The Warbly Jets “Alive” And The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn

The Warbly Jets “Alive” And The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn

L.A. band the Warbly Jets not only salutes the power of rock & roll but most important reaffirms it! Their live “quah” sets up an interesting perspective with T.V. screens showing various video loops while audio verbiage is mimeographed from the loud speakers all of which intertwines a common theme of dystopian dysfunction. The stage is back lit with an American flag that is erected upside down which is taken directly from MC5’s debut album. I’m not really sure if the band has a political agenda or not but principle member and keyboardist, Julien O’Neill hails from the “Motor City” before moving to NYC where he became acquainted with Samuel Shea who plays guitar and vocals. From NYC they trekked to L.A. and formed the Warbly Jets. Their goal was not to be a rock band anyone would expect but to be a band that touches  audiences in different ways. They just may be L.A.’s best rock band!

Wayne Kramer of  the MC5

They’re more interested in creating a statement than being reviewed as just another “psyche” band from L.A.. They push forward into music’s future rather than the past. Often times it’s almost impossible for a band to be musically ground-breaking.. but truth be told the Warbly Jets are certainly trailblazers! The press wants to “connect the dots” that the band is heavily influences by Brit. Pop of the 90’s (Stone Roses, Blur, Soup Dragons) but it’s not really telling the “right” story and surly those bands are suitable antecedents but none more close than Syd Barrett, the prognosticator of Pink Floyd.

….The Warbly Jets

Barrett left behind a small but unbelievably potent body of work. He was the principal songwriter behind Pink Floyd’s debut –  the 1967 masterpiece, “The Piper at the Gates of Dawn”; plus, a handful of strong early singles that helped define the psychedelic age. His creative genius was derailed by a drug-fueled psychological collapse forcing his 1968 removal from the group he helped form. Though he was only in the band for two year his specter haunted the band for the remainder of their existence and his presence is felt in some of their finest work. His introspection was induced by LSD and other consciousness-expanding substances which led many in his circle to convert to a sect of Sikhism known as Sant Mat (literally “Path of the Saints”) which dates back to 13th-century India where  religion follows a strict moral code and principles of abstinence.

Syd Barrett..”Shine On You Crazy Diamond”

In past interviews, the Warbly Jets   portray the band as being a bit “cheeky” and flippant at times. Honestly it would all be much easier to let the music do the talking.

Their first single, “Alive” is about as close as you can get to being a rock and roll masterpiece. With  so much groove  we’re excited that a forthcoming album will be released this year. Here are they lyrics to “Alive”.

I’m biding my time at the end of the line

No compromisin’ set
So I’ll walk through fire
Break through the burns to find my desire

But I’m slipping back again
Back to the start again
Back where I ought’ve been
Feels like the tide is turnin’
Back again
No sign of settlin’
Just like there’s never been
Sounds like the record’s broken

The Warbly Jets are just finishing their Mondy night residency at the world famous Satellite…

Dusty Springfield Born This Way

Dusty Springfield Born This Way

Long before Adele, Lady Ga Ga, Duffy, Byonce’, Amy Winehouse there was Dusty Springfield.  Born as Mary Isobel Catherine Bernadette O’Brien in 1939, the “dumpy red-headed” daughter of Irish immigrants in West Hampstead,England.  Springfield’s career extended from the late 1950s to the mid 90’s when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. With her distinctive sensual mezzo-soprano sound, she was the definitive female. “blued eyed soul” singer.  She became the template of those female singers that occurred later in pop music. At her peak she was the most successful British female performer, with six top 20 singles on the US  Billboard’s Top 100 and sixteen on the UK Charts.. from 1963 to 1989.

Dusty Springfield and Lady Ga Ga

International polls had proclaimed Springfield among the best female rock artists of all time. Her image, supported by a peroxide blonde bouffant hairstyle, gaudy long gowns and heavy make-up; as well as her flamboyant performances had made her an icon of the “Swingin’ Sixties” .

Dusty Springfield Interviewing The Beatles
Even as late as 1973 she was telling her (female) partner at the time, “If I walk into that church the ceiling is going to fall on me. I’m going to be dead because I’m such a sinner.” Mary/Dusty was educated at a convent school. Her father was overweight, bespectacled and a balding tax adviser who refused to sit for the accountancy exams because he really wanted to be a concert pianist.  Meantime, Dusty’s mother was continuously drunk and sat all day in the cinemas with dreams of becoming a Hollywood starlet. It was a domestic atmosphere made of terrible tension and fuming dysfunction. Occasionally enlivened with food fights and bi-polar episodes at the dinner table. Dusty’s father called her “stupid and ugly” so she scalded herself with self-harm proving she was alive and not thoroughly numb. The feelings of inadequacy followed her throughout her life. She later admitted that her solace was to listen to (and emulate) Carmen Miranda, Doris Day and Billie Holiday; enabling personal pain and a tortured personal history into art. She would gross more money than The Beatles when she toured.  By 1966 she had achieved more hit records than any other artist.

She had a nose job at the London Clinic so she could look like American sweetheart, Doris Day. She was constantly striving for perfection and became well known for her primadonna escapades . It could take over three hours to apply her make-up and decide on what costumes to wear. Dusty often stretched the music business status quo of the Sixties to their limits while stretching the limits of her sanity by her public misbehavior. Self-medicated with barbiturates and vodka didn’t help continuing her downward spiraling career. Dusty’s addictions gave her the courage to have ‘sexual experiences’ with women. Interviewers referred to her as a ‘bachelor girl’. Her outlandish pranks were commonly exploited by the British tabloids. She festooned a neighbor’s house with toilet paper, flung food in restaurants and threw all her furniture into the swimming pool. She had an infamous brawl with jazz drummer, Buddy Rich and knocked off his toupee. He exclamied, “You fucking broad, who do you think you fucking are, bitch?” Dusty ended up in a secure ward at Bellevue Psychiatric Hospital in New York City, suffering from a ‘catatonic nervous breakdown’. The producers of an upcoming James Bond movie, “The Spy Who Loved Me” asked her to sing the theme song.. “Nobody Does It Better; unfortunately she couldn’t ‘get it together’ and decided to hire Carly Simon instead.

By 1985 Dusty was reduced to earning $500 a night miming to her old hits in West Hollywood gay bars. ‘Battered and bruised’ when her front teeth were knocked out in a lesbian skirmish; she was admitted to a hospital yet again needing oral surgery. She would scream out all the time during her bi-polar episodes and with a baseball bat broke the windows of cars parked on her street. Female tennis icon, Billie Jean King became one of her closest friends and it was reported that she had constantly come to Dusty’s  aid interceding and calm things down. Life only took on more struggles beset by drug issues and other personal problems; Springfield failed to capture the run of stardom she’d once enjoyed. She did continue to record, and there were some isolated moments of success. In 1987 a whole new generation of music fans got to know her when she teamed up with the Pet Shop Boys for the single “What Have I Done to Deserve This?”

Dusty’s Death Certificate

In 1998 Springfield was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. She passed away the following year from cancer, on March 2, 1999.

Vanilla Fudge — –You Keep Me Hangin’ On

Vanilla Fudge — –You Keep Me Hangin’ On

Sixties psyche-soul band Vanilla Fudge are rarely remembered these days. They were a successful and important band once upon a time.The music on their debut album has a “dated” feel and considering there’s not a single original composition, their legacy still has a lotta’ wallop. What made Vanilla Fudge so intriguing was how they and producer, Shadow Morton mutated hit songs by stretching the tempo to slow motion so exquisite that even an overexposed song by the Supremes, “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” sounded fresh on the radio.

Whatever song they covered the genetic recombination made it sound completely alien to it’s original. It’s as if they “stole” it and made it their own! They were a punk version of Emerson, Late and Palmer! There should have been a bigger market for them on FM radio. Ritchie Blackmore of Deep Purple and Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin claimed that Vanilla Fudge were the “proto-type” of heavy metal!.

Originally calling themselves the Pigeons they got signed by Ahmet Ertegun of Atlantic Records in order to bolster the label’s commitment in rock and roll by starting the new spin-off label..  Atco Records… Their first artists were Buffalo Springfield, Iron Butterfly and Vanilla Fudge. But there was one drawback, however: Atlantic didn’t want to sign “The Pigeons”…They didn’t like that name and told their manager a named change was a deal breaker! They tried to think endlessly to come up with a new name but were getting nowhere until they had a gig in Long Island. While there they started talking to a chick named Dee Dee who worked in the production office. She inadvertently mentioned how her grandfather used to call her Vanilla Fudge and mentioned.. ‘ Hey, maybe you guys should call yourselves that—you’re like white soul music’. It twas” divine intervention They ran it by their manager, Phil Basile. He liked it and told Atlantic.. So Vanilla Fudge it was.

..     Vanilla Fudge and Led Zeppelin

The key was the thudding rhythm section of Carmine Appice and bassist Tim Bogert.  But it twas’ Mark Stein’s eerie Hammond B3 organ and surprisingly soulful vocals that were the essential ingredients of Vanilla Fudge’s greatness. Guitarist, Vince Martell had this hazy yet heavy tone that fit the band’s wall of sound. They weren’t shy about being “too loud” with their wall of Marshall Amps. Jeff Beck at times would sit in on many of their live gigs. Their strengths were never more apparent than on their first and best album, which of course was highlighted by their dramatic, explosive recasting of The Supremes’ “You Keep Me Hanging On” which was a top 10 hit and an utter classic. I’d argue that the whole album is a minor classic, and certainly anybody who likes psychedelic music and soulful hard rock and doesn’t mind super-slow songs that often stretch out past 5-minutes should be willing to give this album a try.


The Soft White Sixties And Psychedelic Soul

The Soft White Sixties And Psychedelic Soul

Psychedelic Soul was born in the late ’60s. The chemically altered consciousness and trippy production techniques of psychedelic rock found its way into soul music. The receptiveness by rock & roll made it a definite precursor to funk with its hard-driving rhythms. The use of electronics and diverse instrumental effects owed much to the ground broken by psychedelic soul. The music was new-school state-of-the-art soul at its most celebrated point.  It evoked heady good times for the baby boomer culture and generations after.But there was also a darker and sometimes even a paranoid side to the music that reflected the uncertainty of social times. Particularly with the increasing militancy among the civil rights movement and the war in Viet Nam that was sweeping across the nation.

By the early ’70s, psychedelic soul had evolved into a mix of protest material, aggressive funky beats and gently shimmering love songs. The catalyst behind psychedelic soul was Jimi Hendrix, who cut his teeth on the R&B circuit before coming into his own as a genre-bending instrumentalist who spoke to both white and black listeners. Similarly, eclectic but more firmly based in R&B were Sly & the Family Stone. A racially integrated outfit forged in the psychedelic hotbed of San Francisco. Perhaps the quintessential psychedelic soul band, The Family Stone’s social awareness and euphoric positivity gave way to a darker and more pessimistic vision. As drugs took their toll on Sly Stone’s mental stability his song-writing and concert performances became problematic. Psychedelic soul was not only breaking out of Northern California.. East coast bands Vanilla Fudge and The Rascals were taking rock into a whole different direction and garnering mass radio exposure at both pop and black radio.

Sly and The Family Stone         Vanilla Fudge                  The Rascals

The sound soon became so communicable that the Temptations, under the direction of producer/arranger Norman Whitfield, redefined themselves by cutting some of the finest psychedelic soul of the late ’60s and early ’70s… which included hits like “Papa Was a Rolling Stone” and “Ball of Confusion.”. None did so more than George Clinton’s Parliament-Funkadelic aggregate, whose bizarre druggy humor and acid-tinged jamming were direct outgrowths of psychedelic soul. The movement became the building template for Prince who epitomized the epidemic popularity of the genre until his untimely death.

The Soft White Sixties are a band that are breaking on the streets of Los Angeles. To their credit it takes a great rock band to make music that is totally fresh and still be true. They decided to move themselves from San Francisco to Los Angeles because they knew that their future would be more attainable by being where there’s more media action. Evidently, the music press seems to fester on this issue versus the music..Isn’t it the music that really counts? Unlike other L.A. bands their songwriting is convincingly pure. There’s no disillusions  with the 60’s emotions in their lyrics… There’s no need to use metaphors, similes or antecedents  in describing their music. They are truly original in every sense!

The Soft White Sixties….. “The Ocean Way” E.P.

TSWS’s have recently released an E.P… “The Ocean Way”. It shows tremendous growth in their songwriting acumen.. Singer, Octavio Genera during their  live performances roams across the stage like a panther looking for his prey. He depicts confidence and poise; traits you don’t see much in a rock and roll band; especially in L.A.! Their rhythm section has Ryan Noble on bass and Joey Bustos, drums.. which gives the band a walloping gallop. Guitarist and keyboard player, Aaron Eisenberg.. adds the pastiche to make this recording picturesque. They’ve recently recruited Rob Fidel to assist on guitar and keyboards. He will be playing a significant roll on their soon to be released album. The notes, beats and vocals are amazing on “Ocean Way”.. It swings and punches like a heavyweight contender. Sometimes a band needs to take a step backwards in order to make that great leap forward.“Ocean Way” is a treasure trove of emotional entanglement, glorious groove-ology and heavenly harmonies.

“The Ocean Way”, produced by Matt Linesch (Dave Mason, Edward Sharpe) starts with, “Miss Beverly” which is about a challenging love affair that involves a woman who has ended a relationship with another man. Genera pleads with his timeless affection for her and hoping she will finally respond to his agony. Pretty good shit!

When a song has in its chorus the words, “I lost my mind.. Sorry To say.. I pulled the pin and walked away” you wouldn’t expect from Genera’s songwriting… “Sorry To Say” just may be the “perfect” track for this young band.. Psychedelic soul at its best!

The band takes its victory lap with the closing track, “Tell Me Its Over” with its acoustic beginning…  and punchline lyrics..“Get Your world off my Shoulder” it’s difficult to conceive that so much of this band’s insights are about lost relationships… After this song I honestly felt at a loss because the E.P.s was now over.. But The Soft White Sixties will be releasing a new album very soon.. Certainly a band that will be a sure contender to be the best rock and roll band in L.A..

We had the fortunate pleasure of catching up with  member, Aaron Eisenberg during his free time while finishing up their forthcoming album…