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

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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

Time Between

Posted in Change, Family, Music, Risk and the Unknown, Society by guittard on May 9, 2008

From my journal on March 21, 2004 Dallas, Texas:

I am out on the balcony of my grandparents 2-story home smoking an Indian Bidis cigarette in the dark sneaking around like I am a child. I am 30 years old with nothing concrete to show.

As I sit and breathe in and out, I feel that familiar sinking, pushing down feeling on me. The fear and anxiety grips me along with the regret of much of my life. The feeling is that I should have spoken up for myself and not pretended that all was fine.

I’ve been in my current living situation for about seven months. I have never wanted to be like everybody else, to live an insignificant life of mediocrity. I just never knew my thing or felt confident enough to express it.

I think back on my college days in Colorado and the years I wasted going through the motions. I remember watching on late night cable “The Lost Weekend” where the actor locks himself up in his apartment to try to shake the booze cravings and to be a writer. Shame and fear or whatever else always kept him down. For me it was the fear of the unknown that got me caught up or the fear of breaking from tradition or the mold.

Fastforward to today 2008.

I guess, enough is enough, right?

Well, I have been in Bulgaria for the past two years with the Peace Corps teaching English at a high school. Not really teaching, mostly supervising. Ha, ha, ha….

Jim - Sofia, Bulgaria

I told you I wanted to do things different. I have been writing songs and posting about my experiences in a foreign culture. It is pretty foreign. I have even written some songs in the Bulgarian language.

Gangster by Jim Guittard

Stachkata by Jim Guittard

Blog title comes from Chris Hillman’s song on The Byrds 1967 Album “Younger Than Yesterday”

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.