Friday, January 25, 2008

Journey to the Center of the Mind, The Amboy Dukes (1968)

Among the various genres of 60s music, acid rock was never overly enthralling to me, but there are exceptions to everything, and Journey to the Center of the Mind is one of them.

Arguably in a class by itself, Journey to the Center of the Mind had something these other songs didn't - drumming by Dave Palmer that rocked harder than almost anything I'd ever heard, John Drake's commanding vocals, and the blistering guitar licks of the Motor City Madman, Ted Nugent. The outrageous 45-second intro still stops me in my tracks.

To be fair, I don't think this song counts as pure psychedelia; perhaps it's on the psychedelic end of the proto-metal spectrum. Which is curious considering that metal music was never huge with me, either. But as I say, there are exceptions to everything.

Funnily enough, to this day, Nugent - a major opponent of drugs - claims he didn't know the song was about drug use. I don't see how that could possibly be the case given the times, but who am I to contradict The Nuge?

Interestingly, Dave Palmer went on to become an award-winning recording engineer, and in fact worked at the famed Electric Lady Studios in New York City after his Dukes stint, where he had the distinction of playing drums for Jimi Hendrix' first formal recording session. In a day when all studios were owned and operated by the record labels, Hendrix bucked the trend with this state-of-the-art facility, which had its opening party just 13 days before he died.

1 comment:

Rex Parker said...

_The Amboy Dukes_ was a mid-40's literary sensation about juvenile delinquency by Irving Shulman. See picture of late 40's paperback version here. Shulman helped adapt "Rebel without a Cause," I think.

There's a reasonably recent review of the book here.

Love your site. I should be at the top of your links list, but other than that - perfect. :)