No," replied Pink Mountains frontman Stephen McBean from a highway
somewhere between San Francisco and L.A. "It's one of those things.
You go through stages in life when you experiment with certain substances.
You think it's helping maybe alter you in some way. But it's not the
drugs. We wouldn't be able to go on the road for three months if we
all were laid down by that stuff."
Hey man, I didn't
mean you were doing drugs right now. I meant when you recorded the
album, which pulses like a black-light lava lamp inside a stoner's
soot-covered conversion van. Track "New Drug Queens" is
propelled by a drum machine and a guitar tone that's pure '60s psychedelia.
McBean's fuzz-distorted voice sings "Like a rolling stone
/ I'm not feeling this score / Oh le petite problems."
The 8-plus-minute "Slaves" is a tribal lullaby straight
off the reservation, with glowing organ, feedback guitar and McBean
wailing to his Queen Bee to "come clean." Then there's
the album's centerpiece, "Lord, Let Us Shine," an infectious
chug-a-lug rocker with shotgun guitar aimed right between your eyes.
McBean testifies to his Lord "We've been singing with Jesus
in your house of love / We've been sending dead flowers to the devil's
Dude, it sounds
pretty trippy to me, but trippy in a good way, you know what I mean?
a certain stereotype about getting spaced out or whatever,"
McBean said. "It's just the music we enjoy and try to create
together. Sometimes drugs are there, sometimes they're not. It's
not an influencing factor in what we want to create. A lot of bands
get lumped into the psychedelic thing that really, a lot of the
time, have nothing to do with drugs. It's the way people choose
to expand their music or whatever they're doing."
expanding his music by being in two bands simultaneously. The Vancouver
native got started in the late '90s as Jerk With in Bomb, which
evolved into Black Mountain, a second McBean-led band that records
on Jagjaguwar. It leans even closer to stoner rock territory. Pink
Mountaintops, on the other hand, is more stripped-down and low-fi.
McBean is traveling
with six other musicians on this tour, so expect a big, fuzzy sound
when they coast into Sokol Underground March 23. "We gonna
be gone for three months on this tour," he said. "You've
got to mentally prepare to be trapped in a van for that long. We're
still a few weeks from Omaha, so things will probably change up
along the way. We'll try new things, keep things fresh. Maybe we'll
all be wearing funny hats by then."
Published in The Omaha Reader March 13, 2006.
Copyright © 2006 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.
it's not the drugs. We wouldn't be able to go on the road
for three months if we all were laid down by that stuff."