Blue Cheer on acid. No, itís not one of those catchy little metaphors, Blue Cheer (Yes, they were named for the type of LSD) really were on acid. Acid meant as much to the 1960ís psychedelic movement as alcohol to the 80ís hair metal movement or marijuana to the 90ís g-funk scene. It was critical; you can hear the influence of acid on the lips or lead singer/bassist Dickie Peterson. It is apparent in the licks of axe man Leigh Stevens and in Petersonís rumbling bass. Their 1968 LP, Vincebus Eruptum was criticized by older listeners for their ďrape" of Eddie Cochranís ďSummertime Blues", but lifted up by younger ones as the next big thing in music. Though they have been credited with the creation of acid rock and even heavy metal, Blue Cheer are just a few NorCal sonsofbitchs who fell into the right place at the right time. The world needed an answer to Vietnam and the republican governments of the 50ís, and Blue Cheer were there. You can hear it echo during Summertime Blues, for what daddy might have seen as a rape, little Johnny saw a calling.
Other tracks like Rock Me Baby take the shell of a standard 12 bar blues and fill it with searing hot injustice. The song finds itself in a kind of dismantled stage about 2 minutes in when a sprawling guitar solo is introduced to the mix. Blue Cheer officially invent the term power trio with this tune, the drums are nothing short of bombastic, the guitar searing and the bass sparse and strong. Peterson has to be one the best singing bassists in rock music (maybe second to Kim Deal, sorry Geddy Lee). His voice was raw before raw was cool. You could feel the pain in his heart in your ear. You could hear the acid too, if it was possible at least. The instrumental parts of this album are just as strong, giving the listener a trapped feeling. Often times it feels like the walls to your cage are getting higher, and the music is getting faster, more furious, and more revolutionary.
The edge to Blue Cheerís music is easy to feel today, but in an era when a 7 minute song is even present in pop punk they seem a bit ďdated". It bothers me that bands like Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix Experience and others get so much attention by todayís community when Blue Cheer are overlooked. Maybe it was too little too late, but Vincebus Eruptum is perhaps one of the heaviest blues albums in existence. Raw production and quality keep it fresh in the world of squeaky clean classic rock sounds and the brutal talent of the bandís members keep them a vital part of the long gone Acid Rock scene. Legend has it Blue Cheer was so incredibly loud that a dog sitting next to an amp actually blew up. If that is not metalí I donít know what is. Call it blues, psychedelia or musical rape (I prefer the last one) but no classic rock fan can deny that itís essential. The solo at the end of Second Time Around is proof.
Blue Cheer are as important to heavy(the original 'heavy' in music before heavy metal distortion and so forth), pychedelic music as breathing air is to living.
Though, I have to say... this is not essential to the average classic rock fan, I know pletny of kids who love 'classic rock'(basically any band played on classic rock radio) who if i showed this record to would not hate it i'm sure, but would definitly not find it that important or outstanding in anyway. I think it's more so essential to fans of genuinly energetic and in at least one sense of the term, extreme music. Basically any serious music lover who looks outside boundary inducing genres and respects music for it's genuinness, pure energy and kick in the ass will if not highly enjoy, at least respect this album.
I think there's a huge difference between classic rock and 'classic' or 'old' bands(basically 60s and 70s bands..wich is what classic rock seems to normally be) like Blue Cheer, Amoon Duul, Cactus, Iron Butterfly (the album 'Heavy' at least), captain Beyond, Mc5, Sly And The Family Stone and so forth... the list could go on forever. I'm not going to explain the difference because i don't think i could provide a sensible one, but i just know it's there. Fuck, i hope this comment wasn't totally annoying. This Message Edited On 10.03.06