1978: I have found the secret origin of Walter White

Proto_Walter_WhiteAbove: this is an actual advert that was published in a nationally-distributed magazine in 1978.  In it we see a character who is clearly a science teacher.  He is presenting a novel way to make DIY meth.  SOUND FAMILIAR ANYONE?

Head_feb_78_cover“Head Monthly” was published in the 1970s, and perhaps even later.  Very little information exists regarding this publication.  It is similar in many ways to “HIGH TIMES,” which originated in 1974 and continues to be in operation today.  “Head” is a bit more hardcore, though; while “High Times” is primarily devoted to cannabis and mushrooms, “Head” is concerned as well with cocaine, heroin, and yes even meth.

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you might correctly assume that I spend a lot of time combing thru the chattels of the dead/damned looking for ancient audio and music-related paper to absorb, scan, and bring to the online world.  Well, if you spend enough time looking for music-stuff, you’re gonna find drug stuff, and so it was not surprising when I recently chanced upon a large collection of 1970’s doper mags.

But what was surprising was the content and tone of some of these publications. Magazines that I had never before heard of or seen, with titles like FLASH and RUSH (these are coke mags) and MARIJUANA MONTHLY (seems to be an attempt at a ‘classier’ reefer mag).  With the coming widespread legalization of marijuana in America, the ‘Outlaw Pot Mag’ seems like a quaint anachronism.  FLASH and RUSH are still pretty fkkn edgy though.  Expect the occasional post from these weird old artifacts in the coming years.

Travis Bean: 70’s Guitar Icons

Travis_Bean_1977There are not a lot of 70’s guitars that have attained classic status. 1970’s Gibsons and Fenders have a checkered reputation, and while a select few 70’s Ibanez and Yamaha models are highly valued, most Japanese electric guitars of the decade are fairly poor in quality compared to what we would come to see in the 1980s.

TravisBean_TB1000_1976A notable standout is the Travis Bean.  Regularly trading in the $3000 -$5000 range, these guitars have enjoyed a very strong reputation since their introduction. Travis Beans feature an aluminum neck and high-quality construction.

Travis_Bean_1977 copy**************************

Any Travis Bean players or collectors out there?

Click here for previous Travis Bean TB1000 coverage on PS dot com

Also here

More 70’s aluminum-neck guitar-geekery

Maestro FX units of 1972

Maestro_Rover_1972Today at PS dot com: just a quick look at some of the state-of-the-art in guitar/keyboard FX of 1972, courtesy the Maestro division of Chicago Musical Instruments, also parent to the Gibson brand of instruments.  Maestro made a lot wackier stuff than even the above-depicted Rover (a mini-leslie-on-a-stick) – Rhythm and Sound, anyone? – and we’ll get to it all eventually.  There’s only so much past I can write about, people…

Maestro_sustainer_1972Above: This does not appear to be a legitimate doctor. At best, he will likely ‘goose’ you whilst you are subdued via anesthesia.  I don’t really understand why a sleazy physician makes a good metaphor for a compression pedal.

Maestro_Fuzztone_1972Above: SuperFuzz.  It’s like a smug cop.  Ok…

Maestro_RingMod_1972Above: the Maestro Ring Modulator.  This is a rare one, I believe.  Do you get the feeling that this advert tells NOTHING about what this thing actually sounds like, other than it makes ‘unheard of sounds?’  This is likely because ring mod is really very hard to describe in words, and its effects really can be incredibly varied.  It actually synthesizes new pitches by outputting the sum and difference (in hertz) of your monophonic performance input and some second signal – in this case, likely an internal ‘carrier’ oscillator whose pitch is determined by the panel fader there.  I love ring mod.  It’s great that a few companies (Moog, EH) are making ring mod pedals again. A truly wild sound with a ton of applications for modern music.

Echoplex_1972Above: The Echoplex line of 1972.  The EM-1, ES-2, and EP-3.  Better than hanging out in a trash can.  Kinda need one of these.

Maestro_Brassmaster_1972Above: The Bass Brassmaster.  Tuba/trombone/bass sax players end up homeless/hobos/vagrants as a result.  Great, thanks.

Moog Break! (’72 – ’77)

PolyMoog_1976Today: some Moog-bits circa the mid seventies.  Above: the Polymoog.  And below: one of my fav recently-unearthed period-tracks featuring a Polymoog.

Moog_Sonic_6_1973Above: The Sonic Six of 1973.  Sure I know ELP, but Paintings?  The Mike Quatro Jam Band?  Anyone?

Moog_1972_MiniAbove: The same bros.  Now with MiniMoog.

microMoog_1977The Micromoog of ’77.  Not a ton of control options on this lil’ guy, but they are still affordable at around $700usd.  I should probably pick one of these up before they become as unaffordable as the most of the other vintage Moog models…

KeithEmerson_Moog_19721972: Keith Emerson and the MiniMoog.

For our exclusive download of vintage German (!!!) MiniMoog and SonicSix catalogs, click here…

Curious to see the first-ever Moog advert?  Check this previous article. 

Joe Osborn, studio bass great, 1972

JoeOsborn_1972Joe Osborn stands alongside Carol Kaye, Herbie Flowers, and James Jamerson as one of the all-time great session bassists.  As his wiki entry indicates, “Many producers and arrangers chose to spotlight his contributions by mixing the bass line more prominently than had been customary, and incorporating brief bass solos into their arrangements.”

Click the link to download a great short article on Osborn from DB mag, 1972.  Author is one David Perry: JoeOsborn_Downbeat_1972

EML Synths of the 70s part II

EML_1976I came across a few more EML (Electronic Music Laboratories) bits that I will share with you.  I’ve written a little about EML before, as they were based in Connecticut and lets face it, I am never getting out of this state. Anyhow, click here for our first EML article, and click here for coverage of the 1976 EML SynthKey, which was likely the first synth with aftertouch.

I’ve yet to be contacted by anyone who worked at EML in the 70s.  Folks, if yr out there, drop a line…  the world needs to know…

EML_101_1972The EML model 101 synth

EML_100_1972The EML Model 100 synth




Synare_PS_1976Bonus 70’s CT synth-times: The 1976 Synare PS by Star Systems of Stafford Springs CT.  Looks pretty righteous… anyone?

ARP synths of the mid 70s part III

ARP_Omni_1977How are y’all doing on this snowy day…  listening to some mid-seventies Tangerine Dream LPs and flippin thru a giant pile of old DOWNBEAT mags that I picked up at an estate sale this past wknd along with an enormous radio.   Here’s a few ARP bits+bobs that caught my eye.  Anyone have the above-depicted demo record?


ARP_Odyssey_1977The ARP Odyssey c. 1977

ARP_Minus_Mixer_1976The ARP Minus Noise Mixer c.1976.  Anyone know exactly what is the gimmick here?

Arp_2600_1972_HHHerbie Hancock at the 2600




For previous ARP coverage at PS dot com,

Click Here for our exclusive download of the 1977 ARP Catalog

Click here for ARP endorsers of the 70s

Also this is pretty neat


1977: this is a really, really strange way to advertise a pedal steel guitar

PEdalSteel_1She stood by the TV holding a cup of coffee from the vending machine in the hallway.   I was just packing up my toothbrush and she asked me, half-joking,  if I’d be coming by this way again.  Damn that woman could wear one hell of a Canadian tuxedo.  I didn’t know what to say.  Sure, I’d been through Tulsa a dozen times or more, but I was on the wrong side of 35, trying to make a living playing an instrument that was completely irrelevant for 99% of music in the world.  I might as well of been a fucking kazoo player.  I mean, all those goddamn pedals and levers; what do they even DO?  Big Billy was a peach for bringin me out on the road again for this tour, but even backwoods Bill was talkin’ about goin disco for his next record.  Shit man, ain’t gonna have pedal steel on a disco track.   So, Cindy, answer is, I don’t know.  You seen my comb? 


1977: Frank Zappa is a funny mffkr

Zappa_PixI know that this will be a polarizing thing to say, but I can’t stand Frank Zappa’s music.  I have tried.  Oh brother I have tried.  Also he seems like a total fkkn prick in every interview I have ever read with him.  Like one of those a-holes who acts like he’s having a bad time at the party, but rather than leave the party, dude just hovers around radiating bad vibes.

Now, on the plus side, total prickishness can sometimes turn into comedy gold.  As-in this 1977 interview in Downbeat mag.  Faced with a fairly straightforward question about the role of electronics in music, Zappa delivers a diatribe which ends in the condemnation of summer-homes.  Enjoy…