An excellent tribute:
An excellent write up for our show tonight in Oakland at The Golden Bull. This will be our first live appearance in The Bay Area since our European stretch!
By Dave Pehling
(SAN FRANCISCO) — With a history dating back to the early 2000s, San Francisco glam/psych/stoner-rock heroes Turn Me On Dead Man twist together the varied strands of heavy music from the past five decades into a uniquely bombastic sound.
Led by songwriting talent and lysergic guitar fury of founder Mykill Ziggy, the group became a local club favorite over the next few years with its penchant for epic, Bowie/Bolan-esque space rock played at paint-peeling volume. The band self released it’s debut album God Bless the Electric Freak in 2005, but soon caught the ear of SF punk legend and Alternative Tentacles Record founder Jello Biafra, who reissued the effort on his imprint to solid reviews.
The fruitful relationship between band and label would continue over the next several years as Ziggy and a rotating cast of musicians (drummer Christopher Lyman being the sole collaborator who has played on all of the band’s recordings) continued to refine their sound, exploring their unabashed love for crushingly heavy riffs and psychedelic filigree. Nodding to the Beatles as much as Bowie and T-Rex, the songs on 2006’s Technicolour Mother and Sunshine Suicide three years later also echoed the sounds of ’90 alt-rock favorites Jane’s Addiction and contemporaries Queens of the Stone Age.
The band would split up for a few years after Ziggy relocated to Austin, TX, but the extended hiatus ended after he reconvened a new line-up of the band to record and release We Are the Star People in 2013. Joined by second guitarist Nick Doom, the band’s first new album in four years found Turn Me On Dead Man delivering a long-overdue round of glorious interstellar anthems.
While it’s live shows have been somewhat irregular since then, the group — now including bassist Jeff Klukowski (formerly of Andalusia Rose) and a host of auxiliary contributors — gradually put together what may be it’s heaviest recording yet. Tracked over the course of several years at San Francisco’s Light Rail Studios, Heavymetal Mothership ramps up the melodic crunch on some of Turn Me On Dead Man’s most anthemic space-rock juggernauts yet. Initially made available for download on the TMODM Bandcamp page, the album was released late last year on vinyl and CD on the appropriately named Italian label Heavy Psych Sounds Records.
For its first Bay Area show in nearly a year, Turn Me On Dead Man will be joined at the Golden Bull in Oakland by SF’s like-minded modern psych maestros the Spiral Electric — who will be previewing music from a forthcoming double LP scheduled for release next year — and sludgy pop-psych band Coywolf (which shares the Spiral Electric’s guitarist Nicholas Percy)
We crossed back into Switzerland without a hitch, since we knew the drill by now. We stopped and declared our merch and did the tally and left the deposit and were on our way to Winterthur. I didn’t get many pics since it was wet out and the windows were filthy by now, but the drive was another beautiful one.
The venue was a sizeable space with a rather large room that we would play in, and an even larger room for name acts. We arrived to a prosciutto spread and a bustling kitchen where a small staff were preparing home cooked meals for the bands and club workers. The communal aspect really made for a welcoming environment and everyone was really friendly.
Again this was one of the shows we played that were govt. subsidized, which removes a lot of tension and headaches which can make for an un-enjoyable show for everyone involved. I really grew to love this model for that very reason.
One thing I also loved was the compact yet powerful industrial turbine heaters they used to heat the giant space, I had to record it for future sampling. I was maybe ten feet away and I could barely stand it long enough to record for 10 seconds:
I knew we were hooking up with Motorizer again, we played with them in Bludenz as well, but I kept asking who “Turoffnung” were until I finally got a local to inform me that “Turoffnung” means doors opening…Hahahaha! I thought ‘what a clever name for a band’
We had another good crowd and the sound was excellent, it was also nice to have a bit of a bigger stage to move around on. Enjoy these pics from Phillip Reinhard, some of the best we got this whole tour:
An excerpt, Nick Doom shreds:
Our encore, including a nice moment when the crowd serenaded us with that Scott McKenzie song:
It was such a fun atmosphere that after the show, many if not all of the staff stayed until the wee hours playing drinking games that involved bottle-caps, and talking and listening to music, and of course smoking a boat load of cigarettes, which again, occurred right next to the room we were to sleep in.
One refreshing thing I have to acknowledge is that I barely saw any kind of cell phone or smart phone the entire night. Everyone was content to enjoy each others company and the music and the simple games that got them through another cold winter night in the Swiss Alps.
Either way, we rocked that place and had a nice time hanging out with the promoter and staff afterwards. It was such a different experience than we’re used to in the U.S. The Switzerland shows will surely stay with me.
Next stop Salzburg, Austria.
All pics by Jeff K. other that the live band series by Phillip Reinhard
All video shot by Jeff K.
It still seems like a dream or distant memory. This was one of those bands that I never thought I’d see live.
I got turned on to The Scientists back in the early-mid 90’s while working at Apollo Records in Buffalo and receiving one of Gary Apollo’s comprehensive “History Tapes” which were high quality dubs of pristine vinyl releases from his personal collection, and he had stuff nobody around there had. Add to that, this was pre internet, so he had stuff nobody around there knew about. His “histories” had nothing but the hits in chronological order, plus various rarities, such as 12″ b-sides or cuts only found on comps etc. all carefully compiled and recorded onto a high quality master cassette and dubbed onto Maxell UDXL II tapes for friends or whoever might have been interested, and back then, very few were interested…
I was already into The Cramps, Gun Club and ‘Dirgy’ bands like Jesus Lizard and Birthday Party, so when I heard The Scientists, they fit right in. There was always something about those Aussie bands that got that post apocalyptic wasteland thing dead on. There’s the “Swamp rock” thing that they get labelled with, but there is also as much desert/spaghettiwestern/tumbleweed aesthetic in there as well. Radio Birdman were like “Death-Surf” and other bands around that scene such as Beasts of Bourbon, The Visitors, Crime and The City Solution and later These Immortal Souls (UK/Australia) were an amazing mix of energy and darkness and depravity that I’ve never heard from an American band, very rarely anyway.
I’ve been lucky enough to see Radio Birdman twice when they did a couple of shows in SF around the release of “Zeno Beach” 2006. I never thought I’d see them. I also saw Crime and The City Solution a few years ago. I’m fortunate enough to live in a city where these artists actually make the rare appearance when they come from so far, so I was really excited to hear that these guys were coming over for the first time ever to do 11 dates! We got tix immediately after they went online and they did not disappoint.
I shot most of the show, enjoy!
We took a spot up on the balcony for a birds eye view. All far away pix by me.
All close up pics by Eric Moffat
A few more vids from up top!
They were hornery and antagonistic at times.
A rollicking version of Braindead:
This was a once in a lifetime show and I highly recommend going if they ever come back to the U.S.