Tag Archives: Writing

Local Heavy Psych Explorers Return To SF (From CBS Local SF)

Local Heavy Psych Explorers Return To SF

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.

Loading videoThe 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.

Loading videoThe 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 StudiosHeavymetal 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.

Loading videoFor only its second Bay Area show in the past year, Turn Me On Dead Man will be joined at the Knockout in San Francisco Thursday night by a pair of local bands: tuneful, propulsive post-punk outfit Eyes Like Ice and acclaimed SF noise-rock trio the Tunnel, who recently released the new three-song Exoskeleton EP.

Turn Me On Dead Man
Thursday, Nov. 29, 9 p.m. $6

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Local Heavy Psych Explorers Play Show In Oakland

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 StudiosHeavymetal 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)

Link to original article

European Tour Journal Day 3 (Castelfidardo, Italy)

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We woke up the next morning, still jet lagged in a small town near Pescara or it may have still been Pescara. The architectue around there was a taste of what was to be a constant througout the entire trip, old crumbling buildings, with overgrown vines that really gave you a sense of being somewhere with deep history.

The photos were taken right across from where we stayed and the short video below gives you a sense of the old roads.

 

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Band shot!
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Our driver Davide!

We had a short drive to Castel Fidardo which was very pretty, mostly farmland.

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We passed Loreto where the Basilica Santa Casa sat shrouded in mist. We didn’t have time to stop but what a sight! Read about the legend of the Black Madonna if you’re not familiar. This is one of the biggest pilgramage sites in the world with nearly 4 million visitors per year! We blazed right by it though, we had to bring the spacerock to the people, no time for infamous pilgramage sites!

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Loreto

CASTELFIDARDO

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We got to the venue which was also in a really cool area on a hill. We eventually found out that we were in a very special place regarding the history of the accordian. It turns out that the Stratovarius of accordians are manufactured here, and people travel far and wide to obtain one. Furthermore, and perhaps even more interesting is that the club owner, Giampiero, has an uncle who was the guy who travelled to Houston in the 60’s and set up an accordian shop, which directly fed the Tex-Mex and Tejano scene in a major way. Again, the history of this place was pretty special.

The building the club was in was also a music shop, Casa della Musica which was built by the founder of the accordian in the early 1900’s.

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Aside from the heavy music history here, Giampiero was a gracious host, really excited to have us and treated us like family almost! The food was also amazing, we had a nice spread backstage as well as a bar full of prosciutto and cheese plates to pick at.

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Dining with support band Shaolin
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Bar spread

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Also adding to the family atmosphere…family! I’m guessing from the ‘Shaolin’ gear, these were the bands kids, or friends of the bands kids, or maybe they just really attract a young fanbase. Either way, It was a cool experience to see kids hanging out in a bar scene without it being weird or dangerous. These kids knew their way around a pool table as well as a can of silly string!

One of the first observations I made being in Europe was this openeness of culture. We generally wouldn’t dare bring our kids out to a little dive bar like this, I very rarely ever see bands bring their families out to shows, unless it’s a festival or giant tour scenario, but never little dive bar gigs. These kids were so well behaved around pool cues and pint glasses, and these early social experiences are sure to form them into well adjusted adults, actually. they were better behaved than most adults I’ve encounter in bars!

In The U.S., we have such a different stigma around our bar scene. These are dark places where only dark things happen. Aside from rampant alcoholism being an obvious element, these are places where drugs are obtained and consumed, the focus is usually a search for random sex, and gun violence is a frequent occurence. The club scene often has an intimidating gang element, or a vibe of machismo, groups of “bro’s” out looking for girls, which can easily create a predatory environment. Rock and Roll, punk and indie/DIY shows can seem intimidating from the outside, and there is a real lack of all ages venues everywhere which makes it difficult to expose our youth to more diversity in culture and locally generated creativity.

I’m not saying all of Europe is like this, but this one isolated experience was an eye opener, and made me question if this could ever occur in the US where we fear even sending our kids to school these days.

Let me also add that this was a small humble venue, I say ‘dive bar’ but it was a really clean, well decorated venue with a decent sound system and competent sound guy. The bathrooms were also really clean and everyone kept up on that, another phenomenon I would observe throughout our trip.

Here, it was all about good food, music, family and strong coffee! People were drinking alcohol of course but with a different sort of approach that wasn’t so much to escape from something as it was to enhance an already great atmosphere and experience.

 

THE SHOW

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here’s a couple of minutes of the opener that night. Shaolin were a great bunch of young musicians.

 

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Merch Spread
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Action Shot

Here’s an excerpt from Maharishi from our set that night:

 

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On the stage at The On Stage!

We had a great set, packed up the gear and drove 15 minutes to our digs for the night in Osimo. Stay tuned for more…


All pics by Jeff K.

“Action Shot” by Imanuele Pirani

Look to our Patreon for exclusive content, full shows, pro pics etc.

Vinyl for our current release ‘Heavy Metal Mothership’ and select copies of the back catalog are available via our Bandcamp

 

 

Drive

I don’t drive, I’ve never had a driver’s licence, I’ve never owned a car, this has developed a certain drive in me that would’ve been otherwise neglected or unnoticed had I gone the way of the masses and joined that class of mobility.

I believe it takes a certain drive to exist in a world dominated by cars and industry. In the U.S. industry used to center around transportation of goods and people via trains and cars and the steel mills and automobile factories that used to employ so many people. The design of cities and their outlying suburbs created a need for this industry to thrive…it fed itself. In order to get to and from work, you had to either drive yourself or carpool, or rely on public transportation which rarely accommodated the outlying suburbs efficiently…you had to work in order to afford the house in the suburbs and the status associated with that. You had to have a car to get to and from the city and the ‘burbs, the ‘right’ car. You needed to work to pay for the ‘right’ car to get you to and from the city and the ‘burbs…all by design.

As a child there was also always an immense pressure with things like model car kits and Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars we grew up with as toys but these toys also conditioned us to believe how cool we would be when we’re old enough to own and drive the real thing. Most kids couldn’t wait to turn 16 in order to get their first car. Who at 16 needs a car? What career or job or task requires a 16 year old to have wheels? I never got that. Status…image, those are the driving psychological forces at hand. I never bought into it.

My grandfather worked for The Ford plant near Buffalo NY where I grew up. This was a part of the Rust Belt as it’s known these days. Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Buffalo etc. were all central to the steel and automobile industry. My grandfather was an alcoholic for years and must have suffered depression as the 70’s and 80’s were a pretty dire time economically and working in that environment must have been soul sucking for sure. He had a small car accident (a drunk driving incident in which he only emerged with a broken leg but it scared him enough into sobriety. Not more than a few years later he died of a heart attack at the Ford plant. We all thought he’d quit smoking too, but they found 3 packs of smokes on him! I must’ve been 14-15 at the time.

This must have informed my early opinions about cars and their inherent destructive properties. I never consciously decided that I was never gonna drive, I just chose to attempt not to engage in society in that way. I was also raised by a single mother who worked which made me a ‘latchkey Kid’. I started to ride the bus on my own by 3rd-4th grade, so my perspective of convenience in travel was already being informed.


EXPLORATION

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Elmwood and Breckenridge: I actually lived above Dolci for a couple years

By 7th-8th grade we had moved a bit closer to my grade school and subsequently my High School would also be just a 20 min. busride away, though I often chose to ride my skateboard or even walk! Walking took about an hour but I really grew to enjoy my explorations before and after school. I realized that I got to see the city and experience it much more intimately on foot. Even when I rode the bus it got to where I would squint my eyes and imagine what Elmwood Ave  looked like before it was developed into a strip of boutiques and businesses, this street was once residential and if you looked beyond the store fronts you could still make out the lovely architecture of the old houses behind the facades, I time travelled this way.

By high school I was a full on ‘Skate Rat’ and my crew and I used to ride everywhere, exploring the city’s skateable architecture or simply ‘bombing hills’ all day everyday. We explored every neighborhood we could from The Lower West Side near what is now The Buffalo Waterfront district down near Lake Erie to the top of Elmwood where Albright Knox Art Gallery sits, near Buff St. to North Buffalo and sometimes even as far as where Main St, meets Transit in Williamsville…sometimes in one day!

Somewhere around the age of 19-20 I suffered a pretty severe ankle injury skating the banks outside of Trackmaster studios which is now GCR studios owned by Goo Goo Dolls bassist Robbie (Goo) Takac. This injury essentially ended my ability to even just ride a skateboard and prompted me to focus on playing an instrument which was a blessing, since I was really depressed I would probably never ‘bomb hills’ again.


SHIFTING FOCUS

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820 Elmwood Ave )circa 2001) where Apollo Records once was. I lived in the house just to the right where that tree is.

I took the bus to NOLA and spent some time down there exploring, NOLA is a great walking city. Shortly after I returned to Buffalo to recalibrate and I worked at a record store for a bit. Apollo Records on Elmwood (the proprietor Gary Sperrazza has actually just recently passed away)

for a couple years, I spent 6 days a week at the record store and the rest of the time playing music and developing a couple of  musical projects. I lived 2 doors away from the shop so my commute was a dream…

IT TAKES DRIVE TO LIVE IN LA WITHOUT A CAR

In 1996 I moved to LA (I took the bus from Buffalo) and against most peoples advice, really tested the carless existence! Everyone swears adamantly that you cannot survive without a car in LA. I did for close to 10 years! I worked at a couple of different record stores from Melrose to The Sunset Strip, within a few months I was playing with a seminal LA punk band and gigging regularly. I can’t say it was easy but it did take drive. for awhile I even worked in Van Nuys while living in Silverlake!

Now I reside in SF which is a much easier city to traverse using public transportation, yet we are clogged to the gills with cars! People want to claim the SF zip code though they work in the burbs! Things have completely reversed!

I’m 42 now and still haven’t entertained the thought of driving. I see more details in my surroundings, I don’t rush and allow myself time to move and explore as I head toward my destination…cars promote a stressful relationship with other drivers and you have to be at attention at all times. My mind likes to wander and I utilise the time on busses and subways to read and write and to work on music…I engage with people face to face and I don’t exist in a closed box on wheels. I don’t have envy of the world of tickets, accidents (often deadly), insurance payments and repairs  etc. Where people think that driving saves time, I feel that not driving gives me time while at the same time increases my motivation, mental and physical health and above all…drive.

This in response to The Daily Prompt “Drive”

Featured Image  by Jeff K. 2016