Keep Off The Grass / Land Of The Sun release

Our first cover version, of the Skip Spence song Land Of The Sun, will be released on the double LP compilation Keep Off The Grass on Fruits de Mer Records. Details including track list and samples are now available on the FdM website.

Alexander “Skip” Spence was a leading light of the San Francisco psychedelic scene of the 1960s – briefly a guitarist in Quicksilver Messenger Service, then drummer on Jefferson Airplane’s first album, before forming Moby Grape.  In 1968 though he was hospitalised for drug problems and diagnosed with schizophrenia, and after recording a solo album Oar he dropped out of the music business and spent many years homeless or in care.  His circumstances improved in the 1990s and he started jamming and recording with his friend Brian Vaughan, but in 1999 he succumbed to lung cancer and died two days short of his 53rd birthday.

His original version of Land Of The Sun was commissioned for the X-Files tie-in album Songs In The Key Of X in 1995 and featured Jefferson Airplane’s Jack Casady on bass; but it was rejected for the album, allegedly for being “too spooky”.   In the end it was released as a hidden track on the tribute album More Oar, and on a 7″ single by Sundazed records in 1999.  According to collaborator Brian Vaughan though, the track was taken out of their hands before the final mixdown and diverged significantly from their intentions, being shorn of Skip’s drumming and guitar solo.  Perhaps we’ve brought it some way back towards their vision of a “spooky psychedelic dirge”.

Our version features Gabriel Minnikin on vocals, and there’s a clip from it here on Youtube, along with many others from this and other Fruits de Mer releases.  Keep Off The Grass also features covers of The Byrds, The Nazz, Tomorrow, John’s Children, Chocolate Watch Band and many more: “psych, fuzz, sunshine pop, garage, freak-out, and all things in between and either side thereof.”

It’s planned for release in mid-December, a double LP on coloured vinyl with gatefold sleeve. We’ll have a small number to sell personally, but for guaranteed satisfaction get an advance order in with Fruits de Mer – it’s a limited edition of 500 and they usually sell out pretty quickly.

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