Chris Squire dies; bass player for Yes

Chris Squire, the bass player for Yes who was a mainstay and founding member of the prog rock band, has died. He was 67. The British musician suffered from leukemia. Squire also co-wrote some of the band's top songs, including "I've Seen All Good People," "Yours Is No Disgrace" and "Owner of a Lonely Heart." His smooth yet propulsive bass playing drove songs like "Roundabout" and the band's workout on "America." While prog remains primarily a keyboard-driven genre, Squire enjoyed a high-profile role in Yes. At a time when most bassist were content to stay on "the root," Squire was unusually active. His work influenced generations of prog and jam-band bassists. "For the entirety of Yes's existence, Chris was the band’s linchpin and, in so many ways, the glue that held it … [Read more...]

Quad Doors, live Yes, EL&P spark Q2

Classic but freshly repolished goods from the Doors, Yes, the Yardbirds, EL&P and Miles Davis promise a strong second quarter in the psychedelic music world. The Doors' music remained in strong demand a few years after the death of singer Jim Morrison. Elektra looked to give the music new spark with a "Best Of" collection in quadraphonic. The four-channel format fizzled, and Doors marketers moved on to other repackaging jobs, but the quad collection was never forgotten by the early adopters of long ago. Ace audio revivalist Steve Hoffman delivers the goods June 2 with a hybrid SACD containing the original quad mix and his re-do of the two-channel stereo mix. Tracks include the usual suspects as well as "Who Do You Love," "Take It As It Comes" and "Moonlight Drive." "I think that … [Read more...]

Daevid Allen dies; ringmaster of Gong

Daevid Allen, the whimsical visionary behind the seminal prog rock act Gong, has died. He was 77. As a bandleader in the vein of Sun Ra, George Clinton and Frank Zappa, Allen lorded over a strange and imaginative musical universe, complete with its own LSD-fueled mythologies. Gong persisted over five decades with a changing cast of musicians and under variations on the band's name such as Planet Gong. "A communal thing," Allen said. Allen, a singer and guitarist, also is known for co-founding the Soft Machine, another progressive rock touchstone. Allen was born and died in Australia -- although the Soft Machine was a seminal act out of the scene in Canterbury, England, and Gong was formed in France. Both bands specialized in bold instrumental passages and were influenced … [Read more...]

Record Store Day ’15: Zombies, Doors, Sly

The Zombies, the Doors, Sly and the Family Stone, Captain Beefheart and Hawkwind lead the freak parade for Record Store Day 2015. Other goodies for psychedelic bin flippers include vinyl by Country Joe and the Fish, Todd Rundgren, Jeff Beck, the Kinks, Jimi Hendrix, Procol Harum, Tomorrow, Sun Ra, Robert Plant, the Grateful Dead, Jerry Garcia, the Flaming Lips and Frank Zappa. The eighth-annual event promoting indie record stores is now an unabashed celebration of the old-school vinyl format. Record Store Day is Saturday, April 18. The Zombies: What was to be the follow up to the psychedelic classic "Odessey and Oracle" never was. Officially. Now the "R.I.P. Album" has been unearthed for its "first legitimate vinyl release" by the Varese Sarabande label. The band had broken up the … [Read more...]

A psychedelic British invasion for Q1

King Crimson, Led Zeppelin, Eric Burdon, Jeff Beck and the Pretty Things put an English accent on the slate of new releases for a new year. Here's a roundup of what's coming in the realm of psychedelic music: King Crimson stormed downtown L.A. several months ago for a pair of acclaimed concerts. A live document surfaces Jan. 20 via Discipline Global Mobile. Clocking in at (a mere) 41 minutes, it includes versions of "Starless," "The Letters" and "Sailor's Tale." Robert Fripp's new lineup included a trio of drummers at stage front, with the remaining musicians working to the rear, on a riser. The CD version (16/44.1 stereo) comes with a second DVD-A (24/96 Hi-Res stereo) of the same material. Also available: 200 gram vinyl "limited to a single pressing." (Psychedelic Sight was on site at … [Read more...]

Deep Purple, Beatles, Dead set for Q3

Classical-rock fusion from Deep Purple, mono LPs from the Beatles and a primo box set from the Grateful Dead pace the psychedelic music releases for the year's third quarter. Here's the roundup: In 1969, classical music and psychedelic rock merged for one night only at (where else?) London's Royal Albert Hall. The summit redefined long-hair music. Crossover classical was born, but the rockers dumped the tuxes en route to the heavy metal foundry. Deep Purple's "Concerto for Group and Orchestra" takes an encore Aug. 26 in a vinyl box set. The music was composed by the late Jon Lord, with Malcolm Arnold conducting the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Rhino's set revives the 2002 EMI special edition, which had expanded the original vinyl release to include the entire groundbreaking program … [Read more...]

Rundgren’s psychedelic soul revived

Todd Rundgren's psychedelic soul classic "A Wizard a True Star" and the follow-up prog rock adventure "Todd" are getting rereleases on audiophile vinyl. The casual-fan favorite "Something/Anything" also gets in on the action, via Britain's vinyl-only imprint Demon Records. All three recordings are being rereleased July 14 in the U.K. and will be available as imports. They originally were released in what many consider to be Rundgren's peak creative period, 1972-1974. The Rundgren solo records recently saw expanded rereleases on CD from the Demon sidekick Edsel Label as part of a 40th-anniversary promotion. These were expansions of earlier releases, enhanced with hardbound-book style packaging featuring content from Paul Myers' book "A Wizard, A True Star: Todd Rundgren in the … [Read more...]

Rock Hall noms to Yes, Zombies, Deep Purple

Yes, Deep Purple and the Zombies bring a healthy dose of U.K. psychedelia to the 2014 nominees list for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Also nominated are the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, whose sonic explorations of the 1960s include the raga-rock mindblower "East-West," and genre-spanning art rocker Peter Gabriel. Other acts identified with the 1960s are Linda Ronstadt, the Meters, Link Wray and Cat Stevens. Yes, Gabriel and the Zombies are first-time nominees. Yes has been a notable and puzzling omission to the Rock Hall, perceived, perhaps, as a genre snub of progressive rock. Last year's induction ceremony saw Rush make the cut, though, bringing the first taste of prog to the institution. Other nominees are Hall and Oates, Nirvana, the Replacements, Chic, KISS, N.W.A. and … [Read more...]

King Crimson’s different drummers

King Crimson is back from exile. Bandleader Robert Fripp says the famed prog band will "return to active service" in summer 2014, fronted by a trio of drummers. Fripp made the announcement, of sorts, via his online diary: "So, King Crimson is in motion. This is a very different reformation to what has gone before: seven players, four English and three American, with three drummers," the British guitarist wrote in his not-surprisingly esoteric blog style. The concept appears to be the trio of drummers working as frontmen. Not making the lineup is guitarist Adrian Belew, who posted on Facebook Sept. 27 that "after 32 years I am no longer in King Crimson." He said Fripp "informed me in an email that he was starting a seven-piece version of the band. He said I would not be right … [Read more...]

Yes sets quadraphonic prog festival

Yes plans a one-day prog and psychedelic music festival in the U.S., featuring complete performances of their classic records "Close to the Edge" and "The Yes Album." Supporting acts at the Aug. 3 event in Camden, N.J., include Carl Palmer's ELP Legacy and Renaissance. "Yestival" will be a "day-into-night musical adventure in full quadraphonic sound," according to the longtime British band's web site. Tickets for Yestival go on sale Friday at 10 a.m. ET at a crowd-friendly price of $35. Camden is across the river from Philadelphia. "This is a concept we've been trying to put into motion for some time, and only now we’ve been able to turn it into reality," said Yes founding member Chris Squire. The bassist hinted that the festival may make other stops. "We're looking forward to … [Read more...]

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