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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators

Psychedelic Sounds
Psychedelic Sounds

Psychedelic Sounds


Psychedelic Sounds



Psychedelic Sounds





Did the 13th Floor Elevators invent psychedelic rock? Aficionados will be debating that point for decades, but if Roky Erickson and his fellow travelers into inner space weren't there first, they were certainly close to the front of the line, and there are few albums from the early stages of the psych movement that sound as distinctively trippy — and remain as pleasing — as the group's groundbreaking debut, The Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators.

In 1966, psychedelia hadn't been around long enough for its clichés to be set in stone, and Psychedelic Sounds thankfully avoids most of them; while the sensuous twists of the melodies and the charming psychobabble of the lyrics make it sound like these folks were indulging in something stronger than Pearl Beer, at this point the Elevators sounded like a smarter-than-average folk-rock band with a truly uncommon level of intensity. Roky Erickson's vocals are strong and compelling throughout, whether he's wailing like some lysergic James Brown or murmuring quietly, and Stacy Sutherland's guitar leads — long on melodic invention without a lot of pointless heroics — are a real treat to hear. And nobody played electric jug quite like Tommy Hall...actually, nobody played it at all besides him, but his oddball noises gave the band a truly unique sonic texture.

'Frisco was cool and all, but anyone who knows anything knows that the true birthplace of psychedelia was Austin, Texas, home of the fab-tacular 13th Floor Elevators. In its prime, this band of inspired weirdos recorded some of the most superbly deranged rock 'n' roll of all time, cranking out song after song of mutant, LSD-charred garage rock. Released in 1966, the Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators is the group's debut, a collection of heroically whacked-out tunes that are nothing less than the budding seeds of a movement.

What's most surprising about this album (and the band, really) is how they manage to sound truly trippy and wonderfully weird without astronomical production values or even a surplus of technical skill. They really were a garage band, with all of the usual trappings of such a group: Their songs were rooted in basic, grease-coated rock n roll, complete with chunky guitar riffs (courtesy of Stacy Sutherland) and snarled vocals (thanks to wildman lead singer Roky Erickson, one of the great unheralded heroes of 60s rock). They just took things a little further than most bands: Their lyrics were pure gonzo poetry, heavy with mysticism and druggy imagery (and accented, of course, with a healthy dose of good old fashioned teenage bad attitude). The guitar chords are at the mercy of Sutherland's effects pedal, and there are plenty of acid-soaked solos flying around all over the place. Riffs and melodies are perched somewhere between blues-based garage punk and dream-addled death dirge.

The most notable experimental flourish is Tommy Hall's "electric jug," a bizarre rhythmic instrument that garnishes several of these songs. It's hard to describe the sound of the instrumrent, but suffice to say it can be compared to the protestations of a series of uncooperative suction cups. Just listen to some of these songs! "You're Gonna Miss Me" is a deranged slice of teenage snarl with a meaner-than-mean guitar line and a meaner-than-meaner-than-mean vocal, with Hall's jug floating menacingly in the background. "Roller Coaster" is an "epic" (over FOUR MINUTES!) mindbender with an absolutely archetypal guitar drone and a ghostly vocal from Erickson. "Don't Fall Down," with its chugging bass line and woozy backing vocals, is out-and-out hypnotic, and "Fire Engine" moves into full-on rock out territory.

The result is a wigged-out classic that bridges the gap between rock and the world beyond. It's the sound of a bunch of zitfaced teenagers formerly obsessed with cheeseburgers 'n' fast cars stumbling upon the myrsteries of the universe. It's the sound of the 60s lurching into overdrive. It's the psychedelic sound, baby!

It’s a focused trip, at that. Those who criticize the meandering style of the Grateful Dead or Phish will likely find a better fit within the abrasive psychedelia of the Elevators. “Thru the Rhythm” is as unrelenting as it is groovy, sharpened by the pointed darts of Roky Erickson’s vocals and elevated sky-high by, of course, that trusty old electric jug, which sounds a bit like perfectly-tuned and paced water droplets from a leaky faucet that fall onto tiny hand drums. God bless Tommy Hall for having the humble nature to actually play it full time in an otherwise standard rock band setup.

If you're younger than 30 take heart. There's still an underground and they play The Elevators there. Roky's a guest of honor. Ignore those boomers who patronizingly lament "you had to be there" to disguise the fact they can no longer recognize the avant-garde. So, if you want to trip down memory lane while commuting in your Lexus to your 9-5 job in the suburbs, check out the smooth sounds of Quicksilver; then pop in their spiritual heirs, Pablo Cruise. If you're a belligerently drunk frat boy who's just been kicked out of Hooter's, that Grateful Dead CD's just right for you. But if you want to know, even vicariously, what it's like to peer into the abyss, listen to the first two Elevators LPs.

To put things in a nutshell, the music is great. Remove any over-analysis, and it is still fantastic. There are both country and rock and roll bands today that say they were influenced by both Roky and the Elevators. Concerning the jug, some didn’t care for it so much, like the drummer, John Ike Walton. I know the guy. When they left the studio after sharing in the duty of mixing the music, the people at IA turned the jug way up after they (the Elevators) left. It was a gimick that IA wanted to capitalize on. I dig it, don’t get me wrong. Reverberation is a great example of how the jug worked well…..see the movie Dirt Road to Psychedelia (I think that’s the name). The song in the trailer is incredible with the video. Anyway, what I’m saying is just enjoy the music. The arguments over who’s the biggest fan, who has the most obscure stuff, who knows who, who witnessed what, this-that-and-the-other, and so on, just love the music y’all!

The Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators:

1. You're Gonna Miss Me

2. Roller Coaster

3. Splash 1

4. Reverberation (Doubt)

5. Don't Fall Down

6. Fire Engine

7. Thru the Rhythm

8. You Don't Know (How Young You Are)

9. Kingdom of Heaven

10. Monkey Island

11. Tried to Hide

Friday, June 26, 2009

Kiloh Smith - Psychedelic Rock Poster Art Tour

Check out this slideshow of psychedelic rock poster art! This is from the collection of Kiloh Smith. There’s lots of Texas Psych and 13th Floor Elevators art. See the Pink Floyd and Syd Barrett stuff too. It’s a LOT of stuff with LOTS of close-up shots!

Evolution of Modern Rock Music

Moddern Rock Music

This blog post is a combination of three posts on the Laughing Madcaps Syd Barrett group. There is the first post (in red) and then I have combined the two replies into one post on this blog.

Madcapslaughing @ yahoogroups.com wrote: "Never underestimate the power of TV, and time spent growing up in front of it!The Banana Splits (for example) were probably more influential than anythingmentioned here, at least on the musicians of the past 25 years or so. MTV alsohas had a huge influence. The Velvets were hipper, but The Monkees touched allotmore people."

I gotta call you on this. I can't let the above statement slide. What's written above is utter crap, complete bullshit.

Surf, Dylan and the Ennnnnnnnnglish Invasion begat the sixties psych groups (Velvets, MC5, 'Elevators, Chocolate Watchband and all those "Nuggets" groups) begat groups like the New York Dolls, Iggy Pop, and Ramones. This begat Jane's Addiction and the Seattle "grunge" groups which begat what's happening now. It's a straight shot from Psych > Punk > Alternative > today's music spanning 45 years. It can all be explained in one, concise, paragraph like above.

What started modern rock was Surf, Dylan and the Beatles (pretty much). Back in 1965 it was a great turning point. Surf was going out of style and there were two paths ahead: 1) Dylan - *Meaningful* lyrics 2) Beatles. All of the groups in America were making choices on which way to go.

But what the fuck? Groups didn't want to get rid of all that cool equipment for the guitars that went with playing Surf. And Dylan was great and the Beatles were obviously the Next Big Thing so HOW ABOUT if we keep all the cool guitar stuff, I'm still paying on it for Christsake, and COMBINE Dylan and the Beatles? We will rock out like the Beatles and sing "meaningful" lyrics like Dylan. That way we're straddling both new paths and "playing it safe".

So the groups kept playing with all of the cool Surf guitar equipment and tried to cobble together a "Beatles" sound while attempting to marry that with *meaningful* lyrical content ala Bob Dylan. The result was Modern Rock Music. Even the Beatles and Dylan got into the game with the Beatles trying to sing *meaningful* lyrics and Dylan going full electric.

In my opinion, the birth of Psychedelic Music had very little to do with LSD and had a LOT to do with the above two paragraphs. From '65 - '67 a lot of cool music was made until it began to get all bloated and overblown with the ten minute guitar solos and the musicians drinking LSD like it was Kool Aid. Shit got weird with the Progressive Rock, Southern Rock and Country Rock.

Then the Nuggets album was put out in 1972. Kids bought this album and began digging out all of those old 45 rpms. This started the whole "Garage Comp" Industry. But it also helped start Punk. These kids wondered WHY great music like what's on Nuggets wasn't being made anymore. Nuggets was on heavy rotation at hip places like Max's Kansas City in NY. So then groups were formed to celebrate and play this music. That was the birth of Punk.

Also the Velvet Underground went on until 1973 (sort of) and the kids that dug them began to form bands; mostly in NYC. The Stooges/MC5 were influential too. This begat the New York Dolls and Ramones. The kids in Ennnnnngland bought the New York Dolls & Ramones albums. They also gobbled up the Velvets & Stooges stuff.

We can skip right over the psychedelia (long jams), progressive rock, heavy metal, country rock, Southern rock, power pop. Groups like the Grateful Dead, Aerosmith, KISS, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Genesis, Yes, Eagles, Led Zeppelin and a million others might have been superstars in their time BUT they were not all that influential. Whereas groups like the Velvets, MC5, 'Elevators, Chocolate Watchband,... might not have been that big in the Sixties but were HUGELY influential to what happened afterwards. Each new generation continues to pull influence from them. This is why the Velvet Underground were voted the Most Influential Group of All Time by a Rolling Stone Magazine Writer's Poll a few years ago.

You can poke little holes in my argument here and there but what I wrote in the above two paragraphs is pretty much how it went down and continues to go down. Surf/Dylan/English Invasion influenced young American musicians who created the first *modern* Rock music. The thread was lost a bit with the overblown psychedelia (ala Grateful Dead and more), Progressive (King Crimson, Yes and more, Country/Southern Rock (Eagles, Lynyrd Skynyrd and a million others, Heavy Metal (millions of bands) but was "picked up" with the emergence of Punk. This was lost in the Eighties among the hair metal and what-the-fuck ever else but was picked up again in the late Eighties with groups like Jane's Addiction and Nirvana. It's an easy leap from them to today's music.

I'm not even that crazy about Punk and Alternative but THAT'S how it went down. Myself, I like the overblown psychedelia but it's a dead branch in the Tree of Rock.

But what I outlined above is why it SUCKS that Sky Saxon died. It's why the Stooges getting back together was such a big deal. It's why Roky Erickson is headlining places like the Coachella Fest.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

13th Floor Elevators Sign of the 3-Eyed Men: Comments From the Fans

13th Floor Elevators Sign of the 3-Eyed Men
Please read the comments by the fans about 13th Floor Elevators Sign of the 3-Eyed Men:


From: BearMelt
So, I can't think of a more generalized opinion / interpretation / review of the box than as follows... The majority of the material in the box we've all heard before. Some of it may be from a better source than the Texas Psych Group acquired originally, or at best processed with better equipment, and some of it obviously not. Some of the songs are a revelation now, auditory wise, and some of it sounds like shit. The box makes no bones about what was taken from vinyl; just like the TPG did - it's all they got to work from. In the end it's all about preservation - if all the years of Kiloh's hard work paid out by getting someone else to do this damn box - with or without the ticker tape parade in Kiloh's honor - so be it. Kiloh knows what he's done and so do the rest of us. You can't thank Satan and his minion enough for keeping this music alive. Am I happy the box was done? Hell yes. Does it compare to what was accomplished in the TPG? It pales in comparison in so many ways yet brought forward material that would have otherwise been unavailable at all. It also makes me wonder where those 'unreleased songs' we know exist are; cause if the box makers couldn't get their hands on them then they aren't as powerful as thought. And so it goes...

From: Kiloh
I'm glad it's out. My question is: if they have all these "tapes" then why hasn't more unreleased stuff come out? They show some old boxes and acetes but ARE they really what they say they are? These people lie like dogs. They could just be some old tape boxes and Photoshopped acetates. Why is almost everything else previously released? Look behind the curtain. Ask questions.

From: kelhard
So true, Kiloh my friend. Sometimes things are not always as they appear. Apologies for my naivete at times.

Been listening to the box, and quite amazed at how many sonic flubs there are. Problems inherent in the original source material, poor mastering choices. As an example, why wasn't "Bull" transferred straight mono instead of the 2 channel fake stereo. They could have either collapsed both channels to mono, or chose the best sounding channel and mastered that to mono. Or was it a question of "that's how it is on the tape, let's leave it as historically accurate we can get."

Oh so disapointed that "You Can't Hurt Me Anymore" on "Headstone" is riddled with dropouts.

On the bright side, I'm glad its out there as well. But it could have been SO much better. Am I being picky, or am I just being a prick.

Maybe one day V. 2.0 will be created.

From: michael jensen:
With respect to Bear,

There is a great deal more unreleased material. Just within the info Drummond shared with me last year (Never Another Takes 1-10), the producers held out on material.

There are recordings in private hands, too.

The Elevators FIRST Demo... The Reference Cassette for Easter... The recent sale of the 1969 remix of Easter on Acetate...

The Acetates I handled at Roky's house in 1983...

Charly is a Dog and Pony Show. Cheap methods... Stupid decisions... Bad Products!

At $150 bucks, it could be better than "Drop-Outs" and Digital Distortions...

Am I glad it is out.. Sure! But, Sign of The Three Eyed Men is, overall, a disappointment. Maybe with the material left off, another set of CDs could be produced...

By another company!

Michael

From: Kiloh
Maybe we can switch out the inferior tracks with the Roky CD Club tracks. Then we can tree out the "Ultimate" version.

From: "DAVIAS, Nick"
What a great idea!! Along with the very few "new" recordings that were released on the box, making it the ultimate (for the time being) Elevators set.

From: "q...@gmail.com"
I've been doing some A/B comparisons. The TexasPsych Stereo LP's are winning every comparison.

I suppose the "remixed" tracks for EE are interesting, but they are just not as good as the Attack of The Stereo LP's.

I will give the box set credit for the mono mixes on PS and EE. They are great. Pulsing! Great!

The Houston 1966 shows are in collapsed mono. The versions from Texas Psych are in the original crude stereo.

Does a mono Bull even exist? It was probably never made.

I really like the box set. It is a sturdy, colorful package. I'm just gonna put the Texas Psych CDR's in place of some of the box discs!

Basically, anyone who is really blown away by the 13th Floor Elevators, or has listened to them for 5, 10, or 40 years really NEEDS the Texas Psych Stereo LP transfers. When all the complaining and fighting is over, these are the clearest and best-sounding documents. Period.

From: kelhard
I had a chance to hear the box set and I have to agree with the general concensus here. Its a nice package, but no more than a repackaging job of the stuff that Kiloh and company initially put out.

According to Drummond, Walt Andrus had a hand in "remixing and remastering" the content in the box. If what has been said about Drummond is true (and I don't doubt Kiloh for one minute), then did Andrus REALLY have a part in preparing this box set (and what about the "recently found long-lost master tapes") or it it all (more or less) bullsh*t from the mouth of Drummond.

Does anyone know if the band is going to receive any royalties from this box?

That's it for now. Have a good one people.

Keltie

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Canadian You're Gonna Miss Me

You're Gonna Miss Me
You're Gonna Miss Me

You're Gonna Miss Me

Check out the Rarest of the RARE! Super rare Canadian variation of the Elevator's masterpiece. It has been reported that about 10 copies known of the first Canadian Variation (London Records) and only 2 of the 2nd Canadian Variation. (Manufactured by Quality Records Limited). DIFFERENT from the others that have come to surface... the typesetting is different. It is much harder to find than the HBR release.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Roky CD Club #47 Announcement

Roky CD Club

I obtained my disc today and am really enjoying it. This is just the Rokster and his acoustic. It's very much like Roky CD Club #47 More Power To You: Roky Erickson Unplugged. Anyway, I'm REALLY, REALLY enjoying this! Sign up! It's being distributed now! See the Tree Announcement below:

Parts of this recording have been available for thirty years as "filler" on various boots. Now it all available from the Great Roky Tape Hoard in the Sky. And it will ALL be coming out. Think about a half dozen, 20 CD, box sets. Like the Compleat CBS LP Sessions. Shit like that. This is only the tip of the dildo, I mean iceberg.

HERE YE, HERE YE!

ROKY CD CLUB ISSUE #47

unknown Gen Aud Recording on TDK D * C120 cassette > Sony TC-KA1ESA Tape Deck (Dolby Off) > Adcom GFP-565 Preamp > Prodigy HD2 Soundcard > Cool Edit Pro (EQ, minor edits) > Flac Frontend 6 > FLAC (no SBE)

Roky Erickson - ?, Private Session, Aud, 18:45
1) Cold Night For Alligators
2) /Bloody Hammer
3) The Damned Thing

Roky Erickson - 1976-01-12, Sleeping Lady Cafe, Fairfax, CA, Aud,
56:22
4) I'm Gonna Free Her
5) Hide Behind The Sun (Dedicated To Brian Jones)
6) When You Get Delighted
7) Two Headed Dog
8) Mine Mine Mind
9) The Wind & More
10) Wake Up To Rock 'N Roll
11) Bermuda
12) Don't Shake Me Lucifer
13) Splash 1
14) I Had To Tell You
15) Starry Eyes
16) Maybe Baby
17) You're The One
18) Spanning Your Theory (Alien I Creator)
19) Birds'd Crash (It's Gonna Last)
20) May The Circle Remain Unbroken
21) Hardest Working Alien Around?
22) The Interpreter
23) Ooh My Soul
24) White Faces

Total 75:07

Notes:

All small cuts throughout recording were on source tape.

Private Session: Acoustic / solo.

Sleeping Lady Cafe: Acoustic / solo. A somewhat distant audience recording with, at times, fairly prominent audience / background noise; at times dull, at others shrill.

If you would like a copy of this fine disc to trade with your friends you must be able to do the following:

1) Play well with others.

2) Work in flac files and copy a disc flawlessly.

3) Be a Branch or Leaf. If you Branch it means you are willing to be assigned a few leafs to trade with. If you Leaf it means you will trade with an assigned Branch.

4) If you would like, you can download this directly from the server, registration is free.

http://76.250.234.160:6969/

5) If you want Branch, reply to this e-mail bearmelt1@snet.net with ONLY country of origin in subject, I do not want any other info please.

6) If you want Leaf, reply to this e-mail bearmelt2@snet.net with ONLY
country of origin in subject, I do not want any other info please.

NO FUCKTARDS ALLOWED.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

13th Floor Elevators Sign of the Three Eyed Men - Set The Record Straight

13th Floor Elevators Sign of the Three Eyed Men
Hello Everyone! This is your pot stirring terminal member of The Group, Michael. Back after a Hiatus due to VERY personal problems...! With this stated, I would like to thank Kiloh and all of you who helped me through issues; Thank you!

The reason I have entered this cyber zone is to point out some facts about the Box Set, 13th Floor Elevators Sign of The Three Eyed Men.

First: This is not going to be a "Sour Grapes" missive. The reviews I have read seem to lead to the conclusion the $150 for the Box Set is better spent on Tequila... GOOD Tequila!

My Heartfelt Congratulations to Paul Drummond for working diligently under adverse conditions to bring this music to the Light of the CD Laser!

Second: Let's face it... Most of these tracks have been released, previously by, amongst others, The Roky CD Club! This is NOT a major complaint or contention, however, it is simply a fact!

Today, this portion of a Blog Post from Paul Drummond was brought to my attention from 8/5/2008:

"Four possible sources held out on unreleased material. Not going to name and shame them, but they gave very feeable (SIC) excuses..."

With this quote and, some "Hate Mail" I have received resonating in my mind, it is time to set the record STRAIGHT on the position of myself (And The Roky CD Club) regarding the tapes and sources we possess from IA.

In 2004, I made the Roky Erickson Trust a good faith offer to access the 8 track Sub Masters of Easter Everywhere AND all of the Reference Cassettes in my possession from IA and Andrus Studios. The offer was sincere, reasonable and...

REJECTED!

It did NOT involve paying me an absurd amount of cash, either!

The offer was simple: "I will bring my source material, including the "Easter" sub-masters to a studio of your choice. It is my preference to use - - - - in Seattle for my convenience. You will be allowed COMPLETE access to a Digital copy of the "Easter" 8 tracks in return for accepting the cost of the treatment and processing of the reels. In return for access to the tapes, I will be provided with a Digital copy of the "Easter" 8 tracks which will be for my personal use..."

That is The BEST OFFER I was willing to make... PERIOD! Some of you are of the opinion the tapes should be turned offer, GRATIS!

Maybe, if one is a Burned-Out, Crystal Worshiping, Methadone Addicted, Bong Sucking LSD Casualty from the 60s, does just dancing into a studio wreaking of Patchouli make sense, in this case...

The Music Lives but,

The 60s ARE OVER!

Then...

Paul Drummond offered to pay my fare to 'The Studio" where he and Walt Andrus were processing the New Set. I do, STILL, appreciate his very kind offer. It was not within the alacrity of time in my world that I could join them. He did type to me he was listening to "Never Another takes 1 - 10! Get here!" Even with the picture of standing in the studio with all of these people and the chance to absorb the "Music" after years of sitting in a can in New Mexico, it was just not possible...

I DID offer Paul Drummond this, at the time:

"I will speak with Kiloh and we will make available all the material we have... We will help you access the sources for the material we have... For my part, I will donate: The KAZZ Master Source, An alternate mix of the Elevators demos, The reference cassette from IA of Psychedelic Sounds with alternate mixes AND studio banter with the band... All of the source material in my possession..." Except...

The "Easter" masters... This is because there was still NO AGREEMENT over the "Personal" copy issue...

It is simply too expensive for me to take on the burden of the financial cost to handle the transfer of the tapes to Digital.

So... There they sit... In a Box... Still waiting for an amicable solution.

I am a patient man.

In all of this disharmony, I would like to be the first to tell The Group, there is a SLIM chance of obtaining unreleased, alternate mixes and live recordings of the Elevators from some very sympathetic members who have come forward in frustration with the Box Set...

When I can come up with $150 bucks, I am looking forward to hearing the Box Set, just for the record.

Michael

Saturday, June 20, 2009

13th Floor Elevators Sign of the Three Eyed Men - Review by a Real Fan

13th Floor Elevators Sign of the Three Eyed Men

13th Floor Elevators Sign of the Three Eyed Men Review:

Everybody seems to be going gaga over this set that's $160.00 (minimum). What is it?

Contact session:
Demos Everywhere album

Psychedelic Sounds (stereo & mono)
45 versions of same songs.
Alt. version of Fire Engine released on Epitaph for a Legend.

Easter Everywhere (stereo & mono)
45 versions of same songs.
Roky & Clementine Hall acoustic stuff released on Epitaph for a
Legend.

Then they took the material off the fake Live album sans applause and mixed it in with other tracks to create an "unreleased" album. All of this stuff (sans applause) has been already released.

Oh yeah, they took the Roller Coaster backing tracks and released them too. That was previously released.

Then they included the Avalon show. The definitive version of this was released on the Roky CD Club.

Then they took the Bull of the Woods album and padded it out with 45 versions of the same songs.

Then they created the Live In Texas album by combining parts of Sump'n Else, the theater in the round show (Dallas), some 1973 reunion and 1984 stuff.

The definitive versions of the Sump'n Else and Theater in the Round were released on the Roky CD Club. They DID have a tape of the Conqueroo/'Elevators jam and added some songs from that.

They DID have a tape of some Bull of the Woods session and added that.

But EVERYTHING ELSE seems to have been sourced from vinyl already released. My friend, Mike, told me that it looks like the culled all the best stuff from the Roky CD Club releases and cleaned it up with a better program. If so, that's typical of this crowd. But, for God's sake, don't let Drummond get away with talking about his fucking "research" that went into this project. His fucking "research" seems ti have been lurking in the Texas Psych Google Group and grabbing the goodies that they put out on the Roky CD Club.

My take on this is that they took the best VINYL SOURCED stuff, along with recordings already released by the Roky CD Club, and then cleaned it up with a powerful program in a professional recording studio. They then had access to a few new recordings that they padded it all out with. They then began trumpeting about "lost" recordings and their "research". EVERYTHING has been put out previously, except for a few nuggets. Do they give credit to the people whose shoulders they stood upon? No, because that's how they roll.

What about the Texas Archives Label guy? Did they credit/imburse him for ripping his LP's? Who owns the backing tracks? Did they credit/imburse them? These have already been put out. The speed corrected Sump'n Else? Oh yeah, that's this group did that. The Avalon? This group.

Their book? People have called me and said: "They used my photo without permission." All they did was take the image and Photoshop it. The people whose photo was used without permission want to let it slide rather than deal with it.

GET A GRIP PEOPLE! This IS NOT the "lost stash" of 13th Floor Elevators material. It's a collection of previously issued material that was padded out with a few choice nuggets. Yeah that's right, a box set of shit that was already released elsewhere and put out by the Roky CD Club proir. It's padded out with like a half of a disc's worth (maybe) of new material.

Look, I'm glad that the 13th Floor Elevators Sign of the 3 Eyed Men is out there. I'm not happy it's on Charly. I'm not happy that Drummond rode the Roky CD Club's coattails to do it. But I'm happy that it's out. Just... get a grip. Charly, Drummond, and all the rest, ought to be drinking the Roky CD Club's bathwater. See the Roky CD Club Discography here:

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Red Krayola Hurricane Fighter Plane set - BEWARE!

Hurricane Fighter Plane

This double disc, Red Krayola Hurricane Fighter Plane, is horrible. The label that put it together had no idea (or did not care) about the track order of the original albums. For the Parable of Arable Land, each track fades out where it should lead into one another. AND it is missing two of the "Free Form Freakouts"! This is unacceptable.

God Bless the Red Crayola has a completely messed up track order. And two songs from the second album are inexplicably included on the CD of the first album.

This is a mess. Don't buy.

By the way, the music on this album should be five stars, but in the context of this release it is unlistenable. The stuff that the Roky CD Club whores out is waaaaaaaay better than this. They don't fuck with anything.

Track Listing:

1. Night Song
2. Jewels of the Madonna
3. Green of My Pants
4. Say Hello to Jamie Jones
5. Music
6. Shirt
7. Listen to This
8. Sherlock Holmes
9. Dirth of Tilth
10. Tina's Gone to Have a Baby
11. Save the House
12. Victory Garden
13. Coconut Hotel
14. Sheriff Jack
15. Free Piece
16. Ravi Shankar (Parachutist)
17. Piece for Piano and Electric Bass Guitar
18. Dairymaids Lament
19. Parable of Arable Land
20. Free Form Freakout, Pt. 1
21. Former Reflections Enduring Doubt
22. Free Form Freakout, Pt. 2
23. Hurricane Fighter Plane
24. Free Form Freakout, Pt. 3
25. Transparent Radiation
26. Free Form Freakout, Pt. 4
27. War Sucks
28. Pink Stainless Tail
29. Big
30. Leejol

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

13th Floor Elevators Contact 45!

13th Floor Elevators Contact 45
13th Floor Elevators Contact 45


Get a load of this 13th Floor Elevators Contact 45! This was the wax that got the buzz going! In early January 1966, the band was brought to Houston by producer Gordon Bynum to record two songs to be released as a 45 on his newly formed Contact label. The songs were Erickson's "You're Gonna Miss Me", and Hall-Sutherland's "Tried To Hide". The 45 was a major success in Austin, and made an impression in other Texas cities. Some months later, the International Artists label picked it up and re-released it.

After this, the 13th Floor Elevators might have been remembered simply as one-hit wonder of the '60's, the Texas equivalent of the Count 5, had it not been for two things. First, they were the only rock band in history to feature a guy playing an electric jug, which added a deeply weird element to even their most straight forward three-chord rockers. Second, and perhaps more importantly, they were fronted by a genuine howling weirdo and cult figure-to-be, the incomparable Roky Erickson. Roky, who took more acid trips than Jerry Garcia had TV dinners, was nonetheless a gifted songwriter who sang every word (however bizarre) as if his life depended on it.

I've got this slab o' wax and I'm in the process of getting it signed by the band. Yow!

Armadillo World Headquarters Posters - Ramon Ramon and the Four Daddyo's

Armadillo World Headquarters Posters
Here's the first one in the Texas Psych Blog's ongoing series of Armadillo World Headquarters posters. Don't know much about this band, Ramon Ramon and the Four Daddyo's, except that they played around Austin for years. They even warmed up for the Velvet Underground at the Vulcan. I read that Jim Franklin was in this group.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Psych Comp - I Can See For Miles



MOJO PRESENTS - I CAN SEE FOR MILES
LOST TRACKS FROM AMERICA'S PSYCHEDELIC UNDERGROUND
Mojo magazine, April 2009

Fifteen lost nuggets from America’s psychedelic underground! This psych comp has: The 13th Floor Elevators (Roky Erickson), The Red Crayola, The Music Machine, The Bubble Puppy, Lost & Found, The Chocolate Watchband and many more! This collection really highlights the Texas Connection.

The 13th Floor Elevators title, "(I've Got) Levitation" might be a better title for this great-great grandson of the mighty Nuggets compilation and subsequent boxed sets, and naming this superb collection after a Who song which isn't even contained amongst the fifteen tracks (but does fit nicely with Mojo Magazine's multiple-version WHO cover this issue) is an oddity, but there's no argument with the great selection of music from First Crew To The Moon, The Mystery Trend and others.

1 First Crew to the Moon - The Sun Lights Up the Shadows of Your Mind
2 The Mystery Trend - Johnny Was a Good Boy
3 Terry Manning - Guess Things Happen That Way
4 13th Floor Elevators - (I've Got) Levitation
5 The Red Crayola - Hurricane Fighter Plane
6 Bubble Puppy - Days of Our Time
7 The Balloon Farm - A Question of Temperature
8 The Music Machine - The People in Me
9 The Chocolate Watchband - Are You Gonna Be There (At the Love-In)
10 The Ashes - Let's Take Our Love
11 Lost and Found - Don't Fall Down
12 Free Spirits - I'm Gonna Be Free
13 The Golden Dawn - Starvation
14 Endle St. Cloud - Come Through
15 13th Floor Elevators - You Don't Know (Live at the Avalon Ballroom, SF)

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Johnny Winter - Danish Television 1970


Johnny Winter from Denmark (broadcast on Danish TV's Gladsaxe Teen Club). Yeah!

Thanks to Sumner Erickson

Sumner Erickson


The Texas Psych group would like to publically thank Sumner Erickson for the years of laughs that he has bestowed upon the fans. What a great guy. He really helped brighten up the Roky World and added *something* to the mix. He was more fun than a barrel of monkeys. We miss you Sumner!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Roky CD Club #47 Tree Announcement

Roky CD Club

HERE YE, HERE YE!

ROKY CD CLUB ISSUE #47

---------------------------------

unknown Gen Aud Recording on TDK D * C120 cassette > Sony TC-KA1ESA Tape Deck (Dolby Off) > Adcom GFP-565 Preamp > Prodigy HD2 Soundcard > Cool Edit Pro (EQ, minor edits) > Flac Frontend 6 > FLAC (no SBE)

Roky Erickson - ?, Private Session, Aud, 18:45
1) Cold Night For Alligators
2) /Bloody Hammer
3) The Damned Thing

Roky Erickson - 1976-01-12, Sleeping Lady Cafe, Fairfax, CA, Aud, 56:22
4) I'm Gonna Free Her
5) Hide Behind The Sun (Dedicated To Brian Jones)
6) When You Get Delighted
7) Two Headed Dog
8) Mine Mine Mind
9) The Wind & More
10) Wake Up To Rock 'N Roll
11) Bermuda
12) Don't Shake Me Lucifer
13) Splash 1
14) I Had To Tell You
15) Starry Eyes
16) Maybe Baby
17) You're The One
18) Spanning Your Theory (Alien I Creator)
19) Birds'd Crash (It's Gonna Last)
20) May The Circle Remain Unbroken
21) Hardest Working Alien Around?
22) The Interpreter
23) Ooh My Soul
24) White Faces

Total 75:07

Notes:

All small cuts throughout recording were on source tape.

Private Session: Acoustic / solo.

Sleeping Lady Cafe: Acoustic / solo. A somewhat distant audience recording with, at times, fairly prominent audience / background noise; at times dull, at others shrill.

-----------------------------------

If you would like a copy of this fine disc to trade with your friends you must be able to do the following:

1) Play well with others.

2) Work in flac files and copy a disc flawlessly.

3) Be a Branch or Leaf. If you Branch it means you are willing to be assigned a few leafs to trade with. If you Leaf it means you will trade with an assigned Branch.

4) If you would like, you can download this directly from the server, registration is free.

http://76.250.234.160:6969/

5) If you want Branch, reply to this e-mail bearmelt1@snet.net with ONLY country of origin in subject, I do not want any other info please.

6) If you want Leaf, reply to this e-mail bearmelt2@snet.net with ONLY country of origin in subject, I do not want any other info please.

7) If you can't handle any of the above - don't.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Red Crayola Hurricane Fighter Plane



Check out these Red Crayola Hurricane Fighter Plane vids. This album recorded in 1967 is the cornerstone of the Red Crayola legend and one of the most famous records in avant-garde '60s rock. Originally released on the fabled international artists label, this album is an uncompromisingly weird artifact that moves right beyond psychedelic into freakishly strange. Having been recorded in a legendary one-day session where the core band (including singer / guitarist Mayo Thompson, bassist Steve Cunningham, and drummer Frederick Barthelme, invited a group of fellow freaks, including the 'Elevators' Roky Erickson, into the studio to record the 'Free Form Freakouts' which appear between the proper songs. Of those songs, the almost punky 'Hurricane Fighter Plane,' with a squalling organ solo by Erickson, and the plain freaky 'Pink Stainless Tail' are the highlights, but the whole thing is a sonic onslaught that makes Captain Beefheart's 'Trout Mask Replica', its nearest point of comparison, sound downright normal.

More legend than functioning band for most of its four-decade-plus, on-again-off-again existence, the Red Crayola started off in the mid-'60s by playing whatever Houston clubs would book them. At the time, the RC was a rangy collective of psychedelic cavemen led by visionary icon-smasher Mayo Thompson, who would remain the band's only constant member over the years. The early Crayola climaxed its local career by competing in a 1966 battle of the bands at the Gulfgate Center Mall. Back then, the RC's anthemic "Hurricane Fighter Plane" functioned as a mere respite from the band's true specialty, improv jams identified simply as "Free-Form Freakouts." Fatefully, the Red Crayola were defeated at the battle of Gulfgate in the final round (by Johnny and Edgar Winter!), thus launching the band into a glorious, international obscurity that has continued unabated into the 21st century.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Texas Psych Music Resource Links

Texas Psych Music Resource Links


Check out these Texas Psych Music Resource Links that have been put together by the World-Famous Texas Psych Google Group. We're about sharing the shit, not about keeping it among ourselves. These web pages & articles come and go but hopefully we can "capture" many of these resources and save them as pages of our great group. Check out these articles below! BTW, the Texas Psych Google Group is responsible for stuff like running the Roky CD Club. Now we KNOW that you have a some of these titles and that you run your filthy little fingers over them. We are responsible for driving Billy Alienate down back under his rotted log. We are responsible for driving everybody's friend, Sumnerd Erickson, almost insane. But he didn't need our help for that. We're partly responsible for putting the Golden Dawn out on the road for their first National Tour back in 2004. We're responsible for lots of shit. Join our grouP here:
http://groups.google.com/group/Texas-P?hl=en

SEE ALL OUR COOL ARTICLES HERE:

ROKY CD CLUB DISCOGRAPHY

Roky Erickson - 13th Floor Elevators Files

13th Floor Elevators - Lyrics

The Roky Road of the 13th Floor Elevators

High Baptismal Flow - Great Austin Chronicle Article on the 13th Floor Elevators

Allan Vorda Interview - 13th Floor Elevators

Danny Thomas Interview

Frank Davis Interview About Easter Everywhere

Clementine Hall Interview

Ronnie Leatherman Interview

13th Floor Elevators from a member of The Syns/Smoke

Dave Dennard Recollection About 13th Floor Elevators

Robert Galindo Remembers Danny Galindo

Metal Mike Saunders On the 13th Floor Elevators

The Austin Music Scene: 1960-1970 by George Kinney

Roky Erickson Biography - All Music Guide

Peter Buck & Roky Erickson Interview 3/86

Greg Turner Interviews Roky Erickson 6/81

Roky Erickson - The Man Who Went Too High

Roky's Children - Music under the influence of Roky Erickson, from Janis Joplin to Henry Rollins

Tommy Hall - A Long, Strange Trip: By Jennifer Maerz

Goldmine Review - 13th Floor Elevators: Sign Of The 3-Eyed Men

Golden Dawn - It's Gonna Be A Golden Day

Golden Dawn - George Kinney Speaks on Bobby Rector

George Kinney & The Golden Dawn: Fanning the Flames of Legend

George Kinney - A Theory of Eternal Life

BAGHDAD ON THE BAYOUS?- Mayo Thompson

International Artists Label 45 Discography

International Artists - LP Discography

Fever Tree - Rob Landes Interview

Fever Tree - Michael Knust Interview

The Zackary Thaks Story - As Told by Chris Gerniottis

Bill Josey Jr. - The Story of KAZZ

Long on Love Street

Borderline List of Texas Psych/Garage Comps

The Trees - Music Trading in Cyberspace

Tuned In, Burnt Out: Psychedelic Sounds on CD-R

Gilbert Shelton Interviewed by Frank Stack, excerpted from The Comics Journal #187

Charlie Prichard Interview - 3/26/2005 Interview by Carlton Crutcher

Mr. Toad's Wild Ride - Tales from Austin's big bang: John Andrews

HANNA-BARBERA RECORDS: THE OTHER SIDE OF BEDROCK

The Zackary Thaks Story - Chris Gerniottis

Zackary Thaks

The Zakary Thaks Story

Let’s begin with the your evolution into the music scene.

Chris Gerniottis(CG)

Okay, I started out playing around with some guys and we called ourselves the Marauders and eventually became the Riptides. We mostly did surf instrumentals and occasionally a few vocal numbers

Who were the band members?

CG:

We started out with Pete Stinson on lead guitar, Glenn Jower on rhythm guitar, Wayne Harrison on bass, and David Fore on drums. ( Stinson became the rhythm player for the Zakary Thaks, Harrison went on to the Liberty Bell and Fore later played drums in the original Bubble Puppy).

And you were the lead vocalist.

CG:

Part-time lead vocalist, as the band mainly played surf music. I didn’t play an instrument at that time.

I’m not familiar with Glenn Jower.

CG:

He was an old childhood friend of mine. And now that you’ve got my old brain flow going, let me retract one thing. The first drummer was actually Rex Gregory (Rex eventually became the bass player for the Zakary Thaks).

No kidding?

CG:

Yes, Rex was the original drummer for the Marauder’s. We were a neighborhood group.

Where did you guys live? What part of town?

CG:

Sherwood Park, you know, around Redwood and Little John Streets. Pete lived on Little John, I lived on Redwood, and Rex lived on Nottingham.:

One of my old girlfriends lived on Nottingham. (naughty comments and laughter, none of which will be repeated here.)

CG:

All right, and that neighborhood is just like a walk back in time. It hasn’t changed a bit. Anyway, Rex was the first drummer, and what happened was, he got sent to live with his father in Houston because of problems at school. So we had to find a drummer and I forgot how we found David. David was playing in a group and we talked him into joining us. So David was with us for awhile.:

Okay, and that was the line-up for a while?

CG:

Well yes, but then Rex moved back and he wanted to join the group again. Well, we were fairly happy with David as a drummer, so Rex said, “You know, I could play bass”, and Wayne was like,… (shrugs shoulders)Wayne was a good bass player, but he had a paper route, he had different things outside the group, he was under the pressure of his parents, etc

He was my paperboy, even when he was in the Liberty Bell. I nearly shit when my Dad told me to take the payment out to the newspaper kid one day and there was Wayne collecting for the paper while driving around in a GTO.

CG:

Yeah, if you had ever met Wayne’s parents, you could tell they were very controlling people, and we just felt like Wayne was just being so more directed by them than what we wanted. For example, he could only come to practice at certain times. So it kind of actually got to where we said, “You know what Wayne? We’re going to try Rex.” So, we gave Rex a deal. We said teach yourself to play the bass and we said how long do you think you’re going to need? He said give me a couple of months and he came over and was a wail, but that is typical for Rex. He’s a pretty intense guy. Both of his parents are musicians, so there you go. It’s in the genes.

He’s got a big ego too.

CG:

Oh, yeah. In fact it surpasses the musical aptitude. (Laughter)

So once he told you he would like to play bass, he had to learn, no matter what.

CG:

He knew he had no choice because his ego was too big. Well, anyway, we got rid of Wayne and took on Rex as the bass player. So it was Rex, Pete, David and I for awhile, but there was a gap because Glenn had left. I think his parents sent him up to Maine. So, we were looking for another player. In the meantime, we heard there was a job to play at a Carroll High School dance. We came up to the cafeteria at Carroll and auditioned. We were still the Riptide’s and… oh no, we were the Marauder’s still, I think. Well, anyway, there was another group there and John ( John Lopez, who became the Zakary Thaks lead guitarist) was playing lead for this group and he just blew us away.

What band was that?

CG:

Uh, the Eddie Roacha Four, I think, but I’m not sure. I just remember Eddie Roacha was the drummer. So after we heard John play, we begged him to come play for us. “This is just so cool, you’re just awesome!” John immediately took over the lead guitar spot and Pete, who was lead, readily went over to rhythm. He just said you’re so good, let me take rhythm and Pete was a superior rhythm player. Pete was like two players in one. He had the lead talent, yet he could play rhythm. So, anyway we ran with that line up for just short of a year.

Still the Riptide’s?

CG:

Riptide’s, yeah, that was our bookable name and we were getting a few more gigs.

I remember back in the early 80’s, you once showed me a picture of the Marauders or the Riptides, I don’t which, and you had a three-cornered hat on. Just like Mark Lindsay and Paul Revere and the Raiders.

CG:

Yes! I haven’t been able to find that picture for ages. I have no idea what happened to it.

Back to the band. Was David Fore still the drummer?

CG:

David Fore was still drumming

So he was with you guys for quite awhile.

CG:

Yeah he was with us for like a year, or a little over a year and a half, I think. Then we played on a local TV show here called “Teen Time”.

Yes, I remember it well. It was like a Corpus version of “American Bandstand”. It was on Channel 3, the local ABC affiliate. We would watch that every week!

CG:

That’s right, it was on every Saturday morning. Charlie Bright, the top Corpus radio DJ in the 60’s, was the host. He used to live next door to me, in the house I’m in now. I freaked when I saw him outside one day. He’s now a sales director for Channel 10. Well, we went there one Saturday to play and there was a group there, The Last Five. Stan Moore was in that band and as soon as we heard him play, we looked at David Fore and kind of went, “Why aren’t you this good?” You know? So anyway, Stan was so totally unique, that we just kind of asked him on the side, “You think you might want to come play with us?” and he said, yeah, sure. So anyway, we gave David Fore his walking papers and so that was the group right there.

And then he went on to a band that actually made an album. (much laughter, as David went on to Bubble Puppy.)

CG:

Yes! He went on to much greater things. He floundered for a little while. Actually I think when the Bad Seeds broke up, they reformed as the Seeds. Not to be confused with the California group.

The band expanded to five?

CG:

Yeah, they expanded to five.

Was Mike Taylor still in the group?

CG:

No. Michael was long gone. It was Rod Prince and Roy Cox. Roy came down from San Antonio. For the first year that he lived here; he spoke with an English accent. He figured nobody knew him and he’d be cool

Do you know who else used to do that? David Odem. (David sang lead in a short-lived Corpus band, The Clockwork Orange, He was running around with long, long hair back in ‘65-’66 and getting his ass kicked on a regular basis, as a result.) Do you remember David?

CG:

Yes! Oh God, do I remember him!

He and I used to work together at a couple of different record companies in Houston in the early 70’s and he would speak with an English accent.

CG:

Okay. All right.

He would get chicks for us all the time.

CG:

Yeah, yeah. Oh how weird!

He’d speak in that English accent and he’d say that he was in an English band and that I was his manager, and make up all this bullshit and we would get more chicks that way, it was unbelievable.

CG:

Oh, yeah. David goes back to like the Carousel Club days. He was quite a fixture on the scene. (Along with Ashley Johnson, David had an incredible record collection. Both of them had hundreds of English imports, which is where The Stereo Shoestring got the idea to do The Pretty Things “Deflecting Grey” as “On the Road South”.)

Yeah, he was quite a character.

CG:

Well, back to David Fore. He was drummer for the Seeds and they had another guy. Whenever the Seeds formed, there were two people that came down from San Antonio, Roy Cox as I already mentioned and David Frasier, and David caused great ripples in Corpus, because he had hair down to here. That was unheard of, I mean just like, oh my God! It was down to his ass. So anyway, they played awhile here in Corpus and they were basically unmarketable just because they were just too different.

Eventually, they moved up to Houston and shortly thereafter the group disbanded and reformed and the Bubble Puppy was born. David Fore was playing with them when they were the Seeds in Corpus. Actually Bobby Donaho started out drumming for the Seeds and then something happened and they had a falling out and they asked David Fore to step in. (Bobby was the original drummer for the Bad Seeds, the first real Corpus Christi garage band and the first group on J-Beck. He later played in Ginger Valley, who were on International Artists.)

What happened to Bobby Donaho?

CG:

He’s still here in town. He lived up in Dallas for a number of years and got busted for cocaine and spent a little time in prison. Now he’s back down here and he lives in his old original neighborhood house. His mother passed away and left him the house. His sister is actually a musician. I don’t know if she still is, but she used to play in a group in Houston called The Dishes. (The Dishes were a 70’s pop-punk band.) I went out and visited Bobby several times. He’s still the same old Bobby. Has hair down to here and definitely kind of just old hippie stuff, you know. He’s just a house painter. So, that’s cool. I mean whatever.

Doing a job where he can smoke dope all day and paint houses and have hair long.

CG:

Exactly! He still fucking smokes, still drinks and parties.

Just typical of how everybody in Corpus ends up if they didn’t escape.

CG:

Right. So, basically the group, the Zakary Thaks started out, I can’t pinpoint a month, but I would say earlier ’66 is the right time reference. Early ’66, because it wasn’t long after that when we first played at the Carousel Club and got approached by Carl Becker. (Carl and his brother-in-law, Jack Salyers had started the J-Beck label and recorded and managed the Bad Seeds and Tony Joe White.) We had already heard about Carl Becker and Jack Salyers because they were handling the Bad Seeds.

How did you guys come up with the name, Zakary Thaks?

CG:

We had seen it somewhere in some teen magazine, where somebody had written in asking about this group, and it was spelled differently, like the name Zachary and Thacks, ending in a c-k-s. So, anyway, it was English sounding and the magazine said “Who?”. They hadn’t heard of them, so we thought, let’s go ahead and take that name.

So it’s possible there had been another band somewhere with that name.

CG:

Possibly so, although…

Nobody’s ever heard of them.

CG:

No one’s ever dredged them up. They must have been very short-lived if they even existed, but that’s basically how we got the name and it was English sounding, which was where the direction of the group was headed. I mean we were like the Stones, who were our big idols. The Stones and the Beatles. We didn’t know which way to go. It’s like we dressed like the Stones and played Beatles songs, you know?

After we signed on with J-Beck, the thing just kind of catapulted, because J-Beck was the only professional music business in town. Carl was our manager and felt we needed to record. I mean the ink wasn’t even dry on the contracts and we were heading down to the Valley to record. So the first time we went down to the Valley was with the Bad Seeds and I forget what they recorded. (It was probably J-Beck #1005 “Sick and Tired” b/w “All Night Long” their re-write of the 13th Floor Elevators song “Tried to Hide.”) We recorded “Bad Girl” and “I Need You”:

What was the studio?

CG:

Nicholl’s Studio. It was owned by Jimmy Nicholls. (The studio was in McAllen, Texas in the Rio Grande Valley, near Mexico. Nicholls also owned the Pharaoh label, recording such greats as the Headstones, the Cruisers and Christopher and the Souls.) It was just a two track studio, so you did everything at one time and then you had a limited second track where you could put some vocals, but it’s like what you got on the first tape that was it. So in order to loosen up we played four songs from our play set and Stan Moore had brought that up to me. I had completely forgotten about that. So we did the Beatle’s “I’m Down”. You know, stuff we were really good at. I had written Nicholls asking him, if by any chance did he still have those masters. Supposedly the studio got flooded. The Valley flooded in ’73 or something and he lost all his shit, so that’s that, but yeah, that was the original session.

Besides “I’m Down”, do you remember any of the other numbers you recorded that day?

CG:

Nope, that’s the only one that I remember. We played the crap out of it. There were certain songs, that was the weird thing about the Thaks, is that the one that came up with most of the songs we’d wind up doing was Stan. Because you know, we’d all say, well let’s do this song. All of the ones that Rex, John or I would come up with were pretty late. They were off of the radio, you know, and we tried to do Hollies stuff and just butchered it. We just couldn’t do it, but Stan had a knack for picking the good ones. He’d pull some obscure song off, “Well let’s do this one” and we’d play it and like after the second time, son of a bitch, just like it was made for us, you know. Of course, Stan was the unofficial leader of the group.

Oh, was he?

CG:

Yeah.

I would have thought you were.

CG:

Nope. I was just the lead singer. No, Stan was in control as far as the direction of the group. He was the slave driver as far as we had to rehearse every day, we had to rehearse from this time to this time, let’s play it again, let’s play it again, you know he was a slave driver. After awhile Rex, became like that too. I think that’s why they clashed later in life because they were similar in that way. (At the 1982 Reunion gig, Stan and Rex had such a falling out that Stan refused to play that night.) They were real taskmasters. Stan was always saying “It is really not good enough yet.”

But we practiced at Stan’s house and Stan’s father was the silent partner on a lot of the J-Beck stuff. Carl will never admit that. Lester Moore was quite wealthy and since Stan was the baby of the kids, we practiced at his house. Stan’s mother, I still remember her coming up the stairs with a plate of cookies and drinks, “Here you go boys!”

Where did he live?

CG:

He lived in Country Club Estates, across the street from the golf course. So, we were upstairs in a little nook there and everything was covered in posters and pictures and photo albums and stuff.

Then everybody when to Carroll High School?

CG:

Well, no. Everybody tried to go to Carroll, but Stan was living in the King High School District, so he had to go to King.

Oh, okay.

CG:

But, none of the Thaks finished high school except me. They all dropped out, because of hair codes and behavioral problems.

(At that point in time, the Corpus Christi Independent School District, as well as most others around the country, had strict hair length codes. None of that Beatle haircut nonsense was going to happen in our town. Even when I graduated from Carroll in ’71, I was still being sent home with a note to my parents, for having long hair and I had nothing more than a blond surfer’s Hoodad thing going on.

How did you get away with having long hair?

CG:

The first year I went to Carroll High was in ’66. Charles Gray was still the principal. He was a laid back guy and didn’t care and it was an open campus. So anyway, the first year there wasn’t a dress code policy, so we had our shirttails out and I could wear my hair as long as I wanted to. Then he retired and it was a dual principalship in effect for my junior and senior year and they were real strict. What I’d do was, I’d go to the only barber in town that would cut hippies hair, and he’s still in business, he still cuts hair.

Who’s that?

CG:

Tracy Herrin.

Yeah! To this day, he still has a record store in the back of his barbershop.

CG:

Yeah. Tracy was the only barber in town that we trusted. All of the Corpus musicians with long hair went there. He would cut my hair short enough to where I could put VO-5 on it and slick it down so I could go through the school day without getting hassled and then I would go home and I would wash it and kind of Beatle it out. Then during the summer, of course, you could let it grow a little bit, but they were very strict. So that was that deal.

Stan’s father, as I mentioned was a silent partner, and as time went on, he started putting more money into the group. At one point I remember we got a station wagon and Mr. Moore bought it. There were some unpaid studio bills and I think Mr. Moore paid them. It’s just one of those things like he was really cool, money wasn’t a big thing for him, you know, it was just Stan. He wanted to make sure Stan’s group was taken care of. We ran from early ’66 through December 31, 1967. The last gig we did was on New Year’s Eve of ’67. That was the line-up of the first Zakary Thaks.

How many records had you done by then?

CG:

We had done four, “Bad Girl”, “Face To Face”, “Please”, and “Mirror of Yesterday”. Each one got worse as far as I was concerned. For instance “Please” because we had not written it, it wasn’t really what I felt was a true reflection of what I felt we were as a band. (“Please” was written by Mike Taylor, former Bad Seeds member and the unofficial “sixth” Zakary Thak.)

It’s a good song.

CG:

Yeah, it is, but it’s Mike Taylor’s song. It’s not, you know, the Thaks. When we’d write songs it would be as a group. For all practical purposes, “Face To Face” was written by the group.

I think that’s the group’s greatest record. What’s your favorite?

CG:

Probably “Bad Girl”, because it was, I want to say it was like the one true picture of what the Zakary Thaks were as a group. That literally was written by all five of us in one afternoon.

It’s a shame it wasn’t a big hit because I think it’s probably in the top 10 of the greatest punk garage band records from the 60s.

CG:

There’s a Rhino Records box set that it’s on. (“Nuggets”)

So “Bad Girl” was your favorite, but how about “Face to Face”.

CB:

Although “Bad Girl” remains my favorite Thak’s song, for many reasons “Face to Face” was what really raised us to a higher level, both gig-wise and in the studio. We recorded it at Jones Studio in Houston in early ’67. This was the first 8-track studio we had been in, so we were able to experiment since we didn’t have to play at the same time, like we did on our first record. It took us all day to get what we wanted, but it was a valuable session because of several discoveries.

Stan removed the front bass drum cover and put several pillows in, which really gave it a good bottom. Rex plugged his bass straight into the control panel board instead of the amp, so the sound was much cleaner. He and Stan were able to lay down a great rhythm track to add on to.

John found our that playing at a loud volume out of a small amp, gave a better quality fuzz and feedback, than the two gadgets he used on stage. I realized that if I sang with myself on two tracks, the vocals sounded fuller and smoother.

It’s too bad we got persuaded to start doing songs that other people wrote and produced. We never got the chance to develop these new studio techniques on our songs.

Yes, it’s a shame that the Thaks didn’t stay on the track they started out on.

CB:

Amen.

Have you seen any royalties over the years?

CG:

I remember one time getting a check from BMI for $90. That was the biggest check I’d ever gotten from any kind of royalties. But total, I can guarantee you I didn’t get to see $125 because the typical BMI check was for $2.75 and they have all kind of payment schedules, all kind of weird schedules and so on. I think that’s why John Lopez still carries a lot of baggage from the old days. He feels like we should have gotten a lot more money from performance rights or royalties if nothing else, but we never saw it. Never saw it.

The way they had it set up was real sucky too, because we actually had this Zakary Thaks checking account. In fact Stan still had some Zakary Thaks checks. It was really cool. It was kind of like, oh man! The money was taken and put into this account and then it was figured out what our weekly pay was, and we would be given a check every Monday morning as we were going to school. It was kind of like “Okay here you go”. Our typical check earnings for that time was about $150 a week, which I guess for 1967, is that good or not? I don’t know

I would think so, being a teenager.

CG:

It was enough so that it only took me about six months to save up for a 1965 Pontiac Le Mans that was gently used.

Man, you should have gotten a GTO. My parents had a ’64 model. (My parents were not hip, the Pontiac salesman talked them into it, but I was the envy of all the cool guys for a while.)

CG:

I know. In hindsight I probably would have gotten that. That was basically it. It was just the way it was set up, it begged for manipulation, you know, so we never really knew what we made and like I said, that was down the priority list. It was like, money, oh cool! When are we going to play next?

Let’s talk about some of the clubs.

CG:

Okay.

How about The Carousel Club? Tell me what you remember.

CG:

The Carousel was the ultimate club for Corpus! That was it. That was the best. The Sunday afternoons we spent there were just unbelievable. The acoustics were great. The crowds would be so close to you that literally they’d be this far from you. I remember singing on that little small stage. The crowd would be about a foot away. It just had a certain essence to it. I never saw another club in Corpus that equaled it. The Elks Club was also early. We’d pack them in, but it wasn’t the same feeling.

The Elks is still there, isn’t it?

CG:

It still is. In fact the office that I had for 10 years was right across the street from the Elks Club. The “Satisfaction Dances” were held there. They were short-lived. That was a J-Beck thing. They would actually put it on the patio. Remember where they used to have the little theater melodramas during the summer? Okay, that’s where they would have the “Satisfaction Dances” on Tuesday night

And who would play there?

CG:

Just the usual groups, The Thaks, The Liberty Bell, whoever else was around.

The Bad Seeds were gone by then?

CG:

The Bad Seeds were in the transition stage, I think, at that time. The Bad Seeds were very early. You have to remember that. They were post-Barry Kaye and the Viscounts and George Jay and the Rockin’ Ravens, but they were ’64-’65. The “Satisfaction Dances” were so short-lived and it wasn’t really a club, but we’d pack ‘em in, but as far as any other clubs that were even worth mentioning, I don’t know.

The Beach Club?

CG:

The Beach Club, that was my uncle’s club. We never played there except for like some kind of deal, I don’t know if it was a party.

It was a private, members-only club, but then they would have teen dances on Saturday nights. All the walls were painted black inside and there were day-glo paintings all over the place. There was a swimming pool outside and then you kind of walked down those stairs to get to it.

CG:

Yeah, and it still looks that way as far as what’s left, but as far as comparing it to the Carousel Club, there really is no comparison. The Carousel was the club-of-clubs for Corpus at that time.

The Dunes Club. We have to talk about the Dunes Club.

CG:

Ah, they’ve been sure talking about the Dunes Club on that little internet circle.

The Thaks played there a lot, didn’t they?

CG:

Yes. Early, early. That was like almost one of the first Zakary Thaks gigs.

Do you remember the Lingsmen?

CG:

Yes, Max and the Lingsmen

They used to play out there. Some of the future Elevator guys were in the Lingsmen..

CG:

Yep. That was kind of the source. John Ike Walton, Benny Thurman and Stacy Sutherland. Stacy’s brother was a coach at King High for a number of years. Roky was not part of that group.

No, he was in the Spades in Austin.

CG:

Yeah. The name of the guy, Max Range, it’s not Range, but it’s spelt Range, it’s a German name, and he was kind of like the first cool guy as far as music members go. I mean he wore the shades at night and had kind of the bleach blonde hair. They were kind of an odd mixed bag. Part surf, part English influence and not a great group, but certainly not a bad group. One great thing about the Dunes was the people. Packed! There were some of the biggest crowds I remember in this area. Just because the place was just huge, but everybody I talk to about the Dunes, they all talk about the being gassed or some kind of crap about it. The constables, something about they would come in and tear gas the audience, but I don’t remember that happening the times we were there. I remember we only played there maybe twice, but that’s been so long ago, I couldn’t tell you who else played with us. I know one night Max and the Laffing Kind, which was the group…

From San Antonio?

(Range also had a band Max and the Penetrators, which included Ronnie Leatherman, who took Bennie Thurman’s place when he left the Elevators.)

CG:

No. They became the house band. I think it was the Laffing Kind that replaced the Lingsmen, but Max stayed. I think that’s how it goes because Max stayed there for years and years. They were a staple, you know, it was like would go to Port Aransas, go to the Dunes, see Max and whoever the group is and let the good times roll. I remember that Jim West was actually the Thaks manager before Carl Becker.

This was before you guys ever recorded

CG:

Yeah. It was in the odd, little Riptides/Thaks transition period. He was our manager from when the Riptides changed their name to the Zakary Thaks. He was a disc jockey from KEYS radio and he took us under his wing as his group to manage. Somebody gave him some money and he wound up opening up this competitive club for the Dunes called the Sugar Shack. Do you remember the Sugar Shack?

Yeah, vaguely.

CG:

It went over like a turd in a punch bowl. The Thaks were the house band there, but it didn’t last long. Maybe about a month and then it fizzled right out. That’s my tendency. If the memory isn’t real good, I tend to kind of filter it out, so I don’t really remember much about the Sugar Shack except it was much more vulnerable to the elements than the Dunes was. At least with the Dunes you had some screens and stuff like that, but the Sugar Shack was open to air. It was closer to Corpus. I think that was Jim West’s point was try to get something closer to town. The Dunes was just too popular and proved too much for him. Crumpled it. We had a good grand opening the first couple of weeks and then it went splat.

It was shortly thereafter that Carl approached us. I remember he first approached us at the Carousel Club. I remember him coming up to the stage with the J-Beck card. “You guys are tough.” That was his big saying. I remember looking at that card “Oh man, this is our ticket”. It didn’t take much arm twisting to drop Jim West and come on board with Carl.

Well that was pretty cool because Carl must have been about 35 at the time. He was into that and liked rock music and stuff. I mean he seemed to genuinely like the music.

CG:

Right. Actually, Carl was pretty much ahead of his time. I remember one summer he went to England. I don’t what the circumstances were, but he went to England.

He probably got to fly for free. (Carl worked for several airlines through the years.)

CG:

Yeah. He came back with all this cutting edge English stuff like Spooky Tooth. That was the first time I had heard Spooky Tooth and Jethro Tull and he brought them all back. “You gotta check these cats out, man.” It’s like he’s a rock-a-billy guy and he’s gone over to England, “check these cats out”. That was his big word, “Cat.”

He still talks that way.

CG:

Oh, yeah. “That cat could blow, man.”

It’s too bad Carl’s not here right now.

CG:

I know, he and Michael Taylor.

How about Frenchie’s Beachcomber?

CG:

That was early, early on. Frenchie’s was like ’63-’65. (Frenchie’s was out on Padre Island and had the world’s first topless wedding, which was featured in Playboy.)

The only other one that could really be qualified as a Corpus landmark would be the Stardust Ballroom. By the time that The Stardust was in its format that we’re talking about, The Thaks were in one of their last phases. I think The Stardust started like the summer of ’67, so I think we played there just a handful of times and that was it.

So then the second incarnation of Zakary Thaks played there?

CG:

After The Thaks broke up, they reformed with Pete Stenson, John Lopez, Stan Moore, and a guy by the name of John Kenney. (John and Bobby Donaho later went on to form Ginger Valley and they released a single on IA records, in fact, the last 45 on the label.) There was also a female member, whose name I simply can’t remember. She played the flute. Not the skin flute, but the real flute. They lasted maybe three months tops. Just got nowhere.

What kind of music were they playing? Like Jefferson Airplane?

CG:

Jefferson Airplane and more psychedelic stuff, yeah, but it wasn’t working because people would show up to see The Thaks and people would think “Who are these people?” So that lasted three months tops and that’s when they reformed again. Pete was scared about getting drafted, so he joined the Navy, and it was Rex, Stan and John, as a trio. The poster from the Vulcan Gas Company, that’s the Zakary Thak trio line-up.

That’s when they did the “Green Crystal Ties.”

CG:

Yeah, and they lasted maybe six months tops and then I forget what the circumstances were, but they broke up. Then there might have been more Zakary Thaks now that I think about it. The next line up was Stan, John, Rex and me working under the name of the Zakary Thaks from January of ’69 through about April of ’69.

Had you been in the Liberty Bell yet?

CG:

Yes, I had already come and gone with the Liberty Bell.

Let’s fit that one into this whole story.

CG:

Okay. The Liberty Bell, well I actually started with them in February of ’68.

So, you left the first incarnation of the Zakary Thaks?

CG:

Well, actually Rex and I were asked to leave.

They let you guys go?

CG:

Yeah. Our musical direction was different from where they wanted to go and so we decided, or they decided the group needed to take a new turn.

When they kicked you out, were they getting more into psychedelics?

CG:

Oh, yeah. That was definitely a factor, and although that probably wasn’t the cause of it, it certainly didn’t help.

But they were getting bent that way, more psychedelic.

CG:

Oh yeah. They were playing a Jefferson Airplaneish type bill. They were into Traffic too, and that was partly because of John Kenney. Pete Stinson was kind of the bearer of bad news and said “We’re kind of thinking about changing the members of the group and you’re not going to be in the new line-up” and I said “Fine”, and Rex was the same way. We were kind of “Ah fuck it.” So it was only a month that went by before I got a call from Carl Becker one night saying Ronnie Tanner is getting drafted and we need a singer to replace him, so I was an easy fit. Just fit right in there.

What time period was that?

CG:

About February ’68 through the end of ’68.

I saw the Liberty Bell several times during that incarnation.

CG:

It was maybe short a year, maybe nine months, but we did “Thoughts & Visions” and “Reality Is The Only Answer” and the Back Beat label stuff. The Back Beat record “Na, Na, Na” has Stan Moore on drums and Rex Gregory on bass.

Almost a Thaks record.

CG:

Yeah, because the Liberty Bell were going their separate ways. Carl Abbey was getting ready to go off to medical school and Wayne Harrison was going off to college. It was Al Hunt on lead. Stan and Rex were solicited by Carl Becker to come on play on it.

So, now we’ve been through the original line-up, the five-piece group, the trio that did the Thak label record and now were on to the fourth personnel change.

CG:

The fourth group was the original line-up without Pete. I was playing rhythm and singing.

Is that when you did the Cee-Bee record?

CG:

Yes, and both of those are literally the four of us sitting in the practice room and writing them from scratch, “Everybody Wants To Be Somebody” and “Outprint”.

Both of which are great songs.

CG:

Yeah. We rented a warehouse in a used store on Lexington Boulevard (now South Padre Island Drive or SPID as it’s now known.) and that’s where we’d go and rehearse.

Now the Cee-Bee record was after you were in The Liberty Bell and went back to the Thaks. CG:

Yes, that was after. Yeah, yeah. What’s this one? (Chris picks up a white label promo copy of “Bad Girl” on Mercury Records)

That’s the one that should have been a big hit.

CG:

Yep. I’ll tell you what, this is the one that really gripes everybody as far as what could have been.

Let’s talk about that a little bit. What happened?

CG:

I don’t know.

How did you guys get on Mercury to begin with?

CG:

I have no idea. They approached Carl. So Mercury sought him out and struck a deal.

(Part of the problem may have been the legalities of getting all the band members signed. Chris was only 15 at the time. It took almost 6 months of legal work. By the time the record was released, it had run its course in Texas. Carl Becker always felt they should have promoted “I Need You” over “Bad Girl”.)

I remember going up to Carl’s house and he showed me a Billboard Magazine. He opened it up and there was a white page with a Mercury Record logo, and a little hole right there in the middle of the page and the set-up was, “Guess who we just signed to Mercury Records?” And there was a picture of me in the little hole. It looked like they had signed Paul McCartney. And you open it up and there’s the Zakary Thaks from Corpus Christi, Texas.

And that was in Billboard Magazine?

CG:

In Billboard!

I’ve got to find that issue.

CG:

I remember Carl showing me that and it kind of threw me, like if we’ve got ads like that, then why aren’t we stars?

Let’s talk briefly about Carl Becker. He was and still is such a great guy. From talking to you and him over the years, it seems he took good care of the band. I’m sure he had a lot of expenses.

CG:

Well he did. Carl was the guy that got things done. Carl was the one who would drive us to the gigs. Carl was the one that would come over to our practices. Carl was the one who supervised the studio section. I don’t think I remember Jack Salyers ever coming to one of our sessions.

So what was he? Just a business partner for Carl?

CG:

A business partner and he probably provided some money backing. They were brother-in-laws. Jack had a slew of kids. He must have had eight of them. I forget what Jack did for a living. I think he worked for the airlines like Carl did at that time. Carl was really the guy that got things done. When we would go out on the town, or whenever we would go out on the road, everything was always paid for. Whenever we would go into the studio, I never saw money exchange hands, and we never felt pressure. It was like, just take your time. I remember us spending a few long days in Doyle Jones Studio in Houston. We also recorded at International Artists Studio. I remember just literally spending the entire day there.

Speaking of recording, do you think there is anything that you guys did that hasn’t been released yet?

CG:

No. As far as that goes, no. The only thing that has not been recovered was that little warm up session at Nicholls Studio. I can guarantee you as far as the original stuff goes, there is nothing unreleased. Because The Thaks, as original as we tried to be, were not real prolific. There’s not a real big lost episode thing with this. Basically what is released is essentially all that we had.

If you guys had tried to, despite the fact that you guys were in high school and had a lot of other distractions, if you had tried to sit down and write more songs, do you think you would have done it?

CG:

It probably would have happened, but we were so torn between concentrating on original stuff and playing gigs because that is where we got our rush. Off of playing the gigs and we really were constantly changing our play sets. Stan would come every month, okay, “I’ve got 10 songs here and we gotta get rid of this one, get rid of that one, we gotta replace it with this one”, and so you know, that was one thing that kept us busy. We were constantly revamping our live set because the real strength of our group was the live sound

Why do you think the Thaks were so hot live?

CB:

PRACTICE: That’s something we never let up on. Stan was not only our musical director and insisted on playing everyday, but he also had a gift for picking songs he knew we could play live very well. Above this there was something harder to explain. Although we were all good musicians, when we played together as a single unit, everyone’s abilities increased tremendously.

It was pure energy at its most basic level. It was like making a formula in a lab, take five unique ingredients and swirl them together and BAM!! This is why we built up a following so quickly. We sounded better than our records and 90% of the time, better than the big acts we would open for. The film doesn’t show our power at all.

You can tell from that movie that you guys were extremely tight. I saw the band millions of times and you were tight and very ferocious for that time period. But you’re right, the movie doesn’t do you justice. It’s still cool though.

CG:

There’s a guy who played in the Second Story (another unrecorded local band) and he had an interesting little memory thing of the Zakary Thaks on the internet the other day. It was about the first time he saw The Thaks. He remembered Rex for his hair. He said, in the hierarchy of hair there was Brian Jones and then Rex Gregory. He then said he never knew he needed Apache boots until he saw John Lopez. (laughter). So that’s kind of weird.

We knew our live sound was hot and that’s why we captured the big market that we did in San Antonio, because for all practical purposes we were bigger than San Antonio in the Valley than we were in Corpus. Our records went to number one in San Antonio on KTSA. They never made it to number one here, they made it to number two, but never made it to one.

It’s that damn Charlie Bright’s fault. (laughter)

CG:

I don’t know what it was. I think it’s because the Corpus audience is weird and we just could not buck out. The one song we could not get past was Sunny and the Sunlighters, “Put Me In Jail”. That’s what kept “Face To Face” from going to number one.

Well, you know there’s such a big Hispanic population in Corpus also. And Sunny was basically a Tex-Mex group, albeit a very great group.

CG:

Right, right. So, anyway that’s basically, that was our main driving thing. How good could we get live? And Stan really was the main reason. I remember doing songs over and over until I was sick of them. You’d be sweating and panting and Stan’s like “Let’s do it again”.

I know you opened for the Yardbirds in ’66.

CG:

The Yardbirds were on Dick Clark’s Caravan of Stars tour as the headliners, along with Gary Lewis and the Playboys, Sam the Sham, Bobby Hebb and Brian Hyland. They played Corpus on October 30, 1966. The Thaks were booked as the opening act at the last minute, so that night was particularly memorable because the Yardbirds were the ultimate group for us at the time. We had no idea that this would be the last time that Beck and Page would play together. The tour’s pace of 600 miles a day had worn Beck down to the point where he was smashing his Les Pauls on stage. He was simply exhausted and wanted out. Contrary to “folklore”, he didn’t stay over in Corpus for several days after the gig, but flew back out to California to meet his girlfriend.

Here’s an interesting Corpus/Yardbirds side story. They made an appearance at Woolco, the big discount store at the time, and they all autographed the “Having a Rave Up” LP. It sat in the glass case by the register in the record department for years. Nobody really cared. Then one day, David Odem sweet talks the young female clerk into giving it to him!

CG:

Amazing!

You know, I remember seeing you guys when they opened up Autotown in Corpus.

CG:

That’s an often brought up memory by people that I run across.

And The Thaks were playing, I can’t remember if there was a stage set up or a flat bed truck.

CG:

A rather high stage.

I remember my buddy, Bobby Zink and I were 13-14 at the time, and we’re right next to the stage and you guys did “I Had Too Much To Dream” by the Electric Prunes. You were playing autoharp and after the song was over, you threw your thumb pick down and I grabbed it. My buddy was bigger than me and we were fighting over it. That’s how rabid of fans we were.

In fact, his sister Judy was 2-3 years ahead of us in school and one day she came home at the beginning of the school year and was going crazy, because she had one your school books from the year before. You had signed your name on the inside front jacket. You would have thought you were one of the Beatles. (laughter.)

CG:

Yeah. For some reason that gig stuck in a lot of people’s minds. There were actually more memorable experiences for us in San Antonio and the Valley. We played a lot at the Mission Community Center. That was probably the happening in our lives. The Mission Community Center was a big place. The McAllen Convention Center was another big place we’d play.

In San Antonio it was, and this is where a lot of gray areas as far as money being tossed around happens. Ricky Ware, one of the KTSA disc jockeys, used to have a dance for the Air Force cadets fresh out of boot camp every Sunday morning and we’d go over there and play a gig for him and it was free. Plus we would play at the local teen show there called “Swing Time” and I don’t remember the call letters for the TV station, but it was next door to Joskey’s in downtown San Antonio and you could see the Alamo when you came out. We never got money for that. Those were two things we’d do for free and in turn, they would give us radio play. What happened, I don’t know, but we would play, the only place in San Antonio we would play would be opening for the big bands like Jefferson Airplane, “Where the Action Is” Tour, plus various other gigs.

We would also play Sam Kinsey’s Teen Canteen, which was somewhere in San Antonio, what part of town I couldn’t tell you, but it was like San Antonio’s Carousel Club. Not as cool as the Carousel Club, but that was The Canteen, where the teens went. Packed them in, just packed them. Our big circle was actually on the outlying areas like The Shaft in Divine. I can’t think of the name of the place in Casterville, and The Pub in Hondo, Texas. Those three places, who knew how many kids were in there. It would be so packed, they’d be hanging off the rafters. 800 teenagers, 1,000 teenagers, 1,200? I don’t know.

Tell me about the infamous motorcycle gang story.

CG:

Well, we had a gig in Victoria, Texas at an old country club that had been converted into a dance hall. A couple of Bandidos kept coming up all night asking us to play “St. James Infimary”.

(The Bandidos were a very bad-ass biker group from Texas with a large membership. They were damn intimidating and just as mean and violent as the Hell’s Angels ever thought of being. They wore gang colors, rode Harley choppers, the whole gamut of the biker lifestyle. Definitely not to be fucked with.)

After turning down their requests, one of them threw a beer bottle at us on stage. I grabbed the bottle and threw it back at him with the warning that the next one would find its way up his ass. They took off and we thought that was it, “Yeah, I wish they’d come back. Pussies!” As we were driving back up the long, caliche road to the main highway, all of a sudden there were 50 individual motorcycle headlights heading our way.

After making it to the main road, we sped about 80 mph to the Holiday Inn, hauled ass inside the two adjoining rooms and turned out all the lights. We heard the cycles assembling outside and then there was dead silence, except for the heavy footsteps of a couple of the bikers. “BAM, BAM” went the knock on the door, followed by a shout, “Send out the lead singer!”. Fortunately, the cops arrived a minute or two later and we were given a police escort out of town at 2:00 AM.

I can’t believe you couldn’t handle the Bandidos on your own.

CG:

Ha Ha. Then there was another time at this dance hall in Rockdale. We’d play there occasionally when we’d do the Austin frat circuit. One night after the gig, we decided to catch a bite at the town’s only café that was open late. When we first walked in, there was one cowboy seated at the counter that nonchalantly strolled over to the pay phone, made a call and sat back down. By the time we had finished eating, the place was full of cowboy rednecks making such classic statements as, “Boy Joe, with all that “hippified” hair, I wonder if they gotta squat when they take a pee?”. Pete had that look in his eyes, so Michael and Manfred walked out first and got the station wagon started up, with the doors open. Pete was the last one to exit, turned and flipped everyone the “bird” with both hands, which had them all bolting for the door after us. Pete was able to dive in through the window as we sped off with Stan, Rex and me all giving the same salute. They chased us almost all the way to Austin before turning around. I think that was the last time we played Rockdale.

There was plenty of intolerance for long hair and hippies all over the country at that time, but I think Texas definitely had a large edge on that type of behavior. Probably around ’75 it started to abate, but I remember being hassled many times.

CG:

Yeah, the good old days.

How was the groupie scene back then?

CG:

Very interesting.

Back then you were just kids, and girls weren’t as loose in the 60s, like they were in the 70s. You could get laid that easy (snapping fingers) in the 70’s.

CG:

Right. We had groupies, but it was real weird because here in town, I had a girlfriend. In San Antonio they would find you and there was a couple that I messed around with. In the valley, you’d think there would be more down there, but there weren’t. We had some chicks because we were at that awkward age. It’s like you were sexually active, but if it didn’t happen, okay. It wasn’t like later in life when you’re in your early 20s. Then it was expected. The convenience of having the border right across the lake was too much of a temptation. We spent many a night there. (i.e. Boy’s Town, a staple of growing up in Texas. Please refer to “The Last Picture Show”.)

Austin is where I remember going more than any other city because of the frat parties. They paid the best money, the sweetest gigs, and kegs of beer. You could drink unlimited amounts of beer. Austin, which was the cool city and still is to a lesser extent. The groupies were not around much because we were younger than the crowd we were playing for so, it didn’t happen as often, although Rex had a way of finding them

Rex must have been quite the ladies man.

CG:

Oh yeah. I remember one afternoon at the Carousel. He got three dates in different parts of the club and would spend a little time there, and then some over there. It was amazing.

Austin was pivotal for us because that’s where we had our first big break so to speak. We went there the same weekend that the shootings occurred, Charles Whitman in the Texas Tower? (The tragic Charles Whitman sniper incident occurred August 1, 1966.)

Yeah. Kinky Friedman immortalized him in song.

CG:

We played at a Battle of the Bands there (during the Aqua Festival) and we didn’t win, I think we came in second, but something happened there, a spark!

Do you remember who won?

CG:

A group from Austin, called The Mustangs. They were a soul group. The Mustangs and then there was a group called The Wig. (The Mustangs came in first place, the Wig came in second, the Thaks were third and the Reasons Why came in fourth.)

That was Rusty Weir’s group. We released an album by them on Texas Archive Recordings also.

CG:

And there was another group that played, The Baby Cakes.

The Baby Cakes, an Austin legend and they never recorded, a real shame.

CG:

They were all older than we were

So, how were the Baby Cakes live?

CG:

Pretty good. The Mustangs were also pretty good. The Wigs, I didn’t think were quite as good, and I don’t remember why, but the Baby Cakes were kind of like The 13th Floor Elevators. Nobody’s like The Elevators, but Austin, like I say, was pivotal because I remember one of the first big gigs we played was there in Austin. One of the last big gigs was in Austin because we played with The 13th Floor Elevators in the same place in that round green building in Austin, right near the lake.

That would be Palmer Auditorium.

(The Thaks played a gig on April 14, 1967 at the Austin City Coliseum, right across from Palmer Auditorium. This may be the show that Chris is thinking of. It started at 7:30 PM and ended at 5:00 AM. The line-up was the Elevators, the Thaks, the Playboys of Edinburg, the Baby Cakes,

the Chevelle V and the Chandells. Wish I had seen that one!)

CG:

Maybe it was. I remember it was green and round. But, I remember playing there in the fall of ’67 with The Elevators and it real happening, but then again, I always felt The Elevators had such a short window of perfection. We played with them four times, and the one time that I saw them where they were on top of their game was at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Kingsville. We opened for them that night and that was our first exposure to The Elevators and they just blew us away. Just blew us away.

Were they great?

CG:

Greatness. I don’t know what it was, it was just something about Stacey Sutherland’s guitar playing and Roky Erickson, and just “Whoa Man!” We couldn’t wait to get home and learn their songs.

Which ones did you learn?

CG:

Oh, we did a bunch of them. We did “You’re Gonna Miss Me”. We did a lot off of the “Easter Everywhere” album.

“Levitation?”

CG:

“Levitation” was one of our stock songs. We always played that.

Do you remember the Corpus group, Albatross with the brothers Thraikill, Marshall and Paul? CG:

Oh, yeah!

Originally, they had another band called The Knee Knockers.

CG:

Yes, I was talking about that with a guy that remembered the old Naval Air Station Days Festival.

I saw them at the NAS playing the Festival one year and they did “Levitation.” Marshall and I were in the same class together in high school, but he was probably 13 at the time and wearing shorts so you could see his knees. That was his trademark and he’d knock his knees together, and he’s singing “I Got Levitation” up there and he was young, young, young. It was incredible.

CG:

He didn’t ignite himself that night but, I remember him having a thing for taking lighter fluid and blowing it out of his mouth while he lit it.

You’re right, he set himself on fire in high school doing that once.

CG:

That’s basically the main points as far as memories of the group’s live gigs. The only other time, this was the last Zakary Thaks line-up, and fast forward to summer of ’72. I came back to Corpus for the summer and it just so happens I ran into John and Stan, and I forget if they were playing in the same group or not. They said why don’t we get a group together because there was a club here called the Rogues Club. The Rogues Club was a pretty sweet little gig. So they said if we can get a group together, Sam Harold will hire us as the house band. So we got Mike Gregory and Tom Ingle from Kubla Khan. We were a five piece house band for the Rogue Club, oh not for very long, June through August maybe, but we booked ourselves as the Zakary Thaks, and pretty damned good group because of Mike Gregory on the organ. He was just a phenomenal organist.

Did you guys do any of the old Thaks songs?

CG:

No. It was all just kind of playlist, Top 40. We were limited. Sam wanted us to do mostly what was on the radio and the all mighty dollar. Okay Sam, we’ll do it. So that was the last Zakary Thaks group. One night I remember it was in August, and I’m thinking should I go back to school in Houston? And I was trying to get a long-term decision that was good and so I thought I’m just going to move back to Houston. You know, I was missing Houston. So I came in that night to tell them that I was leaving the group, and that’s when Stan was saying, “Oh, weird. I was going to quit too.” So the group split apart after that. That was the last Zakary Thaks. If you were to put timeline on the Facts it was from February ’66 hit and miss through August of 71, but with some big gaps in there

And then the reunion show in ’82.

CG:

Yeah, but…you know how that goes.

I think you guys only did two or three songs that night.

CG:

Well, we did 2-3 songs and then I got off the stage and it turned into the Rex Gregory-John Lopez show because if you remember, it was just Rex and John and Michael Gersmann, the drummer for the house band there, and they played the rest of the hour. (As mentioned earlier, Stan Moore didn’t show up because of disagreements with Rex.)

Pete Stinson was there wasn’t he?

CG:

Pete was there, but he didn’t play. Pete was kind of like, “I’m retired and so I just want to spend all my time getting fucked up”.

Rex had just moved back from Hawaii and he found John and they started working on stuff. That’s what chapped Stan Moore. Stan was a real principled sort of guy. If something was not the way it was intended to be, then he didn’t like it. He thought it was all a farce, this whole Zakary type of reunion was just a farce, which it was kind of, because it was basically to see if John and Rex could get a little extra promo for their little project. Anyway, that’s why Stan took off to the right that night instead of the left with us. And it never was the same between Stan and Rex. That was it. Just kind of clashed.

That’s a shame that things turned out that way.

CG:

Yeah, it was.

How about some other 13th Floor Elevators memories? You said they were great on stage.

CG:

Fantastic on stage. The only things I can tell you about Roky Erickson are two things that stand out in my mind. One of them had to do with the Stardust Ballroom gig that they came here for and I want to say some time in ’68, maybe ’67—that’s a little blurry, but I remember him. They were late for the show. That’s what killed them. They started getting late for gigs and stuff. I remember Roky coming in late and he had an Echo Plex. If you remember the Echo Plexes, they were a lead guitarist’s toy for awhile. It was a tape driven thing.

Al Hunt had one that he used on the Liberty Bell song “Eveline Kaye. It was like little spaceships shooting around.

CG:

Exactly. Roky had it wrapped up in a coat, like he was protecting it, and he was walking around and he would sit down in a chair and he had that thing wrapped up in a coat. That was the night that he had the Band-Aid on his forehead because he wanted to protect this third eye.

Did you ever have a conversation with him?

CG:

The only time I had a conversation with him was in Houston. What had happened was The Seeds (the old Bad Seeds/future Bubble Puppy )had moved up to Houston, rechanged and came out as the Bubble Puppy and they were living in a house on Rosemeade Street in Houston, right off of the University of Houston campus. An old mansion. So Michael Taylor and I went up there one summer, the summer of ’69 and stayed with them for nearly a month. Just kind of hanging out with the big group, right, and there was another group from here called Ginger Valley that was staying there. Roky Erickson stayed at their house one weekend when we were there. It was a real hippie environment. We slept on something, I don’t know if it was a mattress thrown out on the floor and we ate in this huge, old mansion kitchen. We were in there one morning, I think we were drinking coffee or something, and Roky came down and went “hey, hey”. He went over there to the cabinets and pulled out this jar of Tang and was looking at it and turned to me and said, “How do you, how do you make this?” And I said, “There’s directions on the rear of the jar”. He just said “Oh cool.”

Very groovy, so you had a very cerebral exchange with Roky.

CG:

Yeah, that’s my Roky Erickson story

Did you have another memory of him?

CG:

Well, the Elevators were just so huge, it was like looking down the mountain valley up to them. We were in awe of them and that kind of prohibited me really getting to know any of the members. In fact, the only one I even half way got to know was John Ike.

He’s a pretty nice guy.

CG:

Yeah he is.:

It was probably better that you didn’t get to know them real well. There’s no telling what might have happened to you.

CG:

Stacy called me one time, I forget when, and he actually asked me join the Elevators as lead vocalist, because Roky had been sent to the hospital for a little rest, but he was probably just too freaked out. But I said no. I just kind of said I’m not worthy of that type of deal.

How old were you then?

CG:

Post Thaks, Post-Bell. Pre-Kubla Khan.

About 18 or 19?

CG:

Yeah, about late ’68, early ’69, something like that.

It was kind of towards the end of the Elevators. Probably when they did the “Bull of the Woods” album. What a great bit of Zakary Thaks info you just gave me. I don’t think anybody knows that.

CG:

Stacy called me one day, it was like, I want to say a Sunday and asked me. “Roky was sent away. Do you feel like joining the group?” and I’m like, “I don’t really think I can.” Because I knew, you know, there is no way. Roky was not a great rhythm player, but he was the Elevator’s rhythm player. And I’ve always liked his voice. I always wanted to sound like Roky Erickson, you know, but really could never quite get that sound. It’s like, it’s kind of high pitched. He just had a certain kind of sound.

He had a wail to him.

CG:

Yeah, right.

A banshee wail.

CG:

Yeah, just, I mean just weird. When I look at the video tape, that one little segment of Roky Erickson when he was into the horror rock, that little montage of different things and opens up with him singing “You’re Gonna Miss Me” with that house band? I can still get the chills, just because, you know he was not sounding really great for that little segment, but he just has a certain sound that you really can’t imitate Roky Erickson, you know? Couldn’t really imitate any of the Elevators.

There was one guy here in town that wound up playing the jug. He learned how to play the jug real well. Real well! In fact he actually got on stage with us when we were doing the Elevator stuff.

Who was that?

CG:

Gordon Nost. He lives in Houston. He owns an audio-visual business and still has some dealings with Rex.

He played jug with you guys?

CG:

He played the jug with us. Whenever we said, “Now we’d like to bring up a special friend of ours, Gordon Nost” people would get excited. He played jug with us on “I’ve Got Levitation”. PB:

Did you guys do “Slip Inside This House“ by any chance?

CG:

Yeah, that was a favorite of ours.

You know, that’s a long song. That’s a lot of lyrics to remember.

CG:

(Chris starts singing) “Four and twenty birds of Maya slipped into an atom and you polarized into existence”. Yep, I mean, they really shifted us, just like, change gears, this is where we need to go.

From a Kinks/Stones kind of thing to a more mystic, psych groove.

CG:

Yeah. Summer of ’67 was really, cause right after that film was made, was when we started doing the transition thing.

Let’s talk about the film. You know I have to say it’s absolutely amazing that Carl had the foresight to make that damned thing because that’s got to be one of the few movies of any local 60’s band that even exists.

CG:

Let me tell you about that film. This is something I know has never been covered Because you know he told me he made it to promote you guys to get club gigs.

CG:

Well, yes he did, but the real brain child of that, I believe was Lofton Klein. (Lofton Klein was in the Pozo Seco Singers, along with Don Williams and Susan Taylor, who was Mike Taylor’s sister.) Lofton Klein kind of took over Carl’s partnership when Jack and Carl had their split. So it was actually Lofton Klein that really came up with that concept. I think he knew the guy out in Calallen, a little town outside of Corpus, because we went out there to film it. I don’t remember Carl being too involved in it. It was more Lofton Klein, but Lofton was an idiot. Lofton Klein’s involvement was adding the background harmony to “Please.” That was the first one where Lofton started having his influence and it was just about that time, I don’t remember when Carl and Jack split up, but it was right around that time. Lofton was the producer of “Please”, although it probably doesn’t mention him the record. Who does it credit? Michael?

Jack Salyers.

CG:

Okay. That was Lofton Klein. Jack wasn’t even in the damned studio. So, if the truth be known, Carl Becker was probably not even involved in that film making. I would not be surprised because it was during that time that Jack and Carl split. That wasn’t Carl’s solo branch out. There were other people involved, but the main purpose of making the film was actually Lofton Klein’s, because he was going to take that film and he was going to peddle it. He was going to go up the coast because he felt like we needed to get into the Houston market more. So he was going to hit the towns like El Campo and Wharton because the teen halls were still pretty big then. He would go and approach these club owners and say, “Listen, I got this group from Corpus, and here’s a film of them doing a set”. Lofton is really the main catalyst behind the film.

Okay. Well, whether Carl or Lofton was responsible, that was very innovative for that period in the 60’s.

CG:

I’d say so, yeah. I don’t know who paid for that film. I’d hate to rob Carl of some credit where credit is due, because when they split, it was kind of all not one day and it was gone, but I think Carl was definitely pulling out at the point during that film making because I don’t remember him being there. I just remember Lofton Klein being there, so I don’t know. That’s the handicap about, you know, to really get 100% accurate information, if John were sitting here and Rex, that might be added input but, I trust my memory more than theirs. The film was like, I don’t think they really even used it. Carl and Lofton hated each other’s guts. Lofton never really peddled it and I was the keeper of the film for the first year and a half. How I lost my grasp of it was I gave two cans, there was four cans, I gave two cans to John Lopez. He was going to make some transfers of them. Never saw those. Rex was still living out in Hawaii and I sent him the other two cans and I never saw those, so that’s what happened there.

So, do you think John still has them?

CG:

No. Absolutely not, no. John or Rex. Neither of them have them. That’s so typical of them. Just like me, you give away stuff, you know, so they probably, you know, gave it to Carl, or whoever. PB:

I was telling you about Greg Prevost, from the Chesterfield Kings. (The Chesterfield Kings did a cover of “Won’t Come Back” on their first album.) He had me write a couple of lines on their first 45 and we became good friends. He writes me one day and asks “Can you get me John Lopez’ fuzz box?” Yeah, right.

CG:

Well, where John got his first fuzz box was from the only music store here in Corpus at the time called the Horn Shop.

Yes, it was down at 6-Points, in fact just a stone’s throw from the Carousel Club. I remember going there once to buy some guitar strings and Rod Prince and Tony Joe White were hanging out.

CG:

There was a resident technician named Smitty. You would come with a concept and he would turn it into an actual reality. So anyway, I think it was Carl or John requested a fuzz box, because fuzz leads were hot. They had already been around. I’m trying to think of the first fuzz lead I heard, maybe the Yardbirds. It was known that such a sound existed, but we couldn’t figure out how to get it and the most logical way to do the fuzz tone was to turn up the amp loud, but we were blowing speakers and were going through amp speakers like change, like loose change. So, Smitty came up with a deal where when so many amps were going through the speaker it would overload the circuit and shut off to keep the speaker from blowing. It was about that time when we said well, can you do a fuzz box so we don’t have to turn up these amps so damned loud? Smitty comes up with one and it almost looks like it was made in a Russian lab. I mean it’s all funky and big and you plugged in one end to the amp and the other end to the guitar and you had a typical little toggle switch thing and turned that thing on and it fuzzed. Smitty was really a genius that way. God knows what John did with that.

He has been through so many toys. He’s like the guitar toy guy. He’s had everything. The only thing he didn’t get into was the Echo Plex. He messed around with it briefly, but he didn’t think it was much, whereas Alan Hunt, he took that thing on all kinds of turns. He knew exactly how that thing worked, and he made it do things. Al was real inventive. He’s the first guitar player I’ve seen that was able to master the Echo Plex to that extent and he also had. He figured out if he played like this and had his finger loose, he could do that volume knob and so he had a weird way of playing. I never have seen another lead player that can make that guitar do what he wanted to do and sound the way he wanted it to sound. He could really make it sound weird. Of course, that’s typical Al.

Where’s he at now?

CG:

Al is working at a Wal-Mart out in California. That’s the last I heard and that comes from a pretty accurate source. Carl Abbey told me. As far as other Liberty Bell members, Richard Painter still lives here in town and he is a meat salesman for Sam King’s Meats. I don’t know if he’s a sales manager yet or not. Wayne Harrison still lives here, but he’s like the mystery man. No one knows exactly what he’s doing.

Probably still doing that damned paper route. (laughter.)

CG:

Maybe he still has that paper route. Maybe he has an expanded paper route. Ronnie Tanner, last I saw him was when I moved back to Houston for good in ’85. He was coming through town with his band. He was into Country and Western music, so that’s the last I saw of him. He was basically the same person. He still had that kind of curly hair and was still kind of the front man, big on stage gestures and kind of moving the audience, but that was Ronnie.

You know one thing that I always remember about you guys is that you were very trendy and had all the latest, mod clothes.

CG:

Oh, yeah, sure.

You guys were really stylin’ back then.

CG:

Thanks to the Mod Shop at S & Q Clothiers. (S & Q Clothiers was a fairly conservative upscale men’s shop, but they hopped on the youth craze and opened “The Mod Shop” in the back of the store. They had all the latest Carnaby gear and Beatle boots and paisley shirts, the whole nine yards. This was where all the cool cats shopped. I was always begging my Mom to let me buy my school clothes there. Sometimes she acquiesced.)

That’s what I was going to ask you because I remember, and I think it was when you were in the Liberty Bell, you guys did commercials for them.