Friday, August 14, 2009

10 Questions

Greetings & Hail Voyagers!

Are you ready..? While I was away several new things have been going on behind the scenes. I'll address these at today's post end. Okay? Let's away with it then, shall we?

Today's guest hails from Portland, (the Northwest had their share of 'em, eh?), Oregon. He & the band moved to Los Angeles to seek further fortune amidts the hustle & bustle of the teeming masses. Today we're honored to have Papa John Morton of Hunger!

Here's what Ritchie Unterberger says, from AMG:

Originally from Portland, OR, Hunger! moved to Los Angeles in the late '60s and became a minor entry in that city's psychedelic/hard rock scene, releasing a low-selling album in late 1968 that is sought after by psychedelic collectors. Hunger! (with an exclamation point) were on the cusp of psychedelic rock's transition to hard rock, especially via some martial tempos and a heavy, sometimes shrieking organ sound. Most of the material on the album was so-so heavy psychedelic rock, albeit with sadder melodies and a more ominous overtone than most such stuff. It was best when the tracks minimized the heaviness in favor of stronger songwriting. Their best and most accessible song, "Colors," was reissued on the Pebbles compilation Highs in the Mid Sixties, Vol. 3: L.A. '67, and their album has been reissued for the collector's market.

(Hunger! at the Whiskey, Los Angeles.)

Let's plumb his mind on our favorite subject:

1. In ten words-or less, define "psychedelic music."
Thought-provoking, mind-expansion, freedom to create and bring change.

2. What is the most psychedelic instrument, why?
The most psychedelic instrument is the mind.without that there would never
had been light my fire, purple haze, sunshine of your love, white rabbit, for what it's worth,whippin post.these were all songs that were true expressions of our times
speaking freely without censorship.

3. Favorite psychedelic album of all time?
That would have to be Strictly from Hunger not because I'm biased or egotistical
but because I'm truly proud of what Hunger! tried to convey in their music and being
different.The album spoke to young and old in a psychological way and the music
stands the test of time 40 years later.

4. What was the first song you remember listening to in an 'altered' state?
That would have to be Sergeant Pepper's album by The Beatles.Saw Lucy in The Sky
and Lovely Rita singing All we need is Love in true living psychedelic color.

5. What song or album that wouldn't fall into the classic "psych" definition is, nevertheless, psychedelic to you?
You'll probably think I'm crazy but it was Ravel's Bolero with the marching flamenco beat that I listened to and jazz great Jimmy Smith.Tripped the light fantastic and brought a whole new world of the concept of where I could take rock music

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?
I believe there's a true advantage to being the pioneers of psychedelic rock and here's my reasoning.I was at UCLA campus where Hunger! was going to play and Timothy Leary was giving an informal talk on the grounds about the advantages of taking LSD and wanted people to think about turning on and dropping out and I asked him what was the value for rock musicians.He spoke to me and said,"You are the Soldiers of Freedom and what you write now will begin the change for a whole generation.It is your generation that will rise up and demand peace!" I was astounded by what he said and knew then that there was so much more to the psychedelic scene than I had ever imagined so I proceeded to take hallucenagenics to experience song writing in a whole new way, delving into the human psyche to understand- to have a better understanding of, our mind. so it wasn't just about playing weird music that was shocking to the norm but more about waking up and learning the truth about the lies we were fed via a plastic society. So social reform and social injustice were ideas that became a passion for my generation.I don't know if the young psychedelic bands understand that today.I think they're drawn to the music because it's a freeform of expressing their emotions and the freedom that they can project without having to think about all the freedoms that they've had taken away or even realize.I guess this is true radical thinking but it's just where I stand to this day.

7. Name an album that you associate with a powerful memory every time you hear it.
The album that had a powerful impact was Are you Experienced by Jimi Hendrix
His guitar playing and voice spoke in a dream-like state...

8. What makes more interesting music, bad trips or good trips?
I think both types of trips can produce great songs.It's all about being real,
although I don't advocate taking drugs anymore the experiences I had were useful
in creating Hunger!'s unique sound.

9. What would be your Top Ten Psychedelic Songs?
White Rabbit by Jefferson Airplane
Purple Haze by Jimi Hendrix
You keep me Hangin on by Vanilla Fudge
White Room by The Cream
Incense and Peppermints by Strawberry Alarm Clock
8 Miles High by The Byrds
Lucy in The Sky by the Beatles
Watch Tower by Jimi Hendrix
People are Strange by The Doors
Whiter Shade of Pale by Procol Harum
Fire by Arthur Brown.

10. Turn the tables, if you'd like, and ask me a question.
Papa John: Why is there such a strong resurgence for 60's music in your opinion?

-valis: Great question. Beyond the nostalgia? The music is worthy! The 60s was still "Rock in its infancy" stage, too. It was ALL new. The first iteration of so many genres & types. At least that's my take on the "why" of this resurging interest, although I'm unconvinced the resurgence is new. I'm just happy people made music like this:

Thanks Papa John, and best wishes for your journey!

As promised at the beginning of the post I wanted to share some of the things in store for the future of the blog:
1) a brand new feature, called "Typer At The Gates Of Dawn", is gathering momentum; invited guest writers will author a piece on their favorite psychedelic album(s.) (If YOU want to be involved leave a comment-I won't publish it, and tell me about your idea for a piece. No editorial judgement. At all.)
2) resurrection of "The Wayback Machine"!
3) some other ideas being fleshed out/rethought, etc. but coming soon so as to keep the posts coming at the regular pace we all want to see.

Finally, THANK YOU readers! For your patience and your interest in what we're attempting to do here. It's always appreciated. Always.


Cliff. said...

Bonjour Chez Valis,

I read the interview with interest because though aware of Hunger my collection is woefully lacking I'm, ashamed to admit.

Great interview, I can totally appreciate where John's coming from and love his top 10.

Great to have you back Valis, missed ya posts.

gerryboy said...

Yes, old pal, it's great to have you back (echoing the French one's points). I haven't listened to Hunger yet, but it will be done by the morn. Thanks for opening my eyes once again, amigo, and so glad you're keeping TITH going!

Tony said...

Yay, another TITH post! Love the Timothy Leary reference.