Thursday, August 13, 2009

Ghost tour comes to Lee's Palace

Ca /66 Revue RIP

Ghost tour comes to Lee's Palace
The grim spectre of death will be at Lee Palace’s this Friday in the form of a 60s nostalgia psychedelic rock tour called the California 66 Revue.

When the revival tour was announced in mid-June it boasted three of the best Cali psych rock combos from back in the day – Electric Prunes, Love and Sky “Sunlight” Saxon of proto-punk LA garage rockers the Seeds.

Tragically, Saxon died about a week later – June 25 – in an Austin, Texas hospital from an undetermined internal infection but the news was greatly overshadowed by the untimely death of another, far more famous musician hours later.

Best known for a couple Top 40 hits, Can’t Seem to Make You Mine and Pushin' Too Hard, the Seeds, with their inclusion on the legendary Nuggets compilation, eventually became a cult band garage rockers will always namecheck because the Stones are too obvious.

The California 66 was already on shaky ground before Saxon’s death by trumpeting a modern configuration of another cultish psych pop band from the LA scene – Love – which debatably has no business existing without deceased frontman Arthur Lee, the voice, main songwriter and face of the group in all its various incarnations over the last 30-plus years.

Lee passed away in 2006 and now original guitarist John Echols and some players going by the very hippy-dippy name of Baby Lemonade (Lee’s backing group for about a decade before his death) are touring as Love.

Echols did play in the original Love lineup up until their near breakthrough Forever Changes, which is cited as one of the most overlooked records of the late 60s, but was given the boot along with the rest of the band by Lee soon after Changes’ release.

To see Love without Lee is difficult to wrap your head around. It’s like going to see ELO without Jeff Lynne.

To make matters worse for the troubled tour is the recent cancellation of the band originally responsible for putting the tour together - obscure psych combo the Electric Prunes. The influential feedback rockers, now fronted by Mike Tulin and James Lowe, pulled out at the last minute due to irreconcilable differences with promoter Patrick Hand.

The Prunes biggest success came from what many describe as a religious concept album called Mass in F Minor. The head trip album contained psychedelic versions of prayers, and a tune called Kyrie Eleison which made it onto the Easy Rider soundtrack.

Yet this show somehow still goes on.

Filling in the deep vacant hole left by Saxon and the Prunes is Jerry Miller, one of three guitarists from San Francisco psych crackpots Moby Grape, a group better known for wild Canuck frontman Skip Spence, also deceased, then any other their unheard records.

Despite all the problems, fatalities, cancellations, the California 66 Revue, unlike many of the unsung musicians associated with it, lives on.

Check the Lee’s Palace website for more ticket information on the California 66 Revue.

Aug 11, 2009 at 12:06 AM
Copyright 2009 NOW Communications

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