I was trying to find a video to post to this blog that I had heard a while ago on Greg Bishop's Radio Misterioso...something about Skymen, so I naturally began to "google around" in search of the song. I was hoping to read a bit about the song writer's biography, and somehow I ended with a Roky Erickson and then a Joe Meek play list on youtube. Joe Meek - of course!
I am a terrible juke box hog when I'm out on the town, and one of my favorite "inebriated" classics I love to play ahead of the young kid's music today is the Tornado's Telstar. My parents had a bunch of instrumental recordings in their basement, and my brother and I spent hours listening to Telstar, Duane Eddy, and Dick Dale and the Ventures. Of course, Joe Meek was the guy that composed Telstar. He also was the guy behind the Honeycomb's "Have I the Right" production; another favorite of mine. As I kept flipping through a Joe Meek playlist, I then found this gem which I had not heard before. Behold Night of the Vampire with some slick editing.
And so it goes that the Moontrekkers' electronic hit "Night of the Vampire" from 1961 was banned by the BBC in that bygone day and age due to the nature of the music. Definitely an early 60's gem. Meek apparently had the chance to work with the Beatles, Bowie, and even Rod Stewart, but declined. I find that odd; Meek was somewhat of an occultist who had "come down" from a seance in the 50's with knowledge of Buddy Holly's death. He went so far as to warn Holly; but the advice was not taken. If Meek had been privy to the ether, one would think the Beatles and their early chord progressions would have stood out to Meek. Not to be (but quite a fantastic team the group would have been).
So now I have to find a book on Joe Meek and read more. His music definitely brims with astral energy and geometry. Could there be a mystic quality to his work? I have no idea, but will definitely search it out.
Oh yes, and the Skymen song was recorded by Geoff Goddard. I found that through a Joe Meek playlist as well (of course again!) As the UK's Guardian puts it, Goddard :
was the soul, in-house composer, general factotum and eminence grise of record producer Joe Meek's RGM Sound. Operating out of a tiny flat-cum-studio in north London's Holloway Road, RGM was a cauldron of other-worldliness, funfair vulgarity, tunes drenched in echo and technical innovations that changed studio procedures forever."
So many things tying together this blustery November Saturday afternoon...