This belter of an album reminds me of a period in the mid 2000s when I was trying to put together a southern rock-tinged blues-boogie band in Manchester with Dustan Chiasson, an American ex-serviceman from Louisiana. Cream’s Sunshine Of Your Love and the Black Crowe’s Remedy were two of the songs that we bonded over, and despite a raft of rehearsals – many of which amusingly took place in the stock room of an adult store in Oldham – and just one live performance of Sunshine Of Your Love and ZZ Top’s Blue Jean Blues, the band fizzled out and lost momentum.
I recently discovered that Dustan committed suicide in 2015, an extremely sad loss that really took me by surprise. He was always such a solid guy, which I always put down to his past in the military, and so to hear how he died is really confusing. One of our band members lived in Todmorden and so we’d sometimes drive there from Manchester. I have good memories of those car trips, laughing and joking about stuff to pass the time. I seem to remember being in the car with Dustan when we heard on the radio that Syd Barrett died. Such a weird thing to remember, but I even remember the exact spot on the M60 where we heard the news.
That could have been a good band, if we had kept it together. My wife and I really got on with Dustan’s Finnish wife, and his two kids and some of their parental instructions (‘lopettaa!’ = ‘stop!’). We lost touch, but from what I’ve gathered online, it seems like he later formed a killer band in Remedy Krewe. They sound very much like the image he had for the band we were putting together.
Is there a more important year in music than 1967? It seems to exist as a pivot between then and now, the old and new, the past and the future. Thanks to that year’s rebooted technicolour of the Beatles, and similarly colourful debuts by (the) Cream and (the) Pink Floyd, the floodgates were opened and the rules were rewritten.
Pink Floyd must have been some whacky sight to behold around this time. Who would have thought that such a pretentious bunch of architecture and art students playing freak-out music in front of a trippy light show would become one of the world’s biggest stadium rock bands? At this point, it’s still very much Syd Barrett’s band – his off-kilter rhymes and childlike lyrics drive the record along, with very little of the form and function that would characterise the band after Roger Waters took control.
Compared to the comparatively conventional beat music that had peppered the charts over the previous five years, the primitive and experimental feel to Floyd’s early music is almost proto-punk, a pre-echo of that other seminal year in music a decade later.
Hearing a Pink Floyd song on the soundtrack to a film is thankfully a rare thing, but I appreciated the appearance of the brilliant Interstellar Overdrive on the otherwise dull Doctor Strange a couple of years ago. The outlandish asking price for last year’s Record Store Day 12” live version of the song was too much for me, but for this year’s Record Store Day I hunted down this mono reissue of the album, in a lovely redesigned outer sleeve by Aubrey Powell at Hipgnosis.