Julian Cope presents Head Heritage

Features

Acid Mothers Temple

by Julian Cope, 11/05/2001ce
Walking through Armley on the outskirts of Leeds in 1979, I came upon the best graffiti ever. It was written on the bus shelter wall and went something along these lines:

“I’m writing this to warn you all about Tracey Dibnar, coz she said she was my mate and I helped her when her boyfriend left her, and so did all of us here today, but it turns out that she’s been fucking Jan’s Gary and acting like nothing’s happening, then making it look like I was the one who was betraying Jan by making snidey remarks to all of us when she gets us on our own and causing such grief that none of us knew who or what to believe, then to top it all off, now she’s nicked my boyfriend Ray, and got pregnant by him at a party and even though he loves me she reckons they’re gonna get married, which I doubt coz she’s a fucking tart who’ll get in bed with any bloke that comes along. So please beware.”

The music of Acid Mothers Temple is a lot like the graffiti above. It starts off like every other psychedelically-styled band, but then it just unfolds and unfolds and unfolds. When I first heard it, it didn’t grab me immediately by the poo-poo or swing me out into the stars, indeed I was initially suspicious of any band which built its house on such apparently hoary cosmic rock cliches. And that name alone — are these guys for real? The presentation and music both had elements of Gong (whom I hate), and Amon Düül 2 (whom I adore) and the Cosmic Jokers (whom I worship). But, like the graffiti, Acid Mothers Temple music unfolds from its simple archetypal base into an infinitely intricate and wildly vibrant tapesty of Motherfucking genius sound collages that take your head and spin it round in an Exorcist-like ecstasy. The Bayeux Tapestry looks crude and simplistic until you realise that there’s about two miles of it — and so it is with Acid Mothers Temple. The five false endings at the end of your favourite western Live heavy metal double-LP are piddling underachieving drywanks compared with the 20-minute tailouts of the Acid Mothers.

Led by the incredible acid-rock guitarist and forward-thinking Motherfucker Kawabata Makoto, Acid Mothers Temple is designed specifically to lead middle-aged rock‘n’rollers away from the boring fucking Beatles and Byrds remasters section of the record shop and into strange and uncharted regions called “Contemporary”. Whenever my friend Psychedelic Paul is on the verge of buying yet another 13th Floor Elevators re-package, I grab him by the nuts and haul him into the section marked “Mad Japs”. Then I steal his wad of cash, pay for the goods AND give him change, too. Kawabata Makoto is a clever man and a wily magician, with rock riffs to die for and a determination to get on tape all the tumultuous moods of the very best of San Fransisco, Los Angeles, Barrett Floyd and the Krautrock scene. His group includes an auxiliary force known as (Get this!) Father Moo & the Black Sheep, who appear on some of the sleeves naked. As the Black Sheep are young and female, this grabs the eye of even the most ardent Byrds Bore, and guarantees that said Bore will soon be back for another rummage, and pronto, Tonto.

Even better, each Acid Mothers Temple LP is greater than the last. I reviewed their Pataphysical Freak Out MU! on my website as Album-of-the-Month, only to discover that their unearthly and mind-manifesting Troubadours from Another Heavenly World LP was much much greater. Indeed, if you are looking for a way into Acid Mothers Temple, then this is the one for you to start with. But lookout! Their stupor-dooper new LP is soon forthcoming and is called Absolutely Freak Out. And once bitten, you’re gonna shell out!

So don’t get hoodwinked by the corporations into paying again and again for some Parlophoney strategy, like your dad did with Gracie Fields or those Alvin Stardust 40-somethings with their Mark 1 Vauxhall Crestas and Confederate flags in the back window. Real rock‘n’roll is alive and well and living in uninvestigated parts of HMV and Virgin. And if it makes you feel uncomfortable looking through racks of LPs you ain’t never seen before, then think again. When was rock‘n’roll ever meant to be comfortable?