Rabz’ Radio Show Rocktober 2022: Psychedelia

This is my favourite musical genre. As various R&B purveyors in the sixties got a bit older, they started experimenting with illicit substances other than amphetamines, such as THC, LSD, mescaline and psilocybin.

Consequently, the music became far more complex (and occasionally extremely self-indulgent) and was meant to reflect an alternate consciousness, if getting totally off your face on the aforementioned substances could be dignified with such a term. See for example, the difference in musical style between Help and Rubber Soul, recorded after the Beatles had recently experienced Mary Jane (courtesy of one Bob Dylan) and LSD. Syd Barrett, the founder of and key initial figure in Pink Floyd was a salutary example of what happens when too much LSD is barely enough.    

The Psychedelic style has remained a musical staple since the late sixties, nonetheless. The definitive (for me) record of 1967’s (northern) “Summer of Love” was the Monterey Pop Festival, so gloriously essayed in the D A Pennebaker film – although the standout performance is by Otis Redding, who was most certainly not a purveyor of Psychedelia. Various movies of the time also sought to explore the “altered consciousness” concept, including “The Trip” and “Vanishing Point”, not to mention “Easy Rider”.

Some of my favourite examples of the genre post the sixties include Naz Nomad and the Nightmares and the Dukes of Stratosphear (the Damned and XTC respectively). Primal Scream also mined the genre with their 1997 epic, “Vanishing Point” (named after the film), which included an awesome homage to Syd Barrett, “Burning Wheel”.

The other wonderful thing about Psychedelia is the fashion style and the instruments. Stoves, suede Chelsea boots, paisley shirts, mop top haircuts, granny glasses, suede fringed or Levi’s jackets, mellotrons and twelve string guitars (hello, Rickenbackers).  

Some other bands and artists that have dabbled in the genre include:

The Byrds

Jimi

Jefferson Airplane

The Dandy Warhols

The Church

Barely scratching the surface. No doubt there are many artists, bands and songs that will be posted by Cats this evening. Now again, comes the hard part – picking two intro songs. Let’s have some local flavour:

The Church (1981)

The Moffs (1984)

Enjoy, Cats!

114 thoughts on “Rabz’ Radio Show Rocktober 2022: Psychedelia”

  1. Sorry, I accidentally reported a comment. No idea which one. But if someone gets vapourised, know that I will remember you fondly, whoever you are.

    PS: another vote for Traffic.


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  2. The 13th Floor Elevators were great purveyors of the genre in that initial 1965-67 period.
    Dick Clark (?) Interviewed the band,
    Q: Who’s the head of the band ?
    A: we’re all heads


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  3. The Moffs were an awesome experience in 1984-86

    I was mates with Nick Potts at university. They were of course, best experienced in that dingy hot box in the Strawberry Hills Hotel.


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  4. Oceanic lights are cleverly dim
    Bluish features in the lower reaches
    We raise our traffic flares to him
    Fishnet girlish the red ones spark
    Holy arks trapped in the dark …

    The more I see the less I look
    Here’s another name I took
    Listen in the early morning air
    The remnants of their evening wear …

    Branching off the road winds east
    Deluxe locations just near completion
    Come dine with wine and oyster feast
    The pearls are real have one for free
    They’re washed up by the foam waved sea …

    The more I look the less I smile
    Never mind let’s stay awhile
    The fans blow secrets on the night
    Out of mind but not out of sight …

    Is this where you live
    Is this where you live
    Is this where you live?



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  5. Is this where you live

    Reminds me of another track, by Icehouse. As trippy as you can get:

    The Ghost Of Time – Icehouse (31 Dec 1999)

    Twenty minutes of pretty amazing. I was watching it live at the time, the video doesn’t have the clarity to do it justice. It was a complete blast. Welcome little new millennium!


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  6. Tame Impala –
    I Knew Them Before They Were Famous.
    They were unknowns opening for post-hotness You Am I in a brick highway tavern, did a nifty cover of Blue Boy’s Remember Me. Sung it low and easy, wigged out guitars- organic three piece back then. I said gday as they swept the floor afterwards, complimented him that he made it look easy- genuinely effortless singing voice. I don’t know why the hell he’s adopted the whiny Billy Corgan tone.
    Enough to say, I Like Their Old Stuff Better Than Their New Stuff.
    Side project- Pond – Xan Man


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  7. Bruce of Newcastle says: October 1, 2022 at 8:58 pm

    Reminds me of another track, by Icehouse. As trippy as you can get:
    The Ghost Of Time – Icehouse (31 Dec 1999)

    Thanks for the recommendation, it wasn’t bad.
    On clarity, you could have linked to a clearer version.


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  8. you could have linked to a clearer version.

    Colonel – The trippiest bit was all those floats on Sydney Harbour. I want a clearer version of the thingies on the water. The track and the visuals together were really awesome. All those strange floating creatures were real, built by someone just for the event.


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  9. No Hippee Chick

    Perfect blend of awesome with pop to produce awesome pop. I liked it when Soho came out with it in 1990 (had to look the year up but). Cool idea.


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  10. Got to stop, I get awoken at 5:30am by insistent magpies.
    My final contribution:

    Second Song (2011)

    Dunno why they did the video since the track isn’t even a B side. But both the single and the video are pretty cool, and fit well with Rabz theme.


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  11. The 12 string invocation by Rabz last night got me thinking- were R.E.M. ever psych?
    Maybe. The Lifting, off the underrated Reveal album.
    Note I’m posting all this deaf tonight, nu computa sans speaker. I’ll have to catch up on the new suggestions soon.


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  12. Janelle Monae – Tightrope
    “whether you’re high or low.. trippy trip on the tightrope…”
    Tho Monae is ostensibly a Baptist who prays with the band on the way on and off the stage, me reckons she is fascinated enough by the pageantry of voodoo to have a few wild sessions behind her. This song might sound like straight up R&B funk, but pay attention to the composition- the extended trickle-down fadeout is the way a good trip will burn off in the dawn


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  13. Oh for sure, berry buck n Mills were masters of space and misdirection, and Stipe’s dadaist lyric construction sure kept the listener wondering. Funnyly enough it was only late in the piece where he got more into storytelling and alternate personas, and unconsciously or not bought his own demons to the front of stage, that the songs really touched me.
    Mind you, psych-by-numbers can be fun too, even from the endowment fund baby of the entertainment aristocracy-
    Kula Shaker – Second Sight


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  14. Like so many others my favourite will always be Hope Sandoval – either on her own or fronting Mazzy Star. Saw the mazzys in Sydney a few years ago and marvelled at the smh review that spent most of the article criticising the lighting for being too dark rather than the music. What exactly did they expect?


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  15. This is all just so cool. Going to take days to make my way though these links, just to make sure my ideas are not repeats.

    The prize must go to Bruce of Newcastle for Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, it might not have been the first, but it was the biggest.

    Very Excellent work Rabz.


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  16. The rumour was that you could get high by smoking banana peels. Never tried it, though.

    I did Johanna. Trust me, it doesn’t work. Nor does Lettuce Opium.


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  17. Play the Rolling Stones “Dandelion” to people of sixties/seventies generations and see if (i) they recall it at all, and (ii) can recognise it as a Rolling Stones song.


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  18. Jefferson Airplane and The Doors. Nothing else comes close.
    They actually toured Europe together, and Morrison got completely off his face on drugs before one performance. He just scoffed whatever pills young people in the street gave him – all at once.


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  19. Rabz is a friend of mine.
    And of the ole Hairy Cap’n Beefheart fan.
    Who can’t stand the Incredible String Band.
    I can’t stand them either these days either and many other bands were better.
    But under acid and stoned to the eyeballs, back then, another story.
    Even more than in seventies, for the psych-sixties, you had to be there.
    Once Upon a Time in Hollywood indeed.

    Thanks Anchor What.


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  20. Hardly ‘back’, Louis Litt, thanks though. I’m on holidays in Pacifica, the New World of the multi-racial multi-ethnic Pacific and just dropped by to say hello to Rabz, my buddie on his own thread, whom I’m pleased to see is in a good place in his life right now, and because the whingey old Incredible String Band, endpoint of many a stoned psychedelic sixties party, hadn’t had a mention.

    So easy to forget how boring psychedelia became. 🙂


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