Thursday, September 18, 2008

10 Questions

'Tis Thor's Day once again and who better to celebrate yet another 10 Questions than a returning hero, (who gave one of the most hilarious answers to The Wayback Machine conundrum back in February); riding in on Sleipnir: Jens Lindberg of the (mighty) Maharajas!

I decided after the Wayback Machine entry to bring him back for a turn at this longer survey in hopes of further surprise. He didn't disappoint!

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

Music that gives you Sense of Wonder - like SF literature.

2. What is the most psychedelic instrument, why?

The guitar because it's ability to sound in so many different ways.

3. Favorite psychedelic album of all time?

The New Dawn

(Editor's Note: I was unfamiliar with this choice so I turned to the always-reliable Acid Archives for their take on the LP. Better yet, it's friend Aaron Milenski gving a capsule review:
"Some rate this as an all-time favorite, probably because it has such a consistently strong downer mood to it. The consistency works against it in some ways (all of the songs sound like they're in the same key), but the album is quite distinctive. Side one has stronger songs, closing with some great fuzz-guitar on "Dark Thoughts." Side two moves in an almost rural direction, and isn't as compelling. Every time psychedelic music newsgroups have threads about "grower" albums this always seems to turn up, though I liked it reasonably well at first and haven't changed my mind about it." [AM])

4. What song is as close to perfection of psychedelic music to you? What makes it so great?

"You Can't Erase A Mirror". It combines the moody stuff I like with the mind-blowing sense of wonder that I look for in psychedelic music.

(Editor's Note: Yet another I was unfamiliar with prior to receiving this answer. Some research lead me to two kind gentleman who created this track: Dennis Swanson and Jerry McMillen of the Children of the Mushroom. I gave Dennis the question along with Jens' reply and asked for a comment-if possible, from he & Jerry. Here's their responses:

Dennis: I am always amazed when one of our songs is highlighted! We have been called an obscure band by record collectors. My part as a drummer in "You Cant Erase A Mirror" was not very complicated, but my heart was deeply rooted into this group and still is. I guess my playing back then was very connected to feelings and emotions of the heart, I had to feel the music to play. It was an opportunity for us to be creative, but remember we were all still in high school when this song was written. I knew Jerry McMillen had the talent to write as well as sing and play guitar along with Bob Holland with his creative keyboard skills and to be there and be part of it all coming together was beyond magic! There were, as we all know, thousands of bands back then in 1967. We were very blessed to have 2D Productions produce one 45. For many years I believed the music we recorded was just lost and forgotten to hear about so many young discriminating music listeners just now discovering our record is for me beyond words!

Jerry: The word psychedelic is an English term coined from the Greek words for "soul," (psyche), and "manifest," (delos). A psychedelic experience is characterized by the perception of aspects of one's mind previously unknown, or by the creative exuberance of the mind liberated from its ostensibly ordinary fetters.

I found this definition at (of all places) Wikipedia. It seems to characterize the essence of what I feel psychedelic music means to me.
Music, all music must emanate from the heart, as Dennis so eloquently put it.
However, there is an even deeper aspect to the creation of psychedelic music. It must be generated from a deep desire to evolve, to change into a form previously unknown, even to oneself. It cannot be forced, and it certainly cannot be counterfeited. You Can't Erase A Mirror was written from just such a place, although we did not realize it at the time. The song holds more meaning for me today than ever before.

(Chldren of the Mushroom, 1967: (left to right) Jerry McMillen (lead guitar and vocals); Dennis Christensen Swanson(Ludwig drums); Al Pisciotta (Fender bass); Paul Gabrinetti (Fender guitar and vocals); and Bob Holland (Vox organ and backup vocals).

Get your own widget and share anywhere!

5.What era has the best roster of psychedelic music('60s,'70s,'80s,90s,now?) Why?

In my opinion it is the '60s cause that decade also gave you the frame for psychedelic music when it comes to philosophy, clothes, drugs, art and general mental attitude.

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

The New Dawn and also the compilation Chocolate Soup For Diabetics.

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

Dead Man

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

Being very boring I must say that I would like to make a cover of the New Dawn album. Each and every song on that album is a hit, maybe the most underrated group of all time.

9. Top Five Psychedelic Songs?

You Can't Erase A Mirror – Children Of The Mushroom
Lucy In the Sky With Diamonds – The Beatles
Tomorrow Never Knows – The Beatles
Children of the Sun – The Misunderstood
White Rabbit – Jefferson Airplane

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

Jens: Is Valis your real name? If not, what does it mean and how did you come up with it?
-valis: Without getting into a semantic breakdown of "real", in a word: yes. I've been known as "valis" for eight years now and have far more friends who call me that than those people who don't. (Rather like the Jefferson Airplane song you mention above, only the name my "mother gave me" didn't "do anything at all".) Hope that suffices. THANK YOU JENS! We'll have to devise yet another way to get you back here to grace a post...plots & schemes are underway friend!


Cliff said...

Joyeux Thor's day to mon ami. Man, you can get Jens back repeatedly imho he's so informative (I'll be off to do some research immediately after this comment)& wha ta great question to present you with, I'm proud to be one of those friends who know you only as Valis, I for one couldn't imagine you being anything other than Valis because the name fits you sooo well.

sr-71 said...

Wow, Jens managed to stump you twice? That's unheard of! Still, that's no reason no to share the PKD Vast Active Living Intelligence System origins of your name.....

scotpsych said...

a great guy to talk to. Haha in regards to SR71's take on the hiding of your "name". A mushroom by any other name would still make you one of the psychedelic elite, my friend. Keep up the mind-expandingly good work!

Anonymous said...

great interview Valis. I apprectiate you & your blog. hemizen

sammyg123 said...

Great interview. I must seek out that New Dawn album.
Forever Valis!