It can be tempting to trace the roots of psychedelic culture back to the plant-eating, headband-wearing hippies of the 1960s, but doing so neglects an extensive and riveting past. Historical accounts tell of smoking hemp seed in Ancient Greece, consuming mushrooms in the Aztec Empire and the Viking cultures of Scandinavia and chewing peyote in Native American societies across the United States.
While Prof. Judith Peraino, music, was combing through the archives at the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh for her upcoming book, she found something of a golden treasure: a cassette tape with a dozen unreleased songs from rock legend Lou Reed.
Growing up as I did (with a father who loved to constantly relive his glory days), I listened to Weird Al a lot. I watched the music video to “Trapped in the Drive-Thru” a million times, played “Virus Alert” on my iPod shuffle and knew all the lyrics to “EBay.” My dad listened to the classics, reminisced about listening to Weird Al on Dr. Demento’s radio show and told me over and over again the story about how, when he was in college, he and Weird Al got lunch together. So when Weird Al’s Ridiculously Self-Indulgent Ill-Advised Vanity Tour came to The State Theatre, obviously my dad and I got tickets. I’ll admit, while I’ve listened to a few of Al’s more recent singles, I hadn’t truly listened to him since the days of my iPod Shuffle. The tour was also self-described as “scaled-down,” featuring older, original songs rather than parodies.
Walking down Haight Street in San Francisco, it is hard to see that this place was once the heart of the “hippie scene” in the 1960s. The sidewalks of modern-day San Francisco are littered with boutiques, internet cafés and modern restaurants. Nevertheless, there are a few image-evoking shops and buildings hidden away behind the high-end clothing stores. These smoke shops, novelty emporiums and record stores are the best modern-day glimpses into the times of tie-dye and LSD. During the ’60s, new fashion and new ways of thinking emerged in the Bay area.
Deer Tick does a pretty good job of subverting your expectations. Judging from the album cover of their first full-length album, “War Elephant,” which includes nothing less than the band members sitting on a sand dune in front of two women in bikinis holding a shotgun and an AK-47, you might not expect the mellow fingerpicked guitars that follow. Moreover, after hearing Deer Tick’s infectious blend of tender folk and rollicking roots rock, you might not expect it to be something you could mosh to. Nonetheless, that’s exactly what we did at Deer Tick’s March 3 show at The Haunt. The night began with comedian Solomon Georgio taking us through his life as an African immigrant and “professional homosexual,” interweaving narratives of childhood bullies with social commentary on racism and homophobia.
Kurt Riley ’16 just released a new single for Valentine’s Day. “Love is in My Heart” represents the importance of love to Riley, as well as his musical inspirations. Riley’s performances feature bright letters spelling out his name, which is very similar to the way that The Killers — one of his biggest musical inspirations — tend to put a K on the stage when they perform. Additionally, just as The Killers do on holiday season, Riley has released a single today. However, this does not mean that Riley is simply following what The Killers do.