Nazi Drugs 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 “Makin Me Gruesome” by the band Nazi Drugs from Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania. Nazi Drugs is not about the Third Reich or their medical experiments, but rather is influenced more by the sort of retro horror movie garage punk of bands like the Cramps. The image from their first release, for example, comes from the the 1971 exploitation movie Simon, King of the Witches (I hadn’t seen this delightful film before but it is available on YouTube). “Makin Me Gruesome” is the lead off track on Academia, which will be released on cassette on the Godless America label on or around November 13, 2013. Nazi Drugs is a two-piece band and recently I spoke with the band’s members, Adam (guitar, bass) and Jovi (vocals, lyrics). They explained to me that Academia is a place in Pennsylvania with an eerie, haunted old school building where legend has it that terrible things took place. All is explained on the insert card in the cassette (which also contains the download code).

Turn Me On, Dead Man: I see on the credits that Adam plays guitar and bass and Jovi does the vocals and lyrics. Who plays the drums or was I imagining things?

Jovi: I do the percussion, but I’m not especially talented so I don’t give myself credit for it. so nobody can give me shit about how bad it is.

Turn Me On, Dead Man: Who does your album artwork?

Jovi: I usually do the artwork.

Turn Me On, Dead Man: I looked at the list of your influences. A couple stood out. I had never heard of Abner Jay so your list got me to fire up Wikipedia. The other one that stuck out was Wizzard–is that musically or visually?

Jovi: I just like the whole idea of that dude. I’m just a big fan. I like his approach to that thing.

Turn Me On, Dead Man: If you had to pick two or three who would those be?

Adam and Jovi: Cramps, I guess. The Mummies. Suicide. The first Link Wray album from like ’71. That one’s bluesy but it has a groove but it’s not all blues and it’s not all psychedelic. It’s not all one thing but it’s a bunch of different stuff.

Turn Me On, Dead Man: What kinds of experiences did you have in bands that turned you away from playing in bands?

Jovi: We went to high school together and we’re not from the area we live in now. We just have our own stuff that we grew up on, that we like to play and like to listen to. Our bands were a good time and we really enjoyed our bands. But too many personalities and everybody’s got different plans for stuff. We just wanted to do something where we could just do all on our own. Make it the way we want to make it without anybody else’s input.

Turn Me On, Dead Man: So it was pretty much a no-brainer to form a two-piece then?

Jovi: We’re going to be doing some shows and we have a bunch of people who want to play with us, but Adam and me are the only permanent members. Everybody else is just fill-in for shows. The good thing about this band is like, our other band we had so much equipment. This band we can pretty much rent a car, pack the trunk and be ready to go.

Turn Me On, Dead Man: It took you three years to put out Swastifari and then only about three months for I Got a Rite. And now you’ve got a new one coming out. How long can you keep up this pace?

Jovi: I don’t know, man. The well is deep, man.

Adam: Yeah, luckily. The first one was done randomly. I was living in North Carolina.

Jovi: Yeah, that one we did pretty much with him sending me files and editing them. But then he moved back and we started this band that we’re in, Jaw Horse. And then we just lost kinda time and didn’t have time to do it. Then we just got a spurt in between doing stuff with Jaw Horse and we finished Swastafari finally. Then we just got on pace and made an entire record.

Adam: Yeah, got lucky.

Jovi: Then this EP opportunity [Academia] came up and we did those songs in just a few days.

Adam: Less than a week. Which is awesome.

Turn Me On, Dead Man: Who is Martian Ambassador Records. Is that your own label?

Jovi: Yeah, we put that on there. We press our own CDs. The first Jaw Horse CD we were on we decide we should put a label on it since we were pressing it, so we made that. There’s actually another band called D-Grade Monsters that we’re going to put out, too. The drummer [in Jaw Horse] is also in that band. So the Nazi Drugs records and maybe a couple other ones from our friends.

Turn Me On, Dead Man: Your new one, Academia, is coming out on cassette. Is the cassette your format of choice?

Jovi: I wanted to do a cassette forever. Nobody around here ever got into that. We’re in a pretty rural community [Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania].

Turn Me On, Dead Man: I looked up Selinsgrove on Google Maps. The closest city is Scranton or what?

Jovi: We’re about two hours south of Scranton. We’re closer to Harrisburg.

Turn Me On, Dead Man: You’re in the mountains, aren’t you?

Jovi: Oh yeah, man. We’re in Appalachia. [laughs]

Turn Me On, Dead Man: Where do you record?

Jovi: We record in my house—the attic or wherever we can set up our shit. We record into computer programs from our amps and stuff.

Turn Me On, Dead Man: Do you have any plans to tour now?

Jovi: I don’t know, man. Yeah, this cassette–seems like people are actually looking forward to it. I got a bunch of messages asking us to play, especially since we joined garagepunk.com. In our area people don’t give a shit really, honestly. They’re all into like hardcore and stuff. That’s what we grew up on, too, but like, nobody really has time for what we’re doing.

Adam: They only like our stuff because we’re friends with them, but the people on [garagepunk.com] actually dig that stuff, so it’s really cool to get feedback from them.

Jovi: We weren’t sure it would translate to the people who actually listen to the kinds of records we listen to, but it seems to, so we’re definitely looking to play some shows, for sure. We’re going to try to do this full time, if we can.

Turn Me On, Dead Man: One thing I wanted to ask you about is your name. You’ve hit a couple of taboos in your band name. What kind of reaction do you get to Nazi Drugs?

Jovi: Oh man! People think it’s a cool name, they do, but a lot of our friends won’t friend us on Facebook. [laughs] Like, “I don’t know, man. I’m not really into racism and drugs, so…” They don’t seem to really get the whole thing. Some of them do. But yeah, we get the occasional message from skinheads. But for the most part, the name, the art that’s what draws people in.

You can pre-order a hand-numbered cassette copy of Academia by Nazi Drugs on Godless America Records for $5.

The Orange Drop 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 “Electric Sitar Beat” by the Orange Drop. You can view a couple of different mixes of “Electric Sitar Beat” on YouTube. The Orange Drop has been on hiatus but Marc-Andre Basile says they’re back now and more focused than ever.

Turn Me On, Dead Man: I see one of your tags is Phladelphia. Where are you are located? Play often?

Marc-Andre Basile: Yes we are located in Philadelphia. We practice and record in our own Cat Vomit Studio – named after our cat that likes to vomit in the studio. Most of the members of the band live in the area, with the exception of our drummer Mike who comes from Delaware. We have just gotten the band back together with most of the original lineup after a long 2 year hiatus. I was busy playing bass for House of Fire during our break and had a great time playing with those guys. We are about ready to start gigging again (our last show I think was in 2011 with the Sky Drops in Philadelphia).

Turn Me On, Dead Man: I wanted to ask about your hiatus. I was looking at your Facebook page and noticed that many months have passed since your latest event. Glad to hear that the original lineup is back together. What caused the hiatus (if I may ask)?

Marc-Andre Basile: Sure, I don’t mind talking about it since there isn’t much to it. I started focusing on another project (House of Fire) and some of the other band members were busy with their own things. About two months ago, we all decided it was time to focus on The Orange Drop again because we realized it was pretty much the most fun any of us have had playing music. We are super happy to be back in action, with way more focus than we ever had before.

Turn Me On, Dead Man: I love the trippy visual images you use, not to mention the music. Who are your biggest influences?

Marc-Andre Basile: Well, I would say Pink Floyd is probably the biggest influence for us. I am personally obsessed with Live at Pompeii, I think it’s pretty much the greatest thing ever recorded. Also, being from France originally, I am big into Serge Gainsbourg and Jacques Dutronc. Our new song Electric Sitar Beat is a sort of tribute to Serge Gainsbourg’s sitar freakbeat era. The Brian Jonestown Massacre, Spacemen 3, and the Dead Skeletons are other long time favorites.

As far as newer bands go, I would like to give a nod to: The Red Plastic Buddha from Chicago, Francois Sky from Berlin, Chatham Rise from Minneapolis, and the Spiral Electric from San Francisco… if you haven’t listened to these bands yet, do it now, these guys all have the potential to be the next “it” psych rock band.

Turn Me On, Dead Man: I also wanted to ask about your French connection (to coin a phrase). What path led you from France to Philadelphia?

Marc-Andre Basile: I moved from France to New Jersey when I was 12. I went to high school and then college in Jersey (the band met at Rutgers in New Brunswick). Our lead guitar player, Blaze, was the first one to make the move to Philadelphia about 3 years ago and a year later I also made the move. Our bass player, Matt, is the latest to have made the move – he just got here very recently.

Turn Me On, Dead Man: Some time ago I put together a mix of tracks that use an electric sitar (“Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love” by Van Halen was the biggest surprise) and I wanted to ask if you use a traditional sitar or an electric sitar for “Electric Sitar Beat”?

Marc-Andre Basile: That is top-secret information that we cannot reveal. It may or may not be a Jerry Jones Electric Sitar.

Turn Me On, Dead Man: What are your plans for the future?

Marc-Andre Basile: We are currently recording an album that we hope to have ready in the next 2 months. We have always been into DIY so we are recording, mixing and mastering everything ourselves – we love working this way because it allows us to spend as much time as we please with each song. I like to play tricks on people’s ears, so you can expect some very trippy production for the album. After this we plan to have a record release party in Philadelphia and spend the next year playing shows on the East Coast. I’d like to do SXSW again next year if possible (we came and played in 2009).

Turn Me On, Dead Man: Glad to hear it. I hope you come to DC soon.

Marc-Andre Basile: You can definitely expect us to come to DC at some point soon, we plan on playing the major East Coast cities regularly.

Drive-Thru Mystics 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 “Just Like Before” by the Drive-Thru Mystics from Sacramento. “Just Like Before” is on A Thousand Years of Oblivion, released earlier this year, and is available on Bandcamp.

Recently I corresponded with Aaron Hutto of Drive-Thru Mystics.

Turn Me On, Dead Man: Let’s start off by talking about your influences. What are some of the strongest influences on your music?

Aaron: Hmmm… that is a big one. I would say music from various genres and movies. 60’s Psych Rock, 60’s Garage Punk and Surf, 70’s Proto-Punk/Metal, 70’s Glam, Late 70’s Punk, Early 80’s Post Punk, Early 80’s Psych Punk and Garage Rock, Late 80’s and Early Mid 90’s Indie Punk, and contemporary psych rock and garage punk mostly Burger Records bands. Pierced Arrows, Chesterfield Kings, Love, Beach Boys, Pink Floyd (Syd Barrett), Beatles, Stones, Sonics, Sloths, Spaceman 3, Jesus and Mary Chain, Velvet Underground, Stooges, MC5, Thin Lizzy, Wire, Echo and the Bunnymen, Guided By Voices, 13th Floor Elevators, Black Angels, Brian Jonestown Massacre, Guitar Wolf, Dirt Bombs, The Gories, Detroit Cobras and so on!! I love drone and feedback driven melodies as well as crunchy primitive beats.

I love 60’s B Movies like Wild Angels and Psych Out and The Trip. I also love Easy Rider and all the New Hollywood stuff from the 70’s. David Lynch and strange new wave stuff. Andy Warhol and Pop Art has always been an inspiration as well. My own experiences in life. Living and dealing with bi-polar disorder and drug addiction has also played a part in my song writing. I have been off drugs for 8 years and have been living that wild roller coaster ride that comes with it.

Turn Me On, Dead Man: Hey, I’m really sorry to hear about the difficulties you’ve had. Sometimes I wonder why the cool people have to go through so much shit. Do you think there’s a connection between mental illness and creativity?

Aaron: Yes there is a connection but it’s not necessary to be creative. However, people who are mentally ill sometimes channel their illness into art, music, literature, and science/math. The mentally ill mind works differently than a normal mind. There are times when we simply have so much mental energy that if you are the creative type you create with abandon. Couple that with the frustration and pain one feels have little or no control over their mind and emotions and that can be a wellspring of creativity in itself.

Turn Me On, Dead Man: Have you always been a fan of garage and psychedelic music? When did those influences come into your music?

Aaron: I have been a fan of Psych rock since I was in junior high. The Beatles were my first introduction. Songs like Strawberry Fields and Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds. From there on I have explored pretty much the entire genre of psych rock and all its sub-genres. As for Garage, it was probably 9 years ago I got into some local garage punk bands here in Sacramento. So I then started going backwards and exploring garage rock. I think it was when I first heard the Dirtbombs and Detroit Cobras that I really became super interested in garage. the Detroit Garage rock scene was one of the best. But it made me go back to the 60’s and start looking at all these bands that influenced them.

Turn Me On, Dead Man: Do you use any vintage gear? Is playing Garage/psych about recreating the past or do you see garage/psych as changing?

Aaron: I say it’s about celebrating the past while looking into the future at least from where I am sitting. My music is what I like to call post-modern garage rock. It pulls from many different genres in an attempt to create something new. I have a friend who is a vinyl DJ and plays almost 100% vintage garage rock records on his show and he loves us because we are not too retro, as he puts it. He loves collecting vintage records but he likes his new bands to be more modern and he loves us.

I do use some vintage gear. I use a 1965 Sears Silvertone Bass Amp and cab and a 1970’s Fender Bassman Silverface to play through. But I also have a 65 Reissue Fender Twin as well. I use a lot of modern type pedals so my sound is part vintage part modern.

Turn Me On, Dead Man: So where do you see things going? I mean for Drive-Thru Mystics specifically, as well as for garage/psych generally? What are your plans for the coming months and for the longer term?

Aaron: Well as far as DTM is concerned we are touring at the end of Aug. Going up to play shows in Portland and Seattle. Eventually we plan on not only touring in So Cal but the SW to Texas and up to the Midweest back across the Rockies into Utah and Nevada then back home. We are also going to release either a cassette or a 7-inch in the next couple of months. I want to get us on a label as soon as possible, too. Preferably one that works with Burger Records.

I also want DTM to continue to grow and change. I would like to avoid repeating myself songwriting-wise and continue to cover new ground musically. I see Garage Psych Rock coming to a place of greatness here in the present. Bands are taking it to more sophisticated levels but it’s also becoming redundant. You have so many bands who use the same riffing with lots of reverb on the vocals and fuzz on the guitars and they are all starting to sound the same and it’s becoming formulaic. That is the fate I want to avoid and I feel I have successfully done so.

We are currently trying to raise money to go on tour and put out a 7-inch.

Turn Me On, Dead Man: Best of luck to you.

Sun Voyager 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 “Oh, Sally” by Sun Voyager from Albany, NY. “Oh Sally” is the lead-off track on their EP Cosmic Tides, released earlier this year. Cosmic Tides is currently available as a “name your price” download on Bandcamp.

I recently corresponded with Stefan Mersch, bassist for Sun Voyager.

Turn Me On, Dead Man: What are your influences? Have you recorded or released anything other than Cosmic Tides?

Sun Voyager: Individually, our influences are all over the place but when it comes to us as a band, I’d say we’ve got our own sort of Sabbath-y thing going for us that definitely starts with the sound of 60s classic rock bands like Zeppelin, Hendrix, & the Stones. Then there’s a bit of a psychedelic tone driven by all the underground bands from that era like The 13th Floor Elevators, Blue Cheer, etc. But we also like to keep it heavy and that comes from listening to a lot of headbanging stoner rock bands from the 90s/00s like Electric Wizard, Fu Manchu, Sleep, Kyuss, Gorilla, & bands in that realm.

Turn Me On, Dead Man: Have you recorded or released anything other than Cosmic Tides?

Sun Voyager: We haven’t. Not yet. We started the writing process for our next EP about a month ago and have three songs in their later stages. But I think we really want to put something together that we’re all happy with. So the plan is to write a bunch of songs and once there’s enough material to pick and choose from, we’ll hit the studio with 5 good ones to fine-tune everything. Hopefully we have a finished product by the end of summer.

Turn Me On, Dead Man: So how did the band come together? Given the diverse musical influences you mentioned, did you agree on your approach beforehand or did that occur more organically?

Sun Voyager: We’ve all known each other since high school, played in bands throughout but this is really how it came together: Kyle played drums and Carlos sang in a band called The Holding Company. They asked me to fill in on guitar for a show, I learned the songs and things clicked so I joined, then after the other guitar player left, we recruited Steve to play with us and his style took us into the atmosphere. That’s when we started developing our chemistry and it was fucking awesome banking ideas off each other and writing songs. Suddenly everything seemed possible. We became brothers. Everyone but me moved into a house up in Coxsackie NY, we recorded a full length there, but shortly after releasing it, things went south. I stopped coming up. Steve stopped coming out of his room. Long story short, our bass player pissed everyone off to the point where none of us could do it anymore or we’d all go nuts. And it was really hard to do because we were all like brothers for so long. We didn’t want to stop playing music, so Steve, Kyle and I kept jamming together, I switched to bass, then after a while Carlos came to us looking to start another band and Sun Voyager was born. Since we’d all been doing it for so long, the music came naturally and writing songs as a group was, somehow, so much easier than it was before. Our influences didn’t matter, we just came together again as brothers, like we always did, and wrote songs from the heart.

Turn Me On, Dead Man: Where are you located? Is there a supportive scene there? One thing that interests me quite a bit is how the internet has fundamentally changed the distribution of music. Do you need a local scene to develop or are you more oriented toward making those sorts of connections over the internet?

Sun Voyager: We’re all from the Hudson River Valley in Upstate New York and there’s a much more supportive scene up here than there is in New York City haha. Not to say the City isn’t great! It is! But when it comes to music, there’s just so much chatter with hundreds of bands playing every night and so much to do; it’s difficult to get heard down there unless you get hooked up. And unless you have that hook-up, you’re on your own. The thing about the Hudson Valley is it’s such a wide, populated area which makes it a much better place for newer bands like us. Albany, Putnam County, Warwick, New Paltz. All small cities with not much else to do. Those are the towns that really rock and are much more supportive.

As far as needing a local scene to support you, although it is crucial to play out and often, I’d be inclined to say the connections you can make on the web are equally important. When we released Cosmic Tides on Bandcamp, the only people who knew about were the 40-50 people that had heard us before. We let them know about it of course, but then something happened. Bloggers heard it and shared it with the thousands of people that follow them. And this was something new for us because nothing like this ever happened with our other band. Chybucca Sounds, The Soda Shop, Heavy Planet, & more featured us, now we have over 3,000 plays, 200 downloads, and we’ve sold just as much merch via bigcartel as we have at shows. One bundle went as far as Finland.. And I said the Hudson Valley was widespread. None of that would have been possible by just playing bars in small towns. That’s the new music business for you, plain and simple. Having said that, keeping the live set tight is crucial. Also plain and simple.

Turn Me On, Dead Man: So what happened to the full-length you recorded? Any chance you would release it?

Sun Voyager: We used to have a Facebook page but that dude deleted it. I have around 800 CDs sitting in my garage. Definitely not releasing it ever. It’s not bad, just out of respect for that fifth guy, we’ll keep all that as it was. I don’t know what we’re going to do with all those CDs but they have to come out of my garage soon. So hey, you never know.

Turn Me On, Dead Man: So what are your plans for the future? Will you be touring?

Sun Voyager: As of right now the plan is to keep the pedal to the floor with writing for the next recording session. Taking things one step at a time for now, but touring is definitely the next step after another EP. Expect more music very soon.

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!