Thursday, September 25, 2008
Hello Trippers! 10 Questions is proud to, once again, feature a returning guest! As in last week's post we found this gentleman (?!) to be extremely interesting and wanted him to particpate in this longer survey so as to plumb the depths of his mind. He, too, did NOT disappoint! (Whew! 'Tis a slight understatement.) Hoist the lights, build the stage, roll in the speakers! It's Måns P. Månsson of Sweden's Maggots one more time!
Let's light this Paper Sun...
1. In ten words-or less, define "psychedelic music."
Music for your third eye
2. What is the most psychedelic instrument, why?
Hmm… the human voice can be extremely psychedelic. Electric guitar, howling feedback, reverbs etc. And anyone who can express their inner feeling with an instrument and pass it on to the listener. But it’s not just about what you play, or how you play it. It’s also about why. Hmm, but when I think more about it the most psychedelic instrument’s probably the mind.
I think there’s a distinction between the mind and the brain. I see the brain more as a tool, while the mind is the inner universe as vast as the physical universe, even though I don’t think most people explore much of it. Great psychedelic music lets you travel someone else’s universe and that can be pretty amazing and mindboggling.
3. Favorite psychedelic album of all time?
13th Floor Elevators – Psychedelic Sounds. But it must be the mono mix.
Then I also gotta mention Cold Sun – Dark Shadows. It’s a huge fave for me ever since I got it from Rockadelic. I also adore the Bobb Trimble albums.
4. What legendary lost recording or unfindable bootleg would you most like to have?
It would be great to find the ca 10 minute version of ‘Forest Of Black’ which was apparently recorded, but never released, and now lost in the mists of time.
The master tape of Easter Everywhere, before International Artists screwed it up with the cheap mastering and bad pressing, would also be amazing to get to hear. There’s supposedly a LOT going on in the grooves that was lost in the pressing.
Another little fantasy is if Phil Spector had dropped acid and made a psychedelic wall of sound symphony. I woulda’ loved to hear that!
5. What era has the best roster of psychedelic music? ('60s, '70s, '80s, 90s, now?) Why?
1960’s. To me it’s the most interesting period. You got everything from toytown pop psych, overproduced orchestrated madness, weird studio experiments, fx driven electronics, psychedelic acid punk rock, side long excursions like for instance Quicksilver or the great Beat Of The Earth album, folk psych, ethnic influenced amalgams, sitar exploitations, space rock freakiness etc etc. My fave “genre” is the punkadelic garage that existed roughly between ’66 to ’68. 45’s by bands like Teddy & His Patches, The Dovers, Mystic Tide, Dirty Filthy Mud etc just blows me away. The genre disappeared with the LP format and with the more commercial “peace & love” stuff hitting big around ’67. I just love those records that manage to blend the psychedelic experience into rock’n’roll and be about paranoia, fear, twisted visions etc just as much as it may be about turning on and being groovy or whatever. It’s music that perfectly captures the prankster philosophy, at least to me. Even though a band like Teddy & His Patches were straight as arrows they manage to actually capture a whole acid trip in about three minutes. I don’t think bands like The Beatles or Grateful Dead managed to pull that off during their whole career. Sure, they sometimes provided a brilliant soundtrack, but bands like The ‘Patches, Human Expression or The Bees actually sounded like a trip can feel! IMHO of course.
But then of course there’s great psychedelic music from all those decades
6. What psychedelic album do you wish more people knew about?
I’m not really an ‘album guy’ and to be perfectly honest with you I don’t really care if people “know” about this or that record, as long as I know about it. (haha). I’m not a dealer so it doesn’t mean too much to me. But of course there are a few albums I pull out of the shelves when I got receptive guests at home. The Silver Apples LP’s for example are really way out there and very psychedelic in their own way. And I think more people should know about Bobb Trimble – I know that he’s pretty well known among collectors, but his music is so amazing that I think everyone remotely interested in good music should know who he is.
Skip Spence’s ‘Oar’ is another record that seems a bit underrated to me. I don’t know if it’s because he’s too “well known” or if it’s because the LP is so diverse in styles… but to my ears and mind it’s an amazing album that’s also extremely psychedelic all the way, even when he’s doing that downer country stuff or bizarre humour ditties.
And anyone who digs Piper At The Gates Of Dawn should really try to hear the mono version as well. It’s almost like a whole new record and miles beyond the more common stereo version. Same goes for Country Joe & the Fish – Electric Music… if you dig it (which I do – I think it’s the best SF album, possibly) you’ll be blown away by the garagey mono mix with up front lead guitars and great live ambience.
The Temptations – ‘1990’ is another overlooked gem I think. There’s some incredible psychedelia on it, especially the title track. Totally unique psychedelic soul symphony with shades of both space rock and dub trickery. Norman Whitfield did some incredible stuff with both The Temptations and The Undisputed Truth (who’s album ‘Cosmic Truth’ is another incredible psychedelic soul/funk trip with tons of treated vocals, sound fx, echoes, fuzz etc).
I also think the ‘Maitreya Kali’ and ‘Inca’ albums by Craig Smith are absolutely unique and pretty f****n great.
7. What band, active today, most defines "psychedelic" to you?
That’s incredibly hard for me to say. I don’t really follow what’s going on with modern psychedelic music. There’s still tons of old 45’s to get and everything I hear for the first time is new to me, even if it’s from 1951. But I like some of the Dungen stuff, which is quite psychedelic I guess. I also dig some of the Baby Woodrose stuff, especially the earlier more punked out efforts and the offshoots.
8. You can go back in time and make sure one rock hero is saved from his or her self, to continue making music; who do you go back and save and why them?
I think Brian Wilson should’ve been allowed a few breaks during the 60’s; maybe he wouldn’t have went overboard like he did then, and maybe he woulda been ok enough to record Smile, and have continued making amazing music instead of staying in bed watching TV and doing coke for half of the 70’s… so that’s the guy I would go back to “save”. First I was thinking about Skip Spence or Roky, but I think those guys “needed” to be fuelled by a certain amount of madness and lost self control to make the music they did. So from a selfish standpoint I’m grateful that guys like these went the distance, just because I love the music that is the result of their mental breakdowns. But Brian Wilson stopped making music when he lost control of his mind and life situation. Of course he still wrote a few amazing songs, like “Til I Die” for instance. And that bizarre ‘musical fairytale’ that came as an EP with ‘Holland’ is a strange fave of mine. But I think he could’ve made much more great music if he had been saved from the demands from his band “mates” and the record company, and gotten some rest and help in time.
9. Top Ten Psychedelic Songs?
…here’s thirteen (of course ;-) faves from the top off my head, in no particular order:
Lea Riders Group – Dom Kallar Oss Mods
Skip Spence – War In Peace
The Dovers – The Third Eye
13th Floor Elevators – Roller Coaster
Cold Sun – South Texas
Teddy & His Patches – Suzy Creamcheese
Freeborne – Peak Impressions And Thoughts
Silver Apples – A Pox On You
Bobb Trimble – Paralyzed
Beautiful Daze – City Jungle Pt. 1
Funkadelic – Maggot Brain
Dirty Filthy Mud – The Forest Of Black
Monkees – Porpoise Song (the ‘45 version)
10. Turn the tables, if you'd like, and ask me a question.
Måns: When did you first get into psychedelia? Is there any special record or event that triggered the interest?
-valis: Interesting query. I'd love to be, at this moment, one of those "revisionist history" people who can just flat out lie and say I'd been into this since my teens, but that just isn't true. At all.
While I can point to the album(s) which led me down this rabbit-hole I think a little back story is called for. In the late 80s, probably 1988, I was recommended a book which would turn my world upside-down and change everything I wanted to know & be: Robert Anton Wilson & Robert Shea's Illuminatus! Trilogy. After that I began reading everything I could by RAW, (including subscribing to his "wonder-when-it's-coming" newsletters.) He turned me on to virtually everybody I now hold dear as authors: Borges, McKenna, Colin Wilson, Peter Lamborn Wilson,etc., he also urged me to get back into PKD's oeuvre. (Which I did, with a vengeance)
These authors were doing to me much of what the musicians you've cited were doing to you per your brilliant (!)response to Q#2: they showed me the infinite extent of the mind's universe. So I was a vessel just waiting for analogous experiences in my musical intake. In 1991 my wife and I decided to completely change our lifestyle. We moved and basically started all over. I read a review of the new Primal Scream album in a magazine someone had loaned me so the next time we drove into the nearest city, 90 miles away, I bought it. By the 9 Lords of Xibalba!
I literally stayed up all night, that first night, playing that cassette (heinous format!), in my little Walkman, on "repeat." Over and over and over. I just couldn't stop! The track which especially resonated with me was "Slip Inside This House." I mentioned it a few days later to a friend's wife and she handed me, the next day, a compilation called "Where The Pyramid Meets The Eye." She didn't say anything else. I played it and was blown away AGAIN! The Julian Cope track, "I Have Always Been Here Before" made me scream, (the line "...believing my mind's opened the door" particlarly)......when I told her I loved it she handed me a stack of Spaceman 3 cassettes.....the doors of perception had been cleansed. I now knew the map of the territory. Roky's Elevators led me to other bands of the ilk; the compilation gave me a roster to look for further likely suspects....
It hasn't stopped since....
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Thank you Måns, for the answers and particpating once again. Like Jens, we'll have to come up with something new to get you back!