Records with Sonobeat in 1967 & 1968
No commercial releases on Sonobeat Records
- Progressive Rock Shiva's Headband • There's No Tears (unreleased; 1968)
Shiva's Headband's single is originally slated as Sonobeat single R-s103, but when the band nixes the release for creative reasons, The Conqueroo's single, recorded only a month following Shiva's, moves up to take slot R-s103. When Shiva's reconsiders, Sonobeat co-founder Bill Josey Sr. sends the master tape to Houston Records for mastering and test pressings, assumning the band will approve the release as R-s104 (but they don't). Note the misspelling of the band name on the tape box.
It's late 1967 in Austin, Texas, where the Third Great Awakening, as philosophers now call it – but that the hippie underground calls the age of aquarius – is arriving in all its rainbow colors. What with the liberal University of Texas, a growing hippie culture, the psychedelic sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators, the underground Rag newspaper, sit-ins, love-ins, the counterculture takeover of the annual Eeyore's Birthday Party at Austin's Eastwoods Park, and the happenin' psychedelic scene at Vulcan Gas CompanyThe Vulcan is Austin's first successful hippie music hall, opening in 1967 in an old warehouse at 316 Congress Avenue and closing in 1970., it's no wonder Sonobeat has recorded so many Austin-based progressive rock bands during 1967 and '68. Sonobeat first records Vulcan Gas Company favorite Shiva's Headband in December 1967 but producers Bill Josey Sr. and Rim Kelley aren't pleased with the recordings.
We move up to February 1968, when Sonobeat is starting over with Shiva's Headband at the Vulcan. The February '68 tracks, Kaleidoscoptic and There's No Tears, are completed with vocal overdubs and scheduled as Sonobeat's third rock release (Rs-103), but now it's the band that isn't pleased with the recordings: the rhythm and bass guitars, along with band founder Spencer Perkins' amplified violin, are "tapped" at their amp outputs and run directly into Sonobeat's mixer rather than miked in front of the amp speakers. Early in its lifecycle, when it has too few qualify microphones to cover the speaker boxes of every amplified instrument in a band, Sonobeat has no choice but to use the tapping technique (ironically used regularly nowadays in recording studios everywhere and called "direct injection"). But tapping an amplified instrument sounds markedly different from miking the instrument’s speaker box, and the band really wants a “miked” sound.
Spenser wants to re-record the songs somewhere other than at Vulcan Gas Company, which he thinks gives the drum kit and vocals too boomy a sound. When another session can't be scheduled quickly enough, Spencer agrees to reconsidered release of the February tracks, so Bill Sr. sends the master tape off to Houston Records, where a handful of vinyl 45 RPM test discs are pressed. After the band listens to the test pressing, they reaffirm their displeasure with the recording, so the release is abandoned and The Conqueroo's single, I've Got Time, which has been slated to follow Shiva's in release suddenly moves up to take slot Rs-103. Only a handful of test pressings of the Shiva's single are made, and all are delivered to Sonobeat with blank white labels on which Bill Sr. writes basic information for archival purposes. To the best of our knowledge, none of the test pressings has ever been circulated "in the wild".
Shiva's Headband is formed in Austin in 1967 by Spencer and his wife, Susan, and includes Shawn Siegel, Kenny Parker, Bob Tom Reed, and Jerry Barnett. Shiva's becomes the official house band of Vulcan Gas Company (taking that coveted spot from The Conqueroo in 1968). Shiva’s and its manager Eddie Wilson help finance the launch of the Vulcan's successor in Austin, Armadillo World Headquarters. Shiva's performs on an all-star program at the Texas Pop Festival during Labor Day weekend in 1969. The band goes on to record an album for Capitol Records, Take Me To The Mountains, which becomes a cult classic of the '60s psychedelic music era.
Jerry Barnett: drums
Kenny Parker: guitar
Spenser Perskins: electric violin
Susan Perskins: vocals
Bob Tom Reed: rhythm guitar
Shawn Siegel: Keyboards
There's No Tears
Engineered by Rim Kelley
Recorded at Vulcan Gas Company, Austin, Texas, on December 27, 1967, and February 11, 1968
Recording equipment: ElectroVoice 665 microphones, Ampex 350 and 354 quarter-inch 2-track tape decks, custom 10-channel portable stereo mixer, 3M (Scotch) 201 tape stock