Published Jan 01, 2006Ever wondered what happened to that album that totally blew your mind back in 67? You were so messed up on mushrooms and pot that weekend, you totally lost track of where it went, and now you cant even remember what the name of the band was, but it sure as hell brought the right vibe. Everyone said so. Well, its just been found underneath a couch, and even though its kind of warped and its covers stained, it plays pretty damned well, considering how poor the recording equipment was back then. Sound convincing? The Gris Gris are so convincing at creating time-worn 60s psychedelic garage rock, youd swear they would have been a contemporary of the 13th Floor Elevators and Syd Barretts Pink Floyd, if they had only been born 37 years earlier. Led by vocalist and guitarist Greg Ashley (whose 2003 home-recordings debut Medicine Fuck Dream captures his Roky Erickson solo persona in full tilt), Oakland-based the Gris Gris have crafted a rollicking debut that shifts from shapely suites ("Raygun) to seductive free-love tales ("Mary #38) to off-kilter garage work-outs ("Necessary Separation) as smoothly as Peter Fonda making the rounds in Easy Riders commune scene. The perfect soundtrack to that acid revival party youve been talking about having for minds ages now.
What fascinates you with the music of the late 60s? Ashley: Um, you know, just its really creative. I like the sound of it. I dont know, thats one of the main things thats always drawn me to it, like the way the records were produced, the way the songs were written
Is that the main kind of music you find yourself listening to? Yeah, I listen to other stuff too, but thats obviously my main thats my favourite shit.
What does Gris Gris mean? Is it a reference to the Dr. John album? Yeah, thats what it is. I bought that record kind of on a whim at a record store like four or five years ago and I liked it, so I thought the name was cool. I wanted to name my band before this one that, but everyone in the band was like, "Thats a fucking stupid name. We arent doing that, so that band was called the Mirrors, but I got to name this one Gris Gris. In the liner notes of the Dr. John record, gris-gris is like a term for voodoo in New Orleans, its like a Cajun thing or whatever, and other people have told me its like people there will use it for slang for drugs or whatever, theyll call drugs "gris-gris its something to do with having a sack of gris-gris, I dont know. It all has to do with voodoo, I guess. (Birdman)