Thursday, May 29, 2008

10 Questions

Bittersweet. One word encapsulating a myriad swarm of emotions about the truth of the situation regarding today's survey respondent. A founder member of a band which will (we hope) celebrate a quarter century of existence next year. As many releases as years extant. Yet for all their "stick-to-it-iveness" they remain virtually and criminally underknown to all but the most genre-obsessed, this despite the best efforts of newspapers and the 'zine scene cognoscenti to hoist their banner and ballyhoo their releases. One need only look to the tracklist of Children Of Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the Second Psychedelic Era - 1976-1995, to confirm the head-shaking reality-and an epic failure imho, to give this band their just due. (How in the HELL do they get left off THAT compilation?!)

OK, enough soapboxing. This is a celebration! We are honored to present to you, dear readers, a true Titan of the psychedelic genre: Jeff Kelly of the GREEN PAJAMAS!!!

1. In ten words-or less, define "psychedelic music."

Music that encapsulates the state of being high. Loping bass.

2. What is the most psychedelic instrument, why?

Loping bass, because McCartney did it. Actually I might say Baroque chamber music instruments, like the harpsichord and cello. They very much figured into a lot of psychedelic music.

3. Favorite psychedelic album of all time?

I'd have to say 'Pepper.' I know that's predictable but why wouldn't it be, you know? Second: the U.S. 'Magical Mystery Tour' L.P. which my sister and I gave each other for Christmas in December, 1967. Other, non-Beatle faves would be 'The Twain Shall Meet' by Eric Burden and The Animals, 'After Bathing at Baxter's' by The Jefferson Airplane and 'Spirit of '67' by Paul Revere and The Raiders. Believe it or not, I got all of those when they were new! I remember being so happy that 'Sky Pilot' was not split in half on the album, as the single was! 'After Bathing At Baxter's' was a birthday present from my cousin Sheri. I was just 9 or 10 years old. Of course I loved 'Satanic Majesty's Request' and 'High Tide and Green Grass.'

4. You can travel back in time and sit in on any recording session; which band making what album do you choose?

Beatles, 'Sgt. Pepper.' I really don't have to travel back in time: my family got the World Book encyclopedias, and I remember very well the yearbook for 1967 showed a picture of the Beatles recording Sgt. Pepper in the studio, with these unidentified people just sitting in chairs, watching them working. I looked at that picture for hours it seems, wishing I could have been one of those people sitting in the chairs.

5. What song or album that wouldn't fall into the classic "psych" definition is, nevertheless, psychedelic to you?

My personal mix CD: 'The Best of Curve.' One of the greatest records of all time, sadly never released. Though I don't think they would call themselves "psych." But I do, though it's more "psex" than "psych." Very dark and psexy. I have all of their records.

6. What psychedelic album do you wish more people knew about?

My mix CD: The Best of Curve

7. What band, active today, most defines "psychedelic" to you?

You know, it's funny, I don't really know. I don't follow it much now. I think, if they are still making records, Curve. The new Jesse Sykes album leans in that direction a bit... But I don't know - I wish I had the time to listen to it all...all those bands on MySpace. Mira, to a certain degree. In fact that whole Ethereal Underground has much in common with it all. I might also say some people I'm fond of, Thought Forms.

8. What album would you most like to cover in its entirety, why?

Nothing really I don't think! It's hard enough to remember the chords to my own songs when we decide to do them with the live band. I've never had patience enough to sit down and figure out other people's songs. And they're brilliant already - what would I add? That said, I did enjoy doing the tracks for the Mojo Kinks and Beatles tribute CDs. But a whole album??

9. Top Ten Psychedelic Songs?

Well, it would probably all be Beatles really, starting of course with I Am The Walrus. But if we factor that out, here are 10, not in order. I'll probably forget a lot of favorites, but maybe...

The Porpoise Song The Monkees
Itchycoo Park Small Faces
Journey to the Center of the Mind Amboy Dukes
Wires Moving Parts
San Francisco Girls Fever Tree
She's A Rainbow The Rolling Stones
Pictures of Matchstick Men Status Quo
This Can't Be Today Rain Parade
All Along the Watchtower or maybe 1983 Jimi Hendrix
Hurdy-Gurdy Man Donovan

But, you know, there are hundreds more. All I did as a kid was sit in my bedroom and listen to that stuff.

10. Turn the tables, if you'd like, and ask me a question.

Jeff: Pray tell, why do you think The Green Pajamas are psychedelic?

valis: Quite simply, the band affects a mind change in me. (And I'm well aware of the perfect symmetry of a band being created out of a mutual love of the Beatles "Rain" and said band being from Seattle.That is NOT ironic, it's symbolic.)
To wit: Doctor Dragonfly; My Vist With Magpie; Rattlesnake Kiss; The Ravenna Witch, No.1; Bronte Moon; Deadly Nightshade, etc., and so on, ad inf!

Or, as the esteemed former Editor of the Ptolemaic Terrascope, Phil McMullen, said: "The Pajamas somehow manage to sound like holding two kaleidoscopes side by side and using them as binoculars to see the future of rock'n'roll." (In Bucketfull of Brains, July, 1987)

Indeed. 21 years on and that description still holds true.

Remedy your lack of Green Pajamas here and here.

Thank YOU Jeff!


sr-71, the blackbird of FOOM said...

Jeff's astute choice of Rain Parade's "This Can't Be Today" for his psych top 10 got me thinking, Mr. Valis, if'n y'all got plans to do a 10 questions w/ Steve, Matt or Dave from that band. I know Steve was very cool about answering an email I sent him about Demolition many moons back (though sadly I don't have the address any more).

Anonymous said...

Love The Green Pajamas. Jeff comes across as a thoroughly decent bloke.