CopyCats on Dig The Now Sound

Dig the Now Sound (Thursdays at 10:00 pm eastern on Turn Me On, Dead Man Radio) plays standout recent garage/psych. The featured track this week is “Blood Is the Way” by the Spanish garage punk band CopyCats. “Blood Is the Way” is on the 7″ EP Miss the Strange, which you can stream on Bandcamp. CopyCats start their first ever European tour tomorrow. On their Facebook page they are asking for help to find venues (see dates below). Help them out if you can.

 

Turn Me On, Dead Man: Where are you located?

CopyCats: We’re based in Granada (south of Spain) since 2010 approximately.

Turn Me On, Dead Man: What’s the music scene like there?

CopyCats: The music scene here’s a bit dead, but we’re beginning to see a common feeling in a lot of people looking for something exciting and new SO things are getting better. There are some good bands here in Spain like Belgrado (Barcelona) or la URSS for example…

Turn Me On, Dead Man: Have you toured much?

CopyCats: We’ve never toured before. Tomorrow (June 27th) we start our first European tour until July 14th. Hope we will tour the USA someday…
Turn Me On, Dead Man: Here are the tour dates:
June 27 – Madrid – Funhouse (w/ Rey Muerto)
June 28 – Zaragoza – Avv Arrebato
June 29 – Besancon – Ze Music All Bar
June 30 – Paris – TBA
July 1 – Kortrijk, Belgium – The Pit’s (w/ the Denyals)
July 2 – Amersterdam, Netherlands – TBA
July 3 – Hamburg, Germany – Gangeviertel
July 4 – Berlin, Germany – Wowsville
July 5 – Leipzig – Atari (w/ Scandalous Deed)
July 6 – Berlin, Germany – Cortina Bob
July 7 – Graz, Austria – Sub
July 8 – Vienna, Austria, or Slovenia – TBA
July 9 – Bologna, Italy – TBA
July 10 – Milan, Italy – La Sacrestia (via Conchetta, Milano)
July 11 – Turin, Italy – TBA
July 12 – Kreuzlingen, Switzerland – Horst
July 13 – Seignosse, France – The Barco Loco
July 14 – Barcelona, Spain – TBA
Looks like an ambitious schedule. Have you gotten much interest outside Spain?

CopyCats: People outside Spain doesn’t know much about us as we’ve only  made a demo tape record (2010), we’ve played only around Spain and have just released our first EP “Miss the strange” …but they’ll soon have news from CopyCats!

The X-Rays!

Dig the Now Sound (Thursdays at 10:00 pm eastern on Turn Me On, Dead Man Radio) plays standout recent garage/psych and Echoes in Tyme (Tuesdays at 10:00 pm eastern) looks back on the garage revival of the 1980s and 1990s. This week the leadoff tracks for both shows are by the same band, the X-Rays! who are from Nottingham, England. Between 1994 and 1998 the X-Rays! put out several releases reveling in sex, drugs and rock & roll–in a general sense, that is–more accurately the X-Rays! reveled in whores, beer and garage punk. But then between 1998 and 2013 the band went on hiatus. I noticed recently that their entire back catalog suddenly appeared on Bandcamp, along with a new single “Jameson Shot”, and that led me to contact Gary X-Ray to find out what was going on.

Turn Me On, Dead Man: So why the long hiatus?

Gary X-Ray: The X-Rays in our original line up split in 1997 when Steve (our drummer and original member of Heresy) left after a European tour in which we had a lot of trouble including Steve getting arrested in Holland. It’s a long story but we carried on for a bit after Steve left with another drummer. It did not really work and we split not long after but reformed in 2002 to play a one off gig with our original line up with Steve to play with the New Bomb Turks. We had played a few UK tours with the Turks and reformed just to play their last ever UK gig. The New Bomb Turks are still one of my all time favourite bands.

Anyway me and Coop played in various different bands after the X-rays but last year decided to get the band back together with me, Coop and Gman original members and a new drummer Benny Ramone. We have a 7″ compilation single out on Big Neck Records, USA which also features Livids (Eric from New Bomb Turks new band). We also have a 7″ single coming out on Big Neck and a 25 track singles compilation album coming out on High Noon Records, Germany very soon. We also have a few other secret projects coming out with other labels but I’d have to kill you if I told you about them hahaha!  ………….only joking!!!!!!!!!!!!

Turn Me On, Dead Man: The New Bomb Turks were my favorite band to see live, hands down. Sorry to say I’ve never seen the X-Rays live. I read Eric Davidson’s book (We Never Learn: The Gunk Punk Undergut, 1988-2001) and it sounds like X-Rays shows were always entertaining! One of the points he makes in his book is that the punk scene in the 1990s was all pre-internet. You’ve posted the X-Rays catalog on Bandcamp so you’re taking advantage of the internet now. How have things changed between then (before your hiatus) and now?

Gary X-Ray: Yeah New Bomb Turks are still one of the greatest bands that have ever lived and one of the best live bands ever. We were lucky enough to tour with them in, I think, 1996 and they were such great guys. Our last gig, we played before reforming last year, was in 2002 where we actually got back with our original drummer to play the Turks last ever gig in the UK at the Garage in London.

Eric’s book was fantastic and brought back a lot of great memories if the mid 90’s gunk punk scene which was amazing in Europe but was none existent in the UK. The X-Rays were pretty much on our own in the UK during that period of time but we had a great break getting signed to Empty Records in the states.

Back then in the 90s there was no internet…………..and definitely no Facebook. We kinda got known through word of mouth from people seeing us at gigs and fanzines. We were in contact with a whole loada fanzines (sadly most of those DIY photocopied paper fanzines are long gone replaced by blogs etc). Organising gigs and tours in those days meant writing letters, phoning promoters (which was bloody expensive if you were booking tours abroad) and we went high tech by using a fax machine haha. It’s now so easy and quick with the internet. The problem I have with the internet generation of bands is that they don’t really have to work at being a band it’s so easy to just post stuff on Facebook and get your band noticed. As i say we had to work hard sending stuff off to fanzines, promoters etc (I’ve got to be careful i don’t sound like an embittered old man haha). We have embraced Facebook and Bandcamp because it is great for people to be able to hear us and contact us without having to spend a fortune trying to find our out of print vinyl.

Turn Me On, Dead Man: The first time I heard the New Bomb Turks was on John Peel’s show on the BBC World Service (broadcast on my local public radio station from midnight to 5:00–great for insomnia!). I remember he referred to them as a “noisy boys”.

So, being out of the mainstream, has it been better for you to be in Nottingham? Did/do you have a supportive scene there?

Gary X-Ray: when we first started round 1994 the UK was pretty bad for gigs. We really were the only band doing what we did in the UK. We saw the New Bomb Turks play Nottingham in 1993 and that was a massive inspiration but the UK did not seem ready for garage punk at the time. It was only when we went to Europe and the States that we got really appreciative audiences and realised that people did like our style of music. It was also the first time we got proper riders and big crowds. It was strange reforming and playing in Nottingham after 10 years and realising that people had caught up and were ready for garage punk. We re now seen as some kind of originators (even though we weren’t anything new it’s just that people remember us as the first UK band to take on that style etc).

Funny you should mention John Peel. He was one of the few DJs who picked up on us at the time. He played quite a few of our singles and was the biggest influence on me musically. I used to listen to his show as a kid and remember hearing a lot of the early punk rock on his show.

Turn Me On, Dead Man: Glad you’re back and that Nottingham (and the rest of us) have caught up with you.

Mozes and the Firstborn on Dig the Now Sound

Dig the Now Sound (Thursdays at 10:00 pm eastern on Turn Me On, Dead Man Radio) plays standout recent garage/psych. The featured track this week is “Bloodsucker” by the Dutch garage pop band Mozes and the Firstborn. “Bloodsucker” is available as a “name your price” download on Bandcamp.

Be warned, however, that this song has some serious hooks and it will be difficult to get it out of your head once you hear it (and I mean that in a good way).

I corresponded recently with Melle Dielesen, lead singer of Mozes and the Firstborn.

Turn Me On, Dead Man: I’d just like to ask about your influences. I noticed one of your tags on Bandcamp is “70s”. What bands would you put in your top 10 (or however many)?

Melle Dielesen: I’ll answer by myself but I’ll to represent the band as well as I can. So, here we go…

The top 10 (oh darn, this is my “High Fidelity”-moment)

Okay, off of the top of my head…
1. Nirvana
2. Plastic Ono Band/John Lennon
3. The Rolling Stones
4. The Velvet Underground
5. Guided By Voices
6. Pixies
7. Oasis
8. Black Lips
9. Neil Young
10. Beck

All of us listen to old and new music and we try to mold those two into our own music and make something refreshing. We lend from old music (like every band, I guess) because we’re not gonna re-invent the wheel and we’re inspired by bands from present day that are exciting to listen to live and on record. I mean, Nirvana would have never existed without the Beatles OR the Pixies. I’m not nearly trying to compare us to Nirvana… You see? Well, I think I get the point across. Ha ha! I always find it really hard not to sound pretentious when I’m talking about our influences.

Turn Me On, Dead Man: What’s the music scene like in the Netherlands?

Melle Dielesen: There’s definitely something happening here right now. I find it very hard to talk about a scene because it’s not how I view it. It’s just that there’s a couple of artists in the Netherlands right now who seem to do well and are getting across the borders. It’s not like there’s a traditional scene where everybody hangs out in the same bar and share ideas. You know what I mean? But I can tell you about two Dutch bands that, we think, are really cool!

There’s Jacco Gardner (http://jaccogardner.bandcamp.com/album/clear-the-air), a 24-year old sound whizkid. He actually signed with Trouble In Mind Records, which is really cool for a Dutch act. At least, that’s what we all think! Not to mention, his psychedelic pop music is plain beauty… Cool surname, by the way!

Turn Me On, Dead Man: [note: Melle is referring to my name, which is Todd Gardner] Yeah, I’ve listened to Jacco Gardner. Not only is my last name Gardner, but my father’s name is Jack, so his name definitely got my attention.

Melle Dielesen: Another Dutch band that we all like is traumahelikopter (http://traumahelikopter.bandcamp.com/). They’re a Gories/Oblivians-style garage band. Their drummer only has a floor tom, a snare and a crash. He also plays while standing up. Their live shows are just a burst of energy! Burger Records recently released their album on cassette…

Which brings me to… us. Burger Records also released our record on cassette two weeks ago and their planning on putting it out on vinyl as well! Burger is just a really cool small label. These guys just put out everything they like. Almost 500 releases in 5 years! For us, the release on Burger Records definitely opened a window to new opportunities in America. There have been quite a few people from the States who responded positively to our album and showed interest.

Turn Me On, Dead Man: Looks like you’re touring a lot this month. Any plans to come to the US (and DC in particular)? Have you had much response from people in the US?

Melle Dielesen: There’s a possibility of Mozes crossing the Atlantic soon but I can’t really tell you more because nothing’s a hundred per cent sure yet… But of course, if there’s certainty we’ll let you know as soon as possible. Would be great to come to DC and play there!

In the meantime we’re playing a lot here in Europe. Tomorrow we’re setting out on a two-week-tour with Two Gallants! It’s the longest we’ve been away from home with the band, so we’re all really psyched about that! Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Austria, Belgium… Just going from town to town with some of your best friends. And on top of that, we get to play a show every night! Well, I can’t think of anything I’d do rather than that! This month is gonna be one for the books, I guess…

Dark Fog on Dig the Now Sound

Dig the Now Sound (Thursdays at 10:00 pm eastern on Turn Me On, Dead Man Radio) plays standout recent garage/psych. The featured track this week is (((Get the Feeling))) by Dark Fog, who are from Chicago. (((Get the Feeling))) is on The Seaside Sounds Of Dark Fog At Doctor Officer Quimby’s House, which is available on Bandcamp.

I corresponded recently with Ray Donato, guitarist for Dark Fog.

Turn Me On, Dead Man: I’d like to ask you about your influences. I’ve seen Dark Fog compared to several other bands but I’d like to know what you think are your key influences.

Ray Donato: I’d say that after these 10 years as a band psychedelic drugs and the sonics of our amplification are what really motivate us, but the main thing that I think keeps our sound unique is the fact that neither of us are of the ‘chameleon’ type of player who listens to a genre and can regurgitate back the teqniques and styles…I’ve always learned to play things my way, and as such my style is a personal evolution of the different musical tastes I’ve had over the years…It probably helped that I was born in the early 70’s and my parents still played alot of the great music from their era, so I bounced from Neil Young and Hendrix to Metallica to Sonic Youth to Captain Beefheart to Syd’s Floyd to Miles Davis and Ornette Coleman, along the way learning the endless possibilities that music could go in and trying my damnedest to incorporate the spirit of each into my own style of playing. Today I listen to a lot of the original rock/pop composers, arrangers and producers such as Hazlewood, Spector, Bacharach, Goffen and King, that type of thing- I am really trying to soak in the genius of those melodies and arrangements. As a band we really envision that playing psychedelic rock in 2013 just means that there are a few more decades of rock to choose from…

Turn Me On, Dead Man: Dark Fog has a distinctive sound. What sorts of gear/effects do you use?

Ray Donato: As far as gear I use tube and boutique analog gear almost exclusively, a wah , few types of delay and one fuzz (only 6 pedals actually) my low watt amp I hand built myself also I use a 50 watt EL34 style and my fuzz is an NOS Tychobrahe Octavia…Yt uses mostly a DW kit that I believe is standardised for heavy rock players (large bass and floor toms)…

Turn Me On, Dead Man: Who does your cover art? It’s consistently great–I love those trippy images.

Ray Donato: I’m guilty of doing the cover art drawings, a tattoo artist friend did coloring on the df3 album and our former bass player Matt did the lettering on the cassette and the space mouth cartoon on the split 45, other than that it’s all me, as Dark Fog is also an outlet for my artwork as well…

Turn Me On, Dead Man: Have you released everything on your own label? How is it running your own label? What are the biggest advantages and disadvantages of doing things this way?

Ray Donato: Our first few records are all on the OSR label which was run by our old guitarist/bassist- it was great because we had full creative control but unfortunately we watched him sink tons of money into the label, only to see our records massively downloaded- in 2007 our very expensively made double LP we tracked from the bit torrent sites over 50,000 downloads, which I always assumed was from the word psychedelic appearing in the title, it would pop up on searches for ‘psychedelic music’…but who knows…?

I’ve always known that selling underground records was a lengthy process that requires perseverance, but he became extremely bitter and frustrated until finally quitting the band about four years back… Anyhow, since then we’ve released our records on our friends’ labels- Commune, Galactic Zoo Disc, and now Eye Vybe…we strive for creative control as much as possible, and we’ve always recorded ourselves, when we were on OSR we had a really fancy home studio setup including a British Trident board (like the Beatles used), now we have a simpler digital 16 track with handbuilt vintage style analog mic preamps…

Turn Me On, Dead Man: Have you read a book called Turn Off Your Mind by Gary Lachman? He was in Blondie but the book is a pretty serious study of the “dark side” of occult influences in the 1960s. I was just looking at the “Influences” section of your Myspace page and I was curious if you were familiar with it.

Ray Donato: Yeah, that Gary Lachman book is one I plan to read soon…my fascination with the occult happened as a teenager helped by my Jimmy Page worship and the band Venom, my first job was at a public library where i devoured the occult section, and especially read into Crowley and the Golden Dawn…now my occult studies involve mostly watching Kenneth Anger films, reading seems to be something I do less these days unfortunately, so alot of my lyrics I must admit are culled from my past, but I’m pushing 40 so there is alot floating around this drug addled mind of mine, which is basically how I write lyrics- the sub conscious mind and inner psyche, or is it thin air…?

Turn Me On, Dead Man
: I highly recommend Turn Off Your Mind. I don’t know what I was expecting when I bought it but it was much more thought provoking than I had anticipated. He talks a lot about the literature that the counter-culture embraced and he does it in a way that made me want to read or re-read all of those books.

So, do you venture out of Chicago very often?

Ray Donato: We have done SXSW twice and an east coast tour, but for the past five years we have played Chicago and the Midwest exclusively, though we hope to tour again in the future, or get on one of the psych fests outside of Chicago…we’ll see what the future holds…

The Janitors on Dig the Now Sound

Dig the Now Sound (Thursdays at 10:00 pm eastern on Turn Me On, Dead Man Radio) plays standout recent garage/psych. The featured track this week is “A-Bow” by the Swedish band The Janitors, who are from Stockholm. “A-Bow” is a killer 12+ minute track that showcases The Janitors‘ own special brand of psychedelia. “A-Bow” is on the 2012 EP Head Honcho (which made it onto my list of the best releases of 2012) and it’s also available as a free download on Bandcamp.

I corresponded recently with Jonas and Henric of The Janitors and here is what they had to say.

Turn Me On, Dead Man: Well, I have to ask about the first single “Away”/”Firefly” (2004). What was it about that experience that caused the band to split up the night of its release?

The Janitors: We kind of reached the end of the road with the format we had at the time (two guitars, and two drums and a shitload of feedback – although you can’t really hear that on the recordings, we kind of went soft there). In addition I think the three of us needed to take time to explore other things. There weren’t any hard feelings, we just got bored. The band started as a counteraction against all the sweet indie bands, but all of a sudden we were the talk of the town.. That wasn’t our intention. So we just quit.

Turn Me On, Dead Man: Your next release, First Sign of Delirium, was not until 2010. Why so long to pick it up again? What were you doing between 2004 and 2010?

The Janitors: To capture five years in a couple of sentences is quite hard. But life kind of happened. We got kids, finished educations and started working. Kind of lost track of the noise.. But after a while we needed a vent to get stuff out of our system and we soon figured the studio was the perfect place. So The Janitors 2.0 started to take shape and it still is in a constant state of change.

Turn Me On, Dead Man: On your facebook page you describe your music as “Swedish evil shoegaze boogie woogie and stökpsych a go go!” I don’t speak Swedish. What does “stökpsych” mean or shouldn’t I ask?

The Janitors: Stök is swedish for mess. Our good friend Johan, promoter at the great Fritz’s Corner (fritzscorner.se), came up with both descriptions. We usually use Stök to describe things that got kind of messy and it only seems fitting not to translate it.

Turn Me On, Dead Man: I love the cover art for Head Honcho. That has to be one of my all-time favorite album covers–the strange mix of trippiness, technology and death that “A-Bow” also captures. So how do you see psychedelia? Is it fucked up music for a fucked up world or does it go beyond that? Some of your songs are about death. What comes after that?

The Janitors: First of all, Thank you! We really like it to! We haven’t looked in the dictionary under psychedelia. But fucked up music for a fucked up world seems quite fitting. After death comes nothing. Being raised in a secular society neither of us have any illusions of an afterlife. But death is a very strong symbol and has been present in many ways in our lives.

Turn Me On, Dead Man: What do you currently have in the works?

The Janitors: Awesome UK label Cardinal Fuzz (http://cardinalfuzz.bigcartel.com/) will release Worker Drone Queen and Head Honcho plus some bonus tracks on a double gatefold vinyl this Spring! Psychedelic Light and Sound (http://www.psychedeliclightandsound.com/light-sound-records-2/) in the US will release Head Honcho in some format eventually.

We will do some shows in Sweden supporting some of our favorite artists. Check our Facebook or homepage for more info on that. We’ll also play the Soundrive festival in Poland this summer.

Sometime by the end of the year we will release a new EP or full length. Depends on how creative we get. We’re also working to get our own digital label “Your ears have been bad and need to be punished” going. Any psych bands out there needing distro, give us a holler at info@thejanitors.se and we’ll hook you up!

Horrible Houses on Dig the Now Sound

Dig the Now Sound (Thursdays at 10:00 pm eastern on Turn Me On, Dead Man Radio) plays standout recent garage/psychedelic music. The featured track this week is “Genevieve” by Horrible Houses.

Horrible Houses, which is largely the work of Daniel Johnnson, released two albums in 2012, Family Tapes Vol. 1 and Family Tapes Vol. 2. If I had to attach a label to it, I’d call it lo-fi garage pop, but Daniel offered “naive garage,” which fits the bill nicely. In any case, Horrible Houses plays music that’s catchy as hell and stays with you long after you play it. Family Tapes Vol. 1 includes a cover of “Bullet Proof Nothing” by Simply Saucer, which lists Paul McCartney on bass. I asked Daniel about that and he explained, “Well technically McCartney is playing bass on bullet proof nothing. I sampled the bass from “The Ballad of John and Yoko” to help record my own skewed version of the Simply Saucer (best band ever) song.”

Turn Me On, Dead Man: Where are you from and what’s the music scene like there? What sort of venues do you play at?

Daniel Johnsson: I reside in a little town in the middle of Sweden, there is no music scene here whatsoever, well, except for me. There might be some old man playing fiddle in a barn somewhere, but I wouldn’t bet on it. I grew up here, moved around a bit, drifted, became severely depressed, moved back and underwent therapy. It was during this time I started writing songs. Me and a friend of mine recorded the first Horrible Houses songs in an abandoned bunker just outside of town, heavily influenced by the band Simply Saucer. The early, noisy stuff – “Haunted Rivers Family Tapes”, “Tired of Hippies”, “Parking lot Kisses” etc. are all recorded there. We’ve never played a proper venue, just small festival gigs in the woods.

Turn Me On, Dead Man: How long has Horrible Houses been around and how would you describe your music?

Daniel Johnsson: Well Horrible Houses (started off as Haunted Heads) been around since sometime in 2011, March or April perhaps. I’d say there’s at least two sides to Horrible Houses; there’s the lengthy and often improvised jams – “Tempel of Ash Ra” “Cajun Werewolf” to name a few, which I really love doing. And the pop-oriented stuff. To be honest, I really don’t know how to write a proper pop song, with hooks and all that stuff I mean, I just enjoy writing riffs. But if one has to label it, I’d say “Naive Garage” sounds about right. I guess all I’m really trying to do (on a good day) is to sound like my heroes.

Turn Me On, Dead Man: You had a prolific 2012. What new releases do you have in the works? You mentioned Family Tapes Vol. 3. When will you be releasing that?

Daniel Johnsson: Yes, I’m currently working on finishing Family Tapes Vol. 3. I’ve been “finished” with it about two or three times now but new songs keep popping up, even thought about binning it and start fresh but hopefully that won’t happen, I would probably regret that later on(!). And I don’t know yet, on which label or what format it’ll be released. All I know is that it’s gonna be out this year, if I can finish it that is.

Turn Me On, Dead Man: Is the cassette your medium of choice?

Daniel Johnsson: Well in a way I guess it is. The labels – “Zeon Light Kassett” and “Happenin’ Records” (both who I can’t thank enough for taking their time to release my songs, I love ’em both) are cassette-based labels. And I think my songs fit quite nicely on a cassette… they are quite worn-out to begin with and after being put on a cassette they become even more so. And I like worn-out stuff – pants, guitars, records and most of all: tapes. But I’m not exactly allergic to vinyl either!

LE Yikes SURF CLUB on Dig the Now Sound

Dig the Now Sound (now at its new time Thursdays at 10:00pm eastern) on Turn Me On, Dead Man on Live365 plays standout recent garage, punk and psychedelic rock. This week the featured track is “No Thanks” by LE Yikes SURF CLUB from their self-titled EP released last year. I recently corresponded with Gary Viteri of LE Yikes SURF CLUB.

Turn Me On, Dead Man: How long have you been around and how did the band form?
Gary Viteri: LE Yikes SURF CLUB has been a group just under a year. We released our first 5 song EP in February of 2012. Yikes formed in early 2010, in between full time touring with my old band, Dirty Tactics.

It started as an organ based pop group after I moved to what would become “Titan Haus” where we hosted many memorable shows. It was a way to demo songs I wasn’t going to use for Dirty Tactics and also a way to experiment with organs and acoustic instruments (you can hear the remnants of those sessions in “trabajo, trabajo, trabajo”)

Yikes was resurrected in its new amplified inception as LE Yikes SURF CLUB after our label informed us of a short lived group called Yikes as well as a current group called Surf Club.

Turn Me On, Dead Man: It looks like the EP was your first release and I see you put out a couple more tracks on Bandcamp in December.  What do you have in the works?

Gary Viteri: We have 5 more songs recorded and we hope to release the first 5 and these new ones on a full LP for this year and stay on the road.

Turn Me On, Dead Man: So how would you classify your music? I’m not trying to pigeonhole you but I was just curious to see how you view yourselves. On Bandcamp I see that you chose the label “basement” but not “garage”. Is that a literal thing?

Gary Viteri: I don’t know if we really classify ourselves as anything besides punk rock. I grew up on ’77 punk and 60s soul and r&b, combined with first wave reggae and ska, and traditional Spanish songs, growing up in a Latino family. People will call it what they will, but I think there’s a timeless nostalgia hidden in the songs we’ve been producing.

We’ve had a small rotating cast of friends that have been taking care of live duties. I recorded songs as demos in my basement last year and Vinnie started coming by to lay some bass down and it just kind of became a band from there. I think the basslines are crucial to what we eventually ended up sounding like.

Our label called us basement punks, but mostly because we record/rehearse in our basement, and we played a few basements when we started playing out. We’ve supported Agent Orange at The Trocadero and The Rezillos at Kung Fu Necktie, as well as starting to play our own shows in other clubs like The Barbary, Level Room, and Connies, and a lot of warehouse parties and basement shows every now and then.

Turn Me On, Dead Man: Where will you be playing next?

Gary Viteri: Our next show is March 07 at Underground Arts [1200 Callowhill St., Philadelphia, PA] with some old friends of ours, Obits (members of Hot Snakes, Drive Like Jehu, Edsel, Girls Against Boys). That show will sell out. [Tickets]

“Cosmic Band” by The Atomic Buddha on Dig the Now Sound

Several days ago I found an interesting album on Bandcamp by a band called The Pin Drops. Running short on time, I planned to download it later. When I returned, however, the album was gone, or so I thought. Looking through Bandcamp’s garage punk albums sorted by “Newness” I spotted the album cover but the band had been renamed The Atomic Buddha. I contacted Adam Schwartz, guitarist and vocalist for the band, who explained that The Pin Drops was already used by several groups, so he returned to The Atomic Buddha, a name he has used for some time now. This week’s edition of Dig the Now Sound (Thursday, Feb. 7th at 10:00pm eastern time) will feature “Cosmic Band,” the opening track on The Atomic Buddha’s album Blottered, which was released on January 29th.

Turn Me On, Dead Man: Where are you from and how long have you been at it?

Atomic Buddha: Atomic Buddha has been at it on and off since 2006. We are a CT band.  In our first year we recorded about 25 songs I wrote in my basement on a 4 track machine.  Dave Parent, our drummer extraordinaire, produced it. He moved shortly after and after finding it difficult to fill his shoes I went into a sort of stasis; I was still writing but stockpiled all of it. Several months back I awoke and we started to try out drummers again. Matt Futoma is our new drummer.  He played in a stoner rock band called Cargo Cult Revival and plays in a few others now too.  We are rehearsing and will be recording more music soon.  I had the Atomic Buddha stuff remastered at a studio and released it on Bandcamp.  There is more to be released.

Musically speaking, Atomic Buddha is my spiritual center.  It is the band I want it to be, playing the music I like.  Keith [Keith Grave, bass] and I started The Sanity Assassins in 1988, we were not a goth band but did steal the name from the Bauhaus song.  It was more of a psychedelic punk garage outfit.  Our first two singles were out on Fred Cole’s Tombstone Records.  My favorite from that time was the 3 song single put out by Dionysus Not What You Think/Passenger Seat/Razorblades.  That was a great disc, freaking raw buzzsaw guitars.

We played out regularly and had opening spots for TAD and the Cynics.  Both of them fucking great live bands–The Cynics tore the roof off the Nightshift Cafe.

After Pete left the drum seat the sound became more punk and eventually sounded like a surf edged Motorhead.  even though we were pretty “successful” and had many releases my heart was not in it anymore I wanted to get back to the garage psyche I loved so I quit around 2001.  Atomic Buddha became the banner I used from then on–anything I wrote would be released under that name.  I hooked back up with Pete from the Assassins and he helped me record demos. Cosmic Band was on one of the first demos along with Rearview Mirror and the Lotus Garden plus a few others I haven’t touched since then.

I wrote the music for a project with Rob McKenzie, former The Not Quite bassist and singer.  It was a concept based on Dr. Albert Hoffman’s experiments with LSD and his bike ride home under the influence.  I still hope we can complete it one day but Rob has moved on to filmmaking.

Turn Me On, Dead Man: What kind of equipment do you use?

Atomic Buddha: My main guitar is a 1965 Gibson Melody Maker, and yes to all the guitar fanatics it might actually be a ’67 or ’68, Gibson doesn’t know but the seller told me it was a ’65.  I also use a Nashville style telecaster that has a wicked tone.

Turn Me On, Dead Man: What exactly is “Ginger Baker’s Nightmare” (the title of track 4 on Blottered)?

Atomic Buddha: Ginger Baker’s nightmare is waking up to find he has to play up to his reputation!  Or waking up to find he had to replace Keith Moon.  I love that instrumental song.  It has a ripping swagger and easy chords.  Dave really captured the spirit of what it needed on drums and Keith really caught it on bass too.  I actually wrote some lyrics for it but thought it was better with no vocals!

Most of the stuff I listen to and am influenced by is the same stuff everyone else loves- Ramones, Fuzztones, The Doors and all.  I also dig Captain Beefheart, Amon Duul II, Hawkwind and lots of Acid Mothers Temple- another great live band, truly cosmic and trippy like the universe is on fire or something.  I just started listening to Ty Segall and that is great too.

Thanks for listening–may it serve you well

“Dutch” by Still Caves

“Dig the Now Sound” on Turn Me On, Dead Man Radio on Live365.com highlights the best of recent garage/psych. The show airs Wednesdays at 10:00pm eastern time and this week’s spotlight track is “Dutch” by Still Caves. A couple of weeks back I posted my best of 2012 lists and I selected “Dutch” as the best track of 2012.

I recently corresponded with guitarist Brian Whitmer of Still Caves and here is what he had to say.

Turn Me On, Dead Man: I was just looking at your Bandcamp page and it appears that you released “Dutch” in 2011, but the version on Static Lips is a new recording. What led you to re-record it?

Still Caves: I guess we wouldn’t really consider the first recordings a “release”. We recorded Dutch and Great Recession in 2011 by just putting a mic in the middle of the room and plugging it into a laptop. We just put those up when we started playing shows so people could check out what we sounded like. We had always planned to record those over with the rest of the stuff we had written so far.

TMODM: Who are your main influences and just how much vintage gear do you use?

SC: As for influences…We each have pretty diverse influences, but when we got started we were all interested in Eat Skull, The Whines, Burning Yellows, The Mantles, Spacemen 3, Little Claw, Les Rallizes Denudes, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Ty Segall, The Clean, Thee Oh Sees, Woods, and Crystal Stilts. Those are the ones that come to mind right away.

Equipment-wise, Jamey [Williams, also on guitar,] is the one of us who has been collecting nice old pieces for a long time. He is on a ’67 Bassman, a Gibson 335 Special, a Memory Man, and also uses some newer and reissue stuff, like the Rat. I used a reissue Twin Reverb, but recently traded it for an 80’s The Twin amp. Other than that his pedals are mostly the more affordable reissues of the good old stuff like the Deluxe Memory Boy and Big Muff Pi. The bassist [Kellam Connelly] uses a Fender Musicmaster into a big old Peavy and the drummer [Travis Visscher] uses drums.

TMODM: I see you’ve got a show coming up in a few days (January 24th at Holocene in Portland, OR–only $5!). Have you or are you planning to venture from Portland?  Any new releases coming anytime soon?

SC: We would like to head out of town soon. We are looking into buying a van. We went up to Seattle and Tacoma a couple of months ago and had a lot of fun. Having a reliable form of transportation we will be able to get out more often.

We have a few songs ready to record and will do so either this month or next. Not sure what we are going to do about releasing those. We really love vinyl so getting it out that way would be great.

The Best Tracks of 2012

As a companion to my previous post listing the best albums and EP/7″ releases that came out in 2012, I have put together a CD-length mix of some of the best tracks released last year. There seems to be an ever growing wave of excellent garage and psychedelic music being released and it was hard to make this collection of tracks come in under the 80-minute mark. Adding to this difficulty was my determination to close out this mix with the insanely great 23-minute track “Living in the Cosmic Nod (Improvisations)” by Earthless, who demonstrate superhuman psychedelic stamina. Other than the Earthless track (which defies ranking) the tracks are arranged roughly in order of preference, and I’d give the nod to Still Caves for “Dutch” as the Turn Me On, Dead Man track of the year.

Half-Remembered Dreams: The Best of 2012 by Dead Man on Mixcloud

1 “Still Caves”
by Dutch
2 “Raise Them Up”
by Brian Wilson Shock Treatment
3 “Mourning Light”
by The Flight Reaction
4 “Okay”
by Mmoss
5 “No Thanks”
by LE Yikes SURF CLUB
6 “(The) Forest Speaks”
by Peoples Temple
7 “Sun”
by The Dalai Lama Rama Fa Fa Fa
8 “Green Balloon”
by White Fence
9 “Moonlight Mile”
by The Babies
10 “The City Sighs”
by Zebra Hunt
11 “Sri Sai Flora”
by The Sufis
12 “Stop What You’re Doin'”
by Seven Long Years
13 “Snow Blind”
by The Technicolor Teeth
14 “Cali in a Cup”
by Woods
15 “Sejchas”
by Sonic Death
16 “Midnight in the Garden of Evil”
by Magic Shoppe
17 “Kids Don’t Live Enough”
by The Modulated Tones
18 “Living in the Cosmic Nod (Improvisations)”
by Earthless