The man who urged a generation to "Tune in, Turn On, and Drop Out" is taking his ironically upbeat message to the masses with his CD, Right to Fly. Prior to his passing on May 31, 1996, Dr. Timothy Leary recorded this collection of rock 'n roll songs with Simon Stokes (Black Whip Thrill Band). Stokes also co-produced the album with partner Bayard Johnson (Mother Nature's Army) and Randall Keith. During his life, Timothy Leary was a professor, an actor, a lecturer, a fugitive, a candidate, a comedian, a software developer and a recording artist. Famous for his research with psychedelic drugs in the 60's, Dr. Leary has since become a cultural icon.
After winning a local songwriting contest, Simon Stokes ventured to Los Angeles in his early 20s. Beginning in 1965, Stokes recorded a number of 45s under names such as The Flower Children, The Heathen Angels, Rock Bottom and the Candy Kissers and The Perpetual Motion Workshop who recorded the nugget classic “Infiltrate Your Mind.” Shortly after, Stokes became a staff writer at Elektra Records. Forming a band called the Nighthawks, Stokes and MC5 signed to Elektra on the same day releasing Simon Stokes and the Nighthawks in 1969. This has been remastered and released by Rev-ola and can be purchaced at cherryred. In 1972, Stokes released The Incredible Simon Stokes & The Black Whip Thrill Band on Spindizzy Records. The album was a psychedelic hard rock record in the vein of Captain Beefhart and Roky Erikson. Reportedly the first banned LP in the United States (the cover featured S&M scenes showing women being whipped), the controversy created a cult following for the musician, especially among biker groups. In 1977, the Simon Stokes album Buzzard of Love was released on United Artists. Simon has placed music in over 25 films, spanning 3 decades. (Outlaw Riders, Jackknife, Under The Rainbow and Vice Squad to name a few). The list of TV series to use Stokes penned compositions includes The Shield and Mad Men. In 1993, The Cramps, in a rare session with Iggy Pop, recorded the Simon Stokes tune “Miniskirt Blues” for their record Look Ma, No Head. In 1996, he returned to music circles by releasing Right to Fly with ’60s counter-culture icon Timothy Leary. In 2002, Stokes released a country-rock album titled Honky. Produced by Bruce Duff and featuring members of the Bellrays and Wayne Kramer, the album’s sound was compared to outlaw singers such as Waylon Jennings, Billy Joe Shaver and David Allan Coe. Simon’s latest release, Head, was produced by ex-BellRay Todd Westover and is an exercise in stripped-down, psych-freaky, outlaw country-rock that goes where no man has gone in a long, long time. It has been called a “flat-out masterpiece” by the L.A. Weekly.