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Mojo: 'Mind-blowing in terms of detail and scope... it faultlessly documents the era of fuzz guitar and cheesy Farfisa organ'
Fuzz Acid & Flowers Revisited: Expanded Edition
Wanna know about The Instincts, a Connecticut prep school garage outfit who shared their one and only privately pressed album with The Maiyeros glee club? No problem. In this 1,400-page monster of an encyclopaedia, Joynson has documented their meagre ventures alongside those of every other US outfit that ever got a sniff of acid and a Fender guitar and amp. This considerably enhanced and expanded update of his 2004 publication is mind-blowing in terms of detail and scope. Discographies of each band, including their appearances on CD reissues and myriad compilations, are catalogued, replete with personnel listings and assorted chunks of relevant info, plus a rarity rating. An amazing labour of love compiled with the help of numerous collectors, it faultlessly documents the era of fuzz guitar and cheesy Farfisa organ.
Record Collector: 'Like... just... totally mindblowing, dude...'
Fuzz Acid & Flowers Revisited: Expanded Edition
Like... just... totally mindblowing, dude...
With the previous edition of this back-breaking tome hitting the shelves in 2004, you'd be forgiven for thinking that Johnson and his clearly rabid circle of worldwide collectors missed the intervening six years thanks to a celebratory psychotropic blow-out in the desert.
Shindig: 'A literal monster of a book... the last word on US '60s and '70s garage and psychedlia'
Pity the poor postman delivering this beast to psych and garage fiends across the land. A literal monster of a book (1398 pages!) this, I am assured, is definitely the last word on US '60s and '70s garage and psychedelia.
Like for many collectors it was Vernon Joynson's first book The Acid Trip - a slim pocket size production by comparison - that set me on a course of record collecting that would fill my life with Dirty Filthy Mud, Kak, Ultimate Spinach, Peanut Butter Conspiracies and Strawberry Alarm Clocks, all seemingly mythical creations from a mythic time. That obsession for psychedelic and garage music has stayed with me since that first book appeared in the '80s and, over the years, Vernon Joynson has revised and expanded the book, changing its title through The Flash Back and eventually to Fuzz, Acid And Flowers.
60sgaragebands.com: 'should be on the bookshelf of anybody remotely interested in the groups and artists that painted the '60s musical landscape.'
As basically the first (and only) "Comprehensive Guide to American Garage, Psychedelic and Hippie Rock," Vernon Joynson's Fuzz Acid & Flowers has long deserved credit for its attempt to document the popular, obscure and unknown rock groups that recorded in America between 1963-1977 (this expanded edition has added a couple of years to previous editions). While previous volumes were large and very thorough in their coverage, this new 2010 edition is massive. In fact, simply, it's amazing. Checking in at over 1,400 pages (including 12 pages of color album covers), this Revisited, Expanded Edition has added many groups and CD/LP reissues since earlier volumes. Many of the entries were written with direct input from band members, producers, and other involved creative personnel-and it's obvious that the Internet was used to bridge other gaps. A glance at the contributors section reveals that many of the top hardcore collectors/researchers have contributed entries, with Max Waller and Clark Faville being especially heavily leaned on. And that's a bonus, as both Waller and Faville are diligent and respected researchers.
PSYCH TRAIL MIX #6: 'Honestly, I’d consider this the Bible for fans of 60’s Garage/Psychedelia!'
I’ve waited to get my hands on one of these for years, and I’m glad that I’ve waited now that the “Revisited Expanded Edition” has arrived! It’s quite a massive book at a whopping 1,398 pages! My one concern with it is the binding, so I will do my best to handle it like a newborn baby and hopefully minimize wear and tear. Honestly, I’d consider this the Bible for fans of 60’s Garage/Psychedelia! It’s funny too because the pages are kind of thin sort of paper that you’d find in an actual Bible! I opened this book up as a Christmas gift this past year like I was that little kid in the movie where he gets the bb gun! This is truly an amazing resource of information! Apparently Vernon Joynson and Max Waller spent around 15 years putting together this monster, updating it etc.. and their efforts must be commended. The book is an encyclopedia of far out sounds spanning the years 1963-1977, yes a wide range to cover! Another nice feature is the 12 full-color pages of psychedelic album cover art! I’ve had this book for quite some time and still seemed to have just scratched the surface. The thing about 60’s psych is that it’s SO vast that it’s hard to catch everything. So if you start to feel jaded at all, just browse this book and you’ll find yourself seeking out tons of new music that you may not have heard of before, or maybe have heard in past and forgotten to dig up to check it out. There’s also a section on compilations as well as “Top 20” lists which can be good starting points. If you can find this, it’s a worthy investment, I’ve seen some used and new on amazon.com Now here’s an exclusive interview done for Psych Trail Mix with the main man behind this massive tome, Vernon Joynson. Enjoy!
When did you first get into psych/garage music and who were some of your favorites?
I grew up mostly in Oxford, England. In 1966 I was 14. I was heavily into music and pirate radio was at its zenith. Arguably 1966-68 were the most exciting years in the history of rock and pop music. There was real synergy between these times of great musical innovation and the UK’s first taste of commercial radio (albeit offshore, which gave it a delightful amateurism at times) as the BBC had a monopoly of the airwaves prior to this and played very little rock and pop at all. Prior to pirate radio the only other real outlet for listeners to hear all the new records was Radio Luxembourg, but that was only available in the evenings and the signal would often fade or become distorted. The other big problem with Radio Luxembourg was that it operated a system of 'Payola' where by only the artists signed to major record labels that would pay a fee to the station would get their latest records heavily promoted. Without a contract with a big record company there was little chance of obtaining enough airplay to develop the careers of new artists. For those readers who don’t know there were quite a few offshore pirate radio stations that broadcast from ships, mostly in the North Sea (off the East Coast of England). The best were Radio London and Radio Caroline. I mostly listened to Radio London and from March 1967 DJ John Peel who’d been in LA until then had a late night show from 12 midnight – 2am called ‘The Perfumed Garden’ which introduced me to many of the most exciting US psych/garage acts of this era. But Radio London also had its own Top 40 and songs by bands like The Electric Prunes and Peanut Butter Conspiracy got into their charts and consequently got quite a lot of airplay. When I liked a band I often tried to buy their singles. I got some pretty strange expressions when I went to a shop called Taphouses, pretty much Oxford’s only record shop in the mid-late sixties, and requested some of these! I also bought records by better known bands. I remember hearing The Doors’ Light My Fire on Radio Caroline and thinking wow! I’d never heard anything like it.- a winning vocal/organ combination. I dashed out to buy it and drove my mum mad playing it again and again at full volume…six times in succession if my memory is correct! The other main influence was friends, many of whom were also getting into the amazing sounds coming out of the States in this era. We listened to each other’s albums and our knowledge grew as a result. It’s really hard to single out particular bands but I loved The Electric Prunes at the time and also bands like The Doors, Love, Velvet Underground and It’s A Beautiful Day. I still had yet to discover the likes of Quicksilver (later a big personal favorite), which I never recall hearing on radio in the sixties. John Cipollina is probably my favorite guitarist.
What inspired you to create such a massive tome on the subject?
After I left school I was a student for three years at Leeds University. I graduated with a 2:1 honors degree in Politics and then, when I started work in London and was earning money, I seriously started collecting records. It was now 1974. A lot of my friends were into music, though none quite as much as me. I set about tracking down a lot of the records I’d remembered from the mid-late sixties and along the way bought many more that were new to me (current and retrospective). I soon became frustrated by the lack of a decent guide to the more obscure ones. I thrive on a challenge and in the early eighties I set myself the task of producing what was the first encyclopedic guide to psychedelic music, ‘The Acid Trip’. I touted it around publishers and Babylon Books was very keen to publish it. I could never recommend anyone to buy that book now and it’s been out of print for many years but psychedelia was a bibliographical wilderness at the time. Every subsequent book I’ve written – ‘The Flashback’ and the various iterations of ‘Fuzz Acid and Flowers’ - has been an attempt to improve on the previous one. I’m sometimes surprised when I see how many I’ve written over the years alongside a full-time job and my other interests too.
You've done volumes on Canadian psych, UK, and American. Out of those 3 places, which do you think had the most exciting, vast psych/garage scene?
The US for sure. It’s got a bigger population base and lots of regional diversity. Of course we all know there are some very good Canadian and UK psych bands too. I belong to an album club here in London and wanted to select a more obscure album to introduce the members to psychedelia. I chose Plastic Cloud – a superb Canadian psych band. If I’d wanted a better known one, I’d probably have gone for the first Country Joe and The Fish album.
What was the most rewarding part of publishing Fuzz Acid & Flowers Revised/Expanded?
Undoubtedly receiving feedback from readers who’ve been stunned by its extent of the book and enjoyed it, especially younger readers who weren’t around at the time. The books take up a huge amount of my time and that of the collectors and friends who help with them. The positive feedback makes it all seem worth the effort. Also it must be rewarding for fellow collectors like Max Waller, Clark Faville, Nick Warburton and all the others who help with my books to hold the finished work and see their names in the credits. Hopefully they feel all the time they’ve invested has been worthwhile. It’s all about spreading the word about these musical genres really. Of course I’m not the only person doing this now. I think my books have influenced others. Recently, Patrick Lundborg has published his ‘Acid Archives’ editions (focusing primarily on private pressings and very rare albums) and Richard Morton-Jack, a very clever guy, whom I know, has recently published ‘The Endless Trip’ (focusing primarily on major label albums). Both these publications focus on describing the music on albums in a bit more detail than my books do, although they don’t include the line-ups, band histories, 45 discographies and descriptions and compilations appearances in the detail that my books do. They are both good books, which help to spread the word and some readers will probably want to have all three. I think we are all collectors who want others to discover the artists we write about, listen to their music and make up their own minds.
Will this volume be the definitive, final volume put out by you on the American psych/garage/hippie music of days gone by?
That’s a hard question to answer. I’m always discovering more about these bands and I’ve no plans to retire from writing at present… I get too much pleasure from it. It is an impossible task for any book on a subject like this to be definitive, but I think this latest one is near to as good as we can get it in the space available. The sheer size of the book is now a problem in terms of binding. I continually update my records with new information though, so further volumes of any of my books can be produced relatively easily. We’ll have to see what happens.
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