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II:"I would say we had a vision, but it wasn't really selectively thought out."

Was that vision accurately reflected with your first album?

At the beginning, it was a very democratic situation. And I think very much...we recorded the first album in like no time. We recorded seven songs in like eight hours. We knew everything so well that the first album, the reason it's so kind of tight and short is that we were well-rehearsed. I think had we kind of been a little bit more unsure of ourselves in that regard, we might have even done a better first album, because we might have actually spent more time in the studio working out studio stuff. 'Cause none of us really had any studio experience. That was really the beginning of it. David had a little bit. I had a little bit, but not much, you know. Once we got together and started talking about this stuff, it became evident that we wanted to have original material that reflected somewhat the psychedelic/middle eastern kind of...I wouldn't kind of say phony spirituality, but that kind of metaphysical kind of area that seemed to so important at that time, you know what I mean?

The song that I wrote on the first album, called "Keep Your Mind Open," which is the one that MOJO picked on the Top Twenty psychedelic songs of all time, and apparently it's the one that's at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame now, that uses that same list as their list. That was about the Vietnam War, and that was one of the few politically charged kind of pieces of music that I ever wrote, and it was very strong. It's the one that gets on the anthologies, and the one that seems to get mentioned all the time. It had all the middle eastern instruments, but it wasn't fast, and it wasn't very kind of slow enough...you've got the guns bursting at the end and everything. That one, and "If the Night," and "Pulsating Dream"--it was actually a song that was called something else that we liked the melody to, but it wasn't "psychedelic" enough. But David and Solomon sat down one day and just wrote like almost half-psychedelic words to that, [because] it needed to be on there. That actually started out as "I Guess I'll Move on Down the Line," which is actually on my first album. It was my Dad's favorite song I ever wrote, he always loved that song. But that song turned into something else.

So those songs were written kind of...that was almost like hack writing. "If the Night" comes from the Floggs, the band I had before. "Keep Your Mind Open" was written for the Kaleidoscope. "Come On In, Ain't Nobody Home But Me" was a song that I did with my other band. "Hesitation Blues" and then Chester brought in the Cab Calloway song. Then Solomon wrote "Elevator Man," which wasn't on the first record, but it was the B-side of the first single. "Please" and a couple others, and that was pretty much the record. I would say from the first album, probably two-thirds of the stuff would be my songwriting, or through the band I had been playing with previous to this. They were certainly different. "If the Night," that was me singing it, but it was Solomon ended up doing a good interpretation of that song.

I would say we had a vision, but it wasn't really selectively thought out. It wasn't like a producer came and told us what to do. Barry Friedman was very instrumental in getting this band kind of hooked up, together, but in terms of him giving us ideas about that kind of stuff, this is what I think you should write. We pretty much came up with our own stuff. We self-edited within the band, pretty much. Chester and I ended up sort of being. David and I had been playing together for years. He and Solomon seemed to link up sort of vibrationally in the band, and Chester and I seemed to link up vibrationally. And John was kind of in the middle, the drummer. So as it turned out, after the first couple of records, which everybody always considers the best ones, I left. The third album, which I think may be musically, could be the best record, was basically tested out with the band that I was in. We had already done all those songs before the third album was recorded. It was just done with different guys by the time that those guys came in. I think that album really was, even though Stuart Brotman's playing bass and Paul Lagos was playing drums, it could have very easily been me and John, because I think two-thirds of those songs, we'd already done in the band previous to that.

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