Showing posts with label Atlantis. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Atlantis. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The Day After The Sabbath 135: Der Herrscher [Dieter Dierks part 1]

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Welcome to volume 135. This time I'm going to concentrate on a producer, and some bands that he worked with whether he was engineering, producing or both; Dieter Dierks.

Like Conny Plank, for whom I did the same thing with Vol116, Dierks eventually had world-wide commercial success but in his early days worked with some lesser-known bands. Many of them made heavy music and have already appeared in TDATS, so on this occasion I've done something a little different. There are going to be two parts, this one is made up of bands that are totally new to the blog, and the second (coming soon) will be bands that have already appeared, but songs from them that have not.

Dieter still works and runs his famous studio. An interview with him can be found here that reveals some more about him, mainly focusing on The Scorpions, who were his greatest success.


01. Curly Curve - Queen Of Spades (1973)
       from album Curly Curve
02. Lily - Doctor Martin (1973)
       from album V.C.U. (We See You)
03. Twenty Sixty Six And Then - At My Home (1972)
       from album Reflections On The Future
04. Walter Wegmüller & Cosmic Jokers - Der Herrscher (1973)
       from album Tarot
05. Demon Thor - Pink Mary (1974)
       from album Written In The Sky
06. Nektar - King Of Twilight (1972)
       from album A Tab In The Ocean
07. Chris Braun Band - The Narrator (1974)
       from album Foreign Lady
08. Wallenstein - Braintrain (1972)
       from album Mother Universe
09. Marz & Eperjessy - Thousand Smiles (1971)
       from album Marz & Eperjessy
10. Tea - Cool In The Morning (1974)
       from album Tea
11. Jerry Berkers - Gelobtes Land (1972)
       from album Unterwegs
12. Atlantis - Chartbuster (1975)
       from album Get On Board
13. Missing Link - Kids Hunting (1972)
       from album Nevergreen!
14. Sperrmüll - Pat Casey (1973)
       from album Sperrmüll
15. Hush - Schau Mir In Die Augen (1969)

Some History

Originally wanting to become a film director, Dierks (Born 'Hans-Dieter Dierks' in Stommeln, 1943) started his career as an assistant to well-known directors such as Kurt Wilhelm. Around the same time he was an actor and he played guitar and bass, starting a band called Hush in 1969. According to his website bio "He inherited his musical talent from his [Catholic] father, a conductor, violinist, sax player and composer and got his business sense from his [Jewish] mother who ran a grocery store."

Around the same time, initially equipped with two Revox amateur recording devices, he started a recording studio in the attic of his parent's house near Cologne. He rapidly found success and a great financial boost from a Europe-wide pop hit called 'Loop di Love' (a million miles away from The Scorpions!), and his studio grew in size and facilities until it included a hotel for those who came to record, write and work there. In turn, the influx of reporters, musicians and other industry types boosted the economy of the small town of Stommeln as they patronised its restaurants and bars etc.

Dierk's studio became Germany's first complete studio service, and a mecca for young musicians in the growing pop and hippie culture. "The mixture of countryside ambience and high tech studio equipment lured hosts of aspiring young talent to Stommeln which in those days was a totally unknown place...[while there they were] fed by Dieter Dierks' mother, affectionately called Mother Dierks". Dierks himself said: "The bands came to me since at the time, sound engineers in regular studios refused to record distorted guitars and other crazy stuff. I was open minded and fond of experimenting, so the young musicians and I were kindred spirits."

"I had a hit and could quite easily live from being a producer. But my family and I were always living on the edge, since I re-invested almost all the money that came in, in order to always have the latest technology and state of the art equipment." Dierks clearly apreciated the role that rapidly-advancing recording technology had in the new sounds that were being forged in those creative times, he kept his studio technology up to date, adding all the new bells and whistles as they became available. He also introduced a successful fleet of mobile studios that served Europe and filmed shows like WDR's Rock Palast, Rocknächtelike and tours of mega-artists like Michael Jackson. Popol Vuh's "Seligpreisung" LP was recorded in a church by one of these mobile setups.

Along with Conny Plank, who had a similar rise to production fame, Dierks made a significant impact in the success of Germany's music industry. In the '70s he was instrumental in the world-wide success of The Scorpions and Atlantis, supporting them in both technical and promotional needs with his facilities, expertise and label, Breeze Music. Dierks picked up The Scorpions after their second LP and starting with 1975's In Trance, produced all subsequent records up to 1988's Savage Amusement.


As well as international names like Ike & Tina Turner, Eric Burdon, War, the Boomtown Rats and Rory Gallagher, Dierks worked with a number of the famous and lesser-known 'Krautrock' names, at his studios or other locations. Sometimes he would also contribute to the playing on various instruments. These bands include Tangerine Dream, Floh De Cologne, Witthüser & Westrupp and Wallenstein.

He had a reputation not only for his technical abilities, but for getting the job done and keeping his head whilst those around him were losing theirs to the chemical assistance used in their experimental outpourings. He recorded Ash Ra Tempel's Timothy Leary collaboration, Seven Up, which according to the book "Future Days: Krautrock and the building of modern Germany", was a disappointingly lacklustre session, somewhat improved by Dierks' mixing and embellishments with studio musicians and extra sound effects after the fact.

An amusing (but mostly apocryphal) tale is that of The Cosmic Jokers supergroup, in which Dieter played guitar, keyboards, bass, and percussion, as well as recording. The story goes that the records published under this name on the Kosmische Kuriere (Cosmic Couriers) label were not authorised by the musicians that played on them, in fact they did not even know they were "The Cosmic Jokers", as the sessions were just informal jams at Dieter Dierk's studio and other locations like a farmhouse in the village of Dill, fuelled by a steady supply of drugs.

The musicians included Manuel Göttsching and Klaus Schulze of Ash Ra Tempel, Jurgen Dollase and Harald Grosskopf of Wallenstein, and Dierks. The instigator of the records was Cosmic Couriers label-owner and founder of important krautrock labels Ohr and PilzRolf-Ulrich Kaiser (an LSD-championing acolyte of Tim Leary). Legend would have it that Manuel Göttsching only found out the 'band' existed when he asked what was playing in a record shop and was presented with a Cosmic Jokers record, showing him on the cover! Again referencing "Future Days", author David Stubbs states that Göttsching has refuted this story, saying that he was correctly contracted and even received advance royalties.

References and Further Reading

Harald Grosskopf (Wallenstein, Cosmic Jokers) interview at ItsPsychedelicBaby
Danny Fichelscher (Popol Vuh, Gila) interview at ItsPsychedelicBaby
Dierks Studios website | Future Days: Krautrock (book)
Rolf-Ulrich Kaiser & Gille Lettmann: The Cosmic Couriers Story

In This Volume

Curly Curve made one album in 1973. It was recorded at Dierks' studio and he is credited as engineer. This is a good hard rock album that sounds to me more in the style of the UK and at times the US, with hints of boogie rock in tunes like Shitkicker.

Information from "The fourth version Curly Curve came together in Spring 1972 and finally the band had the success they had been striving for. Apart from Kurt Herkenberg and Hans Wallbaum, the two heads of the band, the line-up consisted of Heiner Pudelko, Alex Conti, Axel Klober and guitarist Paul Fuhrmann.  When Pudelko and Conti left the band in May (Conti went to join Atlantis, the band fronted by Hamburg-based singer Inga Rumpf), they were replaced by Martin Knaden (guitar) and Hanno Bruhn (vocals, guitar). Hanno Bruhn had been singing in various bands with the likes of Tony Sheridan and Don Adams and had won a singing contest initiated by the infamous "Star Club".  This was to become the longest-lasting Curly Curve line-up.

Curly Curve signed on to the Brain label and, produced by Frank Oeser, recorded their self-titled debut album (Brain 1040) in July 1973.  The record shows the band playing a powerful, technically perfect blues rock with definite American influences. Even the usually most critical of all critics, the reviewers of Sounds music magazine, took a liking to the straightforward boogie rock of the Berlin band.  Journalist Hermann Haring, who later on became chief editor of the magazine called Musik Express, wrote in his review: "A return to rock without any political ambitions. Curly Curve kick down the accelerator and speed off in a straightforward manner.

Curly Curve album line-up

They play a splendid kind of blues rock that for the future only needs a healthy dose of blackness for the soul."  What he meant was such vital rock songs as "Queen Of Spades", "Shitkicker" with its psychedelic elements, and the impressive opener "Hell And Booze".  Also worth a listen is the bluesy ballad "I'm Getting Better", which highlights Hanno Bruhn's smoky voice very well.  The extremely colourful cover artwork caused a lot of curiosity as well - thanks to a shining high polish packaging, it definitely was an eyecatcher.

Even though the album was released to mainly positive reviews, it would be Curly Curve's only official release ever. Even though they now had a recording contract, they did not have much luck. Following a well-attended German tour that saw them on stage with Karthago and other bands, someone broke into their rehearsal room while the band was preparing to record the second album. Not only was almost the entire band's equipment stolen, but the car as well. Following another change in the line-up (Martin Knaden was replaced by Leo Lehr), and arguments about whether the band should switch to German lyrics, the band dissolved for good."

Lily made one album in 1973. For this one, Dierks was again the engineer where it was recorded in his studio. Information from "Lily were never really "Lily" but were always Monsun (that's Monsoon in English) originating in the mid-1960's from a beat band called The Mods, going through various changes before gelling as Monsun in 1970.

Recording a demo tape in Spring 1972, they so impress Bacillus Records producer Peter Hauke that he promptly signs them up after witnessing them live at the Frankfurt Zoom Club in October. Peter books them three days at Dierks Studio in January 1973. For some reason the big wigs at Bellaphon decided they wanted to promote them as a "glitter rock" band and with a more international flower-power name, hence they became Lily, all gleefully dolling themselves up for the chintzy cover shot."

Mannheim's Twenty Sixty Six And Then are up next. Info from "They were Geff Harrison on lead vocals, Gagey Mrozeck on guitars, Dieter Bauer on bass, Konstatin Bommarius on drums and Steve Robinson with Veit Marvos both sharing duties on organ, electric piano, vibes, synthesizer, mellotron and vocals (the name '2066 & THEN' comes from adding an extra thousand to the number 1066, year of the historical battle of Hastings).

Their heavy progressive style has been compared to that of Deep Purple, Vanilla Fudge and Iron Butterfly. After releasing their first album, individual members got involved in different projects that never really stood the test of time, so 'Reflections on the Future' is their only legacy, and a fine one at that.

Their dramatic organ-drenched, complex music sometimes dons symphonic elements, but the band isn't afraid to dive into some heavy guitar/organ jamming either, featuring elements of jazz, some high-octane rhythmic parts and quick changes, mixed with weird psychedelic electronic effects - the hoarse vocals, however, perhaps better suited to conventional hard rock, may take some getting used to.

Second Battle re-released the album in 1989 under the name 'Reflections on the Past'. Considered a collectors item, it also contains unreleased masters and some bonus practice sessions from an early rehearsal session in 1991. In 1994, the cd 'Reflections!' came out, compiling tracks from both, plus some which had been considered for a second album that never materialised. A combination of poor sales and a ruined German economy at the time sadly forced the premature death of this fine German band, only months after the release of their first album.

The next track "Der Herrscher" is originally from a record that was released under the name of Walter Wegmüller, and it later appeared on compilations of the collective The Cosmic Jokers, mentioned in the introduction. The album 'Tarot' would appear to be first record released that was the result of the assembled musicians that would become known as Cosmic Jokers.

More info from "In 1972, Rolf Ulrich Kaiser of Ohr records and a group of musicians from the Berlin Underground scene (Ashra Tempel) seriously started to think about cosmic rock music to satisfy their adventurous life with appropriate sounds. The idea of "Cosmic music" was also born as a protest against UK and United States obvious influences on rock music worldwide. The aim was to create typical German "acid" rock music. To put in practice his project, Rolf Kaiser founded his own label and called it "Cosmic Couriers".

The name of "Cosmic Couriers" is an attitude of mind that emerged during the 60's. It was an idealistic movement which conceptually tries to look for ways to stay in high states of consciousness thanks to mescaline or LSD trips. The first album released under Rolf Kaiser's drug inspired philosophy was "seven up" with the guru of "acid test" Tim Leary and Ashra Tempel musicians. Soon after, the Kaiser produced two others albums with personalities from the underground psychedelic movement. There was the mystic, esoteric writer Sergius Golowin (on recitations for the cosmic/psych folk project "Lord Krishna") and the Swiss gipsy folk artist Walter Wegmuller for the project around the symbolism of "Tarot" cards.

In 1972 was released the "Tarot' album with the help of many krautrock musicians, notably Manuel Gottsching (for many guitars parts), Klaus Schulze (for electronic & effects), a few members of Wallenstein as Harald Grosskopf (on drums), Jurgen Dollase (on keyboards) and Walter Westrupp (on acoustic parts). Musically "Tarot" consists of numerous short tracks that we can described as a great synthesis of everything that emerged during the first krautrock years. Consequently the stress is put on hallucinatory, psych effects, bluesy/ trance guitar sounds, free form rock augmented with sophisticated synth sounds, acoustic folk passages with flute and guitar, pseudo-romantic piano arrangements and odd vocal recitations. Each track represents an idea developed by a "tarot" card. A fascinating travel through the subconsciousness and cosmic energies.

Here are a few lines which sum up Walter Wegmuller's Tarot mystical universe:
The travel starts with the madman. He is the beginning and the end at the same time. So you can hear how he goes through his own world. He stumbles over earthy things and material obstacles and doesn't know that it can give. The wizard opens the door himself. In triumph, he appears on the scene. Then he lets himself play during an endless eternity. In his scenic railway, he plays his own life into a brand new eternal one. He opens the door which leads to all secrets."

Demon Thor would appear to have had a combined heritage from Germany, Switzerland and the UK. English keys player Geff Harrison crops up again on this one, from Twenty Sixty Six And Then. A two-album band, this time Dieter Dierks receives a co-production credit as well as engineer on their second LP, 'Written In The Sky'.

The main ideas man of the band appears to have been Thomas 'Tommy' Fortman, a Swiss composer who has worked in Opera, rock, pop and classical. The music of Demon Thor is quite commercial but I dug the track Pink Mary and that is what's included here!

Nektar was an English prog band who were originally based in Germany. I have chosen a track from their second album "A Tab In The Ocean", which was recorded at Dierks' studio and engineered by him. Info from "Nektar is probably the most German-like of the Seventies British bands, a fame that owes a lot to the town in which this band was founded (Hamburg) and to their stylistic approach (Assimilated to Krautrock). They were formed in 1969 by Allan Freeman (keyboards & vocals), Roye Albrighton (guitars & vocals), Derek Moore (bass, Mellotron & vocals) and Ron Howden (drums).

Their earliest albums were hard rock that drew heavily from the space-rock and Pink Floyd styles of the same period. The 70's gave them the occasion to issue some masterpieces, like for example "Remember the Future" (1973) and "Recycled" (1975). Each is a conceptual album that is a nice blend of melodic guitar and keyboards with a vocal story. "Journey To The Centre Of The Eye" is a mindblowing epic with lots of echoplex guitar and dual Mellotrons which is quite in tune with the Krautrock stuff going on around them, yet is definitely British. "A Tab in the Ocean" and "Magic is a Child" had shorter songs and were less satisfying. Fortunately there is a compilation album just called Nektar (1976) which has all the best bits of the albums and is highly recommended."

The Chris Braun Band made three studio albums and a soundtrack to the movie 'Jede Menge Kohle' (imdb). Their middle LP 'Foreign Lady' was recorded, produced and mixed by Dierks. They were fairly period-typical German progressive rock with folk and wind section, and Chris Braun's charismatic vocals sung in English. More English period-typical though, like Curved Air for instance. Also I got hints of Room on their first LP but it sounds a couple years more advanced.  The track I used is from their Dierks-produced LP but I found their first one to be a better listen, so check out "Both Sides" (1972) also.

More info from "Chris Braun Band are a Krautrock group based in Dortmund, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany who disappeared from the scene after 2 album releases [to reappear with a final LP in 1983]. In 1972 "Both Sides" featured Bill Bakine on drums, percussion, Jochen Bernstein on bass, Chris Braun on lead vocals, Elmar Krohn on guitars, flute, percussion, vocals, and Horst Schreiber on guitars, percussion, and vocals.

Chris Braun Band. 'Foreign Lady' CD inlay

In 1973 the heavy rock, jazz and psych album "Foreign Lady" featured again Chris Braun on vocals, joined by Bernstein's bass, Krohn's drums, and newcomers to the group Bernd Adamkewitz on guitar, and saxophone, and Klaus Melchers on piano, moog, and mellotron. The guest musicians on the album include Linda Fields on backing vocals, choir, Peter Hast on percussion and Jiggs Wigham on trombone.

They also released two 7" singles in the seventies that have over the years become rare vinyl collector's items. Chris Braun wrote the songs, sung for the band and was founder of the group. Her gravelly voice may be compared to Inga Rumpf of Frumpy/Atlantis. Her songs are a combination of folk-rock, jazz-fusion, heavy blues and hard rock."

Wallenstein are a well-known krautrock band. They made numerous LPs with Dierks recording and/or producing almost all of them. Bassist Jerry Berkers (also of Cosmic Jokers) appears later in this volume with a solo record. More info from "Wallenstein were a band that transcended a number of musical styles during their decade-plus of existence, from early krautrock to symphonic to space rock toward the end of their existence.

The original lineup was centered around keyboardist/vocalist Jürgen Dollase and drummer Harald Großkopf, both of whom would go on to make names even bigger for themselves in the German music business (Dollase with The Cosmic Jokers and Großkopf as a founding member of Ashra and later the Central Europe Performance). The band was originally named Blitzkrieg, but as they readied their first studio release the band discovered a prior band with that name so changed theirs and retained 'Blitzkrieg' as the title of that first album.

Großkopf would leave the band following the 1975 release of "Stories, Songs & Symphonies", and was replaced by former Zoppo Trump drummer Nicky Gebhard. This began a stretch of several lineup changes in the band, including the Genhard's replacement of Charly Terstappen, who would himself move on as a member of the skirt band The Lords; the addition of Achim Reiser on violin and Dollase's brother Rolf on flute; Jürgen Pluta on bass; and Gerb Klocker on guitar.

The band's sound evolved from a straightforward kraut sound into a harder style reminiscent of Amon Düül II or Can, heavier on screaming guitar and piano with only sporadic mellotron for accent, and with the addition of violin and flute the band would adapt a truly symphonic sound for their later releases. By the close of the seventies only Jürgen Dollase remained from the original lineup, and the band faded into oblivion following the 1981 release of "Ssssssstop!".

Marz & Eperjessy was the duo of Rainer Marz and George Eperjessy. Guitarist Marz is well-known as part of many bands including Epsilon, Midnight Circus, the excellent Jeronimo, and Atlantis (appearing later in the volume).

Eperjessy came to Germany from the Czechoslovakian pop band The Beatman. How he came to work with Marz is not immediately clear to me but you can read more about him at what appears to be his website here.

The Marz & Eperjessy LP was recorded and engineered by Dierks at his studio and there is little more to find regarding it as-yet, in fact I have only been able to find one song from it, 'Thousand Smiles' is included here and is thankfully very good!

In tenth place on this volume is the Swiss band Tea. When doing the Swiss volume 83 (link) I decided not to include them, but on checking them out again for this, it seems that was a bit of an oversight as they do have some sterling music to offer.

It would appear that Dierks was closely allied to the band, as its engineer and producer. Also appearing as backing singers for Tea was a Chilean pop band called Santiago, who Dierks produced for the BASF label (even the omni-present Rainer Marz showed up playing guitar on Santiago LPs).

More info from "Tea is a heavy progressive rock band formed in 1971 in Switzerland. The founding members were drummer Roli Eggli, guitarist Armand Volker, and bassist and vocalist Turo Pashayan. The band's name is derived from these three member's first initials. In 1972, the band augmented their lineup with lead singer Mark Storace. The band heavily toured in Switzerland and France, earning a name for themselves before they had even released any material, which led to them landing a spot on television, unheard of for many bands in their day, in 1973. In 1974, the band finally began to release music, beginning with a few singles that led up to, although they were not included on, the band's debut self-titled album in 1974. After the album's release, they even toured with international superstars Queen as the band's "special guests".

1975 saw the band's second album, "The Ship," The album protracted a similar positive buzz as the first album, with many positive reviews published about the album. The band again toured across Europe. In 1976 the band released their third album, "Tax Exile." Yet another European tour commenced, which even included singer Storace's native Malta. Although the band had enjoyed great success up to that point, Tea played their last concert in 1977.

In 2007 however, Eggli, Volker, and Storace began thinking about a reunion. The band began rehearsing as a trio, as Keinholz declined to be included in the band and Pashayan was discovered to be in a German prison due to fraud charges. 30 years after the band dissolved, they released their fourth album "Reloaded," which was a retrospective album that included lesser known works & non-album tracks. The band began to play shows again in December of 2009."

Jerry Berkers was born in the Netherlands. Here's some info from again: "He is best remembered for his work with Wallenstein ('Blitzkrieg' and 'Mother Universe' LPs) as well as his appearance on two of the Kosmische Kuriere LPs ('Lord Krishna Von Goloka' and 'Tarot').

He only made one album in solo called "Unterwegs" (1972). The content mostly acoustic instruments and percussions with subtle keyboards parts. For the occasion, Berkers invited many of his friends and musicians with whom he had participated to several works for the Pilz / Kosmische Kurrier labels (Jurgen Dollase, Witthuser & Westrupp.). The compositions are melodic, pop, moody with a few complex progressive sounds put into structured short songs. The album was dedicated against the war in Vietnam (as suggest the lyrics.)"

Atlantis was one of Dieter Dierks' most successful bands to work with. They made a variety of music and I found my favorite LP to be the fourth, "Get On Board", which Dierks engineered and produced.

More info found at "Atlantis was a band formed by ex-Frumpy musicians Inga Rumpf, Jean-Jacques Kravetz and Karl-Heinz Schott, in late Summer, 1972. The initial line-up included guitarist Frank Dietz and ex-Emergency drummer Curt Cress (later with Triumvirat, Passport).

The band played a few live gigs in Germany before they recorded their debut in London's Island Studios. The US magazine, Cash Box, compared Atlantis with the Doobie Brothers and praised Inga Rumpf's blues-tinged voice. Shortly before the group went on a four week tour of England with Procol Harum, Traffic, Vinegar Joe and the Sharks, Cress and Dietz left and were temporarily supplanted by Udo Lindenberg and George Meier. After the tour, Atlantis recruited Dieter Bornschlegel (ex-Traumtorte) on guitar and Ringo Funk (ex-Jeronimo) on drums as new permanent members.

Rumpf and Kravetz remained the artistical nucleus of the band. Said Kravetz: "Inga determines this band like Rod Stewart & the Faces, her voice makes our image." Atlantis' second album "It's Getting Better" was even more determined by Inga Rumpf's preference for black rhythms: "I always took a special liking in blues, jazz and soul music, and, since I'm writing most of the songs, this influence is decisive in our music."  Melody Maker "recommended" the second album and Sounds attested the band to be "the most English of all German groups".

Inga Rumpf
After the gig at the Paris' Olympia, Atlantis went, again, on a four week tour of England, which included a performance at the rock show, "Old Grey Whistle Test". During this tour, Kravetz left the band and had to be hastily replaced by Rainer Schnelle (ex-Family Tree). At the end of 1973, Atlantis was among Germany's three most popular German rock groups, according to a Musikmarkt poll. Half a year later, the line-up changed again. Schnelle and Bomschlegel were replaced by English keyboarder Adrian Askew and ex-Curly Curve guitarist Alex Conti.

Both were featured on the third LP "Ooh Baby". Seven of the ten songs were written by Askew/Conti, while Rumpf only had three of her compositions on the album.  The result was a "spicy funk album" (Musik Express) with a "bunch of Germany's best soul" (Sounds). Atlantis was at its best on stage, which was proved by a double album recorded live at the Hamburg Fabrik from 1973 - 1975. In Summer 1975, Atlantis went on tour in the States, mostly as opener for Lynyrd Skynyrd. After the tour, guitarist Alex Conti was fired and went on to play with Lake. The new line-up was completed with former guitarist Frank Dietz and as second guitarist Rainer Marz.

The rockier American influence was noticeable on Atlantis's fourth LP "Get On Board", but the LP and the following tour failed to have commercial success. Consequently, Inga Rumpf and Karl-Heinz Schott announced their departure in January 1976. After the split, the album "Top Of The Bill" with unreleased studio recordings from December 1975 and March 1976 was released. On February 23, 1983, the original line-up reunited for a revival concert in the Hamburg Fabrik and received standing ovations."

Missing Link's only LP 'Nevergreen!' was recorded and engineered by Dierks' at his studio. This is a jazzy prog LP which is mostly instrumental. It covers a lot of ground with various instrumentation and the track 'Kids Hunter', chosen here, is a great hard rocker using blazing guitar over hammond and wind section to great effect!

More information thanks to "This early 70's jazz-rock band from Munich has had a rather short career; in fact, it lasted the space of an album called "Nevergreen", released in 1972. Then the band broke up, most of their members scatttering about in various directions. They consisted of guitarist Markus Sing, soprano and alto sax player Gunther Latuschik, bassist Dave Schratzenstaller, vocalist Gabriel Dominik Mueller, future Sahara drummer Holger Brandt, and keyboard player Dieter Miekautsch who would later join Missus Beastlt and then Embryo.

They played typical 70's German progressive jazz rock in the style of Thirsty Moon, early Embryo and Kraan. Almost each of their album's seven tracks seems to explore a different genre, at times centering around some jazzy sax riffs, at times surprising the listener with a quiet piano solo; or else venturing into loud, heavy rock outbursts mixed with acoustic guitar. The overall feel is quite jazzy and what stands out most is the interplay between guitar, sax and keyboards. Should appeal to fans of Embryo and Thirsty Moon as well as to some Ardo Dombec and Xhol fans."

We near the end with Sperrmüll. Their album was recorded at Dierks' studio. Thanks to Discogs and ProgArchives for the info here: "Originating from various beat bands in the Aachen area of Germany, Sperrmüll were formed in early-1971 as the trio of: Harald Kaiser, Reinhold Breuer and Udo Hager, expanding to a quintet with the addition of keyboards and winds shortly after.

A long-time lost krautrock classic delivering a dynamic, complex combination between fuzzy freak out improvisations (full of Hammond organs and catchy heavy guitar leads) & epic folk arrangements for the flute. They published only one album in 1970 in a rather anonymous way at Dierks' studio (for the Brain label in a very limited edition, lately re-published by Second Battle). A very accomplished record. Similar to early Deep Purple, Nosferatu and Rufus Zuphall."

And finally we have a track recorded by the band Hush, which as mentioned in the intro, was Dierks' band that he started in the late '60s and made one single with. The A-side was a cover of The Beatles' Oh Darling, but the B-side was more interesting as an original composition of Dierks' own writing.

It's not a heavy track but it's a fun way to round-off this volume. I hope you've enjoyed hearing a set of music that's all totally new to the blog, as much as I have enjoyed compiling it. As mentioned at the beginning, coming in the near future will be another set of Dierks' "works" from bands that have already appeared in the blog, that one promises to be a heavier collection than this one...

Thanks for listening!

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Monday, March 24, 2014

The Day After The Sabbath 100: Reel Ravers (at the movies)

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Welcome to the big 100! Here we have a comp of songs that appear in movies. There'll be more movie-related TDATS later with different themes, as it's a subject that interests me a lot and i've been on the look out for a long time now. You may think rock in the movies is not unusual or hard to come by, but in these examples the bands and the songs are lesser-known, good, heavy, and being seen played in the movie. Finding all these together is a harder task than I realised it would be when I started! A big thanks must go to the people who helped with some of the much-needed nuggets of information at the TDATS fb group, along with the amazing cameo lists at

Most of the films here are generally thought of as "exploitation movies"; movies that exploit a certain fad of the times, either in movie-making in general or else in popular culture at large. One example of a genre that you may think is a good source is the (road) rash of biker flicks that were popular for a few years from the late sixties onward. I certainly did find a good amount which had some great soundtrack music, but no examples where bands appear in person. I decided biker movies deserve their own volume later.

Soon after I first posted this, somebody made this comment. "It would be interesting to see not the songs in the movies, but the way Hollywood in general portrays "hard rockers". because it's cringing to watch. According to Hollywood, long-haired rockers are really the filth of the earth. dumber than poles, nasty and crazy.. Sad, really....stereotypes galore, "hairy biker rocker type" has become the villain everyone loves to hate."

My response was: "I agree, that is a subject that deserves a lot more attention.....there's a whole book right here. Most movies aimed at a general audience are about stereotypes though, what ever the subject. Exploitation movies especially, by definition. All the biker movies that had cool music and evil raping/murdering bikers - playing on the fact that rock did, and still does to some degree, play up to and thrive on the bad boy image."

Where possible I used tracks taken from the band's album or the movie's soundtrack LP. In the cases of Mystic, Luke Zane, The Bored, Atlantis, Forever More and Juicy Lucy, I extracted the audio from the best quality source (that I could get my hands on) of the movies themselves. "The Bored" suffers more than the rest from the fact that the sound quality of the movie itself was never good, and the only versions available at the moment are VHS bootlegs.

01. Mystic - The Mark Of Death (1973)
from "Horror Hospital"
02. Magic - Sorcerer's Advice (1978)
from "Trick Rock 'n Roll"
03. The Standells - Riot On Sunset Strip (1967)
from "Riot On Sunset Strip" and album "Try It"
04. Luke Zane - Liar (1970)
from "Ich - Ein Groupie"
05. The Bored - Night of Bloody Horror (1969)
from "Night Of Bloody Horror"
06. The Mops - Goiken Muyo (Ilja Naika) (1971)
from "Stray Cat Rock: Wild Measures'71" and Mops album "Iijanaika"
07. Atlantis - Maybe Someday (1978)
from "The Alien Factor" and 45rpm single
08. James Gang - Country Fever (1969)
from "Zachariah"
09. David Lucas & Michael Greer - Water (1970)
from "The Secret Garden Of Stanley Sweetheart"
10. Forever More - 8 O'Clock & All's Well (1970)
from "Permissive" and album "Yours"
11. The Pretty Things - Blow Your Mind (1969)
from "What's Good For The Goose" and album "“Even More Electric Banana”
12. Michel Pagliaro - J'ai Marché Pour Une Nation (1970)
from "Finalement" and single
13. Freedom - Born Again (1969)
from "Nerosubianco" (aka Attraction)
14. Juicy Lucy - Slow Down (1971)
from "Bread"
15. Moby Grape - Never Again (1969)
from "The Sweet Ride" 

Psych-Out poster
Psych-Out poster
One of the things that makes these appearances interesting is the way they show how rock music was regarded in mainstream consciousness, or at least in that of the movie industry. The movie has been used as a vehicle for big acts from the beginning; Elvis, The Beatles, The Monkeys etc, that's common knowledge, but the counter-culture revolution of the sixties was the time for smaller bands in movies. Beat groups in light mid-'60s teen movies were a common sight, and psych bands in serious movies about the revolution like Medium Cool were too.

Often you'll see what Hollywood's idea of a psychedelic rave is; lots of naked, body-painted go-go dancers, mop-haired revellers manically thrashing their limbs around, monged-out hippies smoking joints on the periphery and bands bathed in liquid light shows trying their best to mime to a backing track and look like they're getting into it. A pair of psychedelic exploitation movies are prime examples; The Trip (1967) and Psych-Out (1968), which are available on a double-bill DVD. The Trip was written by Jack Nicholson and starred Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper, pre-dating the trio's work in Easy Rider by a year or so. Psych-Out starred Jack Nicholson (who was also in a few low-rent biker flicks at the time, as was Bruce Dern who was also in The Trip).

The Trip poster
Both these films had psychedelic music sequences in Sunset Strip clubs. Psych-Out boasts the amusing sight of Jack Nicholson fronting fictitious band "Mumblin' Jim", miming guitar to a Purple Haze-inspired riff which was in reality recorded by Colorado band "The Boenzee Cryque". In The Trip, Gram Parsons' country rockers "International Submarine Band" were filmed in a club, but their performance was dubbed over with The Electric Flag's "Fine Jung Thing", a band which was commissioned to make the soundtrack in replacement of original contender International Submarine Band. The resulting LP was Electric Flag's first full album.

How was hard rock and heavy prog/psych represented? It came about in the lower-budget, underground movies of less mainstream appeal. Very few world-renowned heavy bands were in films in the '60s and '70s, but a young Yardbirds appeared in Michelangelo Antonioni's "Blow-Up". As hard rock's popularity increased in the '70s, random band appearances became even less frequent, reflected by the lack of mid-late '70s songs in this volume.

Slade In Flame poster
Slade In Flame poster
There were a few movies made specifically about music and successful bands, in documentary format or mock-band stories for example. Some well-known examples are The Who in Tommy and "Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park", but these are not TDATS territory.

A good one to check out is Slade's "In Flame" which gives an uncompromisingly honest view of the rock'n roll industry and provided more than a few queues for This Is Spinal Tap. Another is "200 Motels", which was a surreal story that revolved around Frank Zappa's band. I have avoided those and stuck mostly to movies that had character-driven plots, in which the bands are lesser-known and appear in a few scenes, like Moby Grape in "The Sweet Ride" and The Bored in "Night Of Bloody Horror", or had more central roles as characters in the plot like Forever More in Lindsey Shonteff's "Permissive" and Sorcery in Brian Trenchard-Smith's "Stunt Rock". There are a few examples here of music that was performed by musicians that did not make up an existing band but were brought together for the sake of the film, like Mystic in "Horror Hospital" and the band in "The Magic Garden of Stanley Sweetheart".

The Litter in Medium Cool
The Litter in Medium Cool
An interesting side story, and one which exemplifies the industry's sometimes fickle treatment of the rock bands themselves, is Haskell Wexler's Medium Cool. Excellent heavy psych band The Litter performed a full set for a club scene, only to have music from Frank Zappa's debut dubbed over the top in the finished movie. I contacted The Litter singer Zippy Caplan and unfortunately he cannot remember or recognise which song they were actually playing in the scene. There is a live Litter EP floating around on various archival releases which is all the tracks they recorded during the shoot. I had an idea to dub it back over the footage but I was unable to visually match any of the songs up as the flashes of the band are too brief . So it seems we'll never know now.

Horror Hospital poster
Horror Hospital poster
So let's get down to (movie) business, and track 1 of this volume. Horror Hospital is an English movie made in 1973. It was directed by Antony Balch, who is most well-known for this movie and some collaborative work with William S. Burroughs, with whom he always dreamed of bringing “The Naked Lunch” to the screen, but never did. The lead role is played by Robin Askwith, who is most famous for the “Confessions” series of sex comedies, and he still has roles in UK TV shows now. In the movie a disgruntled song writer goes for a break with a hippie-themed travel company “Hairy Holidays” and finds out the true intentions of the mad doctor who uses it to lure young people for his ominous uses…

The band shown in the film, which you can hear our protagonist Jason complaining about for using a song of his without credit, is rumoured to be three guys from UK pop/psych group Tangerine Peel: Warwick Rose (Bass),  James Gaynor (Guitar) and John Warwick (Drums). The song 'Mark of Death' was written by Warwick Rose under the pseudonym “Jason deHavilland”.

I found an unsubstantiated claim on an internet forum that The Mark Of Death was released on a single b-side under a different band/song name, but haven’t been able to establish the truth of this yet. Some cursory searching revealed that Warwick Rose was involved in a number of acts after Tangerine Peel, like Ro Ro and Warwick, in which Alan Ross (Ex-Tangerine Peel) had some involvement also.  Alan Ross had a complex post-Tangerine Peel career too, but I have not found any clues as to whether the postulated b-side was on any Rose, Warrick or Ross related singles…

Stunt Rock poster
Stunt Rock poster
In 1978 English/Australian director Brian Trenchard-Smith had the idea to sell a movie using the appeal of death-defying stunts mixed with rock music. He already had experience of making stunt documentaries, and chose Australian stunt man Grant Page as the star, who he’d worked with before. He travelled to the US and found a band. Almost recruiting Foreigner, he eventually made a deal with Los Angeles hard-rockers Sorcery, who had already developed a bombastic stage show of their own involving demons and wizards, and had been supported by the then up-coming band Van Halen.

Sorcery was made up mostly of musicians that had connections with show business and also did session/jingle work, although they were a bona-fide band, headlining their own shows. Lead guitarist/keyboardist and main song writer Richard Taylor had also played with Legs Diamond (see Vol29) Their stage show incorporated battles between costumed wizards which were complemented by extravagant stage effects and set-pieces. The movie has a thin plot which is used to hold together what is effectively a feature-length montage of quality hard rock, amusing stage antics and heroic old-school stunts. Something to get the Beavis and Buttheads in us all whooping with pleasure!

Sorcery’s efforts were cut on two LPs during their existence, which ended in 1987: Stunt Rock, and the soundtrack to 1984 slasher movie “Rocktober Blood”. The latter was a far inferior effort which apparently only had three proper Sorcery-written tracks, none of which were quite up to the standard of Stunt Rock. The quality of Stunt Rock’s music proved they had potential, and one wonders where they could have gone if they had wanted to escape the shady world of soundtrack work and become a proper signed band. There is an ancient official website here on which some DVDs and CDs of Sorcery rarities were available but it has not been updated for years.

Riot On Sunset Strip poster
Riot On Sunset Strip poster
1967’s “Riot On Sunset Strip” is one of the first and defining counter-culture exploitation movies. It was rushed for release within 6 weeks of the Sunset Strip curfew riots which occurred in late 1966. Club-going revellers who were frequenting the strip in larger and larger numbers were getting the goat of local residents and businesses by amassing on the side-walks, making noise and holding up traffic. Police were patrolling the area in larger numbers as a result, and inevitably friction occurred between the opposing sides.

It came to a head one night during a protest against the authorities’ plans to control the situation by forcing closure of one of the central coffee houses, Pandora’s Box. Revived from years past, the kids had been subjected to an archaic curfew law banning under-18s from the main drag after 10pm, and a rally about all these things was arranged for November 12 1966. Over 1000 young people attended the march and the strip ground to a standstill amid sign-waving and verbal protests. It’s suggested that the violence started after a car full of off-duty marines didn't take kindly to being held up and started throwing punches. It ended with a city bus being ransacked, rocks and missiles thrown at the police and multiple arrests. One of the detained was Henry Fonda, and Jack Nicholson was another attending representative of the Hollywood set.

The Standells and The Chocolate Watchband are two bands that performed as themselves in Riot On Sunset Strip, and the title track for the movie by The Standells is what I have included here. It’s one of the seminal garage punk songs, with the spirit of punk in every part of it, from the simple but unforgettable riff to the snotty, chanted vocals.  There are two interviews here at the great Psychedelic Baby webzine that have some comments about making the movie from members of both The Standells and The Chocolate Watchband.

Ich - Ein Groupie DVD cover
Ich - Ein Groupie DVD cover
Moving across the pond to Europe now, we have an exploitation movie called "Ich - Ein Groupie". This time it comes from the perspective of a female rock groupie, played by German actress/comedienne Ingrid Steeger. Her character travels around Europe on the trail of English band Luke Zane, because she believes she has fallen in love with the singer, Stewart West. On the way she descends into the usual excesses of drugs, lustful desires of rock musicians, devil worship and Swiss biker gangs.

Ingrid Steeger became a household name in the mid '70s due to her success in German TV comedies, the first one being a sketch show called Klimbim (Trans: Odds & Ends). Soon after, her past activities in naturist magazine photo shoots and cheap pornographic 8mm movies, as well as more professional soft material like "Ich - Ein Groupie", was revealed when distributors attempted to cash in on her fame by releasing them anew. She successfully took legal action to block them, and the public didn't take offence to her past. Her third TV series with director Michael Pfleghar (with whom it was later revealed she'd had an affair while married to a cameraman) flopped and her career nosedived. She remained well known but in parody. Her notoriety became the tabloid press kind, with stories of career failures and relationship strife, punctuated with occasional appearances in TV and theatre. After reaching a very low point in the last decade, in which she was living off unemployment benefits, the story has brightened and she has regained some professional acceptance and success in the theatre.

This movie is a bit of goldmine, as it has no less than three early and obscure hard rock bands playing in it (plus other genuine acts playing other styles), two of which have appeared in TDATS comps already; Birth Control and Murphy Blend. I chose to use the band who appear in the opening scene, credited as "Luke Zane". This is the band who's singer Ingrid's character falls for, and they play a bluesy hard rock song which I guess is called "Liar" as this is the main lyric. I attempted to find out if "Luke Zane" has any connection to real bands, but drew a blank, until..... After reading this article, front man Stuart West got touch, and had this to say: "Luke Zane was a strange band who sounded a lot better than we did in that film. Liar and Blues Train( which you can barely hear in the orgy scene in the film) where the only two tracks ever recorded. There where clashes of musical direction, I wanted to record some songs I had written, bluesy and prog rocky stuff, two of the band said it was not cool to record, so it never happened. I left the band in 72 and played with various bands. Luke Zane split up in 73.

The members where Steve Brown(guitar) Mick Melia(drums- good guy!) Steve Lynch(bass and dope!!) and myself vocals and sometimes bass/guitar. A good band when initially formed with Kevin Gorrin(drums- later to Magnum) Tiny Duncan( bass-later to many goodbands) found it difficult to get gigs due us not being "commercial" enough. We carried on doing bluesy, progy stuff and finally got a good following on Uni scene, blues clubs etc. Clem Clemson got us to play in Switzerland, which was a good move for us resulting in the film and gigs through out Europe. The name? Means nothing really. We where struggling for a name and I think Tiny was reading a Zane Grey novel and came up with Luke Zane."

 Birth Control (see Vol3 & Vol73) plays "No Drugs" from their debut LP and Murphy Blend (See Vol73) have an unidentified jam in an Amsterdam club.

From one of the worst films included in this comp comes a very obscure nugget of heavy psych, but luckily the movie is of the “So bad it’s Good” variety. The Bored play for a full 4 and a half minutes in the club scene in 1969's “Night Of Bloody Horror”, during which the anti-hero of the movie hilariously gets beaten up on the dance floor without anyone noticing. The film was an ultra-low budget slasher and the plot is an unashamed “Is he/Isn't he the killer?” Psycho rip-off about a guy who suffers from blinding blackout head-aches and an oppressive, controlling mother. The lead role of Wesley is played by Gerald McRaney, who may be known to US TV viewers as Maj. John D. 'Mac' McGillis in early-'90s TV series "Major Dad".

Night of Bloody Horror poster
Night of Bloody Horror poster
The scene in which we are interested is where our protagonist is sitting in a bar. As usually happens in these movies, luckily for us, the camera turns to a rock band for a few minutes which has absolutely nothing to do with the plot. In this case we can see the band’s kick drum inscribed with the name “The Bored”, and they churn out a heavy dose of swampy-riffed, rhythmic psych, howled vocals and swirling keys. Unfortunately the sound quality of this movie is terrible, with ancient VHS reproductions being the only versions available at the moment on DVD, but maybe that suits the band fine in this case as the sludgy sound gives it an almost modern edge, boy I’d sure have liked to see this band live back in the day. If what we see here can be relied on, I think they could have held their own in a stoner-rock gig even now.

Nothing is known or documented about this gone-for-ever band, except for a few comments that I found on a forum which I hope are all true. Apparently the members were Jay Wilson (on bass), Toad, BJ and Bobby. They came from New Orleans where they used to get together in a bar called The Gunga Den, and at some point they supported Vanilla Fudge. Much later on Jay W. emigrated to Australia. Let’s hope something else comes up and I’ll certainly be doing my best to get some more facts. I found a long-defunct web page, started by Jay in Grafton NSW, but I have been unable to get any further:

For track 6 we move onto a Japanese movie. It is part of the “Stray Cat Rock” series, which was a set of 5 films made between 1970 and ’71. As many of the movies in this comp, they were exploitation movies, but their country of origin gives them a very different feel. Something that stands out is the style and quality of their execution. Urban Japan of the early seventies, in the cool hues that these films use, looks sleek and modern, even by today’s standards. Of course, the stories themselves were just as silly and nonsensical as most exploitation movies.

Wild Measures '71 cast
Wild Measures '71 cast
“Pinky Violence”  is a term used to describe the genre that these movies are associated with, which has been defined elsewhere as “sexed up, bad girl action films by the Toei studios.” It is true that all the Stray Cat Rock movies have strong female leads. The first in the series, “Delinquent Girl Boss”, is about an all-girl biker gang. The combination of director Toshiya Fujita and actress Meiko Kaji would go on to greater cult-acclaim with 1973's "Lady Snowblood", which is cited as a major influence on Quentin Tarantino's "Kill Bill".

Through most of the films there are appearances by real Japanese music acts of the day, which are generally not of much interest to TDATS, with one exception being a band called The Mops. The clip I have used is from the final instalment of the series, “Wild Measures '71” ( also known as “Crazy Rider '71”, “Beat '71” or “Bôsô shudan '71”)  and at one point The Mops appear randomly on the back of a flat-bed truck, seemingly in the middle of a tense part of the plot involving a sniper and organised criminals. They play their hilariously quirky piece, and drive off again just as quickly as they appeared while an amused group of on-lookers wave them off, and the bemused criminals scratch their heads, crazy! The song is great fun while still being pretty heavy, and can be found on The Mops' third album “Iijanaika” (1971).

The Alien Factor VHS cover
The Alien Factor VHS cover
I thank fellow rock obscurity enthusiast Adam Kriney, drummer in The Golden Grass, for the next piece of low-budget fun. In a great example of how these things can turn up in the least-expected places, a Maryland band called Atlantis appears in a Baltimore bar scene in monster slasher movie “The Alien Factor” (1978) and plays an entire song. Now it seems to me there’s a few reasons why directors may choose to do this. Is it a good way to pad out a few minutes of reel for the easy amusement of drive-in crowds? I’m sure it is. If you can’t afford to catch the zeitgeist with a popular band, why not use one that’s willing to offer it’s services for free in return for a little celluloid immortality.

Here’s some more info on Altantis that I patched together from a few internet sources: “The Who-like ‘Maybe Someday’ is a little-known garage single from a Baltimore band later known as The Lon Talbot Group.

Atlantis "Maybe Someday" 45
It appeared in the Don Dohler, sci-fi/horror flick The Alien Factor. The flipside ‘Moby Shark’ is a novelty fuzztone garage tune with wild stereo effects with lyrics that parody the ‘Jaws’ movies of this era. Singer/Songwriter Lon Talbot (David Aquino) recorded and gigged through the 70's as Atlantis, with various line-ups. They usually performed as a power trio, playing both original music and covers of the early British Invasion/Mod bands like The Who, The Kinks, The Yardbirds and Manfred Mann.

The single was released around the same time as the film, receiving some college radio airplay, especially on Towson State University's WCVT. In the early 80's the band became ‘The Lon Talbot group’, and played in Baltimore's early new wave scene in clubs like The Marble Bar and No Fish Today.”

Zachariah poster
Zachariah poster
The James Gang wrote two songs for 1971’s ‘Electric Western’ Zachariah, and they appear in the movie playing both. The one I have chosen here is ‘Country Fever’. It’s a fantastic hard rocker. In my opinion easily one of the best that The James Gang ever made. Neither of the songs appear on a James Gang album, but both are on the soundtrack LP and Country Fever was included on a best-of collection. ‘Laguna Salada’ is played by the band in the opening scene, and it certainly has a Wild West feel. The image of the band rocking out in the desert while our hero Zachariah (actor John Rubenstein) practices his gun-slinging is a striking and memorable one.

A couple of other interesting musical footnotes in this movie is the appearance of jazz drummer Elvin Jones and film composer Michael Kamen when he was a member "The New York Rock n Roll Ensemble". The whole band play in a bizarre scene where Zachariah beds a girl while surrounded by the naked band as they play. In fact the whole film is quite bizarre, one of those ones where you definitely won't get very far if you wonder what's going on or why any of it is happening, you just have to go with it. The other lead role in Zachariah is played by Don Johnson of Miami Vice fame. A few of his early roles were in exploitation movies, including “A Boy And His Dog” which was a great post-apocalyptic sci-fi that I've have liked for a long time. More on Don Johnson for the next track…

The Magic Garden of Stanely Sweetheart poster
The Magic Garden of
Stanely Sweetheart poster
His first big screen role was in “The Magic Garden of Stanley Sweetheart“, a counter-culture exposé which had some cool music scenes in it. Andy Warhol himself referred to the film as "the quintessential, most truthful studio-made film about the '60s counterculture". The song I have used is from a drugged-out party scene about half-way through the movie. It shows a band playing a groovy psychedelic song called "Water", with one of the story’s characters singing in the anonymous band. From what I can gather this song was written by composer David Lucas and sung by actor/comedian Michael Greer who played the character of Danny.

Michael is remembered as being one of the first openly-gay actors in Hollywood (although not part of his character in this movie) and his great acting skills were limited to obscure movie roles as a result. He was apparently a talented singer/keyboard player too. The soundtrack LP for this movie had some other interesting tracks on it, including Crow (see Vol60)  and “Eric Burdon & War”. This movie was recommended to me by Johnny of The Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell, thanks man!

Permissive poster
Permissive poster
Next up is a Scottish band that has appeared in TDATS before, Forever More (see Vol25). After two albums they would morph into The Average White Band, but before that they played the role of the band at the center of 1970’s groupie exploitation film "Permissive". This movie is a desolate account of the relationships and dramas of the groupie girls that cling on to a travelling rock band. The sometimes graphic scenes are at times on the verge of soft core pornography but the real theme of the film is the hopeless and pathetic life of the girls that choose the life of groupies, competing for the affections of their favourite band members, while being taken advantage of by others in the business.

The song I used is “8 O'Clock & All's Well”. This was a track on Forever More’s first album, 1970’s “Yours”, but I chose to lift the audio out of the movie as they recorded a version for it which is faster and harder than the LP.

What’s Good For The Goose poster
What’s Good For The Goose poster
UK band The Pretty Things, who developed from a mod/r&B group into a psychedelic rock band, played a couple of songs in a club rave-up scene the UK sex comedy “What’s Good For The Goose”. The movie starred famous English slapstick actor Norman Wisdom, whose popularity was well-past its peak by the time it was made in 1969, in fact it was his last ever big screen role. It’s an awkward but endearing attempt to mix Wisdom slapstick, carry-on style sex farce, teen counter-culture and midlife crisis apologia.

The Pretty Things show up a few times, at the center of the hippie mob who descend on seaside town Southport at the same time that Norman Wisdom is driving there for a business conference. On the way he is cajoled into picking up a couple of free-spirited hitch-hiking girls, who are young enough to be his daughters. They show him a few things which disrupt his stayed life as a typical 2.4 children commuter dad.

The Pretty Things had a secret life as “The Electric Banana”, which was the name they used to record a number of library music records for De Wolfe Music, a company that syndicated recordings worldwide for commercial use in film, television and radio. Some say this was a purely money making exercise to help subsidise their ailing career and lessening record sales. The music appearing in What’s Good For The Goose was on the third of five E.B. records, “Even More Electric Banana”. Julian Cope wrote an extensive review of the album on his web site here.

Finalement soundtrack LP
Finalement soundtrack LP
Singer/guitarist Michel Pagliaro was the first Canadian artist to score top 40 hits on both the anglophone and francophone pop charts in Canada. He appeared in the movie “Finalement...”, in a dance club scene playing the song “J'ai Marche Pour Une Nation” (I Walk For A Nation). This was originally a single of his in 1969. The movie appears to have been a fairly unremarkable romantic comedy (I may be wrong as I haven’t been able to see the whole thing, and it’s in French), but the song is an excellent slice of catchy pop rock with a wicked hard rocking riff. Michel was also in Montreal bands Les Rockers, Les Chanceliers and Ouba. There’s lots of commentary on this hard-to-find film here, in French.

Nerosubianco (aka ‘Attraction’ worldwide), is an avant-garde film from experimental Italian director Tinto Brass. It was filmed in London and Tinto commissioned an English band to make the soundtrack. He chose Freedom, which had connections to a few other notable bands, Clark Hutchinson by bassist Walt Monagan (see Vol74), and Procul Harum by singer Bobby Harrison (see Vol57). Bobby Harrison (who had a later solo album that I intend to use in later vols) and early Freedom member Ray Royer had both been in the original incarnation of Procol Harum for their début 'Whiter Shade Of Pale', but were ejected soon after for Robin Trower and Barry Wilson.

What became Freedom’s first album, Nerosubianco (Black on White), was the soundtrack. I have chosen a track called Born Again. The band appeared playing it in the movie, one minute on an open top bus driving through London, then on a horse and cart. This song carries on into a surreal scene of scientists studying sexual activity. It’s a great psych track which verges on hard rock towards the end, and Freedom changed drastically on their second album to go in the direction of heavy blues rock.

Bread press book
Bread press book
Juicy Lucy was a short-lived commercial blues band that counted Mick Moody in its ranks, later of Whitesnake and other acts. The band was started by The Misunderstood (See Vol62) members Ray Owen, Glenn Ross Campbell (Steel guitar) and Chris Mercer (saxophone). 

They appeared in a movie called Bread, playing at an outdoor gig. The movie was recently restored and re-issued by the BFI as a special feature with “Permissive”, mentioned previously with Forever More. Paul Williams puts on a great vocal performance, he was the second singer for the band after Ray Owen left for a solo career. Two bands play for the home-made festival at the end of the film, Crazy Mable, and Juicy Lucy, who got involved through screen writer Suzanne Mercer’s marriage to Chris Mercer, the band’s sax player. A band called The Web also played, but did not make it into the cut of the movie that is now available.

Here is a minor adaptation of the BFI’s comments on the movie: “Five hippies pitch their tent in the grounds of a young aristocrat's estate. They end-up there unwittingly, thinking it’s a suitable camping spot for an over-night stay while hitch-hiking home from the Isle of Wight festival. During the festival they were upset by the profiteering surrounding it and their minds are on ways to make money from a similar endeavour but in a more hippie-friendly way. The aristocrat befriends the group and accepts their offer to paint his house while he is away. The group decides to use the grounds to stage a pop festival.

An unusual mixture of pop festival documentary and saucy teen comedy, Bread was exploitation filmmaker Stanley A. Long's second attempt at what he called a "counter culture gimmick movie". His first, Groupie Girl (1970), produced by Long, was based upon the real-life exploits of the film's co-writer, Suzanne Mercer. Her encounters with rock musicians, as salaciously filtered through the distinctively seedy vision of director Derek Ford, had given Groupie Girl the grimy ring of truth, and the film made a lot of money. Unfortunately, despite its title - contemporary slang for cash - the more light-hearted Bread did not.

Groupie Girl (aka I Am a Groupie) poster
Groupie Girl poster
(aka "I Am a Groupie")
I considered the movie Groupie Girl for this comp, and there was a soundtrack LP made. It contains music from real bands Opal Butterfly, English Rose and Virgin Stigma. The history of Opal Butterfly recounts that Lemmy of Motörhead was a member for a short time in his pre-HawkVVind days, as mentioned in his autobiography "White Line Fever", but this was before the movie. Opal Butterfly did not appear in the film, they just provided the theme tune and background tunes, although singer Ray Majors did have a cameo. After a bit of searching it seems that Virgin Stigma were made up for the movie. They were part of the plot and appeared playing in one scene, in a studio.

The film was a tale similar to Permissive, but in this case the story of only one groupie, rather than a competing entourage. English Rose was a short-lived London band that later included Neil Peart, when he was living in the UK before Rush existed. Neil mentions this briefly on his website here. Their contributions to the soundtrack, "Yesterday's Hero / To Jackie", were released on a single. The music for Groupie Girl wasn't of much relevance to TDATS, but it may show up again later.

The first century TDATS comes to an end, and it's been a sweet ride. Moby Grape close proceedings. They appeared in the surfer-biker-psychedelic exploitation movie The Sweet Ride, playing the great song “Never Again” at a Sunset Strip nightclub called The Tarantula. Thanks for watching, stay tuned for more! Rich

The Sweet Ride poster
The Sweet Ride poster
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