Every Friday, Dusted Magazine publishes a series of music-related lists compiled by our favorite artists. This week: Cosmic preacher Dan Zimmerman and Swedish stoners Dead Man.
Listed: Dan Zimmerman + Dead Man
Dan Zimmerman’s life reads like a picaresque novel. Born in 1948 the son of a Methodist minister, his tale winds its way from church pews to art school to Eastern mysticism and even includes a stint at a tree-packing plant in the Pacific Northwest. For the last six years, he’s been laboring over Cosmic Patriot, which is now out on Daniel Smith’s Sounds Familyre label. Modestly arranged, but large in scale and ambition, the album brings folk, country, rock, blues and gospel to bear on the questions that keep Zimmerman up at night: war and patriotism, love and death, god in the world and in man. Over the course of his album, he traces a wild, eccentric cosmology that begins with a gnarled love of humanity ( “Cosmic Patriot”), pauses to consider spirituality in the material world (“Symbols in this World,” “The Thing Itself”) and ends with a quote from Wordsworth (“Trailing Clouds of Glory”).
1. My Father’s Voice
My first musical connection. I’ve always heard him in my memory, in my own singing. I still hear him in my blood, singing “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God”or the haunting “Whiffenpoof Song.” My grandchildren called him Boompa, because he boomed. Before he became a minister, he used to sing with John Raitt, Bonnie’s dad.
2. Great Harmony
You don’t hear it very much, music that transcends itself, songs that become something greater than their constituent parts. I think of Bach chorales, The Louvin Brothers, the Everly Brothers, the Byrds, The Band, Gram Parsons (singing with Emmy Lou Harris). Recently I’ve been into If I Could Only Remember My Name by David Crosby, and I’m moved by what the Fleet Foxes are doing.
3. Memory and Loss…the subversion of time and space.
I have a need to undermine the inexorable march of time, the limitations imposed by space. I suppose it’s because I’ve always had to move away...from people, from places I love. And there’s the death thing, the divorce thing, loss specific, loss in general. I deal with it though writing and by listening to music: “Orphan Girl” by Gillian Welch...Tim Hardin, Fred Neil, Tim Buckley, Jeff Buckley, and my friend, Timothy Hill. I love Samuel Barber’s “Knoxville Summer of 1915,” a picture from a home long gone, and also, "Ave Verum Corpus" by Mozart.
On the outside, I have a physical connection to some music. I am linked with it geographically and bodily. Dick Dale’s "Miserlou" connects me physically to Southern California. When I listen to Duane Eddy’s "40 Miles of Bad Road" or Bob Nolan’s "Cool Water" I feel like I’m in the Mojave, breathing desert air. Music from 1954 to 1963 , like Ritchie Valens’ "Ooh, My Head" or "Charlena" by the Sevilles, is as exhilarating as puberty. The plot had not yet been thickened by real loss. Then came the transforming music of the late sixties. I really needed it because on the inside my world was shaking too. I found myself gripping the edge of a whirling maelstrom. It was then that Bob Dylan and the visionary 1960s opened a door for me. Suddenly I saw that I could open the valves of my heart through song-writing. I could begin to stretch bridges across this wounded landscape. I could venture forth. I could actually wrestle with the drama.
5. 1960s Psychedelia
What had been outside of me suddenly entered my veins with intravenous intensity: Axis, Bold As Love by Jimi Hendrix, Freak Out and Absolutely Free by The Mothers of Invention, Strange Days by The Doors, Electric Music For Mind and Body by Country Joe & The Fish, Forever Changes by Love. There was also Steppenwolf, Cream, and Quicksilver Messenger Service. If I heard the Grateful Dead (their first album, and then Anthem to the Sun), it was due to that primal day when I FELT them play at Ken Kesey’s farm near Springfield, Oregon (August, 1972)...and there was also...
6. A Certain Fragility
A living on the tremulous cusp of beauty and the spirit. This is where my brother Marc lived (with whom I used to sing Everly Brothers and Byrds songs). He’s gone now, and I still miss him. Through the years I’ve heard that vulnerability on occasion: in Tiny Tim, Gram Parsons, and Gillian Welch. I do hear it sometimes today. Bon Iver comes to mind, some Joanna Newsom. I see weakness all around me in people, but for the most part folks remain pretty obsessed with coming off as strong, with appearing like they know what they’re doing...and consequently they lose touch with a source of real strength.
7. The Convergence of Matter and Spirit
I’ve never been comfortable with commonly accepted partitions, the presumed separation between the physical and the spiritual. I love it when these paradigms are overturned. The great painter Charles Burchfield depicted the sound of insects in the trees, of wind under the eaves. Composer Charles Ives courted surprise in his music like a bold painter or collage artist. Old pieces of music cross his compositions like lost fragments. They are pasted in like sudden memories or sublime afterthoughts. Paul Klee was always a musician. I’d love to be in a band with him. Don’t forget Vincent Van Gogh or Jackson Pollock; they scumbled and hurled their paint like amazing musical instruments, attesting to the realm of spirit with the very matter at hand. This is music to me.
8. Space and Counterpoint
A wise choir conductor once said, “The foundation of music is silence.” Occasionally, music shows a respect for what lies between and above the individual parts. When this happens, the music seems to inhabit space, to recognize the presence of a room, rather than to see space as something to cut up, fill, or force into submission. I am still moved profoundly by some 1950s rock ‘n’ roll (Buddy Holly, Ricky Nelson), by some of the ecstatic doo-wop songs recorded without multi-track recording (like "My True Story" by the Jive Five). My thoughts go to those delicious, sudden pauses in rockabilly (think "Baby, Let’s Play House" as done by Elvis) or to the overall counterpoint vision of Bach.(I love the the very beginning of both "The Well-Tempered Clavier" and "The Goldberg Variations")
9. Magnificence and Transport
Again rare for me, but when music is so powerful, sublime, or heart-wrenching that in hearing it, you are carried away, born up.... Just now I’m thinking of “Devoted To You” by The Everly Brothers, “Hickory Wind,” “Love Hurts”and “A Song For You” from Gram Parsons, “I Wasn’t Born To Follow” by The Byrds, “Visions of Johanna” and “Ain’t Talkin’” by Dylan, Hendrix’s “Little Wing,” “Come Sweet Death” and “Sleepers Wake” by Bach, “All Flesh Is As The Grass”and “Variations on a Theme by Haydn” by Brahms and of late, the wonderful guitar in Wilco’s “Impossible Germany” or much of the album “Funeral” by Arcade Fire. I have some friends from upstate New York in a group called Monsterbuck. They do some brilliant things. Then there’s Danielson heard live! It’s rare that I get to leave this wounded field, to feel the sun on my face, to have my head lifted to another realm altogether.
10. Writing Songs
I spend a lot of time at this. I started playing guitar about 1957. I started writing songs about 1967. It’s how I deal with strange terrain, how I try to bridge chasms, both real and imagined.
In the early 2000s, guitar-based psychedelia reminiscent of the 1970s found an unlikely foothold in Scandinavia, thanks largely to bands like Dungen and Witchcraft. Dead Man, which was formed in Örebro, Närke, Sweden in 2003, is part and parcel of this resurgence; however, unlike its peers, Dead Man concentrates on the sunnier, jammier side of psychedelia with a sound that recalls Jefferson Airplane, acoustic 3-era Zeppelin and the Grateful Dead. In 2006, reviewing the band’s debut full-length Dead Man, Dusted’s Doug Mosurock called the record “a collection of sounds and influences that solidified into an era’s music…folk, velocity, blues chemicals, the rootsier side of rock, and a very specific set of cultural mores and taboos” and concluded, “If anything, a band like Dead Man should be your round-trip ticket back into the annals of rock history, but those aren’t depths you can really plunder without a guide.” Euphoria, the band’s second full-length, followed on Crusher Records in 2008.
1. Kiss - Hotter than Hell
I started to listen to Kiss when I was around six years old. For about ten years, I collected everything that had to do with Kiss. When I turned sixteen, I started to wonder why I only had Kiss records. So I started to listen to bands that Kiss listened to – The Beatles and Rolling Stones and so on. Kiss is the reason that I’m interested in music. I chose this record because when I was young this was the hardest and meanest thing that I knew. Hotter than Hell is a underestimated album; people say that they don’t like the sound - even Kiss themselves say that, but I just love it!
2. Cream - Disraeli Gears
This is one of the greatest albums ever made. They just blew my mind. One of my mates, Mathias Lilja (Strollers & Mahardjas), showed me this record, and after that, nothing has been the same. We were a gang that started to grow our hair and buy second-hand ‘70s clothes. We also started to get interested in cigarettes and alcohol. When I hear "Strange Brew" I always get flashbacks of these days. Teenage summertimes and the world was so psychedelic.
3. John Mayall - Blues from Laurel Canyon
My classmate’s father had a lot of records, and we found John Mayall in his collection. John Mayall is just awesome. This record is so dynamic and has so many different kinds of songs. I just love the first song, the instrumental "Vacation." The solo is just fantastic. I still think he speaks with the guitar in that song. Mick Taylor is really an amazing guitarist. The cover is also great. You just wanna go out in nature and make hot dogs and smoke. My advice to all of you out there is to buy this album!
4. The Pretty Things
After about a year and half walking around looking like That ‘70 Show, we got bored of the whole thing and started to listen to older music. We aimed for 1963–1966, he he. We changed clothes to costumes and more mod haircuts and Beatle boots. At that time, I got interested in R&B. I just love the British bands from this era. Animals, Rolling Stones, Downliners Sect and Pretty Things. This album is the shit. Viv Prince is the baddest drummer of all times. A singer with the longest hair in Britain. I played in a band called The Roadrunners and we named the band after the first song on this album.
5. Friends - Talking Bout Us
This is so good; the drummer is like ten years old, and he is so good. These guys are so special – I’ve never heard anything else like them. They also have very long hair, which I think is cool. They never really released a full length album at the time; this was released many years later on GarageLand Records. They are from Stockholm, Sweden, and the bass player Staffan Kimbro is the King of the Bass (R.I.P?). Young, angry, jazzy R&B. Dig it!!!!
6. Yardbirds - Roger the Engineer
One of my favorite Yardbirds records. The song "Psycho Daisies" just drove me nuts. Me and my best friend used to listen to this song dancing around like maniacs in his room when we were kids. "Ever Since the World Began" is also a very good song. I love the dark side of the Yardbirds. I also like this album cause it so R&B POP and psychedelic at the same time in a perfect blend. The cover is so nice. I have the blue and red one – it’s really trippy.
7. Pugh - Ja, dä ä dä!
Pugh comes from a town called Västerås, which is close to my hometown. One of my biggest idols of all time is playing drums on this album. He is the best drummer Sweden has ever produced. I love everything about this album: the cover, the colors, the songs and the lyrics. This is almost like the supergroup of Sweden, with Georg Wadenius on guitar and Janne Loffe Karlsson on drums. It was recorded in 1969. Don’t forget to check out Bo Hansson and Hansson & Karlsson, two other great Swedish bands.
8. Jimi Hendrix Experience - Electric Ladyland
I don’t know really what to say; you have probably heard this album or some songs from it. This is a double record but it feels like it’s too short – you just wanna hear more and more. I have the original cover with all the naked girls. My favorite on this album is side C. "Still raining still dreaming" and "1983" – oh, it’s so beautiful! And the intro song...damn it, all the songs are so good. Jimi, I love you!
9. 13th floor Elevators - The Psychedelic sounds of...
The lyrics, the sounds, the cover, the singer...everything is so good on this album that I never get tired of listening to them. I just picked up this album because it’s so nice, but all their records are super good. It’s so intense and mysterious and psychedelic, and it’s rock ‘n’ roll at the same time. Man, this is something else. If any of their songs turns up in a TV commercial, I will personally torture the film team until they die a slow and painful death.
10. Radio Moscow - Brain Cycles
Out soon – buy it or regret it the rest of your life. Three dudes (or one or two) from Iowa? Parker Griggs is one of the best guitar players of today. Parker, you just know how to do it right! We toured with them for about 18 days. All their songs are amazing. Parker is so talented. Cory, the drummer they use live, is also one of the best drummers I’ve seen – please let him play on the next album. And the mysterious bass player Zack – you just rock! I just hope that everybody could understand how good they really are. They tour all the time, so don’t miss them on the road. The sound, the songs and the vibe are just awesome. Rock ‘n’ roll all night, and party everyday!
By Dusted Magazine