Psychedelic culture on display in London

Granny (and Granddad) can take a trip again in London, with the debut of a major psychedelic exhibit at the Victoria and Albert Museum, hailed as the world's leading museum of art and design. Opening in September, the exhibition "You Say You Want a Revolution? Records & Rebels 1966-70" includes a re-creation of the the city's underground UFO Club, complete with psychedelic light show and a "3D sound installation." Pink Floyd was one of the house bands at the groundbreaking venue. Pink Floyd also performed at the 14 Hour Technicolor Dream in London, another LSD-splashed touchstone for the exhibition. Artifacts to be displayed at "You Say You Want a Revolution?" include shattered guitars played by Jimi Hendrix and Pete Townshend; suits worn by the Beatles on the cover of "Sgt. … [Read more...]

Psychedelic artist Gary Grimshaw dies

Psychedelic poster artist Gary Grimshaw, whose designs applied muscular polish to the images of Detroit rock bands, has died at age 67. Grimshaw was closely identified with his pals the MC5, but also worked the psychedelic circuit for the Detroit Grande Ballroom, doing posters for gigs by Cream, Jimi Hendrix, the Who and the Electric Prunes. His style often employed bold colors and thick legible type fonts, a contrast to the flowery images and byzantine typefaces popular in the San Francisco scene of the 1960s. Influences included comic books and the hotrod imagery of the era. Grimshaw's art remained in demand into the new century, with works including an iconic wheels-of-fire poster for R&B rockers the Detroit Cobras. The Vietnam War vet was a member of the White Panthers, a … [Read more...]

Pink Floyd artist Storm Thorgerson dies

British graphic designer Storm Thorgerson, best known for his artwork on Pink Floyd albums such as "The Dark Side of the Moon," has died at age 69. Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour, a friend since early teen years, said Thorgerson's album covers were "an inseparable part of our work." Drummer Nick Mason remembered Thorgerson as a "scourge of management, record companies and album-sleeve printers; champion of bands, music, great ideas and high, sometimes infuriatingly high, standards." Thorgerson also designed cover art for many of the U.K. rock elite, including Yes, Led Zeppelin, Genesis, the Nice, Black Sabbath, Mike Oldfield, 10cc and Alan Parsons. Thorgerson's close and long-running association with Pink Floyd made him one of only a few graphic artists whose fame can be … [Read more...]

Grateful Dead Archive debuts online

One might be forgiven for thinking the entire World Wide Web serves as the Grateful Dead's archive, but now there's an official destination for fans, educators, researchers and music geeks: The University of California Santa Cruz has officially launched the Grateful Dead Archive Online. It's very much a work in progress, but well worth a look for even the most casual Deadhead. UC Santa Cruz now hosts the brick-and-mortar library of the Grateful Dead, which was formed in the San Francisco Bay Area in 1965 and continued its, um, long strange trip until 1995. In many ways, of course, that history is still being made as surviving band members tour and record in various incarnations. The Grateful Dead Archive and McHenry Library's "Dead Central" opened officially June 29, as well. The … [Read more...]

Major Grateful Dead exhibit at Rock Hall

The exhibition "Grateful Dead: The Long, Strange Trip" opens April 12 at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, in time for the 2012 artist inductions. Highlights are to include five Jerry Garcia guitars, "finished and working manuscripts" for classic Dead songs, gear from the Owsley "Wall of Sound" PA system, and artworks such as Fillmore posters and album graphics. The Grateful Dead Archive at the University of California-Santa Cruz "loaned a significant number of items" from its collection, the Rock Hall said. Rock Hall curator Howard Kramer said he had full access to the Dead's warehouse. Longtime Grateful Dead percussionist Mickey Hart will perform at the exhibit opening. One of his psychedelic custom-painted drum kits will among the museum offerings. The first major showing of … [Read more...]

Grateful Dead’s history a Society affair

Roll over Frederick Douglass and tell Abe Lincoln the news: the Grateful Dead have crashed Manhattan's local history museum. Dead heads are flocking to Central Park West this weekend as "Grateful Dead: Now Playing at the New-York Historical Society" debuts. The exhibit comes almost exclusively from the Grateful Dead archives at the University of California Santa Cruz and is its first major showing. So what's the Dead memorabilia doing way over there in Manhattan? The historical society has your answer in one incredibly long sentence: "(The Dead) played in and around New York City on a regular basis, from early dates at Greenwich Village coffeehouses, impromptu performances in Central Park and at Columbia University during the 1968 Student Strike; to concerts at midsized venues, … [Read more...]

The Velvet Underground, in person

Velvet Underground members Lou Reed, Maureen (Moe) Tucker and Doug Yule are reuniting, sort of. The art rockers will discuss their music and history Dec. 8 as part of the New York Public Library’s “Live From the NYPL” series. The conversation wrangler will be rock journalist David Fricke. The gathering of three Velvets is quite unusual — the Library calls it “unprecedented.” MIA is (to no one’s suprise) John Cale, who has performed with the band only a few times since the 1970s. Sterling Morrison and Nico have both died. Update: View the session: The Velvet Underground probably wouldn’t have made it out of the underground without the artwork on its 1966 debut album by band backer Andy Warhol. That yellow banana and the rest of … [Read more...]

Psychedelic Beatles rarities up for auction

What appear to be the rarest and strangest of all Beatles album pressings are coming to auction next week. The story begins back in the twilight of the vinyl era. A Capitol Records employee who worked in the label's Toronto pressing plant killed time by making multicolored vinyl records, colorful psychedelic things. Among them, appropriately, were the psychedelic classics "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" and "Revolver." Canadian collectors Akim Boldireff and Aaron Keele bought the vinyl beauties from the ex-record presser, who apparently kept them in a closet. They said the presser had access to the original plates of the Beatles records. Keele told the Vancouver Sun: "The real thing that makes this fascinating is that they were pressed at the original plants, using … [Read more...]

Psychedelic era through the looking lens

Two new books of photography have touched down to transport us back to the glory days of psychedelic rock. Jim Marshall has been snapping the stars since before Dylan went electric. He's published several excellent collections of his intimate work, and now comes "Trust: Photographs of Jim Marshall," another gallery of up-close-and-casual shots of rock gods such as the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Janis Joplin, the Grateful Dead, Jim Morrison ... all with notes from the photographer. Meanwhile, Zeppelin gets another going over in "Led Zeppelin: Good Times, Bad Times: A Visual Biography of the Ultimate Band," just out in hardback. There are more than 200 photographs, about half of which have never been published. They range from the band's first performance (as the New Yardbirds) in 1968 … [Read more...]

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