Friday, June 05, 2009

10 Questions

Greetings & salutations Voyagers! I'm back from hiatus, recharged & regrouped to go further.., thanks for your patience.
(Besides, it's JUNE! The Gateway to Summer! O' blessed season.)

Okay, onward & upward: today's guests got their start in 1980 and released their first album, on VOXX, in 1982. They've also put out albums on Midnight, Pink Dust, Enigma and Restless. That's a helluva' CV!

Psych' fans, it's Eric Stumpo & Debora D. of Plan 9!

Here's the Trouser Press bio':

"Outside of its art college, Rhode Island hasn't exactly been a storehouse for modern rock music. But the state has a group to be proud of in Plan 9, whose Frustration is exciting garage psychedelia. The swirling, mesmerizing effect of four (!) guitars recalls the best of the late '60s and gives able support to Eric Stumpo's emotional vocals. There are no original songs here, just covers of period gems like Them's "I Can Only Give You Everything."

The French-only Plan 9 is an assortment of 1981-'84 studio recordings (plus a live cut) by various lineups, including a poppy five-piece fronted by singer/guitarist Brian Thomas. (Three songs — two of which overlap the LP — by that formulation also appear on the "Hideaway" maxi-single.) Surprisingly, these recordings manage to hang together as an album.

Dealing with the Dead features eight originals, played with a '60s sound so convincing you'll swear you can smell incense burning. Stumpo's vocals are great, a whiny growl cross-breeding Michael J. Pollard and John Kay; the massed guitars and Deborah DeMarco's atmospheric keyboards increase the sense of déj… entendu even further. Far more convincing than a lot of other similar-minded outfits, Plan 9 knows just how to launch a magic carpet ride to the center of your mind. Diabolical.

I've Just Killed a Man is a steamy live album recorded as a six-piece in Boston, Washington, DC, New Haven and back home in Providence. A trio of ace covers, including the MC5's "Looking at You," and a guest appearance by head Lyre Jeff Conolly on "I'm Gone" add extra excitement to the spirited fun.

Keep Your Cool covers lots of stylistic ground, including the film noir ambience of "Street of Painted Lips" sung by DeMarco, an unclassifiable rollicking instrumental ("King 9 Will Not Return") and various stripes of '60s rock, running the stylistic gamut from Spirit to Steppenwolf. Although some are a little undeveloped, the band's songs are solid; the two covers are righteously arcane.

Anytime Anyplace Anywhere is a five-song EP of new material, including the title tune and "Green Animals."

A revised seven-person lineup on Sea Hunt cuts the guitar army down to three and adds a female sax player. The LP removes Plan 9 from revivalism, leaving in the resulting vacuum a rather plain-sounding rock band with a predilection for guitar solos. Sea Hunt is by no means bad, but the lack of focus creates an imbalance that Stumpo's unexciting originals doesn't resolve. The dreamy title track drifts along aimlessly for almost fourteen instrumental minutes; it's followed by the Ramonesque eleven-second "Human Mertzes." Faced with a choice of the lady or the tiger, Plan 9 fluffs it.

Eric, Debora and the rhythm section from Sea Hunt drafted a cool new lead singer named Pip and made Ham and Sam Jammin' as an economical quintet. Although the band's direction hasn't really changed, the elimination of two guitarists leaves DeMarco's colorful keyboards room to stretch out and be noticed; a guest violinist provides a provocative alternative to Stumpo's fevered riffing on most of the songs. Overall, Ham and Sam is better than Sea Hunt, although still nowhere as wacky or enjoyable as the band's early work." (All praise to: Charles P. Lamey/Ira Robbins for the above.)

By the by, that description of Dealing With The Dead is right-on! It's long been a favorite 'round here, and-my headphones love it.

Let's see what these two think, shall we? Read on...

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

Music that creates a mind-altering experience or a change in one's perception of reality.

2. What is the most psychedelic instrument, why?

The Mind. Because it connects any instrument to the body.

3. Favorite psychedelic album of all time?

Elevators Easter Everywhere

4. What legendary lost recording or unfindable bootleg would you most like to have?

Jimi Hendrix/Arthur Lee recordings done at the time of Love's False Start LP (Everlasting First)

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

Wind Harp Song From The Hill LP U.A. Records 9963

6. Is there an advantage in being the pioneers (60s psychedelic bands), or being the continuing explorers armed with the knowledge of those pioneers work (the modern psychedelic bands)? Why?

We grew up in the 60's so a lot of our music is an extension of that experience. That has to be considered an advantage for us.
However, all music is an extension of one's life experiences. And making discoveries at any point in time is fundamental to creativity.

7. If someone had never heard Plan 9 what track would you play for them first as a defining song?

That's Life

8. What do you think is the enduring appeal of psychedelic music?

Same as 1.

9. Top Ten Psychedelic Songs?

In no particular order:

Elevators - Slip Inside This House
Painted Ship - Frustration
Spirit - Clear
Wig - Crackin' Up
Love - You Set The Scene
Gentlemen - It's A Cryin' Shame
Doors - When The Music's Over
Third Bardo - 5 Years Ahead of My Time
Moving Sidewalks - Flashback
Hendrix - Are You Experienced?

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

Eric & Debora: What's the first music you listened to that influenced your life?

-valis: Growing up in the 60s, as a young kid, the first music that really hit me was the Beatles-like so many others. I also have a fondness for Motown soul due to the influence of a teenaged aunt who played records non-stop. It's all sort of fallen into place from there.

Thanks Eric & Debora! We'll be back next Friday with another new post. Again, thanks for waiting!


sr-71 said...

welcome back, V.! was startin' to think we were gonna hafta send the mounties out to find you....

gomonkeygo said...

Excellent! I've been a fan of Plan 9 for several decades now - christ, but that makes me feel old...

KEEP YOUR COOL is on my list of 25 best psych albums ever.

Cliff said...

Co-incidentally I've been playing Plan 9 quite a bit of late. Answer to Q4 has to be top o' my list too.

Great to see T.I.T.H. back I've missed it big time.

gerryboy said...

glad you're back, oh vast active one! Gotta go and check those Plan 9 guys out, as they are entirely new to me. Are they from outer space? Friends of Ed Wood mayhap? Time for me to leave.........

hemizen said...

Ahhh, a fix at last. Don't do that to us again. I also need to check them out.