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