Hoppy – Underground Head

 KRIS NEEDS watched an array of film clips from Hoppy – An Underground Head and took in a rather surreal performance from fellow head and friend Michael Horovitz on a wet Saturday day afternoon in Alexandra Palace


Michael Horovitz’s ebullient song-poetry rang around Alexandra Palace on Saturday – just like 50 years ago when the UK’s original beat poet and counterculture instigator was one of countless performers at The 14 Hour Technicolour Dream.

Although famously visited by a tripping John Lennon and closed by Pink Floyd as the sun beamed in through the mighty windows, The Technicolour Dream became something of a watershed for London’s burgeoning underground scene but also marked the end of this brief age of innocence as the media and establishment prepared to pounce and destroy.

There would follow numerous establishment persecutions and drug busts, including underground dynamo John ‘Hoppy’ Hopkins, who got nine months for supposedly possessing marijuana but was really a prime target for establishing International Times, starting the UFO club with Joe Boyd (where London experienced its first all-night raves), promoting The 14 Hour Technicolour Dream and co-founding The Notting Hill Carnival as an annual event.

Hoppy, who died in January 2015, was the main reason filmmakers Malcolm Boyle and Carl Stickley organised The Happening Tent at the Pally on Saturday, showing working footage from Hoppy – Underground Head, their proposed film designed to celebrate this crucial figure in the UK underground before his rich but fragmented history is lost forever. The pair have already shot interviews with Hoppy and his contemporaries for the film, providing a first-hand account of the original London underground as it felt at the time.

Although trained as a nuclear physicist, Hoppy soon discovered his talent for nailing the perfect music photograph, including the shot of Brian Jones with his back turned to a steaming Ally Pally crowd that suggested the venerable Great Hall would be a suitable venue for a gathering of the clans and party celebrating the new underground (while raising money to finance IT). But on June 1st, he was hauled up on trumped up drugs charges that saw him sent down by a judge who described him as “a pest to society”. As a “Free Hoppy” campaign kicked up, he served six months while becoming a martyr to the new drugs consciousness as Stephen Abrams started a campaign to liberalise the cannabis laws and Paul McCartney took out a full-page ad in The Times calling for its decriminalisation.

The film is essential, both as a document of this vitally influential time and as a tribute to one of the key figures in pioneering everything we hold dear today. It was slightly eerie hearing the Floyd ringing out at Ally Pally again half a century later and incongruous but life-affirming to see the 82-year-old Michael Horovitz still at it, giving animated readings of his poems and playing imaginary kazoo to mainly an audience of families driven in by the torrential rain. The man’s a story in himself and also deserving of a movie, as shown by his epic answer to just one question from Malcolm Boyle that included being at the meeting where CND was launched and staging 1965’s landmark Wholly Communion poetry event at The Royal Albert Hall now credited with being the global underground’s first show of strength and unity.

Let’s start with Hoppy. Go to www.hoppyfilm.com to find out more and how you can contribute.


Jesse Ed Davis: Washita Love Child

Native American guitar prodigy JESSE ED DAVIS was sidesman for legends such as John Lennon, Gene Clark, Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen, and released a trio of solo albums in the early ‘70s. THOMAS PATTERSON hears personal memories of a man who died young but burned brightly from Mike Johnson, producer of new compilation Red Dirt Boogie: The Atco Recordings 1970-1972

I was a big fan of Jesse, because I’m a Beatles’ freak. I had a lot of the bootlegs, going back into the early ‘70s. I had the Walls and Bridges session that he was very prominent on.

Being in LA, I read in the LA Weekly that Yoko Ono was doing an art show. This was in 1985, and I thought, “I’m going to crash it and see if I can get in.” I was waiting in line at the gallery, and I noticed Jesse was in line a few people back. I invited him up to where I was standing, two from the door. I said, “I’m a big fan, I know your work.” I ran his discography by him. He was very interesting, he wanted to talk. When the door opened, we went in and mingled, and Jesse saw Yoko, and took me with him, and introduced me. “Mike Johnson, this is Yoko Ono.” And I thought, “Holy cow, I’ve arrived!”

We spoke for a few minutes then Jesse took Yoko off to the side. I don’t know what they talked about but it looked very serious and then she left. Was he there to ask her for money, was he there to ask for a favour, as he there just out affection? I never knew and I never asked. But while we were in line, we exchanged phone numbers. A few days went by and he actually called me. I was at work, and he asked if I were ever around, could I give him a lift? And I said, “Sure, I can take you wherever you need to go.” And that’s where it started.

I was always really honoured when Jesse would call and ask for a favour like that. It was just really cool having that audience with him, one on one in my car as we’re driving some place. Many times I didn’t ask him why we were going somewhere, it was kind of weird. Of course, this was way back before Uber. But by picking him up and driving him places, I could ask him questions.

He lived on Sawtelle in Palms. Often, I’d be in his apartment and he’d show me things – he had tapes, he had photographs. I was seeing Polarioids and photographs that weren’t in an album but were in a shoebox. And he this old TV tray, and underneath this tray was the box of photos. He’d loan me cassettes, things like Taj Mahal live at The Fillmore. He was a giving sort, it was tit for tat. And sometimes he’d come and hang in my condo in Redondo, and he’d sit on the sofa and play the blues.

One day I showed up at his, and he said “Did I ever show you this?” It was The Rolling Stones Rock And Roll Circus. It was a rough cut, years before it came out andhe said Bill Wyman had given it to him. And I sat and watched it in his apartment. I thought, “What a wonderful in into this world.” And all I had to do was occasionally loan him twenty dollars and drive him someplace. Read more Jesse Ed Davis: Washita Love Child


Jimi Hendrix in… Norfolk

Monterey, The Isle Of Wight… and Dereham!

STEWART TURNER recalls that time Jimi Hendrix played in a tiny Norfolk market town


Supergroup Cream playing a pokey village hall usually reserved for jumble sales and scout groups, fuzzy garage-rockers The Electric Prunes headlining in a ramshackle seaside pavilion: one of the most defining aspects of the ’60s was the ability of nondescript, provincial towns to attract big names to their venues.

Dereham, a small market town in the middle of Norfolk, is the perfect example. Bands like The Small Faces, The Move and The Action all played The Tavern Club at the height of their fame. Syd Barrett’s Pink Floyd even passed through with their acid-propelled freak-outs and psychedelic light show, passing way over most people’s heads in a county that proved stubbornly resistant to the dubious charms of eastern mysticism and flower-power. But Jimi Hendrix is the one that sticks in the minds of mid-Norfolk baby boomers. Dereham-born Nick Sands witnessed Hendrix’s crunching guitar pyrotechnics back in October 1967 as a 17-year-old, and recalls that promoter Brian Cross pulled off the coup of the decade by booking the Experience to play at a time when they were pretty much the hottest band on the planet.

The gig was originally pencilled in for January, but when Jimi’s brooding, slowed-down version of US garage band staple ‘Hey Joe’ shot up the charts, he was bundled into the studio to quickly record a follow-up. He agreed to play later for the same fee, and by the time the band returned to this tiny town with a population of fewer than 10,000 in October, they’d already played The Monterey Pop Festival and toured America.

From the picture Nick paints of Dereham in the ’60s, it’s amazing anyone ever played there at all. He remembers Melody Maker running a feature on the 10 worst places to gig in the country, polling the biggest bands of the day for their thoughts. Dereham came fifth – one place higher than The Gorbals, a bleak, post-industrial area of Glasgow, which was widely regarded as the worst place to live in the country.

This was a place where bottles once rained down on Rod Stewart and battered Jeff Beck’s guitar to the point of no return. Geno Washington once played part of a frenzied set to an empty venue because of the townsfolk’s peculiar tradition of leaving the venue for a late-night conga around the market place. By all accounts, it was a weird place to perform.

But Jimi was different, and The Tavern, by now rechristened The Wellington Club, was so crammed with bodies that impromptu al fresco congas were a physical impossibility. Undeterred by the promoter’s canny price hike, hundreds of wide-eyed and sweaty teenagers witnessed a set that ran through most of the Are You Experienced? album, with ‘Foxy Lady’, ‘Purple Haze’ and ‘Hey Joe’ soundtracking the bizarre spectacle of a couple of bouncers chucking pints of water onto the crowd in a bid to cool things down.

The defining moment that cemented the gig in Dereham folklore was a typically theatrical pelvic thrust that planted the head of Hendrix’s Stratocaster through the false ceiling, taking out a few spotlights in the process. The 24-year-old star was firmly cut down to size when he had the costs of repairs deducted from his wages later that night.

This wasn’t Hendrix’s first visit to Norfolk – he’d earlier pocketed £39 for playing Norwich’s notorious Orford Cellar, a place where the emphasis was on more on raucous, sweaty R&B rather than personal space and fire escapes. But The Wellington Club was the one that stuck, and with plans afoot to commemorate the gig later in the year; the story looks set to live on for a long time yet.


Read Kris Needs’ Hendrix epic in the next few issues of the magazine



WIN exclusive signed Ebbot Lundberg & The Indigo Children artwork

THOMAS PATTERSON talks with EBBOT LUNDBERG about Christmas, art and the future. (Comp question after interview)

Shindig!:  Are you looking forward to Xmas? What will you be doing this year for the festive season?

Ebbot Lundborg: I haven´t been looking forward to Xmas since my grandparents passed away. I just prefer to go away to Sri Lanka or someplace else that is not so dark and depressing as Sweden during winter solstice.

SD!:  What does a typical Swedish Xmas look like? Are there unusual traditions non-Swedes will find fascinating?

EB: Heavy drinking with sugar on top basically.It has always been like that long before Santa entered the picture.
In the past It was called “Supa Jul” which means “Drinking Yule”.
As a non Swede I don´t know if that´s fascinating though, except maybe the silly moonwalking around the christmas tree and the astonishing amount of booze that is consumed.

SD!: Do you have any favourite festive music you like to slip on the stereo this time of year?

EB: I may listen to Jan Johansson Svenska Folkvisor,  or anything by The Free Design this year. If not maybe something by Upside Down Cross.

SD!: As you know, we’re giving away some signed artwork as a competition for our readers. What can you tell us about the artwork? Where was it taken and what does it mean to you?

EB: It´s taken in the woods where I live by the west coast of Sweden. This is where I mostly spend my time relaxing. The photographer´s name is Dan Isaac Wallin. A brilliant artist who´s very much into using 19th century cameras.

SD!: What does the new year hold in store for you and the band?

EB: A lot of things because there are so many interesting changes happening in the world right now. So musically we are probably going to do something exciting and scary.


To win a signed print of the below artwork answer this simple question: “What was the name of Ebbot’s break through band?”

Email your answer to win@shindig-magazine.com with “EBBOT COMP” in the title by Jan 31st



James Bagshaw discusses the recording of Temples’ forthcoming album Volcano

Read and listen to JON ‘MOJO’ MILLS’ interview with the TEMPLES main man


Listen to the full 45 min interview below

“It’s been about a year in the making.

“We have recorded it ourselves again, but have moved up in the world. This one wasn’t recorded in the tiny box room at my parent’s house. I’ve converted a couple of the upstairs rooms into my studio. It’s a lot more extensive now. I am in the process of building a studio in the back garden, in what used to be the old dairy hundreds of years ago, but at the moment upstairs works fine. Like on the first album I’m making the most of what space there is in a house, like Les Paul & Mary Ford or Joe Meek would… it’s just I have more of it now…

“Yes, we have fully produced the album ourselves again. I wouldn’t rule out working with anyone, but nobody within ‘indie means’ has appealed to me. The people who I regard as very, very good we just wouldn’t be able to afford to pay them to do it. Also when you produce a record yourselves you get exactly what you want. It can be a struggle, but when it works out and pays off it’s well worth it. An achievement. No one else can run a marathon for you.”

“Within reason you can take as long as you want, but we have had a bit of a rush over the last month. It’s great that we have been left to get on with what we do. Heavenly really get it and they give you the time and the breathing space, but sometimes you panic and think ‘Do they want us to make this record? Do they know we’re making this record?’ They do, but they stand back and let us do what we have to do. Then suddenly you get the due date out of the blue. ‘The album needs to be delivered by such and such.’ And then it’s… ‘Ahhhhh.’ That pushes you on. The good thing is we have just been ironing things out and you need closure. Otherwise we could easily overdo things.

“‘Certainty’ started off as a melodic exploration. The sounds I got up in the studio were very instinctively made. The synth bass on the beginning was used as I couldn’t be bothered to go and get my bass out of the case. So it stuck. Once I’d shown everybody they liked it, but you never know what your band mates or the general public will think of an idea that’s a bit different. That bass line was meant to be a bassline, but it ended up staying a synth line. The sound had a certain quality to it as it sounds like an analogue Moog fuzz bass. I was channeling a bit of Air into the song too. ‘Sexy Boy’ has the same kind of fuzzy feel. Air, on the earlier records, were certainly pioneers of just understanding sound in a really creative way.”

“There’s been a lot of writing from Adam on this record too – everyone’s really written for this record, well the three of us, Tom, Adam and myself ­ – and there’s a song that Adam’s written called ‘How Would You Like To Go’ and it’s incredibly unique. There’s nothing really quite like it.

“What era does it sound like? 2017!

“It’s a full steam ahead record. We’ve gone all out with the production and trying to create the songs within the environment of an album, so it sounds continuous. We have Side One and Side Two programmed: two intros, and two outros.


“On the first album I buried the vocals more, because I wasn’t as confident as a singer. It’s amazing how much you improve from touring. A lot of the songs on this record had three or four vocal takes, with the exception of a few songs where I wrote in a key that was bit too high, but I liked. So I probably did 20 takes, just because I don’t want to drop the key for the sake of it. I like to push myself and always know it’s doable. I’ve taken that from the live environment.

“When recording I use a mix of everything. From the first record there’s a lot more stuff in the studio now: guitars, amps, out boards. A big thing that changed on this record was the mic that I was using. On the first I purely used rhythm mics because any condenser mics I had used were horribly harsh and sounded like a T’Pau record, and on this new record I have been using a Telefunken U47 Valve Condenser. It’s been a huge part of the sound. Every vocal was recorded using this beauty. The amount of records that have been made using this is incredible. I just plugged it and could see why. I was a bit against the snobbery that goes with gear. There are no rules. But this microphone I have never known anything you can gain up so high and get no noise. It’s like silent. It captures charisma in your vocal. With a rhythm mic you end up adding stuff back in as you are losing the top end. I still to this day adore rhythm mics as I feel it makes you approach the singing in a softer way, but the U47 has been a huge part of the album.

“Well ‘Oh The Saviour’ (originally called ‘Volcano’, which is now the album title) was the first track we recorded vocals with this mic and the approach in the verses is very dry; there’s very little reverb, if any. It just sounded so good by itself. Anything else was like taking the focus of the vocals.

Desert Daze Festival - Institute of Mentalphysics, Joshua Tree, CA 10/14-15/16 | Photo by Erika Reinsel

“Gear wise we used: an MS20 synth, a 1952 Selmer Clavioline , WEM copycat, Space Echo (the real deal, not software), some ’70s DBX compressors, I have a prototype of the Ted Fletcher stereo compressor  EQ(he built the range of Joe Meek things). I use a front end of an old ’60s valve reel to reel which I use for DI’ing things. I’ve distorted a lot of things using that as it has a beautiful harmonic valve distortion. It’s ridiculous the amount of gear I now have. The Gretsch is still king, but I have been using a lot of things. On ‘Born Into The Sunset’ I use a 1966 Gibson Firebird non-reverse 12-string, which I bought when I was in Portland, Oregon. It’s an amazing guitar. I was touring it for a bit but stopped as there are only about 300 in the world. They were made for one year. Over the years of touring I bought quite a few bits. I got a Chandler tube driver and a ’67 Coronado 12 string in the Antigua finish.

“I still use plug ins too as there’s no way I could afford some of the things I want. There’s a difference, but it’s slim. With the analogue thing when you go directly into your computer once you get a good audio interface you really notice what all your gear is doing.

“The new album is Temples but Temples rediscovering things. You can listen to both records and it’ll work. We haven’t got lazy with it though and just made a follow-up. It should be an interesting record. We wanted to create songs that were interesting but at the same time are doused in pop sensibilities.

“We listen to music a lot in the van on tour. Things that stick out to me are Iggy Pop, there’s always a lot of Bowie, Eno as well… some Nick Nicely… some classical stuff… some Gusta Holtz. It’s an individual thing. I’d definitely say I consume the least music out of everybody. Thomas is the vinyl junkie. He really is. He’s constantly searching. I’m not. If I’m writing songs I don’t listen to music: that’s just how I work. I end up inadvertently ripping something off and I don’t wanna do that! Music fasting.”

“The art is currently being designed by Jonathan Zawada who did the great cover for ‘Certainty’.”

Volcano will be released on Heavenly Recordings, March 3rd 2017