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Friday, September 14, 2007

FIFTH PIPE DREAM-san francisco sound






This is a fabulous collection of bands from San Fran 67-69 era. I'm pretty sure this Compilation was released in 1969. This was produced by Rusty Evans (marcus Uzelevsky)
of the Psychedelic moods/Freak Scene/Third bardo association, and as you can read below in an interview with a member of "indian puddin' and pipe" they pretty much wrote off Rusty as being incompotent..which doesn't really translate to the sound on the record, at least to my ears..it was produced very well, and I think no altering of the sounds really, pretty much keeping the performances intact. They must have equated Rusty to being on the same level as Matthew Katz, who in retrospect is well known as a greedy baron, who never paid the bands under his wing of "san francisco sound"...just google "moby grape and matthew katz" and you can come up with some frightening stories of how he treated the bands he managed. here's small excerpt from a website (http://pnwbands.com/sanfranciscosoundballroom.html) that speaks of the San Francisco sound ballroom, where the bands on this comp played
"I played there with a band called Games in 1967 with all the Matthew Katz groups you have listed. I think it was the Encore Ballroom before it was SF Sound.

As far as I know no band that ever played there ever got paid.

Skip Bowe, Stockton, CA, August 2007 "






I have had 2 copies of this LP, one a slightly Thicker Press, both with full colour gatefold and red labels. Both transfers are on my KDX server, the thicker press was converted to 96/24 and the slightly thinner press was converted at 44/16, the latter
is indicated by a (b) on it's folder title.











This is a sticker that came with one of my copies of the LP














Here's an interesting interview with a member from
Indian Puddin' and pipe, who were also known
as "west coast natural gas"



The West Coast Natural Gas Story from :
http://members.aol.com/Velvetfogg/HTML/WCNG.html




In the early 90's I stumbled upon an old 45 by a group called West Coast Natural Gas (WCNG). Both sides were GREAT and I attempted to find out some information about this band. All I knew was that the band was produced by Matthew Katz and was on the San Francisco Sounds label. Unfortunately, I couldn't find anyone who knew anything more than this. In 1997 when I went on line and formed the U-SPACES group, I periodically asked the group about this band and still came up with blanks. When I decided to put together the U-SPACES: Psychedelic Archaeology CD series, in 1998, this single was the highlight of Volume 1. No one had heard the single, but everyone seemed to love it.

Right about that time the folks at Delerium Records established a connection between WCNG and another San Francisco band called Indian Puddin' N' Pipe. It was discovered that WCNG was actually the same group before they changed their name.

In June of 2000, Jeff LaBrache, the original drummer from both groups landed on the U-SPACES web page, read an old digest and asked if anyone would like more info on the band(s). I promptly accepted Jeff's offer and sent him a series of questions about the band(s). He indicated that he was going to meet shortly with another member of the band (guitarist Kristopher Larson) for the first time in 20 years and they would go through the questions together and try to come up with as many answers as they could.

In July 2000, Kristopher responded to me in a series of e-mails and his responses are posted below in an edited interview format. I would really like to thank both of these guys for their effort and hopefully their comments can help clarify some of the mystery around these two bands.

Ben Chaput - U-SPACES list moderator, July 2000.



*******************************************

Interview with Kristopher Larson, July 2000:



[BC] When did WCNG form and how was the Seattle scene in the mid sixties?

[KL] The WCNG formed in 1964, late in the year, who knows really when. I just remember it was cold. A guy I had never met before, (Steve Guinn) or even heard of came knocking on the door of my apartment and said he was forming a folk rock band and that he had already lined up a bass player (Dave Burke) (never heard of him before either) and a drummer (Jeff Labrache) who I actually had heard of, and himself playing guitar and singing. I still don't know how he found me. Well I was working at Lockheed shipyard and hated it and wanted to be playing again so I said OK.

[BC] Did you meet Dave Burke & Lydia Mareno in SF or did they come with you from Washington?

[KL] David Burke played on all our recordings and was always on stage with us too. No other Bass player. Lydia Mareno, I think, was introduced to Pat Craig (our third or fourth replacement in WCNG) after the break-up of the real WCNG, which I'll get to later. That's all I know about her. We never met, I think.

[BC] Did you guys really play a bill as WCNG with an earlier version of Indian Puddin' N' Pipe in Seattle?

[KL] As for the gig in Seattle with Indian Pudin' 'n' Pipe, it might have happened…I'm trying to remember the name of the hall where we may have shared that gig with them…?

[BC] Editor's Note: Jeff LaBrache provided this poster from the "San Francisco Sound" Club in Seattle, so it really did happen…


[BC] According to Jeff LaBrache, WGNG moved to San Francisco in late1966. What prompted the move and what were the early days of SF like? And how did you hook up with Matthew Katz?

[KL] A guy from Seattle, who I only knew as Smitty- a member of the "Gypsy-Jokers" MC bunch, had somehow hooked up with Matthew and was working as his Go-for. I think Jeff knew him and he arranged for us to go to SF and have Matthew listen to us. MK already had under his wing, Jefferson Airplane, Moby Grape, and It's A Beautiful Day, and a few other artists too.

[BC] Do you have any recollection of the recording session for the WCNG single [A Favor/Go Run & Play"]?

[KL] I have vague recollections of the recording sessions of Go Run And Play and A Favor. This could be, however, a recollection of any and all of our sessions. We were "told" that a guy named Mark Uzlevsky (sp?) was going to be our producer. So, not wanting to argue with the guy who was trying his best to sue the ass off the Airplane and the Grape, we accepted his choice of Mark. The guy didn't know a guitar from a drum, but we were stuck. Time was magically scheduled for us to go in to Coast recording studio and make some noise. The in-house genius on the control board (a whole four tracks worth, with individual volume controls) told us we couldn't play that loud. So consequently the recordings didn't have any of our real (live) sound. The other genius, Mark, didn't have a clue what we were up to, or how rock music was supposed to sound. Katz probably doesn't even remember that we actually cut that 45 under WCNG name.



[BC] How was the decision made to change your name to Indian Puddin' & Pipe? There was also a band in Seattle with that same name who morphed into the group "Easy Chair." Was there any direct connection between the two bands?

[KL] The decision to change our name was totally MK's "plan". He had come up with the name IP&P in some dream…?, but didn't have band to go with it, so since he didn't have anything to do with the name WCNG he wanted total control. We fought the name change among ourselves, but the majority decided to accept what MK wanted in order to stay in good standing with him. (That IP&P you mentioned were probably the guys from Seattle who became part of the second Moby Grape, "the bus tour grape". If they became "easy chair," … well if you say so. How did you come by that information anyway?)

[BC] Matthew Katz has a reputation for putting his needs in front of the needs of his bands. What were your experiences with Katz as a manager?

[KL] Of course we nor any of his groups ever saw any money from anything we did. I wonder why all his groups walked out on him? We also did a series of commercials for the Levi Strauss Co. which actually got some airplay in the Bay Area, under the name WCNG. For which we never saw any kind of royalties.

[BC] The Levis Commercials are of immense interest to me as I collect this stuff… I have (among others) three Levis radio spots from the Sopwith Camel. On one of the spots called "Funny Fabric" at the end, there is a audible reference to "The West Coast Natural Gas." Was there a link between your Levi session and the Sopwith Camel session? Any more details on the plugs that you guys did would be greatly appreciated.

[KL] The Levi's commercials are also of interest to me. I have no copies in any form of those sessions. We weren't allowed to have copies because of the contract with Levi-Strauss. I would guess that the only recourse would be either from L-S or maybe Coast Recording Studios. I think that is where we cut them?

[BC] Katz was rumored to keep multiple lineups of the same band so he could play multiple gigs on the same night. Did he do this with WCNG or IP&P?

[KL] As for multiple groups… To the best of my knowledge, the only time anything like that happened was when MK decided to take the show on the road in the famous Katz Bus. The only thing lacking was a headliner, so he sorted out people from different bands and from around wherever, and built the second Moby Grape. They locked themselves up somewhere in the City and learned all the songs from the first LP, all the licks, and even a lot of the moves. I can tell you more about the "tour" also if you care to hear about it?

[BC] I would definitely like to know more about the "Katz Bus Tour" you referred to!

[KL] The "Bus Tour" is a whole other story, some of which I'm sure, certain members of certain bands, would not particularly wish to have divulged, but I will write to you more about that another time.

[BC] Do you have any recollection of the recording session for the [San Francisco Sounds - Fifth Pipe Dream] LP? The four songs you recorded for that LP are perhaps some of the quintessential SF psychedelic timepieces. "Hashish" and "Water or Wine," along with the two WCNG songs are some of my all-time favorite recordings.

[KL] The four cuts on the 5th Pipe Dream LP by IP&P are actually the same personnel as WCNG. Although I think Steve Mack (lead guitarist) decided to split during the last of those sessions. On the 5th Pipe Dream LP and on the Then & Now CD is a tune called Aquarian Dream by It's A Beautiful Day that is actually another replacement band. WCNG played all the music tracks while clueless Mark and June (Katz) did the vocals. I think that probably Pat Craig contributed some back-up vocals as well. June was (is?) Matthew's wife.

[BC] Did you spend any time with the other bands on the Fifth Pipe Dream LP - "Tripsichord Music Box" or "It's a Beautiful Day?"

[KL] As for spending time with any of the other groups on the LP; yes, but only casually. It's A Beautiful Day (IABD) was again a different band than the hit singles were recorded by, with the exception of David La Flame and his spouse. Some of the members of Tripsi'Box became Moby Grape II guys and added BurkeWallace, and Skip Bowe also from Seattle, as front line players.

[BC] A few years ago, Matthew Katz released a two CD set called "Then & Now," which included various bands that he produced over the past 30 years. First of all, I found it amazing that the WCNG songs were not included in this set. Secondly, the IP&P songs that were included, "Planetary Road" and "Shadowlarks," seemed like a completely different band. Was there any overlap on the personnel who recorded these 2 songs? Any idea why the WCNG and choice IP&P songs were excluded from this collection?

[KL] The later songs recorded by IP&P was, as you seem to have guessed, was indeed a completely different band, with the exception of Pat Craig, and I believe that Steve Mack reappeared in that IP&P for a while. I was vacationing in Eastern Canada at the time, at the expense of the Canadian Govt. Let's not go there right now… I too have my wonderment at why our songs were not included on the "Then & Now" CDs. It is a fact though that the 5th Pipe Dream LP has been re-released on CD, by MKP. I saw it for the first time yesterday, and was told that it is actually selling here and there. I cannot confirm or debate that info at this time. Matthew is very reluctant to give out any more information than he has to. He's always been that way.



3 comments:

  1. Like a kiss from the psychdelic night owl himself, this melodic constellation folds you in velvet while you glow merry on the go round; This is such a fab group of tunes, my favs are, you're the woman, family song and two's a pair... :D

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hey, I remember W.C.N.G.,
    My Stepfather Steve Guinn, started the Band "the Good Karma lawn service" (in Seattle, late 60s), which if I remember correctly, morphed into "The West coast Natural gas". I was 10, when the band opened up for Steppenwolf somwhere in Frisco, I was there, I was at all the rehearsals. We went through six cars, to get to Haight Ashbury for the "Summer of Love", and the W.C.NB.G. gig. Steve Guinn's Son Chris Guinn is a Monster Musician. We jam all the time, He plays Drums, Guitar, and is turning 40 this weekend. If anyone has any more questions about the good Karma lawn service, or The West coast natural gas, contact my email.
    Love and infinite Peace,
    Tim (T.J.)Franklin
    HunkaFunk
    hunkafunk@comcast.net

    ReplyDelete
  3. J.Kristopher Larson is indeed a phenominal guitarist of the highest caliber and can honestly be compared to the likes of Clapton during this era. He is also one the finest human beings I have ever had the pleasure/treasure and honor of knowing. I consider him to be one of my closest friends as well as mentors. Someone who deserved far better than what he received. I am happy that his contribution to the music of the 60's is FINALLY being recognized for he truly was one of it's pioneers. Please induct The West Coast Natural Gas into the R&R Hall of Fame. They deserve to be recognized. God Bless you K and T! O'RM-ESQ

    ReplyDelete

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