The Myth of Jennyanykind

Rapture.  Mythic is playing through the headphones on full blast.  Mythic, from 1995.  Arrived today in the mail, $4 off Amazon Marketplace.  It’s been out of print for years, naturally, and my copy was lost long ago. [Note: Mythic was re-released on the band’s BandCamp page one day after this article was originally published.  See link below. — CB]

Living in NYC in 1995, I was visiting North Carolina (a former and future home) when I found Mythic.  I really liked their first record, “Etc.,” a minor local mind blower, but Mythic was all the best part of “Etc.” amped and twisted and cranked.  It dropped into a Chapel Hill scene that was undergoing some serious transformation as Jimbo Mathus’s Squirrel Nut Zippers, which arose out of the ashes of Metal Flake Mother, were getting national attention, and weird rock purveyors Zen Frisbee soldiered on, having been solidly ignored for their brilliant album, I’m as Mad as Faust. Continue reading “The Myth of Jennyanykind”

Genesis, TRESPASS

genesis trespassby Chuck Hicks

By way of introduction, I grew up in and around Southern Appalachia.  I’m as conversant on Roscoe Holcomb, Flatt & Scruggs and the Stanley Brothers as Robert Fripp, Crack the Sky and Spock’s Beard.  I grew up hearing pop, psychedelic and folk/country stirred together.  When I was 8 years old Tommy James’ “Sweet Cherry Wine,” with its church organ, quasi-religious lyrics and Leslie speaker-distorted background vocals helped shape my standards for genre-bending music.  It was fairly inevitable that I would fall in love with progressive rock.  But I have a peculiar need to find harmony in disparate styles.  That in part explains my choice for a first submission to Progarchy.

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The most memorable mental picture I have of early Genesis came from a set played on Belgian TV: Steve Hackett, with black beard and aviator spectacles, sitting at Peter Gabriel’s hand, ripping through the furious instrumental break of “The Musical Box” on his black Les Paul.  After whipping the pick up the neck Hackett dropped his hands to his knees and sat like a classical musician at rest, his section of the piece done.  I’d never seen anything like his demeanor in a rock band.  Hackett could have just played with the London Philharmonic.

It’s easy to forget that Steve Hackett was not the first Genesis lead guitarist.  A year earlier his “seat” was filled by Anthony Phillips, classmate of Peter Gabriel, Tony Banks and Mike Rutherford at Surrey’s exclusive Charterhouse School, a place where future gentlemen were groomed.  Among many distinguished Old Cartusians was Ralph Vaughan Williams, collector of English folk songs and hymns who melded them into memorable classical pieces like Norfolk Rhapsody and the fantasias on “Greensleeves” and a Theme by Thomas Tallis.   To listen to Phillips-era Genesis is to be reminded of Charterhouse manners and influence, which included things like mandatory chapel attendance and respect for the ancient traditions of England.  The medieval, the rural, and the sacred surrounded the lads as they turned their attention to becoming pop song writers in 1967.

Continue reading “Genesis, TRESPASS”