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The Savage Resurrection (1968) + bonus tracks

"A favourite of Nick Saloman of 'Bevis Frond', who first discovered their LP in a record shop in the UK when a teenager."

"And this must be one of the greatest (typical) heavy Psyche (and Garage) sounds ever recorded.. Based on the R&B manner, brilliant twin guitar sonds spark, while experimental echoes and sound effects run to and fro. I really love this kinda sound, amazing acid-rock."

"The Savage Resurrection, a throbbing beat and a jaunty biker vibe all their own."

"Punkified mind-shaker 'Thing in E', vaguely reminiscent of The Who's 'Young Man Blues' kicks things off in fine style with killer call-and-response vocal/guitar trade offs and thee most excellent 'done me wrong' chest-beating refrain...'My World's Better Than Your World."

"The fuzz guitars and generally pleasant reek of drugs and juvenile reprobation remind me of some of the heavier Texas psychedlia of the late 1960s."

"This is one 'undiscovered gem' that not only lives up to the hype, it exceeds it."

The Savage Resurrection to amerykańska grupa, która wydała i nagrała tylko jeden album, ale za to jaki .... Z pewnością należy on do kanonu muzyki psychedelicznej. Zespół tworzyli bardzo młodzi muzycy i doskonale czuć tę energię na nagranym materiale. Stylistycznie nawiązywali do brzmienia Jimi Hendrix Experience czy Blue Cheer z akcentami wschodnimi. Nie mogło oczywiście zabraknąć tego zespołu na łamach Dzikich Świętych chociażby ze względu na konotacje w nazwie, ale też dlatego, że jest to jedna z moich ulubionych płyt. Tutaj mamy jeszcze bonusy w postaci innych wersji utworów.

The Savage Resurrection were an American psychedelic rock band from the San Francisco Bay area, and were active in between 1967 and 1968. The band were known as one of the youngest psychedelic rock bands in the area, with their 16 year-old lead guitarist, Randy Hammon, who is Paul Whaley's cousin.

Founded in 1967, the group was signed to Mercury Records, on which they released their eponymous debut in 1968. Their album was produced by Abe "Voco" Kesh who is famous with his work with the band Blue Cheer and Harvey Mandel. Their sound was close to groups such as Love and the Jimi Hendrix Experience. Singer Bill Harper and bassist Steve Lage quit the band shortly thereafter, leading to the demise of the group. The band continued on touring until late 1968 and then disbanded.

Nick Saloman of The Bevis Frond has cited the Savage Resurrection as one of his biggest influences and, in October 2008, performed a live set with guitarist Randy Hammon. There was some suspicion that Randy Hammon was actually Randy Holden due to some citing that was done in Joe Carducci's book, The Pop Narcotic; this seems to be a misconception.

Former band member Steve Lage, who was born Stephen Allen Lage, on August 15, 1947, died on July 25, 2010, in Oakland, California. (wikipedia)

Bill Harper - lead vocals
Randy Hammon - lead guitar
John Palmer - guitar
Steve Lage - bass guitar
Jeff Myer - drums

On their only album, the Savage Resurrection mined a psychedelic sound that was not as heavy and metallic as Blue Cheer (also produced by Abe "Voco" Kesh), but at the same time more garagey in feel than that of the average Bay Area psychedelic band. Sometimes it's pedestrian blues-rock with overlong riffing, as on the accurately titled "Jammin.'" At its best, it has the spacier, folkier, and more melodic feel that was characteristic of much '60s Californian psychedelic music, as on "Someone's Changing." More dissonant and Middle Eastern influences make themselves known on "Every Little Song" and "Tahitian Melody," and the backup vocals on "Remlap's Cave, Pt. 2" indicate that they did their share of listening to the Who's "A Quick One, While He's Away." Randy Hammon and John Palmer create an intense and thick dual-guitar sound throughout (separated so that Hammon's playing is on the left channel, and Palmer's on the right). The CD reissue on Mod Lang adds informative historical liner notes and three previously unissued rehearsal recordings as bonus cuts, including different versions of "Thing in 'E'" and "Tahitian Melody," and a cover of "River Deep Mountain High." (source)


In 1968, new records by unknown bands proliferated at an alarming rate. The major labels were still milking the kids for all the money they could get and anyone who even remotely looked or sounded psychedelic was offered a recording contract. Several miles north of the San Francisco melting pot, in the little known 'burb of Richmond, the ashes of several local bands, The Boys, The Plague, Button Willow and Whatever's Right were commingled to form The Savage Resurrection. Featuring the twin guitar attack of 16 year old Randy Hammon (cousin of Blue Cheer drummer, Paul Whaley) and John Palmer, the Resurrection produced one of the most overlooked gems of that post-Summer of Love, Thai sticks and tea leaves.

On November 6, 1999, US radio station WNTI-FM in Hackettstown, New Jersey locked three DJs (The Mickster, Jumpin' J.B. and Jeff from Oxford) in the studio and placed a long distance phone call to the home of Mr. Hammon. Randy was in excellent spirits (I have only noted some of the times that the participants broke into contagious laughter, but this was the generally "vibe" throughout our chat) and he seemed sincerely touched and honored that we remembered him and his band more than three decades after their one and only release.

Most of the questions were posed by The Mickster, as the interview took place during his show. (Other comments are noted as JB or JFO.) However, the general mood was one of conversation rather than Q&A, and FAQs were kept to a minimum. We were all well aware of the excellent interview with Randy that Colin Hill conducted for The Ptolemaic Terrascope in their Spring '97 issue (we even had a copy in the studio), so we wanted to avoid any duplication and catch up with his activities over the past two years. We began by asking about the recently reissued CD on Mod Lang.

WNTI: The CD reissue of your LP came out on Mod Lang earlier this year. Randy, how long did it take to put this thing together?

RH: The reissue? I would say it took probably about 9 months altogether from the moment I started to try and get the rights to our music back from Polygram. Actually, it was originally Mercury, but then Polygram bought them out so I had to deal with them.

WNTI: Polygram is notoriously slow for reissuing things.

RH: Slow…and not really excited when somebody comes to them after 30 years….(Laughter)

WNTI: "You only recorded one album. Get the hell outta here," right?

RH: Pretty much!

WNTI: But it was a great record

RH: Thanks.

WNTI: I've had it in my collection on and off….I actually had three different copies. I bought it when it came out.

RH: Oh, wow!

WNTI: I had a similar experience as Nick Saloman. [Nick has told the story of how he bought the record when it first came out, but it kept going in and out of his collection. He would sell it or trade it for something else, but then kept repurchasing it or trading to get it back.] I saw the cover and I said, "Wow! Naked babes?! I'm buying it! (Laughter). I said, "This is psych? Look at the guy in the middle with the long hair!"

RH: (laughing) Well, my hair was down to my…uh…

WNTI (JB): It's OK, you can say it!

RH: Uh, down to my nipples, but they actually painted it in down to my ass.

WNTI: (JFO) They airbrushed the cover! (Mickster) But, the record stuck with me for 30 years. I've been doing a show up here for 8 years and I've been playing it up here on the show for 8 years off and on. But the songs stuck with me for 30 years, just like they did with Nick. About 15 years ago I was down the shore at my friend's house (who also has the record) and I was going through his record collection and I came across The Savage Resurrection and I put it on and, you know, I was blown away! Some records don't stand up to the test of time, but your record really has.

RH: That's really amazing! I thought we were buried underneath about 100 feet of sand in the sands of time. It was just by accident that I discovered that anybody even cared about this album anymore. I was bored at work one day and I typed my name into my Internet browser and I got some hits! (Getting more excited) Then I typed in "Savage Resurrection" and I got some more hits!! And I said, "What in the world is going on?!?"

WNTI: You probably got a lot of hits in Europe?

RH: You mean way back when?

WNTI: Yeah, Savage Resurrection probably has got cult status over in Europe.

RH: Yeah, we did pretty well. We got fan mail for a long time from Europe and about 8 months after the album was out we had heard that it was number 2 in Thailand!

WNTI: (laughing) Whoa! There you go!

RH: They smoke a lotta thai stick over there.

WNTI (JB): So were you, probably, huh?

RH: Ooh, uh…yeah! (laughs)

WNTI: Hey, we've listened to this record. We know what you've been doing!

(JFO) In the left channel?

RH: Yeah, I think the first tune or two I might be in the right channel or the middle. But after that, it's all left channel the whole way.

WNTI: What was the relationship between you and John Palmer? There's a lot of tension and a lot of excitement in the guitar playing.

RH: I think that reflected in our relationship. We were both from Richmond, not particularly great parts, but he came from a lot worse part, and I had a little better homelife than he did. So we were all kinda streetpunky kind of people and we both wanted to play lead guitar. So we started looking for groups and he and I were actually in a band together at one point called The Boys.

WNTI: We have the live cut from The Boys with us here.

RH: Is that from the Terrascope?

WNTI: Yeah.

RH: That was a Battle of the Bands and we won second place and I don't know what happened the rest of the night!

WNTI: The only Battle of the Bands I was in, we won second place also. We smashed all our instruments on stage and the drummer's wife cried! (laughter) That's all I remember from it! (JB): So did the parents when they had to buy you new instruments! (Mickster): It was down in Convention Hall. What a place. The worst acoustics on the planet. (JB): Can't understand why with a 400 foot high ceiling! (Mickster): You sneezed and you could hear it in Thailand! (laughter)

OK. So, Richmond's a little north of San Francisco?

RH: Yeah, it's right across the Bay. Before WWII, it was a sleepy little village and they were building the Liberty ships during WWII and in came a lot of poor white folks and poor black folks from Oklahoma and Missouri and really turned it into a lower middle class blue collar….

WNTI: Not quite Oakland, which is kinda like the seedy side of San Francisco?

RH: There's some nice parts of it, but it gets tough depending on where you go.

WNTI: The only reference I have is from the music, like the Tower of Power, that kind of stuff.

RH: In the east base, especially way back then, I used to listen to a lot of R&B music and had friends that were into R&B back then. That's one of the things we were inspired by in our music. It gave it a little bit more of an edge than the groups down in San Francisco.

WNTI: It shows. I mean, The Dead, the Airplane, the Fillmore – that whole quintessential San Francisco sound all came from folk backgrounds.

RH: We really didn't like the folk sound because we just basically wanted to smash our guitars on stage. We actually did. For a while I was carrying a Bowie knife on stage. I used to stab my amp occasionally. (laughter)

WNTI: Sort of like taking The Charlatans' thing a little farther? They had unloaded guns on stage.

RH: They were like the first group that blew my mind. I think it was at that Battle of the Bands. They were one of the featured groups that were playing. I tell you, I've never been the same since I saw those guys! They dressed like cowboys, but looked like acid heads! Their eyes were totally glassy and as they walked by, you'd get a contact high because they reeked of cannabis (laughter).

WNTI: That's the legend. Unfortunately, their records never quite bore that out. They were kinda lightweight.

RH: I never really got to know those guys, although I did gig together for awhile with their bass player. That was fun!

WNTI: What are you doing musically now? Are there any projects in the works or are you playing?

RH: Well, I'm definitely playing and I have a Project Studio where I mastered a couple of CDs, including my own.

WNTI: You mastered the reissue?

RH: Yeah, Alec [Palao] and I. I got the two track masters from Polygram and the manager, Overt Songsten (sp?) actually found the practice tape in a box and that's where the last three cuts on the CD came from, including "River Deep, Mountain High." It was a complete accident. After I discovered that anyone actually cared about the album, I called him and he was excited and I told him to look around and see if there was anything. And, lo and behold, there was a tape.

WNTI: According to the liner notes, there was a session you recorded with Harvey Mandel?

RH: Yeah, down near L.A., in Amiga Studios. "Voco" Kesh, who produced our album, was working with Harvey at the time and he came in and we said, "Cool, let's jam!" We did a couple cuts and I thought they were killer!

WNTI: He is an awesome guitar player.

RH: Yeah, and the music was unbelievable…and I never heard of them again. I have no idea what happened to them. I know they were recorded, because we actually heard it back, but I've never heard them after that.

WNTI: Let's just hope they didn't get wiped.

RH: They probably did. Unless "Voco," who just passed away recently, had a stash of stuff that he just kept for himself.

WNTI (JB): How did you guys get along with him in the studio?

RH: (tentative) We got along OK. We had one major crisis when he was away. We decided, "Who needs a producer, man. Let's just record!" So, we were recording and we were doing really well and then he came in and he was really super pissed!

WNTI: I heard stories that he used to lease out some of his production duties to some of his production acolytes. Is that true?

RH: I don't know about that. He was there the whole time.

WNTI: OK. So he takes all the credit for the stuff that was really mastered badly? Not the Savage Resurrection record! The one I'm thinking of in particularly is the Leigh Stephens record. It was such a GREAT record, but the bass on that record just overpowered everything.

RH: How could that possibly happen?

WNTI (laughing): I've actually taken that record – I have a little studio at home and I've taken that record and played around with it and killed some of the bass and made it sound a lot better!

RH: You're doing some mastering yourself?

WNTI (shyly): Yeah, kinda….

RH: Maybe you should reissue it!

WNTI: Somebody already did. I think it was on Karma out of Spain. Remastered with bonus cuts! (JB): He's really slumming to master your new record, Randy. That's what's going on here. (Mickster): Yeah, that's it! (laughter)

RH: Is that J.B.?

WNTI: That is, indeed, Jumpin' with J.B. (JB): How'd you know that? (Mickster): Yeah, how did you know that?

RH: San Francisco magic.

WNTI: When the three of us get in the studio together, which isn't that often, lava lamps appear. (laughter) Yeah, and there are some girls in the corner with white go-go boots on! (laughter) (JFO) And we got wet towels up against the cracks in the door….

RH: And only white go-go boots on!

WNTI: Of course! (JB): The Nancy Sinatra look we prize here so much. Did you ever chase John Palmer around the stage for taking too many solos with that Bowie knife you used to carry around?

RH: No, but it saved our lives once. We were playing down in the Valley once. Actually, Barry Melton was there, too. I'll have to look him up and see how he survived it. But we were playing in a redneck, really conservative place and these guys didn't like us at all and they wanted to kill us, but they saw the Bowie knife strapped to my side and we survived it! Now John has a little different story. He claims we were under the stage fighting them off, but I don't remember it that way! (laughter)

WNTI: Well, you know, the Bowie knife always gets ME to stop when I've got my fist in the air!

RH: Yeah. It was pretty big, too. It was hanging from my Cub Scout scarf and I had a bear and a Lion badge.

WNTI: Was this right after you recorded the album? Cause that would make you about 17 years old at the time.

RH: We recorded the demo in the summer of '66 when I was 15.

WNTI: Really!!??

RH: Oh, yeah. (pause) I peaked early!

WNTI (JB): In more ways than one, considering the times!?!

RH: And I was burnt out from the music biz by the time I was 17.

WNTI (JB): You mean the legal side, right?

RH: Yeah. I mean, I was 16 and I was on the road doing a national tour and I dropped out of school from all the pressures. It's hard being on the road anyway.

Like when Nick [Saloman] and Adrian [Shaw] were here a couple of weeks ago with the Bevis Frond, they were at Mod Lang Records and the drummer wasn't there and Nick just plugged into the amp and just played this awesome music – just a guy and a guitar and a mike. Really fabulous music!

WNTI: He's incredible. On his back alone, he's carried the psychedelic wave into the 90s and into the new millenium. Without a doubt!

RM: I had never seen him play before and it was just incredible.

WNTI (JFO): Randy, did you contact Nick directly to ask him to put something together for the liner notes for the reissue or is that something he volunteered to do?

RM: Alec Palao helped me a lot in mentoring me through the whole reissue process, because I had no idea what I was doing and he gave me some great tips. And when I posted the email on the USPACES Psychedelic discussion list about the reissue, I said, "Hey, I'm still out here. I'm not Randy Holden." (laughter from all) And I got some responses back and the first one I got was from Phil McMullen, the editor of the Ptolemaic Terrascope magazine that Nick publishes and he said, "I want to interview you." And I said, "Cool!" And then I connected up with Alec and he suggested it and I thought, "What a brilliant idea! What would make the reissue really special, what would be the perfect cherry on the cake would be to have Nick do the liner notes." So I asked him and he said he'd be delighted to!

WNTI: (JFO) Have you heard his song, "Repressor?" [Bevis Frond song from "The Auntie Winnie Album" with a lyric which namechecks The Savage Resurrection.]

RM: No, I haven't heard it yet. I'm aware of it but I've never actually heard it.

WNTI (JFO): Well, I brought my copy tonight, we can play it for you. Except like most people, you probably only have one phone line so you can't listen to our Internet feed.

RM: Oh. No. I actually went to your web site, but I didn't think it would work out if I tried to listen to the Internet feed as I was trying to talk to you.

WNTI: We'd get pixel feedback! Internet feedback – something new, man, feedback for the millenium.

RM: Yeah, excellent!

WNTI (JFO): Have you been playing or writing at all recently?

RM: I have a few songs that I wrote way back then that I never did anything with and also there's a couple of songs on [in hushed whisper] "the discovered tape," that band practice tape, and amazingly enough, the whole group is still here in the Bay area. Everyone's alive and still kicking and we got together a few months ago…

WNTI: You mean there's a band from the '60s where all the members are still alive! (laughter)

RM (laughing): Still alive and actually everyone plays!

WNTI: Incredible!

RM: And we got together and jammed a couple of months ago and we were actually amazed that the vibe was still there!

WNTI (JB): I smell a world tour and a box set coming up next year! (laughter)

(Mickster) You can tell that J.B. has his own record label. (laughter) Just chime right in there. (JFO) A little self promotion. (JB) We could do a tour. We could call it "Mate Aid." (laughter) But, you've gotta be amazed, Randy, not to place any more importance on us and to give Nick Saloman his due, but you've gotta be amazed that after 30 years, an album that, for all intents and purposes was dead and buried has come back out and what notoriety you're getting from it – you've gotta be flabbergasted by it!

RM: It really is. It's truly amazing! I still can't believe it and I'm just thrilled by it that we put out something that people still like today.

WNTI: It's touched a lot of people! Like Nick said, it stayed with him for 30 years and this record stayed with me for 30 years!

RM: Well, you know the whole notion of keeping it real, that's what we were all about and it feels great that we're still here.

WNTI: Do you have a copy of the record?

RM: You mean the vinyl? Actually, I do!

WNTI: Hang on to it. It's going up every day. It's trading in New York for around $150.00. That's major status here on the East Coast! (laughter) Well, we'd like to thank you, Randy for talking with us and we hope you put out a new record and…(JB) give it to us for a world exclusive! (laughter) (Mickster) I was waiting for J.B. to say that because he's so good at it!

RM (laughing): Anything could happen….


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