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Virtual Trouser drops out

By culture editor DJ NRG Raver

Posted March 27, 2012
Jefferson AIRPLANE in concert
Volunteers of America: This generation got no destination to hold, although it does have hats. (Check bottom for credits)

It's time to watch the dog melt as Virtual Trouser heads back to acid-drenched 60s America, man.

Welcome again to Virtual Trouser, the textual incarnation of Naked Trouser (NT), officially the multiverse's best mix-'em-up alternative music night.

Thanks to the interweb and sites like YouTube and Daily Motion, we now invite you on a musical journey through time and space to those places that only a Trouser can reach.

For today's outing, please wind your watch back 40-plus years as we take a transatlantic flight on a Jefferson Airplane to the hippy-trippy days of 1960s America.

And our first stop is Austin, Texas, the 'World Capital of Live Music', home to investigative journalist and infowarrior Alex Jones and birthplace of the original psychedelic band, the 13th Floor Elevators.
With their raw, pre-flower power acid sound and mystical edge, the Elevators have been an inspiration for countless artists, including Janis Joplin, Patti Smith, Television, Spacemen 3, the Jesus And Mary Chain and bearded ex-bluesters ZZ Top.

Formed in 1965 by guitarist and vocalist Rocky Erickson, electric jug player Tommy Hall and guitarist Stacy Sutherland, the band was mentored by a local 'wise woman' who gave them the Secrets of the Universe and a taste for Masonic-style Eye-of-Horus-in-a-Pyramid-type imagery.

They then rocked and rolled and screamed for four years until Erickson was committed to a mental hospital after being caught with a marijuana cigarette.

He was then left schizophrenic after being given repeated electric shocks to the brain.

One lousy joint.

But despite this horrendous injustice, the Elevators' memory lives proudly on in those NT essentials You're Gonna Miss Me, Levitation, Nobody to Love and the transcendental Slip Inside This House (covered by Primal Scream on Screamadelica) as well as Scarlet and Gold, You Don't Know (How Young You Are) and the haunting Kingdom Of Heaven.

white rabbit jefferson airplane
One pill makes you chin: Jimmy Hill joins the Airplane. (Check bottom for credits)

Heading further west to San Francisco, we come to the home of the aforementioned Jefferson Airplane for some full-on hippy-days psychedelia.

Providing the soundtrack to the Summer of Love, the self-proclaimed "forces of chaos and anarchy" were fronted by the iconic former model Grace Slick.

As well as their best-known song (after being sampled on a recent pop-dance-crud hit) Somebody to Love, check out the Alice-in-Wonderland-inspired White Rabbit, Lather (one for your 30th birthday party), We Can Be Together and Wooden Ships.

And on top of those, there's When the Earth Moves Again, their UFO classic Have You Seen the Saucers? and, for Da Vinci Code fans and heretics alike, Son of Jesus.

And as we're in California, it would be rude not to call in on Arthur Lee and Love before heading back.

Little Red Book, Alone Again Or, Maybe the People Would Be the Times or Between Clark and Hilldale and Your Mind and We Belong Together are all big favourites, while Andmoreagain and A Message to Pretty are more down tempo but still rather groovy, man.

So dust off your lava lamp, burn your draft card and, until next time, turn on, tune in and drop out!

And while you're waiting for all the pretty colours to kick in, here's some 13th Floor Elevators and a taste of Jefferson Airplane embedded from the respective YouTube channels of shonazadog and Ophir Barr. Man.

The original version of this article first appeared in Point Blank Poznan. Cheers, Steg. I've ordered you a cantaloupe with chips.

See also Virtual Trouser goes cosmic, posted 27/3/12.

Picture credits

Top: Original image by Bryan Costales; rejigged by Ignatius Rake.

Bottom and thumbnail: Original image by RCA Records; rejigged by Ignatius Rake.

For licensing information click the above links.

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