Friday, January 29, 2010

The Genius Of Gabriel Mekler

The Genius of Gabriel Mekler PDF Print E-mail
Written by Joe Viglione
Saturday, 19 September 2009 16:16


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The Genius Of Gabriel Mekler

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As I'm driving through the Big Dig tunnel north on Route 93 in Boston, the distinctive feedback of "Magic Carpet Ride" starts blaring out of the radio. Where Jimi Hendrix used feedback as a special effect in his show (and to great effect on many of his recordings), Mekler and Steppenwolf extend the sonic onslaught and the cut where it quickly subsides and John Kaye's growling voice declares

"I like to dream yes, yes, right between my sound machine

From the mean machine of "Born To Be Wild" which hit #2 in July of 1968, this sublime and superb follow-up, perhaps the best one-two punch since "It's My Party" and "Judy's Turn To Cry" in May and July of 1963 (at least thematically, a sequel corresponding by theme to the groups's prior hit) by Lesley Gore, Mekler helped Steppenwolf craft a sound that was a true hybrid of psychedelia and hard, hard rock...the precursor to music Deep Purple and other bands would make a career out of, although Deep Purple were busy dabbling in psychedelia simultaneous with early Steppenwolf hits, as you can hear on their first breakthrough single "Hush"

But who is Gabriel Mekler? You'll find my essay here, uncredited to me, on other internet sites, and you'll see it expanding with more information on Gemmzine.

As the producer on Steppenwolf, the 1968 debut by that group, Mekler helped craft the sonic onslaught that would unleash the term "heavy metal" upon the world, a line from the brother of drummer, Jerry Edmonton, in a song entitled "Born To Be Wild". The mysterious Mars Bonfire was, in reality, Dennis Edmonton, lead guitarist for Jack London & The Sparrows(band) which would obtain the services of Jerry Edmonton on drums. The Oshawa, Ontario group was the beginnings of Steppenwolf and producer Mekler's contributions on psychedelic masterpieces such as "Born To Be Wild" and "Magic Carpet Ride", though immense, never garnered him the recognition afforded record producers such as George Martin, Jimmy Miller, Phil Spector and David Foster, men who would become as identified with the music they helped create as major movie directors would be with their notable films. A year after the Steppenwolf recordings Mekler would launch hits from Three Dog Night such as "One", "Try A Little Tenderness", "Eli's Coming", "Easy To Be Hard" and "Celebrate".

When Sony Music re-released the Janis Joplin recordings with Mekler on the 40th Anniversary of Woodstock, it was another acknowledgment of their importance, and who the brilliant work was overshadowed in the media by p.r. campaigns that highlighted equally talented individuals over this important and, (somewhat) unknown pioneer of psychedelic music and late 1960s pop.


Last Updated on Monday, 12 October 2009 06:45

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