Posts Tagged ‘op art’

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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Opartica II TUNNEL Launches with 3D Op Art Creation and Animation

February 6, 2011

Opartica II TUNNEL the online op art making tool where you create and fly through 3D optical art has launched on the Dan Zen site!

Please check out the Opartica Facebook page for postings and discussion. “Likes” are greatly appreciated!

Opartica II makes use of HummingBird the open source Parallax code for Flash written by Inventor, Dan Zen, and part of the Flash Feathers series of advanced interfaces.

Opartica II lets you create a wide variety of op art in two basic formats, tiled with rows and columns and radial with segments.  There are a variety of shapes including free form curves.  Layers, backgrounds, distances between layers and a unique fill mode and more can be controlled from the left hand panel.

You can save works (Tunnels) with the right hand panel.  You can automate a slide show through your Tunnels and animate in 3D at various speed settings.  There is an import and export feature to share and save Tunnels.

The original Opartica was launched in 2005 and has received over 200,000 views.  It is still available at the bottom of the Opartica site.

Dan Zen used the current Opartica was used to create hundreds of Op Art holiday cards which can be viewed on Flickr at http://www.flickr.com/photos/danzen/sets/72157625558618858/ the collection – perhaps one of the largest collection of hand made Op Art, shows the diversity available in Opartica.  Please have fun exploring!

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Interactive Op Art – Opartica

April 8, 2008

Opartica Op Ar Tool

Just making sure that anyone searching online for interactive op art tool will find Opartica at http://www.opartica.com. Opartica is a fully interactive optical art maker that lets you spin and overlap shapes like rays, concentric circles and squares, zig zags, and spirals. You can change color and centers. It was built some time ago as a first Flash feature in 2001.  Still works and gets lots of hits etc.


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