Friday, September 04, 2009

10 Questions

Greetings & Hail Voyagers!

We've a new installment of the "10 Questions" survey for your delight & edification. When I think of the Pacific Northwest-an area I've yet to visit, I think of the rain, the forests, and the beauty of the landscape. Then I think about the pro's and con's of being in such a place. The pro which immediately (instanter) leaps into mind is the proliferation of the species of mushrooms I prefer. All else seems a distant second.

Given some time to mull it over the Pacific Northwest has given us quite a few great bands, too. (I'm most-assuredly NOT thinking of the early '90s bands.) From the first wave of the garage band scene up to now the area has had their share of groups who've loomed large on the radar for those of us paying attention to geography (& psychogeography, too.)

Today's guest adopted the climes we're discussing as a way out of Alabama & Nashville, TN; when you're not trying to escape yourself anywhere is good. They think Portland is good. Given what it has done for their music I'm inclined to agree.

Readers, today's guest is Kevin Robinson of Viva Voce!

I had the opportunity to talk to Kevin-and his wife Anita, before a show here back in June. I found them both friendly and genuine. Kevin was especially knowledgeable about all manner of psychedelia and after a lengthy discussion on music we exchanged e-mail addresses. The survey is a result of that correspondence. Let's see what he thinks, shall we?

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

Orange droning askew music that make you feel cool. That's 9.

2. What is the most psychedelic instrument, why?

The guitar. You can pretty much to anything with it. Hold down a note long enough and it's trippy,...hold it down longer and your King Crimson!

3. Favorite psychedelic album of all time?

The self titled album by "Gandalf". The tune 'Golden Earrings' is an unearth gem.

4. If you could be a member of any band in history(other than your own), what band would it be and what would you play?

I'd be in The Beatles of course. I'd bump Ringo off drums and have a lucrative solo career of slightly altering his songs and passing them off as my own. Such as: "It Don't Come,...Sorta Difficult", "A Squid's Garden",...and "Periwinkle Submarine".

5. Roky or Syd, why?

Roky. Cause he took it there and brought it back. Syd just took it there and left. Plus Roky wrote my favorite rock lyric of all time..."cause if you slip in mud, your gonna slip in blood tonight, cause it's the night of the vampire". Genius.

6. Even if you were the only one who ever heard it, is there an album you've always wanted to cover? Which one?

Practically every Kinks record up to Muswell Hillbillies. Ray Davies beats out Bob Dylan in my book and every song of theirs makes me wish I had written it first.

7. What album do you wish more people knew about in the psychedelic genre?

The Hobbits "Down To Middle Earth". Even without the schlock of the whole Tolkien-era thing, there's some really cool tunes in that album. One of the singers in that band, Ginny Eastwood, starred in one of my favorite films ever, "Pickup". A very cool band and trippy vibes throughout.

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

The Entrance Band. 'Nuff said.

9. Top Ten Psychedelic Songs?

1. Tyrannosaurus Rex - Chariots of Silk
2. Jacques DuTronc - Hippie Hippie Hourrah
3. Gandalf - Golden Earrings
4. Billy Nicholls - Girl From New York
5. Mark Wirtz - Grocer Jack
6. Can - Vitamin C
7. Andy Roberts - Queen of The Moonlight World
8. Q65 - We Are Happy
9. Electric Prunes - Holy Are You
10. The Hobbits - Down To Middle Earth

.....damn, there's some good songs in there!

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

Kevin: Is psychedelic music inexplicably linked to drugs and drug culture - or is it more of a creative and subversive aesthetic than the cliche of '...dropping out'?

-valis: Great question. My several readings over your question leads me back to the word "inexplicably." Unsure if that's your intention or not, but to me the link is completely explicable. I think it's well-known, at least in the circles I run in, not everyone who made-or makes, psychedelic music takes psychedelic enhancers. Nor is it necessary to achieve the codes and signifiers connoting that music. I think the aesthetic you mention is the overarching set, and then those who do take psychedelics area subset of it. (Readers, feel free to weigh in here.)

Thanks Kevin! And best wishes on the new album, Rose City!


Jeffman said...

Gandalf's self-titled album is certainly good stuff, if a little over-reliant on covers - albeit rendered in their own uniquely haunting way.

Of the two Sando originals on there, 'Can You Travel in the Dark Alone' has to be the album highlight.

Cracking ten questions there, valis.

Cliff. said...

I'd like to have been at the bar chatting to you and Kevin prior to that show!

I like the rational behind the answer to the Syd or Roky answer and as for Kevin's answer to Q6 Davies beats Dylan hands down no competition (I like Kevins modus operandum)

Some great tunes amongst the top 10 and a question put to you Valis that we could deliberate upon until the cows come home. For my part on the subject of Psychedelics and hallucinogenics, the 2 go hand in hand but these days I find myself drawn to bands who write psychedelic music without the influence of drugs (though not exclusively of course) I'm thinking of bands like The Higher State who delight us with music that appears to be laced with hallucinogens, whilst never going near a mind altering experience. That said, I'd love to hear what they'd come up with if they did!

Chris said...

Kevin has a unique perspective on this genre. Wish I wrote as well as Ray Davies too... Very fun.