The Archdrude ‘captured’ moments after leaving the Belladrum Festival stage (photo: Stewart Campbell).
Hey All You Rock’n’roll Children,
EYE MIND by Paul Drummond
Hope yooz all well and hanging this autumnal morning. I’m dedicating this October Drudion to my dear friend Psychedelic Paul Drummond, in celebration of the forthcoming release of EYE MIND, Paul’s stupendous biography of Texas’ own 13th Floor Elevators. Yup, geezer birds, the book that nobody believed could ever be completed is lying upon my desk next to me as I write, 424 pages rammed with arcane facts, interviews, colour plates, discographies, a foreword by Yours Truly, and as scrupulous an oral history of this most essential bunch of Gurdjeffian refusenecks (or should that be redniks?) as only the truly Utopian voyager could have delivered to our doors. Psychedelic Paul’s achievement is nothing less than heroic and I want the world to know it! Nine years in the making, the research for EYE MIND was so protracted, so costly, so haphazard, so beset with long distance problems that it even destroyed Psychedelic’s marriage. Hell kiddies, this Drummond druid not only sought out and interviewed band leader Tommy Hall (Psychedelic Paul having to hand over his passport to dodgy-looking armed guards as Tommy’s still living in a maximum security asylum), but Herr Drummond even located and interviewed the original policemen and FBI agents whose evidence would bring the Elevators down and see Roky Erikson imprisoned for a long ‘70s spell in Rusk Mental Asylum. Everything’s there in the pages of EYE MIND and everything’s explained. You wanna know why I recorded the Elevators’ ‘Levitation’ in 1986? Or why, in 1990, I contributed my own version of ‘I Have Always Been Here Before’ to a Warner Brothers Roky Tribute LP when I otherwise never ever touch those fucking things with a barge pole? Well read this book, motherfuckers, and dig dig dig. And it took a genuinely psychedelicized Limey to nail that fucking American tragedy to the floor (and he ain’t called Psychedelic Paul for his paisley ruffs, neither!). As a biography of this most insightful and deeply forward-thinking rock’n’roll band, EYE MIND is absolutely the shit, the Ult, as high as it gets. But as an excavation of that primary rock’n’roll impulse that dared to flaunt its post-war celebration of everything non-Christian, EYE MIND is even greater, being an essential and detailed explanation of those Christian Hangover post-WW2 times for all and anyone who needs to contextualize just how we all got heathenized into the Right Now! Like the Detroit story of John Sinclair and the MC5, the saga of the 13th Floor Elevators was an Old Testament tale and Roky Erikson was its Job (with The Man playing Jehovah, natch!). Get to know this book, brothers’n’sisters… get to know it and begin to understand what these pioneers went through; that without the Uber-confrontation of the (armed and blank-eyed) Texan authorities that Roky and the Elevators were forced to endure, our own Metaphysically Feisty rock’n’roll take on the world would have been catastrophically reduced. That Paul Drummond was percipient enough a Truth Seeker to know this AND strong enough to see this nine-year project through to the end makes him no less than a culture hero, a daring doorway dweller Promethean enough to have navigated through the seemingly endless chaos of hidden agendas, acid casualties’ faulty memories, shotgun deaths, plus Paul’s own muddled domestic life. And yet he’s managed to come out the other end smelling delightful and still wearing Prada! From that late night moment in September 1976 when I first heard Roky sing ‘I Have Always Been Here Before’ on the John Peel show, my rock’n’roll was thereafter forever fuelled by the unfathomable mystery of the 13th Floor Elevators, a mystery so rich and seemingly impenetrable that I never imagined that their story could be told in book form. But I was wrong wrong wrong and I’m delighted to scream my mistake from the rooftops. And so without more ado, Psychedelic Paul, please step up and… take your place in the pantheon, Brother Motherfucker!
THE URGENCY by To Blacken The Pages
THE SACRED TRUTH by Ten Horned Beast
WIR KONNEN LEIDER NICHT ETWAS MEHR ZU TUN by Black To Comm
TRIUMPHANT GHOST by A.M. Haines
PSYCHOIDE PARTICIPATION MYSTIC by Maninkari
Self-titled by The Bad Trips
Anyway, back here in 007’s present day rock’n’roll scene, things continue to look up (or down, if I’m being utterly true to my metaphor) with such a slew of essential new releases that I feel almost guilty for naming only six this month. However, I’ll commence with THE URGENCY, the superb debut album by Dublin’s To Blacken The Pages. Comprised of one single 47-minutes epic, this awe-inspiring solo Sunn Mustang guitar-fest manages to invoke that same exhilarating Zoroastrian burning as early Ash Ra Tempel, without even once sounding less than entirely itself. Creeping around the walls, seeping deep into your cupboards and drawers, the music of To Blacken The Pages dissolves linear time and swallows all misery whole. Grab thyself a copy from www.toblackenthepages.com
or search them out at www.myspace.com/ toblackenthepages
. Equally essential for the real Inner Space Cadet is THE SACRED TRUTH, the devastated and devastating third album from England’s Ten Horned Beast. Led by former Endura member Christopher Walton and released on Northampton’s excellent Cold Spring Records, this darkly ambulant record roams the granite fundament of the underworld like a shackled and platform-booted Jonah in the queasy belly of Leviathan. Distraught male baritones, planet-sized orchestral percussion, and what sounds like Kurzweil synthesizers unite herein to create a euphorically abrasive and intensely suffocating atmosphere. Indeed, I would imagine that fans of CLUSTER 1 and Queen Elizabeth’s ELIZABETH VAGINA should especially enjoy THE SACRED TRUTH’s two most strung out epics ‘Our Lady of the Lightning Bolt’ and ‘In the Teeth of the Wolf’. This highly catchy, nay, contagious release can be accessed at www.coldspring.co.uk
, so potential sufferers should shuffle their creaking carcasses over there and pronto, Tonto. Those of you drone freeks who are getting bored with sorting through seemingly endless stacks of similarly under-packaged CDs and CD-Rs may wish to search out the sumptuous gatefold double-vinyl LP WIR KÖNNEN LEIDER NICHT ETWAS MEHR ZU TUN (‘We Can’t Do These Songs In Anymore Than We Already Have’) by Northern Germany’s mournful drone outfit Black To Comm. For, despite taking their name from the MC5’s most obstinately and arduously uncommercial freakout track, Black To Comm’s organ/harmonium/tape-looped pieces inhabit a vigorous deep drone space somewhat in the vein of Klaus Schultze at his minimal, minor-chord best. Probably, this is because each Black To Comm track comes replete with its own side order of cranky and extraneous noise, much like the inevitable overly-loud motor hum that accompanies every Mellotron 400, or the wandering pitch of the early VCS3 synthesizers that gives such personality to recordings. I’ve also been listening to Black To Comm’s wonderful split 12” LP with duo Aosuke, which was released on Dekorder Records back in May. Search out Black To Comm via www.dekorder.com
or trawl their own excellent website at www.blacktocomm.org
. Talking of vital vinyl-only drone-o-thon releases, I got lots to scream about regarding TRIUMPHANT GHOST, the debut LP by A.M. Haines, on the American Foreign Frequency label. Commencing like an angry wasp in a British Aerospace food blender, this is one Uber useful bastard which sets its controls for the heart of your spiritus sanctus, but – like the demented hyper sibling of Kabalist, Poochlatz and Anal (the 18-minutes of ‘Journey Through a Burning Anal’ most specifically) – Haines’ lofty and singular muse never forgets its raw beginnings as Martin Rev’s motorized afterbirth. So tell me that anyone with access to a quart of Fernet-Branca and a powersaw could achieve this racket and I’ll smash yer face in! Instead, search out your very own copy of this startling motherlode via www.foreignfrequency.com/ff_newreleases.html
, and prepare for the psychic enema you KNOW your brain deserves. Yowzah! Those of a slightly more tender disposition may wish to check out PSYCHOIDE PARTICIPATION MYSTIC, the evocative and droney debut by Parisian duo Maninkari, on Conspiracy Records (www.conspiracyrecords.com
). Featuring mixes by Scanner and Justin Broadrick, this is a heady concoction that occupies that same sonic frozen winter lake as MARBLE INDEX-period Nico, early Agitation Free and Japan’s percussion-heavy trio Out To Lunch. Yup, this kiddie is a riot of masterful splatter/clatter drumming, synthesizers, plucked & bowed violins and cellos, and (what sounds like) kotos and shamisens, all served up in a veritable blizzard of eloquent and lop-sided scrape-o-thons. Hey, I almost forgot that some of you acid fried motherfuckers are gonna surely need need need a brand new fix of pure lo-fi guitar drizzle. Well then listen ye here, because I’ve lately been burning up my lonely room courtesy of Grady Runyan’s new ensemble, four gnarly druids that go by the name Bad Trips. Nothing like the post-Chrome Brockisms of Grady’s old team Monoshock, nor even the effortlessly cunted No Wave of his rhythmically challenged and melodicidal hit squad Liquorball. No indeed, this New Runyan Thing is instead a magnificently Lo-fi Cinemascope instrumental hybrid of early Guru Guru, the Afrika Corps and the Fire Engines (yooz shitting me! I ain’t!), via the C90 meltdown of California’s the Zebra Attack. Ja, mein hairies, it’s the bolleaux du chien and no doubt about it. Escaping courtesy of Grady’s own Rocketship Records, this vinyl-only release bears no barcode nor even a www.com of any kind. However, despite this canny manoeuvring from one of rock’n’roll greatest Intuitive Non Career Movers, those who wish to shell out their hard-earned should press buttons for David Keenan’s explosive emporium at www.volcanictongue.com
, or just check out the Bad Trips at www.thebadtrips.com
PEEL SESSIONS PLUS
Okay, here at Head Heritage, it’s been a busy year already, what with the Japrocksampler and new album. But the torture ain’t over yet, kidlings! For I’m extremely pleased to announce that The Teardrop Explodes’ John Peel sessions are finally getting an official release on October 15th, in the form of PEEL SESSIONS PLUS. Yup, it’s almost twenty-five years since we split up, but I gots to admit that these 16 songs (recorded between May ’79 and January ’82) sound a bazillion times better than I remember them. Indeed, I’m so pleased with the results that I’ve contributed sleeve notes and sleeve ideas (artfully executed in the true 1981 Martin Atkins-style by Holy McGrail, no less). Unfortunately, you cain’t score this sucker here at Head Heritage. But do please check out Amazon or some such, as they’re most likely undercutting the rest of the opposition. And if that album don’t de-cloud your horizon enough, then watch out for the deluxe double-CD edition of 1991’s PEGGY SUICIDE, which will now appear early in the New Year. Okay, that’s enough of my rattling on, brothers’n’sisters. So until next month, as the days draw in, please take care, stay bright, and if yooz out at night… be seen and wear white!
JULIAN (Lord Yatesbury)