. Right? I couldn’t help it.

Unfortunately, “Her Name is Melody” (and its B-side “I Go To Sleep” – Kinks cover) did not chart and fell off into the realm of psychedelic nuggets of the late 60s. It was picked up by a compilation CD and you can still hear it today if you search for rare psychedelic gems.

After his Adrian Pride phase, Schwartz became one of the vocalists for late 60s band Comfortable Chair, yet another obscure West Coast psychedelic sunshine band. And while The Everly Brothers originally produced Schwartz’s music, Jim Morrison of the Doors found Comfortable Chair and Doors’ drummer John Densmore and Doors’ guitarist Robbie Kreiger happened to produce Comfortable Chair’s first album in 1969. The album went nowhere and the band found no success outside of the sinking late 60’s psychedelic scene.

Adrian Pride, Bernie Schwartz, Comfortable Chair. Schwartz represents a large group of unheard 60’s musicians who were lost in the crowded sea of popular musicians. But you can still hear his music if you search. Here is “Her Name is Melody.”

http://therisingstorm.net/audio/her-name-is-melody-1.mp3

What is the Best 1960’s Psychedelic Sub-Genre

15 May

Every post I do about psychedelic music must be prefaced by a piece of computer psychedelic artwork. It is a necessity. Over the past couple of weeks, I have put together posts for the section entitled “60’s Psychedelic Experiment – What is 60s Psychedelic Music.” The section has explored numerous types of psychedelic music. Most similarly to Indie music today, Psychedelic music was a fad genre that took on several sub-genres. I say “fad” genre because it is not a main modern music genre like pop, rock or blues. Psychedelic music was a rather obscure genre that took shape because of its temporary popularity.

I love psychedelic music. It is one of the reasons why I first got into listening to true classic rock (rock before 1973 with the exception of a few bands like Boston and Thin Lizzy). The question that I pose in this poll is what is the best type of 1960s psychedelic music. There are more sub-genres than options in the poll below, but since psychedelic music spawns genres within genres (an Inception twist), I’d rather keep it simple. Plus, remember, we are not including sub-genres like Kraut Rock, Art Rock, and Progressive Rock, because besides a few early examples, these sub-genres burgeoned in the 1970s, uncharted territory for this post. Below are a few big sub-genres that contain most psychedelic songs. I will include an example of the genre as well. Happy Voting.

Psychedelic Folk: “Elevator Man” by Kaleidoscope

Psychedelic Garage Rock: “You’re Gonna Miss Me” by 13th Floor Elevators

Psychedelic Soul: “Everyday People” by Sly and the Family Stone

Psychedelic Pop: “Incense and Peppermints” by Strawberry Alarm Clock

Psychedelic Acid Rock: “Purple Haze” by Jimi Hendrix Experience


The Psychedelic Experiment – Art Rock – Emerson Lake & Palmer “The Three Fates”

27 Apr

Totally Arting It Up

Psychedelic music inspired many talented performers to explore rock n’ roll’s endless possibilities. At its root, psychedelic music is experimental, and like any pioneering scientific discoveries, it engenders more research and, well, experimenting. While psychedelic music has numerous sub-genres, even more striking is the amount of genre manipulation that happened after the wave of psychedelia came to a near-end in the late 1960’s. I say near-end because psychedelic music never truly ended. But since it experienced a wave of popularity in the mid-late 60’s, it naturally became less popular. I know that I called this section the 60’s psychedelic experiment, but it is equally important to describe music that was created directly after the initial boom. I’m talking about the early 1970’s, which saw the rise of progressive rock and art rock, two genres that owe their creation to the success of psychedelic music. In a sense, art and progressive rock are both the complex expansion of psychedelic experimentation featuring music that concentrates on intricate and lengthy melodies combined with either a classical musical approach or more modern representation.

How did that paragraph go down? Smoothly, I hope. Seriously, the progression of Rock music is sometimes bulky, and this time period saw several changes to how rock would evolve. Art and progressive rock evolved from psychedelic music. Emerson, Lake & Palmer (ELP) was composed for Keith Emerson, from the psychedelic rock band The Nice, Greg Lake, from the late 60’s prog-rock band King Crimson, and drummer Carl Palmer who played in the Crazy World of Arthur Brown and Atomic Rooster. These three musicians composed one of the first Art Rock supergroups and their music reached for the classical portion of Art rock.

In my opinion, art and progressive rock are practically the same term. But, one of the key differences is progressive rock tends to focus more on guitars. As evidenced by the piece I am including, ELP swayed more towards piano and keyboards.

“The Three Fates” is the first song off of side two of their debut eponymous album. It is split up into three parts, each named for a mythical figure (Clotho, Lachesis, and Atropos). The piano playing is extraordinary. Keith Emerson is skillful beyond words. The ode to classical music is clear and this classifies the music as 1970 Art rock. So, you may be thinking, how does this apply to psychedelic music? Travel to around 5:30 in the song. Okay, this is Jazz-rock. But, wait, what are all of the background sounds and the musical layering and strange notation. Yes, this is psychedelic music of the 1960’s kicked up a notch to fit into the genres of Jazz and Classical. It is Art rock, and a perfect example of the evolution of psychedelic music.

“Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In” by The 5th Dimension – Psychedelic Soul

12 Apr

Psychedelic soul is one of the most thought-provoking spawns of the psychedelic music movement. It initially seems like an impossible breed. Soul and Psychedelic are two different animals, right? Actually, no. Let’s break both genres down. Soul music is based in gospel and rhythm and blues. At the time of the psychedelic revolution, soul’s rhythms were morphing into the nascent phase of funk. Psychedelic music is characterized by eccentric instrumentation, keyboard and odd melody. These two genres can mesh. Rhythm and blues combined with psychedelic instrumentation form a brand of music that is fresh and different.

After Jimi Hendrix, who combined R&B and rock, added psychedelic to the mix, he proved that the two genres fit together like puzzle pieces. Other bands were inspired to take the leap into this style of music. The 5th Dimension, with strong foundations in melodic soul and pop, released “Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In” in 1969, recording a medley of the two songs that had appeared in the musical “Hair.” What came of this combination was tremendous success.

What makes this song psychedelic? The lyric fits the parameter. It is based in astrological belief and zany extraterrestrial writing is perfect for psychedelic music. Though, the lyric is not the tell-tale sign of psychedelic soul. The strong musical base beneath the heavenly harmonies fulfills the qualifications. The song is also two full parts (the first medley to ever hold the #1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart), and both parts are certifiable psychedelic soul (in their own ways). Let’s discuss part one first.

Listen up to 2:18. The whistle and percussion that comes before the opening lyric provides a mystical sound that gets listeners in the mood to hear something different. The first verse is psychedelic, no doubt. It has a keyboard backing and is airy. The chorus then comes and starts moving like a R&B/Soul/Pop song. The horns and harmonies keep us in the psychedelic realm. The second verse features even stronger keyboard and whispered backing vocals that demonstrate creative vocal interplay. The song is playing with both psychedelic and soul music in the first portion. The strong soul and R&B is not really there in the first part, despite the chorus which tinkers with these elements. Then, press play at 2:18, and woah!

The bass guitar and horns drive the song into soul music. Wow. Listen to that bass guitar. What is this? This is psychedelic soul. Hear the keyboard backing turn to more traditional piano? The transition into this soul exploration is awesome. The backing harmony and horns are still psychedelic, but that psychedelic feel has been replaced with R&B and Soul and this is genius. The songs feature different strengths. The first part is more psychedelic, while the second part is more based in soul.

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