R.I.P Roky

And so vale Roky Erickson, who died last week.

His 13th Floor Elevators (1965-69), as y’all probably well know, was the first band to self-identify as psychedelic. His own definition of such music is ever-so-suitably cryptic and crazy-wise – ‘where the pyramid meets the eye’.

Seven years ago, Roky played a strange and wild show at Sydney’s Factory Theatre during his only Australian tour. Some kind of lid was lifted and I’m not sure what leapt out.

Looking rather Jerry Garcia-esque, Roky said nothing to his audience and needed a roadie to put on his guitar and point him in the right direction. But his playing and singing were in fine fettle. Twas all very mesmerising and powerful. Fences toppled and an unsettling edge was established. And some people, it seemed, couldn’t help going a bit mad.

I think the fighting began during Reverberation. A stage invader was thrown off by the world’s smallest bouncer. Then Roky’s son Jaeger (whose band was backing Roky) suddenly leapt into the crowd, fists swinging. The other guitarist, equally warlike, rapidly joined him in swapping punches with punters.

Lesser scuffles bubbled throughout but Roky surfed his sound over this undertow. Towards the tail-end some mad drunkard put his hand on my shoulder, making me his launchpad to vaulting onstage. He landed right in front of Roky, who took fright and fled. The ropeable Jaeger, blood well up, swooped but the drunkard narrowly escaped a damned good thrashing after swiping a setlist from the floor.

Roky resumed business, which closed with his 1966 single You’re Gonna Miss Me.

Post-gig googling revealed certain attending curmudgeons resented Roky Jnr, regarding his band as trashing Dad’s legacy, and the fights erupted when someone chucked a bottle at him. I’d never have guessed; to me the band’s quality and respect for the music appeared beyond doubt.

Roky’s life was as hard as it was creative. And his creativity was in full flower as late as his final album, True Love Cast Out All Evil (2010), which is a gem. I especially recommend the sublime opening track, Devotional Number One.

Wearing the Green at the Red Bar

Lan’sakes – MYSTERIOUS UNIVERSE are suddenly marshalling all the forces at their musical disposable for a short-notice gig at The Red Bar in Glebe. It’ll be this Sunday, March 17, around 6pm – St Patrick’s Day, certainly worth a tipple and a song!

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Strange Brew!

They surely were ‘Songs of Mystery & Imagination’ at Staves Brewery yesterday, just like the ad said!

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A big and cosmic thanks to our sonic comrades WAHOO GHOST and CROW MOUNTAIN (photos below) for making the evening so much more.

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Wahoo Ghost (above) are ethereal with an edge; there’s something harder beneath the shimmering surface of those atmospheric guitar textures, like a coral reef.

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Crow Mountain’s particular sea-coast of Bohemia just might be Appalachia. Bluegrassy originals are complemented by a rotating roster of guest musicians – here’s a squeezebox player; there’s a Flatt-pickin’ guitarist. Seize hold of their new CD ‘Shallow Water’!

Album Takes Off

The countdown has been counting down for a long time now (it seems we might have started at infinity) but anyhow, the prelims are done and dusted and our first musical product is on the cyber-shelves at last, i.e. BANDCAMP (click link to check it out).

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Our eponymous four-track EP MYSTERIOUS UNIVERSE (digital only for all the usual mundane wing-clippin’ reasons) is officially out there and Mysterious Universe can officially pronounce itself (ourself? ourselves?) over the Moon.

All songs are original – all four have been in our live set a while – and feature electric mandolin, electric and acoustic guitar, harmonica, bass and drums.

Down Townie

Cracker of a gig at Newtown’s Townie the other night – thanks to y’all for coming along. Here’s some pics. We are returning to King Street on February 20th for a three-piece thang at Kelly’s On King – mandolin/harp, guitar and bass, like we did at Gasoline Pony recently. There’s a new sound system there and it’s free and there’s Guinness so mosey along!

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The Moon + The Universe

The full MU crew launch 2018 with a short set at Gasoline Pony in Marrickville on January’s final evening.

We’re sharing the night with the SUPER BLUE BLOOD FULL MOON – not another band, but a very cool natural phenomenon of our universe.

It’s the Moon but not as we know it, Jim, being simultaneously Super (larger than a normal full moon, being at its closest point to Earth), Blue (the second full moon of the calendar month) and Blood (red-coloured due to a total eclipse – of the moon, not of the heart). It hasn’t happened since 1866 so cast your eyes skywards.

Thankfully it hasn’t been that long between gigs for Mysterious Universe!

Now & Zen

Mysterious Universe landed at Zen Studios in Sydney in early December to record four original songs, which oughta take their place in the real musical universe real soon.

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Most tracks were put down as live, finished off with minimal overdubbing. Extra guitar was added to a couple of tracks, especially our ‘sort-of autobiography’ Mysterious Universe. We also did Cameo, which has a harp solo; Lo & Behold; and Share a Dream.

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As you can see, it was an amiable session; a fine time was had by all. No small furry creatures were damaged, and no televisions hurled from fifth storey buildings. We didn’t even require separate limousines. And many thanks to our recording engineer, Geoff Lee. Mixing ought to be complete this week.