Julian Cope presents Head Heritage

Iron Butterfly
In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida played at 45 rpm


Released 1968 on Rhino
Reviewed by aaroneous, 07/11/2001ce


Okay, this will not work on CD, unless you have one of those pitch controllable players, but then you lose the vibe. It's just gotta be the wax. Here's what you do.

Get your (or your dad's) scratched up vinyl copy of everyone's favorite cartoon psychedelic heavy rock bad trip soundtrack organ orgy. Place it on the platter with the one song that takes up all of side two facing UP. Put the needle on the record

Now, and this is very important, make sure the speed control is set to 33 rpm and press start on the record player. You should now here the rip off baroque organ intro lurching towards normal speed. When the first sustained note plays, JAM THAT MUTHAFUCKER UP TO 45 RPM!!

What emerges is something very Very VERY different from that moldy old brown acid epic. Instead of drawn out doors lines, pseudo sabbath riffage, and some moaning, we get a shamanic rave tune of the first order, dripping with energy, passion, intensity, and complete and utter ridiculousness.

Imagine Jaki Leibezeit playing drums in a band with Randy Rhodes on guitar, Lemmy on bass, and what the keyboardist in the Klezmer band that played that frenzied version of Hava Nagilla at your friend Abe's Bar Mitzvah would sound like if he was slipped some high powered amphetamines in his Jack Daniels. Got it? Now imagine that band being fronted by none other than . . . the one . . . the only . . . the King of Rock and Roll himself . . . ladies and gentlemen, give a warm round of applause for the Reanimated Corpse of Elvis Presley!!!

YES!!! As the first monsterous riff pours, no, ripps it's way out of the speakers, claws bared ominously like in the Bark at the Moon video, who should burst out from behind that tear but ELVIS! And I'm not talking teen hearthrob Elvis here, folks. I'm not talking about no Hollywood Elvis, no Sergeant Elvis, no I'll-just-do-a-country-ballad-for-my-mother-Elvis. NOOO!! No siree, bob, we're talking Bloated, Drugged, Pants around the ankles VEGAS Elvis, back from the pit of the damned to wreak havoc on the world of the living.

He reaches out of the speaker and howls, pointing directly at you and staring through the saging pompodour as he leans into the mic and croons:

Hiiin a gadda da vida ah bay-be
Dontcha know that ah Lo-ove you hoo
Hiiin a gadda da vida ah hu hny
Dontcha know that ah'll Halways be true hoo hoo

At which point the Bar Mitvah keys turn especially carnivalesqe, the entire scene rotates on a stage to reveal a game show from hell with Elvis as the host

Oh won't you
Come with me hee
And take mah ha ha hand
Oh won't you
Come with me hee
And we'll walk this la a a and
Oh aaaaaaand
Please ta hake mah ha ha ha ha ha hand!

At this point the band takes over, Randy shredding his axe with all the ferocity that excessive hair products render, Lemmy running through every note on his Rick and then some, Jaki playing like an entire tribe of pigmies back from the hunt with a fresh water buffalo, and Bernie the Bar Mitvah Buddy, chained to his hammond, wondering what had come over him to make him play such things, and whether or not it was even Kosher, what with the noise and the klanging and dead goy singing and all . . .

Before anything can be analysed by participants or audience, the break to end all breaks happens. 10, 20, no 50 Jaki Leibezeits burst through the wall, and army of clones cooked up in renegade German scientist laboratories to demolish inferior western drummers begin all playing at once, on 50 separate drumsets!!! The other musicians, even that old stinky corpse Elvis, stop what they're doing, mouths agape, and stare at this unbelievable occurence, as do you.

We'll, Bernie the keyboard guy just will not let those scientists get the better of him. See, he's been in show business a long time, and knows that some things qualify as hitting below the belt. 50 cloned drummers busting through a wall to upstage a couple of metalheads and some bloated putz is one thing, but it's a cold day in hell when somebody upstages Bernie Abromowitz!!

In an act of showboating, grandstanding, whatever you wan't to call it, Bernie leaps up onto his organ, and begins stomping on the keys, smashing them with his fists, banging his head into them, humping them, anything to make a sound and sight equal or better than the percussive devestation that surrounds him. The tantrum grows in intensity, and then subsides, and, sensing defeat, he begins decending in pitch on the keys, slowing down more, and more, and more, before Lemmy and the boys slowly, ever so slowly, begin playing again, then more, then more, growing, growing, louder, louder, faster, Faster, FASTER STILL, until, until, UNTIL!!!!!!

POW!!!! Elvis is fierce now! His karate moves are all over the stage like a puss filled David Lee Roth! Randy slams his guitar with his cocain slendered fingers, Lemmy lurches over his instrument like a man possessed, Jacki (all 51 of them) lock into the beat like a brand new key, and Bernie, spirits uplifted by the will and resolve of the other members, regains his strength and finishes the marathon with an impossibly fast baroque line as the song concludes with one last riff like the segue music for a seventies cop show, leaving the needle of the record to trail to the end groove and go click . . . . click . . . . click . . . .


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