Jim Guittard’s Place

The Quarter After

Posted in Music, Neo-psychedelia, Psychedelic by guittard on October 2, 2008

by Jim Guittard

Something has been going on for the past eight years. It is the musical revolution that the Brian Jonestown Massacre front man Anton Newcombe is famous for talking about. In 2000, a Neo-Psychedelic scene with half a dozen bands was birthed in Silverlake, California. The Quarter After was one of those pioneer bands that was turned on from the start and continues today to turn on others.

As described by the band itself, the Quarter After is psychedelic music for the 21st century. The group is led by the Campanella brothers: Dominic and Rob. They formed in the summer of 2000 with then bassist Dave Koenig and drummer Nelson Bragg.

They began playing shows at the Silverlake Lounge, 3 of Clubs, and Spaceland. It was here that the hipsters gathered by the thing that was going on. You ask what was going on? Well simply, it was a spiritual awakening or rather a wake up call. It was a real departure from the philosophy underlying the excess mainstream music.

A new social consciousness was formed which was held together by the reverence of the older music acts such as the Kinks, the Beatles, the Byrds, Bob Dylan, the Buffalo Springfield, Love, the Left Banke, the Flying Burrito Brothers, the Zombies, the Searchers, and the Association. There are too many bands to name.

It was not all by chance that this scene formed. Early on, the Campanella brothers made 4-track recordings of psychedelic pop. It was at the time of grunge. They were following the path set by the previous revival of psychedelic pop with bands like the Bangles, the Three O’Clock, and Dream Syndicate. In 1994, at a show at the Foothill Club in Signal Hill, Rob obtained the stamp of approval he needed to make psychedelic music. The show was a Sonic Boom concert where the Brian Jonestown Massacre was opening. It was even before the BJM had released any records. That night Rob listened to the psychedelic sounds of Anton’s band and something clicked. It was the green light and no turning back for Rob and Dom.

For a long time Rob remained behind the recording console as music producer for other psychedelic bands- the Beachwood Sparks, the Tyde, Dead Meadow, the Black Angels, and even the Brian Jonestown Massacre, and Sunstorm. It was only two years after establishing the Quarter After, that the band caught the ears of Arthur Lee of Love. The band was asked to open up for Arthur Lee’s first show after being released from prison. In May 2002, the Quarter After soared high at this Los Angeles Knitting Factory gig. They were well received but shortly thereafter unofficially split.

But Rob was pulled back in 2003. The band reformed with a new bassist (Victor Peсalosa), and drummer and opened for Dead Meadow, a band Anton had found for the Committee to Keep Music Evil label. With renewed interest in the Quarter After, Rob and the band resumed work on their debut album that had already been started. The tracks were mostly recorded live with very little overdubs. Much of the time, Anton Newcombe manned the recording console.

The standout tracks from the debut album were “Too Much To Think About,” “Always Returning,” “One Trip Later,” and “So Far To Fall.” The album on a whole has a hypnotic energy, featuring soaring Rickenbacker 12-String, high harmonies and a hint of raga rock influence. Any serious lover of the Byrds, Gene Clark and the Beatles would be satisfied with the album.

After the record was released in 2005, Newcombe asked them to go out on tour with him as opening band for the Brian Jonestown Massacre. The tour went well and the revolutionary spirit was kept alive. The boys were writing new songs and were preparing to record their second album once back in Los Angeles.

The second album is Changes Near and was released in April 2008. A standout track is “Sanctuary,” which has a spiritual undertone- a beautiful song about faith, where fear and doubt are wiped away. “Follow Your Own Way” and the title track also follow this theme of faith and believe in the self.

This is the part of the revolution that Newcombe has been pushing, where he once said “I’m here to destroy this fucked up system… I’ll use our strength. Let’s fucking burn it to the ground.” He was pointing to the whole music industry. Time has now caught up with him as the record companies and labels are no longer in charge. And the Quarter After is poised to be part of this new world.

Also see The Quarter After’s website

Article is reprinted from the October/November 2008 Edition
Perfect Sound Forever Online Music Magazine

Record Companies Are Irrelevant

Posted in Music, Society by guittard on June 25, 2008

Good music cannot be heard if people don’t rise up in defense of good artists.

The money making machine has been in control of what music gets out. But today, artists and fans are fed up.  The elite record labels are overthrown.  They have no respect anymore.  They are only after making the almighty buck.  They care nothing about music.

We, the artists, are sticking it to them.  They have no authority over the artist anymore.  They will not control the release of good music anymore.  They rarely put out good music.  The record company is irrelevant and outdated.

The revolution is upon us.  The fearful status quo thinking of the record company suits is over.  We, the artists, have taken charge.

There are many alternatives to getting the music out there. There is a free culture movement going on. Artists are starting to give their music away. I have have done this. The bottom line is to have my music heard. Look me up at Jamendo

How ’bout that Capital, Geffen, Warner Brothers, A&M, Columbia, etc.?

Jim Guittard

Me

Influencing Society Through Music

Posted in Change, Good Music, Music, Society by guittard on May 7, 2008

Today’s mainstream music is not very healthy for the average person’s psyche. It leaves most people going in circles and never resolving anything, only hoping to win the lotto of material wealth and fame.

Music in the past had worthwhile messages and often empowered the listeners to strive for something good and meaningful. Nowadays, the listeners are often led on selfish head trips that do not empower at all but rather cripple.

Much of the music of the past was geared to correct society’s problems. Now, music is rather limited in its focus. The main focus is on appearance, material gain and other rather selfish themes. Take a look at MTV for evidence.

Plato

In Plato’s, The Republic, the role of music was discussed for the ideal state. In the ideal state, harmonies which expressed excessive sorrow and relaxation were to be banished completely. In musical terms, Plato only allowed for two modes in songs and melodies: Dorian and Phrygian1 Probably, Spinal Tap’s sad piece, “Lick My Love Pump”, would have been banned.

The modern Philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche said in his Case of Wagner in 1888: “Only sick music makes money today.” I believe this quotation has much relevance to most of today’s mainstream music.

Here is the Top Ten hits from Top 40 Charts for May 2, 2008 for sales and airplays.

1. Lil Wayne – Lollipop
2. Leona Lewis – Bleeding Love
3. Jordin Sparks & Chris Brown – No Air
4. Usher & Young Jeezy – Love in This Club
5. Mariah Carey – Touch My Body
6. Madonna & Justin Timberlake – 4 minutes
7. Sara Bareilles – Love Song
8. Ray J & Jung Berg – Sexy Can I
9. Chris Brown – With You
10. Lupe Fiasco – Superstar

Let us examine some of the lyrics.

Partial lyrics Chris Brown – With You

‘Cause if I got you
I don’t need money
I don’t need cars
Girl you’re my heart

Mr. Brown’s implied message is good. He implies that material things are less important than people. I give him a thumbs up for good positive message.

Usher & Young Jeezy – Love In This Club

Might as well give me a kiss, if we keep touching like this
I know you’re scared, baby, they don’t know what we’re doing.
Let’s both get undressed right here, keep it up and, girl, I swear.
I’m gonna give it to you non-stop.
And I don’t care, who’s watching.

I believe this is bad message that promotes impulse and lack of commitment. Thumbs down.

Mariah Carey – Touch My Body

Touch my body
Put me on the floor
Wrestle me around
Play with me some more
Touch my body
Throw me on the bed
I just wanna make you feel
Like you never did.
Touch my body
Let me wrap my thighs
All around your waist
Just a little taste
Touch my body
Know you love my curves
Come on and give me what I deserve
And touch my body….

Trash lyrics. Maybe Mariah is tired of the Paparazzi filming her and claiming they had relationship with her. Thumbs down for negative message. (oh boy).

Leona Lewis – Bleeding Love

Closed off from love
I didn’t need the pain
Once or twice was enough
And it was all in vain
Time starts to pass
Before you know it you’re frozen um ooh ooh ooh yeah

But something happened
For the very first time with you
My heart melts into the ground
Found something true
And everyone’s looking round
Thinking I’m going crazy

But I don’t care what they say
I’m in love with you
They try to pull me away
But they don’t know the truth
My heart’s crippled by the vein
That I keep on closing
You cut me open and I

Keep bleeding
Keep, keep bleeding love
I keep bleeding
I keep, keep bleeding love
Keep bleeding
Keep, keep bleeding love
You cut me open

Trying hard not to hear
But they talk so loud
Their piercing sounds fill my ears
Try to fill me with doubt
Yet I know that the goal
Is to keep me from falling

But nothing’s greater
Than the rush that comes with your embrace
And in this world of loneliness
I see your face
Yet everyone around me
Thinks that I’m going crazy, maybe, maybe….

I’ll give credit to Ms. Lewis for staying committed and fighting the good fight through the problems. This song is obviously about love. Thumbs up for positive message.

The music of the 1960s brought about change in a turbulent decade. The time was about questioning authority. George Harrison’s song “Think for Yourself” is a good example of the philosophy of the 1960s. Now people do not question authority much. We have become too satisfied with life. We have too much idle time and so we become obsessed with determining who has “The Sweetest Ass in the World”. If you do not know this song, look up Alex C. on google or youtube. These are the type songs that are not only popular but sell money today. I think Nietzsche would be having a fit!

David

In the past, music had the power to literally break down walls. In Biblical times the town of Jericho was liberated by music and sound. The walls surrounding Jericho came down from the loud blasts of trumpets and the shouting of priests. 2 The music set the people free. The music of today often keeps us in bondage to depression or to bad situation we are going through.

Another Biblical musical reference is about the Shepherd David. David was requested to calm down the anxiety-ridden king of Israel. In the King’s palace, David played his soothing harp. This is an example how music can be used to benefit mental health.3

Most of today’s music is aggressive but it makes sense with the War on Terrorism and Iraq both raging. There are so many bad vibes floating around. The workplace is also very volatile and up and down with lay-offs, wage freezes, and rumors of recession. Maybe we are all fed up with what is going on or we should be. We are in a fearful and uncertain time. It is often hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

I believe that most people should be a little angry and fed up. If the person is not, then the person is probably numbed by anti-depressants or other pills. (Been there, done that). Living in the comfort zone of America, people have become too apathetic to break away from American Idol or the latest fad or trend.

In the 1960s, there were riots, protests, demonstrations, assassinations, the most turbulent of decades. Today is probably just as turbulent or more but where is the cry for change from the mainstream?

There are a few but it is limited. System of a Down has been one of the more outspoken bands about the war in Iraq.

B.Y.O.B.

Everybody’s going to the party have a real good time.
Dancing in the desert blowing up the sunshine.

In 1969, at Woodstock, Country Joe sang his famous protest song of the Vietnam War. Here is the first part of the lyrics.

Country Joe

I Feel Like I’m Fixin’ To Die

Yeah, come on all of you, big strong men,
Uncle Sam needs your help again.
He’s got himself in a terrible jam
Way down yonder in Vietnam
So put down your books and pick up a gun,
We’re gonna have a whole lotta fun.

And it’s one, two, three,
What are we fighting for?
Don’t ask me, I don’t give a damn,
Next stop is Vietnam;
And it’s five, six, seven,
Open up the pearly gates,
Well there ain’t no time to wonder why,
Whoopee! we’re all gonna die….

The band, Rage Against the Machine has been outspoken on such issues as censorship and artistic freedom.

This is a very big issue in the music industry these days. Stay tuned…

To end on a positive note, here is a list of artists that have thoughtful and forward thinking messages and have meant a lot to me. You cannot go wrong here!!

1. Animals, The
2. Arlo Guthrie
3. Association, The
4. Band, The
5. Beach Boys, The
6. Beachwood Sparks
7. Beatles, The
8. Beck
9. Black Angels, The
10. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
11. Bob Dylan
12. Bob Gibson
13. Brian Jonestown Massacre, The
14. Bruce Springsteen
15. Buffalo Springfield
16. Byrds, The
17. Canned Heat
18. Carl Perkins
19. Carter Family, The
20. Chi-lites, The
21. Chris Stills
22. Chuck Berry
23. Coasters, The
24. Counting Crows, The
25. Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young
26. Cure, The
27. Dandy Warhols, The
28. David Bowie
29. Deep Purple
30. Depeche Mode
31. Donovan
32. Doors, The
33. Edie Brickell
34. Elvis Presley
35. Fairpoint Convention
36. Flat People
37. Flying Burrito Brothers, The
38. Further
39. Gene Clark
40. George Harrison
41. Go-Kart Mozart
42. Gram Parsons
43. Grateful Dead, The
44. Hank Williams
45. INXS
46. Janis Joplin
47. Jay Farrar
48. Jefferson Airplane
49. Jesus and the Mary Chain
50. Jimi Hendrix
51. John Lennon
52. Johnny Cash
53. Kinks, The
54. Kula Shaker
55. Led Zeppellin
56. Left Banke
57. Lenny Kravitz
58. Little Richard
59. Lou Reed
60. Louvin Brothers, The
61. Love
62. Lovin’ Spoonful, The
63. Merle Haggard
64. Monkees, The
65. My Bloody Valentine
66. Mystic Chords of Memory
67. Neil Young
68. N.W.A.
69. Oasis
70. Paul McCartney
71. Pink Floyd
72. Poco
73. Police, The
74. Quarter After, the
75. Radiohead
76. Rage Against the Machine
77. Red Hot Chili Peppers
78. Richie Furay
79. Ride
80. Roger McGuinn
81. Rolling Stones, The
82. Ryan Adams
83. Sheryl Crow
84. Sly and the Family Stone
85. Simon and Garfunkle
86. Son Volt
87. Spacemen 3
88. Stephen Stills
89. Strawberry Alarm Clock
90. System of A Down
91. Thrills, The
92. Tom Petty
93. Troggs, The
94. Tyde, The
95. U2
96. Uncle Tupelo
97. Van Halen
98. Van Morrison
99. Velvet Underground, The
100. Violent Femmes, The
101. Warlocks, the
102. Who, The
103. Willie Nelson
104. Wiskey Biscuit
105. Wilco
106. Wings
107. Zombies, The
108. ZZ Top


up1Plato. Republic. Trans. Benjamin Jowett.

up2 Josh. 6:20

up3 1 Sam. 16:23

The BJM Philosophy: Not Giving Up

Posted in Change, Family, Music, Neo-psychedelia, Psychedelic, Society by guittard on March 16, 2007

I got into the BJM in late 1999. It was well before Dig but after the Viper Room and other events made “famous” in the movie. Put aside all the fistfights, verbal attacks or whatever, the music of the Brian Jonestown Massacre stands the test of time. Forget all the hype of Anton Newcombe being some crazy guy. Who cares? It’s about music right?

Starting in late 1999, I was lucky enough to see the band in person while living in Los Angeles. Anton was a cool dude to me. I never saw any of the abuse the movie is so based upon. In fact, he’s quite intelligent and courteous.

But the mark left with me from experiencing the BJM firsthand is tremendous. If I could sum up what I have gotten out of it. For me it left me with the feeling that I can have numerous chances to do “my thing.”

It’s about going for it no matter what, not giving up. Striving through all the hype. One does not have to be near famous to have hype about them. It seems that most families have hype. They have opinions on how one’s career should be or when they should marry, etc.

With the BJM, it’s about showing the press or mainstream or others that they are wrong with their close-minded routine thinking. It is a wake up call to society to think more positively and courageously with vision. A Beatles’ song comes to mind: “Think For Yourself.” Words are “Do what you want to do and go where you’re going to. Think for yourself ‘Cause I won’t be there with you.” It’s about standing on you own feet. Making your own history.

It is funny how when I read news stories about this famous person or that. The articles always bring up the past. Writers say nothing new. They write about what they’ve been told and don’t give people the chance to better themselves. Writers go along with the status quo, maybe for what is entertaining or controversial. I think the BJM evokes courage.

In America, we talk about free speech and everything but I think, in general, it is slanted toward the controversial, trashy, and rubbish category. Why do Americans like to read about controversy? I don’t but maybe most people do. I’m 33. Not that old. I’m among the Generation X, which have been written about to be cynical or the children of divorce families. I am from a divorced family and some of my family’s past is chaotic with fistfights and verbal attacks.

Here’s an excerpt from a news article I was mentioned in concerning “Generation X” finding their place in the world.1

Jim Guittard of Dallas, who will be 32 in October, lives with his grandparents, shelves books part-time at a branch of the Dallas Public Library and hopes to head to Eastern Europe or Central Asia for the Peace Corps this fall.

Armed with a degree in American history from Colorado’s Western State College, Guittard started out working as an automobile-insurance-claims adjuster but grew tired of the constant bickering over money.

To pursue his passion for playing the guitar, he moved to Hollywood, Calif., where he found gigs playing in clubs. But the money wasn’t enough to provide a steady living. To survive, he worked a series of low-paying jobs at a talent agency, a rental-car office and an apartment-locator firm.

The experiences left him disillusioned about working in corporate America, and he moved back to Dallas a little more than two years ago.

“I don’t want to settle,” he says of his decision to seek happiness rather than money. “Do what your heart says.”

That’s why I take comfort in the BJM. The BJM, I think, looks past the obvious. The obvious is, yes, you may have a disfunctional past but you can be somebody. It’s about not labelling others. Labels can be bad.

So what else can I say? Well, if you’ve read this far then, thank you. The BJM is cool.

Back in 2001, I recorded an instrumental in tribute to the BJM.

BJM-Like Song by Jim Guittard


up1Katherine Yung, “As Generation X begins to hit 40, it’s finding its place in the world,” The Dallas Morning News, 8 July 2005.