During the 70s, rock musicians, creative thinkers and visual artists collectively agreed upon forming a subculture of peace, love, and understanding consciously and subconsciously and in a period of no social media, no Internet and a fairly conservative society. The youth population appointed rock music as their leaders by supporting them and becoming part of a metaphysical synchronization similar to how the Renaissance period evolved.
Within this subculture musicians enriched our souls by connecting us all with universal frequencies and vibrations, tools for describing their emotions as well as their followers. Songs with romantic psychedelic lyrics fueled by pure pharmaceuticals opened doors to cerebral explorations and psychedelic landscapes.
England initiated this life changing force from a center of rebels, individuals and trend setters ready to explode ideas into the world. It was an unstoppable movement. More importantly, England was where The Beatles were developed by brainchild marketing — intentional or not — and just in time for TV, another new phenomenon which had a variety show called Ed Sullivan. It aired on Sunday nights when everyone was at home relaxing, at least until The Beatles appeared on the screen, then an audience of young girls freaked out, screaming and crying even when Ed just said their name.
The Beatles broke the conservative mold with their longish, sexy, shaggy hair, English suits, high heeled boots and electric instruments. Four cute, sexy guys dressed alike singing love songs. I loved them so much I swore to my brother Joey, who was getting into The Beatles too, that I would move to England when I was old enough, not only for The Beatles but for that kind of lifestyle; creative independence, melodic rock music and mod fashion.
Hair cuts became Beatle cuts with bangs, and attitude; not an easy path to take in a Catholic school system where wearing uniforms was the rule. Well, me and rules… that’s another story… Soon thereafter school uniforms became more of a choice.
My god was no longer nailed to a cross, god was The Beatles, then the Rolling Stones, The Yardbirds, the Dave Clark Five, Chad and Jeremy, Peter and Gordon, Eric Bourdon & The Animals, The Zombies, Paul Revere and the Raiders, Jefferson Airplane, the Byrds, Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels, and other sixties bands — at least until the 70s.
The first time I heard the Beatles was after church one Sunday. Dad took my sister Sherry and I to a Parkersburg, WV Catholic church that day, then to a soda shop after the priest was finished chanting Latin for an hour; all very theatrical which I loved but after arriving at the soda shop just a few minutes later their radio played, “I Want To Hold Your Hand.” I stood up, grabbed Sherry by the arm and made her stand up, not sure why I made her stand up aside from that she needed to pay very close attention, but hey, I was excited, and said, “Listen to this!” It was as if I was just born at that point. So, around age 12, I began marketing bands I guess.
Sgt. Peppers was released in 1967; a drug experience album that began to lead us all into temptation, transcendence and the psychedelic era with heavier music. The day I got the album I dragged my little brother Patrick into the house from his archeology digs for arrowheads (we lived on what was basically an ancient Native American reservation, found arrowheads all the time) to convince him that he had to be as excited as I was and take a picture with me since I was the proud owner of The Beatles new Sgt. Peppers album.
Hair got longer, clothes became more creative and was sort of a new kind of uniform that integrated us into the psychedelic hippie community. The Beatles started to change and so did music especially for me when my new mythological god arrived on the scene named Jimi Hendrix with “Are You Experienced.” Jimi’s realm was so creatively alluring that it changed my stardust molecules in ways that made me ‘see’ that mythology gods are life changing visionaries.
Every nuance of sound, lyrics, echoplex, manipulated electricity, tube amp, jet stream were ingredients of intoxicating music threading my magic carpet that propelled me into my own world of art. Musical explorations were enhanced with drugs like acid, speed, weed, but my addiction was music and art. Although I did my share of drugs I already had a mind’s engine with a psychedelic perspective, but sold a few drugs to buy albums, play Deep Purple’s “Hush” and such on The Pub’s juke box where Vickie and I hung out and bought tickets to get into The Club where bands played live in Marietta, Ohio, the college town I grew up in. Music dictated through its ‘code’ that it was okay to express my artistic emotions and be creative like rock stars, my ‘real life’ Mythological Gods. During that era I discovered who I am, what my purpose is and have hung onto it for dear life ever since.
My best friend Vickie Parks Garten and I made pacts then that if I died before she did she was to play Jimi Hendrix’s “If 6 were 9” at my funeral, and she wanted me to be sure to play Janis Joplin’s “Piece of My Heart” at hers. Now, I believe I would choose to be sent into the next realm with Pink Floyd’s “Echoes” live at Pompeii video, then Uriah Heep’s “Rainbow Demon,” UFO’s “Treacle People” and Steve Marriott profoundly emphasizing, “I Don’t Need No Doctor.” All early versions.
Uriah Heep, began their journey to becoming mythological gods in 1972 when Lee Kerslake, once of the Gods and New Zealander Gary Thain, then member of Keef Hartley Band, joined Mick Box, David Byron and Ken Hensley, in February 1972. The result of this newly found chemistry was the Demons and Wizards album with the enchanting song, “Rainbow Demon.”
Demons and Wizards reached No. 20 in the UK and No. 23 in the USA in June 1972. Both the album and Roger Dean’s sleeve hinted that the band was romantically working medieval myth into their songs — and surely songs like “Rainbow Demon” and “The Wizard” (co-written by Mark Clarke, during his short stay in the band) did have thematic links with fantasy world though a more straightforward, hard-rocking approach was also apparent.
Rainbows were a regular station for 70s hippies and a necessary place for artists and musicians to visit then articulate experiences. Uriah Heep built a series of stories that would result in mythological proportions. They were a leader of Utopian thinking which at that time permeated many facets of the rock community but Utopia claimed David Byron and Gary Thain, and just after that enchanted source bewitched Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin. The day Jimi died I was devastated. It was becoming very depressing and felt like Utopia was withering.
The Scorpions had songs like, “Fly To The Rainbow” (1978) accompanied by lyrics describing the subculture thinking like:
Well, I lived in magic solitude
Of cloudy-looking mountains
And a lake made out of crystal raindrops …
Roaming through Space ten thousand years ago
“Fly to the Rainbow” is the second studio album by German hard rock band Scorpions, released in 1 November 1974 in the United States. “Fly to the Rainbow” credits Michael Schenker & Uli Jon Roth as writers. In 1975 The Scorpions released “In Trance,” which marked the beginning of their long collaboration with mythological god and legend German producer, Dieter Dierks.
The Scorpions included the ultra creative minds of mythological gods: Uli Jon Roth, Michael Schenker, Klaus Meine, Rudy Schenker, Herman Rarebell and Matthias Jabs.
Vocalist Phil Mogg, guitarist Mick Bolton, bassist Pete Way, and drummer Andy Parker formed a band in 1968, originally taking the name Hocus Pocus. The group was considered to be in the Space Rock genre at the time. They changed their name in October 1969 to UFO in honor of the London club where they were spotted by Noel Moore, who signed them to Beacon Records label.
British rock band UFO with Phil Mogg, Pete Way, Mick Bolton, Andy Parker and eventually German guitarist from the Scorpions Michael Schenker who was offered the position of lead guitar player for UFO (taking over for Bernie Marsden, himself a temporary replacement for Mick Bolton) and, with the blessing of his brother, accepted (The Scorpions replaced him with Uli Roth), even though Michael Schenker didn’t speak English. He spoke guitar though! He is called “a legendary figure in the history of metal guitar” almost daily on any Facebook Group, YouTube and other social media.
Michael Schenker is pure soul, like UFO/Waysted bass legend Pete Way is, and would not have made the choice to go with UFO if he hadn’t felt something clicked with his visions. Obviously, he did. So, UFO, German artistry, the flying V and comrade chemistry became his outlet for how he expressed himself.
Pete Way, from UFO requested that Phil Mogg pick up a Thunderbird bass for him when Phil went to NY in the early 70s. Pete has played Thunderbirds since then for a reason, he instinctively knew and knows it is a part of himself; the right tool for expressing his emotions. It is part of his magic. And, put amazing talents together like Pete Way and Michael Schenker in a band with a soulful vocalist like Phil Mogg and drummer Andy Parker and you have a chemistry for historic, mythological success.
Pete Way has always expressed his understanding of what bass guitar is not only sound-wise but theatrically. We will discuss Pete more in upcoming Rock Philosophy Sessions but he is known for having made Thunderbird bass an extension of himself since the 70s. And, Thunderbird symbolically is mythological in that it is related to the Phoenix (rising); a constant reinventing of self.
UFO 1, their debut album in genres: Hard Rock, Heavy Psych, Space Rock, Blues Rock, first released in the UK by Beacon Records in October 1970 includes the songs, “Timothy” and “Treacle People” from that album are well executed and the songs experiences are expertly colored audio-wise and creatively crafted.
UFO “Timothy” Lyrics (excerpts)
Timothy tries but he can’t explain
Does he come from the sky? Does he come from the land?
Does he come from the earth? Does he come from the sea? Timothy?
Hey timothy now where do you come from, where do you come from Timothy?
UFO “Treacle People” (excerpts)
I walked through this place, although it wasn’t really there
And when I reached the other side, thought I didn’t really care
I moved round a bit, and started seeing people
And the people that I met, oh were all covered in treacle
Everyone was laughing, everyone except for poor old me,
So I tried to entertain them, oh but they were hard to please
As time went by, oh backwards I walked
Backwards I talked, and backwards I laughed…
This was a way of thinking then, a knowing, a sensing, being at one with intuition.
People have a need for someone who inspires or motivates them or someone they can look up to, idolize; deities. Even though mythology, is a body of myths, like with TV, books and art, people tend to believe in something glorified, properly/marketed, understandably so because it is based on some fragment of truth.
When someone was considered divine or exceptional during ancient Greece for example, stories, images, paintings and statues were created for those deities, kind of like statues of Lemmy at the Rainbow, Rory Gallagher on Main St, Ballyshannon, Ireland and Hendrix statue outside Dimbola Lodge, Isle of Wight; three of the few rock star mythological gods.
Apollo, the ancient Greek God of music, arts, knowledge, healing, plague, prophecy, poetry, manly beauty, and archery is often accompanied by the Muses. Apollo sounds like a rock star, right? He was convincing enough that we are still talking about him in mythological terms now and relating him to rock stars.
Even in ancient Greece the mythological gods used drugs. They were well aware of the powerful analgesic properties of the opium poppy and used it to treat pain and insomnia but a serious case of the love of poppy shaped everything from ancient mythology to the English language. Many Greek nocturnal gods became symbolically associated with the poppy, and the word opium itself comes from the Ancient Greek word for poppy juice, “opion.” This is a journey from magical poppy plants through mythology to modern words to rock stars the modern mythological gods.
Some rock stars that I admire who have influenced me greatly, feel they are mythological are those from the 60s and 70s starting with The Beatles and Motown bands, but more so: Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, UFO lineup: Phil Mogg, Pete Way, Michael Schenker & Andy Parker, Uriah Heep with lineup: David Byron, Gary Thain, Mick Box, Ken Hensley, Lee Kerslake, Steve Marriott & Humble Pie, Alvin Lee, Phil Lynott, Gary Moore, Rory Gallagher, Ian Gillan, Led Zeppelin, Scorpions, some NWOBHM; the risk takers – those with that natural talent, that chemistry that explodes from emotion instead of technicalities and lessons, the obvious born-to-rock-the world personality. The naturals. The rebels. Those usually considered difficult to be around or work with and others even stop working with because of their ‘difficult’ nature, are usually the history makers. Those are the ones I want to know and reflect; well used souls.
Artists/musicians/creative thinkers can ‘see’ or recognize something about the ‘soul’ of a subject and articulate it creatively and passionately conveying the subject as mythological. Someone does something so extraordinary that artists/musicians/creative thinkers are impacted by it, are deeply affected enough by it, that they devote their life to not only becoming a part of it, but ensuring that phenomenon survives as a mythological god.