Gris Gris The Gris Gris

Gris Gris The Gris Gris
Ever 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 can’t even remember what the name of the band was, but it sure as hell brought the right vibe. Everyone said so. Well, it’s just been found underneath a couch, and even though it’s kind of warped and its cover’s 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, you’d swear they would have been a contemporary of the 13th Floor Elevators and Syd Barrett’s 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 Rider’s commune scene. The perfect soundtrack to that acid revival party you’ve been talking about having for mind’s ages now.

What fascinates you with the music of the late ’60s? Ashley: Um, you know, just it’s really creative. I like the sound of it. I don’t know, that’s one of the main things that’s 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 that’s obviously my main — that’s my favourite shit.

What does Gris Gris mean? Is it a reference to the Dr. John album? Yeah, that’s 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, "That’s a fucking stupid name. We aren’t 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, it’s like a Cajun thing or whatever, and other people have told me it’s like people there will use it for slang for drugs or whatever, they’ll call drugs "gris-gris” — it’s something to do with having a sack of gris-gris, I don’t know. It all has to do with voodoo, I guess. (Birdman)