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Flower Travellin’ Band - From Pussys to Death in 10,000 Years of Freakout

Flower Travellin’ Band were a psychedelic, blues-based hard rock band. Created by Yuya Utchida (a main protagonist in Cope’s book) they originally featured Remi Aso, considered at the time to be the Japanese equivalent of Janis Joplin. Utchida wanted them to shock, and their debut album featured all group members (oo-er) nude on the cover. Much of their material was made up of barely recognisable cover versions. Extended acid-frazzled freak-out soloing and radical rearrangements meant that the simplest of songs took on a new lease of life. Seek out their version of ‘House Of The Rising Sun’ and you’ll see what I mean. Their 1970 album ‘Anywhere’ featured the first known cover of a Black Sabbath track, ‘Black Sabbath’. On the cover of the album, the four members of the band ride their Honda motorbikes naked (naked again!) down some lost highway. This image got them into a bit of bother with the Japanese authorities (again!), but the music on the grooves itself got them signed to Atlantic Records, and it even briefly charted in Canada.

Julian Cope first freaked out over Flower Travellin’ Band when he heard the 1995 ‘From Pussies to Death in 10,000 Years of Freakout ‘ bootleg album. He says that the 20minutes+ (!) tracks ‘I’m Dead part 1' and ‘I’m Dead part 2' are the outstanding moments in the band’s history. "I'm Dead" is described as a work commissioned by composer Toshi Ichiyanagi (who had plans to record a rock band with a symphony orchestra but decided to let the Flowers jam out) with his only stipulations being it clocked in at over 20 minutes and was called "I'm Dead" after one of Tadanori Yoko'o's most famoust paintings. "I'm Dead" is free form instrumental freak-out with deep space reverb notes flying from the outer reaches of stonerdom, to heavy duty noise blur scariness. As the jam wound down, the tape machines kept rolling and recorded "Otoko," the second song on From Pussies Til Death.... Another instrumental, this one features a simple, upbeat bass lick being flooded by a spastic drummer and two (I think?) tracks of blazing guitar soloing all over the place. Almost like a distilled and more 'mersh version of "I'm Dead!"

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