On October 31st, Permanent Records release the fifth album in their series of proto-metal “lost classics” compilations, Brown Acid – The Fifth Trip. We’ve had a listen and it’s a fantastic collection of songs you’ve never heard of by artists who will have passed you by, even if you were kicking around in the 70s. Each song demonstrates seeds being sown for the music we all know and love today, while still being in no doubt heavily influenced by the era from which they hail.
Lance Barresi of Permanent Records and Daniel Hall of RidingEasy Records have taken meticulous care to track down the original artists to ensure that every track is presented with their approval. Not one track is included without their permission, and some songs have barely – if ever – seen the light of day before. The Fifth Trip is a brilliant listen, surprisingly so if I’m honest, and one I know I’ll be listening to on and off over the coming weeks.
We got the chance to drop a few questions to Lance, one we jumped at. It makes a change having a word with someone who builds compilations rather than plays on them!
The Fifth Trip is (no surprise!) the fifth in the series. Has it been difficult keeping each release fresh and surprising?
The process of tracking bands and licensing the tracks has been the most difficult part. If we could just choose tracks and use them it’d be so much easier, but we’re doing everything legally and making sure the bands involved get paid. Luckily, if you dig deep enough you’ll find that there’s a wealth of these kinds of tracks out there, enough to fill 100 volumes easily and I become aware of new tracks fairly regularly. That’s what keeps me going!
Which track on this release was the most difficult to track down and get the rights for?
Technically, the Captain Foam track “No Reason” was the most difficult. This record is rare, but collectors have been aware of it for some time now. There are some posts online touting it’s greatness, but all of them also have comments about how no one knows where Richard Bertram of Captain Foam ended up, etc. I love this track so much that I just kept coming back to it and through relentless determination and persistence, I was able to (through an old friend of his) get in touch with Richard and get his permission to use this incredible track. On a side note, the Thor song was easy to track, but I wouldn’t have ever known about it (it’s un-Google-able) without my friend, record collector extraordinaire Mike Vegh who found a copy and turned me onto it.
Do you have a “wish list” of songs that you hope to track down for any of these compilations, or are they made up of tracks you come across? If you have a wish list, is there one particular track that means more to you than any other that you just can’t get contacts for?
My Brown Acid “wish list” is long, but I cross tracks off of it every now and again. I’m in various stages of the process of tracking and licensing on many of them, but some definitely seem like dead-ends. One of these is the Magic 45 on Intense Records. I’ve been trying to track these guys since I bought a copy of the record at a record fair in the Bay Area. The band is supposedly from that neck of the woods, but no one seems to know how to get in touch with the band. If anybody out there can help, I’d be eternally grateful. It’s one of the best records in my collection.
The songs are often described as “proto-metal”. Are you a fan of modern metal, the genre that evolved from songs such as these?
I like some modern metal, mostly of the stoner variety, but I’m not a big metalhead. I dig the thrash classics and I’ve dabbled in black metal a bit, but my favorite sub-genre is NWOBHM. Generally speaking, I like the progenitors of any given genre much more than modern music, but there’s good stuff out there, especially in the underground.
When I first saw the track listing I spotted “Helter Skelter”, a great version by Zebra of The Beatles’ classic and one not even mentioned on the song’s Wikipedia page! The recording sounds straight from a vinyl recording – was this the only source?
I’m not a big fan of Beatles covers generally, but this one’s so heavy! In this particular case, I believe we did use the original 45 as the audio master. Unfortunately, most of the bands we’ve worked with on Brown Acid don’t have the original master tapes and, in some cases, the bands don’t even have a clean copy of the 45 we can use. That’s where my personal collection comes in handy. I’ve amassed a fairly large collection of these kinds of records and I’m in touch with a lot of other collectors that know I’ll pay top dollar for heavy 45s. That said, there’s a couple that we’ve comped that I don’t even have.
The Thor track “Lick It” is previously unknown. How did you manage to come across a track that was never previously released?
Ah yes, as I mentioned before my pal Mike Vegh dug this one up at some point and brought it to a record fair to share with me. I asked if he’d tried to track them and he suggested I do it. And so I did. Unfortunately, the songwriter is deceased, but I got permission from his wife to use the track and she sent me a clean copy of the 45 and a scan of an old Thor flyer. These rewards are the best part of doing Brown Acid.
Do you make any efforts to “clean” or “tidy” any of the originals, or aim to present them “warts and all”?
We do our best to de-click and clean up any surface noise on the original 45s, but we never mess with any other aspect of the audio. We try to present the original recording as true to form as possible. We’ve had bands ask if they could re-record or remix the recordings and we always tell ’em we want ’em “warts and all”.
Check out George Brigman’s “Blowin’ Smoke” below, and pre-order the album!