Archive for the ‘Songs’ Category

The Chessmen – Garage Mod Band Hamilton, Canada 1989

July 15, 2013

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THE CHESSMEN

Op Art light shows, go-go girls, splotchy cravats, Vox amps, Rickenbackers and a mad mod following! The Chessmen were Hamilton’s garage band in the late 80’s playing original songs influenced by the Kinks, Who, Beatles and Stones to name some well known bands but also deeply routed in more obscure way-out sounds.

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The Chessmen – album 1989 13 original songs (ZAP)

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The Chessmen – Warren, Jamie, Dan, Mike, Rick


ALBUM

The Chessmen launched one self titled album on ZAP records in 1989. The sound was more thin than their live acts and shortly thereafter they went psychedelic with longer songs like Follow the Path, Floating Down the River and Garden of Earthly Pleasures. They disbanded still friends and did a few reunion shows like the Baron of Time show at Amigos in Hess Village. Time Machine and several other songs were featured on garage compilations from around the world: Time Machine Mr. Garager’s Neighbourhood

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The Chessmen – Rick, Dan, Mike and Randy


FORMATION

Rod Fuzzfiend (Rick Blythe) and Dan Zen had seen one another out at dance clubs in the 80s and started jamming together before Dan Zen went off to Europe for nine months to hang out with garage bands – the cool side of the indi-pop movement – squatted with My Bloody Valentine and went to Spacemen 3 gigs to see the mop-top opening bands like the Surrounds, Jamie Taylor Quartet and Aardvarks.

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LINEUP

Rick did back-up vocals and played Rickenbacker bass (being a Stranglers follower) with local legend, the late Randy Steele on Guitar, and Musicologist, Mike White on the skins. Dan Zen went CHANG CHANG on a solid body Rickenbacker, sang, and wrote the songs – what primitive lyrics – a little raw or adolescent for his standards now but certainly all about girls coming and going, smiling and dancing. He also did light shows and managed the band. Soon after forming, Warren Cavenagh took over Bass with his little hofneristic boingbinger. Rick moved to Guitar for a double Rickenbacker front line. This was the album line-up along with Jamie sessioning ards. There were also a number of gogo dancers – Glynnis, Erin, RA, Angie, Melanie, Sue, and so forth.

SHOWS

Op Hops were the main gigs – dances put on by Dan with posters and light shows, etc. Mods would scooter from Brantford and Toronto to Hamilton locations like the Terra Nova Theatre on Dundurn (where the Taco Bell was put and then kaput), Patsy’s Banquet Hall on James St. N. and the Corktown. Empty Hours, The Captives, Ten Commandments and the likes would work up the crowd.

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PARTIES

After parties would happen on Grant just up from Grant Avenue Studios. The Gruesomes would hang out and all sorts of garage bands from around Canada – the Frankenstien Five, Sherlocks, the Minstrels, from the States, the Cynics, even some friends from Britain – the Thanes, the Offhooks and Surrounds. There would be jams in the attic where the Chessman practiced above the Op Art and Surreal Rooms. Various feasts like the Medieval, Beatnik, Space and Psychedelic parties transpired along with mystery parties like Baron Digbody’s Castle and the Lady with Brooch beatnik art theft and car rallies around the dozens of waterfalls in Hamilton. We’d walk in woods at night doing silly walks playing pass the documents. Late at night we would tell stories a sentence each and dance in strobe lights waving ties like snakes.  Below are some people – missing Samantha, Andrea, Valerie, Sandy, Suzanne, Keith, Mark, Myra, Jen, Dave, Bam Bam, Michelle, and many other fun folks!

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Christina, Darren, Glynis, Angie, Doug, Erin, Angie


AND THEN

After the album, Rick went back to bass with Andre LaPointe from the Captives coming in on guitar and backing vocals. Gaven Dianda also did a stint or two on bass when Rick was away. When the band disbanded Dan and Gaven went on to form the Swinging Gurus and later Thee Gnostics along with Andre and Thomas Monte from Sublimatus as we were all hanging around at these parties listening to early Pink Floyd, late Miles Davis, Hawkwind, Soft Machine and Orphx.  Mike moved off to Vancouver and then Toronto to work in Musical Media, Warren became Michael and travels the world helping the needy.  Rick and Dan both married their lovely girlfriends at the time RoseAnne and Ada and are still best friends in the Hamilton area working with latest technologies.

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Thee Gnostics – Dan, James, Gaven, Thomas

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Dan Zen and Thee Gnostics Dance – Alien Juice

August 27, 2011

Click above to see Video.  Thee Gnostics at http://theeGnostics.com are a Space Rock band from Hamilton.  Dan Zen is the one with the big round glasses – Gaven in robe and Russ in Fried Potato Gang shirt.  Missing are Matt and Thomas although they are playing on the song.

Fun to get the gang dancing – quite the eclectic styles.  Please visit Thee Gnostic playlist on YouTube and leave a comment or two!

Thee Gnostics Psychedelic Space Rock Band Discovered in the Tarken Files

August 30, 2008

Thee Gnostics were a psychedelic space rock garage band from Hamilton, Canada in the 90s.  Archives of video, sound, pictures along with descriptions can be found in The Tarken Files.

The Tarken Files shows any Web video, sound, pictures and text.  Thumbnails for the files are presented with rollover scrolling text beneath.  Click on any thumbnail or use the arrows to browse more files.  A viewer will appear with either video, audio, picture or text navigation.

The video navigation has a full screen button at the right.  Hit escape or the reduce screen button to exit.  The sound navigation has a reduce button at right that closes the pannel but keeps the sound playing in the background while you browse pictures or text.  If sound is playing in the background, you will see a sound icon on the right side of the video, picture and text viewers so that you can adjust the volume or go back to the sound.

There are tabs at the right of the viewer that open the ratings, comments and information panels. To rate, roll over the rating at the bottom and submit.  The comments and information panels (and the text viewer) have a scroller if necessary that lets you scroll through the text.  You can also single click through the pages or double click to go to the top or bottom page.  The information panel shows you the views as well.

The Tarken Files have been excavated from a Galaxy Long Long Ago yet seem to also span the future.

Many a Love Guru Keep in Shape with Psychedelic Dancing as Exercise

June 10, 2008

Here is a post from ZenVlog that summarizes various interests in guroovity. Enjoy!

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Click to View Vlog
or see: Part 1 | Part 2

The movie The Love Guru is coming out soon – looking forward to it!

All gurus of love psychedelic dance as one of their forms of exercise.

Dan Zen dances to The Garden – a social environmental Indian / Arabian / Persian sounding a Capella yodeling psychedelic song! Please see the video on YouTube. Or download the song from SoundClick. Or visit the Dan Zen page on facebook.

Dan Zen wears his San Francisco Groovy Guru robe. The one he wore for the International Groovy Day poster. Should we choose a day for that? Or should it just be any day? Oh… also check out the Love Mash – the robe shows up there too and it would be cool if some more people made Zen Mixes and maybe someone will make us a love mash!

Dan Zen also “starred” in a movie called the Guru Monster Movie. Some of that can be seen pictorially on Thee Gnostics mySpace page – more to come as TheeGnostics.com site happens.

In 1996, Dan Zen traveled to San Francisco and wore a guru robe – quite a beautiful traditional green robe with yellow embroidery. He was at the Macromedia Conference where Shockwave was unveiled. A flower lei held his festival pass. An Indian guard, after much deliberation, came up smiling and said, “You know… in my country… the women wear those robes”.

Get dancing people! Loosen up – no steps to follow – you can’t go wrong and it feels great – puts you in touch with your body and nobody has to know! Unless… you start vlogging it with Zen Mix!


Fritz Wolfgang Sigismund Fassbender Song with Missing Black Sock Wig

April 7, 2008

Dan Zen wearing a wig of unmatched socks fondly plays Peter Sellers playing Dr. Fritz Wolfgang Sigismund Fassbender in What’s New Pussycat 1965. Sellers wears a long black wig and looks really groovy. He’s a bit of a mess personality wise.

See the video

The song deals with wanting to be hypnotized into being Fassbender – the song was written at the tail end of the Chessmen times part way into the psychedelic times of the Chessmen – still to be recorded and on the way to the Swinging Gurus and the space band, Thee Gnostics – soon to come out with some videos…

Grab the MP3

The song was made from all voices – I ended leaving the backing guitar in for a bit of filler. But all else is voices with minimal effects aside from some delay and reverb. I have been looking forward to doing more vocal sound recordings. I have started in on some experimental works to follow some of the experimental vocal works during Gnostics and side projects.

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Mismatch Socks 2 from Inventor Blog

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How is it? Environmental Song

February 14, 2008

How is it?  Environmental Song

How is it? An environmental song…

No War – Music Video – Protest Guitar Song

February 9, 2008

No War - Antiwar song

No war is an anti-war song I wrote a few years back. It has an interesting story – here is the background. I have written about 70 songs over the last 10-20 years but certainly have slowed down. I think the last song was Brown Study – perhaps it was a curse. Just before Brown Study was a fast mod number called Triangle Man – it had rapid bar cords and was about everyone living the life of a superhero balancing work, rest and play in the modern world. The song was a few years old and I was just playing it at easter in the living room when I smelled an easter lily. That seemed to slow me down and I wondered, what cords am I actually playing. These turned out to be a bunch of C’s, D’s, F’s, G’s and normal stuff. So I left the bar codes and slowed it down. The lyrics then became how the smell of lily can replace superheroes – and No War was created. If you get a chance, leave a note on YouTube 😉


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