Friday, September 17, 2010
Greetings & Hail Voyagers!
It's been said-and I tend to agree (via personal observation), one gauge of the health of a localized ecosystem is the frog population; I don't see as many as I used to and when I do I notice them ahead of me as I mow the lawn. This leads to a stoppage while I capture said frog and place it out of harm's way while I complete the mission.
Did you know frogs can see over, under, sideways, down..? They never close their eyes, even when they sleep. Remarkably, frogs actually use their eyes to help them swallow food. When the frog blinks, its eyeballs are pushed downwards creating a bulge in the roof of its mouth. This bulge squeezes the food inside the frog's mouth down the back of its throat. Instead of drinking water, frogs soak it into their body through their skin. They lay their eggs in water. The eggs hatch into a tadpole which lives in water until it metamorphoses into an adult frog.
Which reminds me, the Tadpoles being one of my favorite psychedelic bands of all time, I never thought I'd get one to participate in this blogs activities, but that's just what happened back in July when bassist David Max graciously asnwered our queries.
So it beggars belief we'd get a second! Founder of Tadpoles, Todd Parker!!! ('Tis a frabjous day, eh?)
As for Tadpoles & their discography I yield once again to the pen of Stewart Mason of All Music Guide, who had this to say regarding their Best Of compilation Use With Headphones Late at Night: The Best of Tadpoles 1990-2000:
" A career-spanning compilation that came out about a year after Hoboken space-rockers Tadpoles split up, Use With Headphones Late at Night: The Best of Tadpoles 1990-2000 is a fine overview of an underrated group of neo-psychedelicists. It's of limited use for established fans of the group — it's simply four tracks from each of the band's four albums, plus the trippy instrumental "Judas, This Is Jesus" from 1997's Know Your Ghosts EP, with no unreleased or rare tracks — but newcomers to the band will find it a well-chosen introduction to the group, from the Spacemen 3-derived psych-drones of 1994's He Fell Into the Sky through the poppier experiments of Far Out and Smoke Ghost (featuring, respectively, the vaguely Pink Floyd-ish "At Least I'm Not Like Jonathan Carver" and the gloriously fuzzy dream pop of "Jaded Jean," perhaps the band's two best works) to the band's career high point, 1999's masterful and varied Whirlaway, one of the finest psych-pop albums of the decade. While this is both an enjoyable listen and a good potted history, fans of the Bevis Frond/Spacemen 3 axis of bands and My Bloody Valentine should probably try one of the proper Tadpoles albums first; if you like one, you'll like them all, and picking the others up will obviate the need for this compilation. " (Thanks Stewart!)
I think the last line really says it all.
At any rate, as Mr. Mason noted above the band did split up; but.., after years allowing creativity to push through like a geyser in the Yellowstone Basin, Todd's back & has just released a new album Todd Parker & the Witches - Greetings From The Starchamber, debuting this past Tuesday, September 14th, on Bakery Records. The album's available through CD Baby, iTunes, and their Bandcamp page.
For a great review of the new album we turn to good friend & fellow Psych' DJ/Blogger, Mr. Atavist, who's written his views here. Well worth your time. (There's also a brilliant interview with Todd parker & drummer Mike Audino from the estimable Mr. Atavist here.)
Let's go deep in Todd's psychedlia-loving mind, shall we? Strapped in..? ..4, 3, 2,
1. In ten words-or less, define "psychedelic music."
Your ticket for the train to inner destinations unknown. Roundtrip?
2. What is the most psychedelic instrument, why?
The wah wah pedal - Because it can do it all: provide a wacka-wacka percussive rhythm, morph a straight-up chord into an atmospheric texture, bring you the melody,
provide spicy accents , sing for you, scream for you and just transport you on these little trips and bring you back down again to earth again with the click of the switch.
Works with guitar, bass, keyboards, vocals, drum machines and more.
3. Favorite psychedelic album of all time?
The Flaming Lips "Zaireeka". And only when used according to instructions…no mixdowns allowed. That's 4 CDs being playing simultaneously on 4 different sound systems. If you haven't done it that way, you haven't heard it.
4. What was the first song you remember listening to in an 'altered' state?
First experience of synesthesia was while listening to the song "Your Silent Face" from New Order's Power, Corruption and Lies .
5. In terms of creativity, which is the horse and which is the cart: music or psychoactive substances?
You need to have opened your third eye, one way or another, to create psychedelic music. And you need to allow it to stay open. There is more than one way to do that.
So, in this case the third eye is the water for the horse pulling the cart.
6. What song or album that wouldn't fall into the classic "psych" definition is, nevertheless, psychedelic to you?
Wilco's Summerteeth - they're not considered a psych band, but this album is packed with psychedelic flourishes on songs like "She's A Jar" and "Shot In The Arm"...
7. Assemble a "Psychedelic Supergroup" of musicians you've never played with:
ARTHUR LEE (Love) - Acoustic guitar and Vocals
PAUL LEARY (Butthole Surfers) - Guitar
ROBERT SMITH (The Cure)- 6-string Bass and synths
WILL CARRUTHERS (Spacemen 3/Spiritualized)/BJM) - Bass
COLM O'CIOSOIG (My Bloody Valentine)- drums
RICHARD WRIGHT (Pink Floyd)- keyboards
DAMO SUKUKI (Can) - Vocals and "other"
BRIAN ENO - Producer
8. What psychedelic album would you like to cover, in its entirety, even though you (& those who assisted) may be the only one who'd ever hear it?
Maggot Brain by Funkadelic. It's so out of my league as far as what I can typically play, but it would be a blast trying.
9. Give us your Top Ten Psychedelic tracks:
I'm gonna purposefully avoid anything pre-1980 here and stick with stuff that I personally experienced while it was happening.
1. The Cure - A Strange Day
2. Cocteau Twins - Melonella
3. Spacemen 3 - Take Me To The Other Side
4. Butthole Surfers - PSY
5. My Bloody Valentine - I Only Said
6. Dandy Warhols - Be In
7. Spiritualized - If I Were With Her Now
8. Julian Cope - Reynard The Fox
9. Ween - Mutilated Lips
10. Radiohead - Everything In Its Right Place
10. Turn the tables, if you'd like, and ask me a question.
Todd: How important is musical compatibility in forming and keeping a deep relationship with someone else?
-valis: Interesting question for a music-obsessive to contemplate. My wife of 25 years now has no love nor appreciation for all of the psychedelia I play, although there are certain tracks which she throughly enjoys (Paul Revere & the Raiders, Blues Magoos, etc.) and there are others she'll hear and ask "who's this?" such as The Soundtrack of Our Lives. I have a deep relationship with her.
My longest-lasting friendships all have some appreciation for the genre, although it's certainly a 'some-more-than-others' proposition; they are all unequivocally music-obsessives in their own way though. It's our common language. Birds of a feather. So, it's been important, to me, in maintaining said friendships over the long term.
I have no friends who do not like music. And, to paraphrase another man's line: "..they're probably good, clean people...kind to children and animals...but I've got nothin' to say to 'em."
Thank YOU, Todd! Best wishes on the new album's opening farflung ajna's the world over!