Saturday, June 1, 2013

Mind Vice - S/T

I was too young to see Jim Morrison and the Doors at the Whiskey 'A Go Go in Los Angeles.  By the time I was old enough to attend concerts and could afford to do so, Morrison was dead.  He died when I was fourteen years old.

The Doors had been "my" band - the one as a prepubescent boy to whom I listened to the consternation of my parents.  They had heard all about Morrison's notorious sex and drugs parties, on-stage obscenity arrest, his ties to Charles Manson and were slightly offended by some of the sexual imagery and language in the lyrics.  My father often voiced his disapproval.

I loved it. The raw depth of Morrison's version of "House of the Rising Sun;" the seething sexual innuendo in "Light My Fire," freedom in "Hello, I Love You" and desire in "L.A. Woman" "Love Her Madly" and "Touch Me;" the psychedelic trip produced and inducing "Waiting For The Sun" and "Peace Frog;" the ominous "Riders On The Storm."  I loved all of it.  Then, Jim Morrison died.

That was 42 year ago.  I suppose part of me never recovered.  To this day I am drawn to bands with that late 1960's/early 1970's blues rock sound fronted by a commanding and powerful voice and presence.  Mind Vice fits the profile.

The band is a three piece power trio (Mike Knapp, guitar; Ian Sides, bass; and Miles Hubbard, drums) fronted by a great vocalist (Walter O'Toole). The cover of the seven track CD that found its way to my player looks like a beer label with an oval that says "Unfiltered" above a left-right centered star.  Below the star are the words "Manny's PALE ALE" and "SEATTLE."  However, the "anny's" in "Manny's" looks like it has been scratched out whith a black Sharpie and "ind Vice" is printed after the script "M." Additionally, the letter "M" is grafitti'd in before the word "ALE" and the letter "S" has been added after the word.  Below the oval it says "darn tasty beer" but the word "beer" is stricken with a Sharpie and the word "ROCK" has been printed above it.  Thus, the whole label actually reads "Unfiltered Mind Vice Pale Males Seattle Darn Tasty Rock."  That "haiku" actually sums up the whole release and band.

When I listened to the album flashes of The Doors swirled in my head.  It was again 1970. There are no keyboards but, oddly, that did not matter.  I thought, here was a glimpse of what Jim Morrison could have been if he had lived. 

Mind Vice's album connects today's blues rock, Seattle grunge and heavy metal directly to Morrison's psychedelic rock, right down to the wah-wah pedal, albeit with a lot less sexual energy and a lot more doom and gloom.  I can only guess that is the true societal difference between pale males in Seattle and bronze boys in Los Angeles. The lack of sun can do that to you. 

- Old School

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