Thursday, June 05, 2008

10 Questions

Another Thursday arrives and we've yet another great Guest involved in the Super Psychedelic Survey! Today brings us the other half of the Dynamic Duo of original founders of the Green Pajamas, Joe Ross!

Formed, like all great friendships, by a mutual love of the Beatles psychedelic period-among other things, Joe & Jeff have been creating music in a similar vein for nearly 25 years. Perdurabo indeed!

(Photo by Sean Wheatley)

So why not use a Psych-o-scope and fathom Joe's brain as he reflects on psychedelia, shall we? Helmets on...

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

My "ten word" answer is: Music that evokes the mood of a psychedelic drug trip.

But before I realized that I could use only ten words, I already started to write: Music that is inspired by psychedelic drugs and evokes the mood of a drug trip to the listener.

But for me, in practice it can be more playful; singing lyrics inspired by Alice in Wonderland; playing around in the studio (see next question) adding flanging, messing with tape speed; using orchestras, brass bands, sitars etc. I doubt the Dukes of stratosphere were flying on acid when they recorded "25 O'clock" but it is a great psychedelic record none the less, and was probably a lot more fun to make then, say "Piper At The Gates Of Dawn" with a lot fewer casualties.

2. What is the most psychedelic instrument, why?

I'd say the ultimate psychedelic instrument would have to be the backwards recorded guitar. When you record a guitar with the tape running backwards and then play it back the right direction, it ALWAYS sounds trippy no matter when it’s used. One of the great creative breakthroughs of the psychedelic era was the concept of considering the tape machine as an instrument in itself, and nothing illustrates that concept more than running tape backwards to create a whole new "instrument".

3. Favorite psychedelic album of all time?

I'm gonna have to say that "Magical Mystery Tour" is my all time favorite.

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

I'd say most any Beatles session would do. Who wouldn't have loved to be present in the studio when they made Sgt. Pepper." But its so well documented and I've read so much about it that I kind of feel like I was there already.
I'd even be happy to watch them record "Beatles For Sale".

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

"Songs Of Love And Hate" by Leonard Cohen. It's kind of a dark trip at times but his lyrics and voice carry you to another place.

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

I wish more people could hear our Strung Behind The Sun. I'm really proud of that one and it's certainly one of our most psychedelic and playful albums.

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

I really like Olivia Tremor Control, but they aren't together anymore, so I'll just say something else from the Elephant 6 group. Apples In Stereo or The Minders have both done some great psych-pop records.

(Editor's Note: I believe the Minders have also called it a day.)

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

I don't think I'd ever want to cover any album in its entirety; that would be a lot of work. I'd be afraid that the end result wouldn’t stack up to the original. I do, however, rather enjoy listening to that "Revolver Reloaded" CD from Mojo magazine (July 2006) where each song on the Beatles "Revolver" album is covered by a different band (including "Got To Get You Into My Life" by the Green Pajamas) I love this CD.

9. Top Ten Psychedelic Songs?

I Am The Walrus (The Beatles)
Rain (The Beatles)
Sky Pilot (Eric Burdon & The Animals)
It’s All Too Much (The Beatles)
Strawberry Fields (The Beatles)
Tomorrow Never Knows (The Beatles)
2000 Man (The Rolling Stones)
2000 Light Years From Home (The Rolling Stones)
Something In The Air (Thunderclap Newman)
Eight Miles High (The Byrds)

There, that's ten off the top of my head but I could just keep going on and on.

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

Joe: Hmmm. Do you consider parodies of psych pop to be legit? Such as, Spinal Tap's "Listen To The Flower People" or the above mentioned Dukes Of Stratosphere? Even "Satanic Majesty's Request" was kind of tongue in cheek in its day but it’s still one of my faves.

valis: Joe, brilliant question! I feel very strongly about this whole subject. (Friends like Mick Dillingham & Paul Martin can attest to my obsessive nature over this question!) Let's just say this: I do indeed feel it to be completely LEGIT'. So much so that I've decided to do a Special Post on Wednesday, June 18th, as we run up to our HUGE Summer Solstice Celebration!
I know this postpones your answer a bit but I believe the end result will make it worth your while. I'll beg your patience just a bit more.
Hail Naz! Hail Sphinx Svenson! Hail Lord Cornelius Plum! Hail Sir John Johns! Hail the Red Curtain! Hail the Remayns!....amd SO MANY MORE!
Meanwhile, yesterday...



sr-71 said...

It's funny how some so-called faux psych ala Listen to What the Flower People are Saying or the Monkees' Porpoise song are actually more enjoyable than the 'real' thing. I'd rather listen to either of those songs, for instance, than that abysmal murk in between songs on the first red crayola record called free form freakouts. (The songs themselves, however, are golden, baby!)

Doowad said...

Hey, Valis, I finally checked in on your blog. This was a great interview, man, thanks for the head's up on a few artists. I would agree that MMT is chock full of acid goodness, but as a sum of its parts, it falls short. Blonde on Blonde for me was the album that freaked me out too much to trip to, but I think it takes you places that other artists can only hope to reach in their wildest wet dreams.

It was great to see your appearance on Sammy's mix on AOTM.

If you are ever hanging around AOTM again, check out the latest from the Mutual Appreciation Society, I think you'll appreciate (nudge nudge) the next entry.

Cheers y vaya con Pan