Exposé Online banner

Uther Pendragon — San Francisco Earthquake
(Guerssen GUESSCD059, 1978/2016, 2CD / 3LP)

by Henry Schneider, Published 2016-02-26

San Francisco Earthquake Cover art

San Francisco in the mid-60s was an incubator for a lot bands. In 1966 a group of teenagers got together and formed a garage band that lasted from 1966 to 1978. Over that 12-year period the band went through many name changes, phases, and musical styles. They were known as Blue Fever, Time, Hodological Mandala, Kodiac, Justus, and Uther Pendragon, but the core musicians remained the same: Mark Lightcap (rhythm guitar, vocals), Bruce Marelich (lead guitar, vocals), and Martin Espinosa (bass, vocals). Once they settled on their final drummer in Mike Beers, they became Uther Pendragon in the early 70s. Despite recording tapes and demos in different studios, they never released an album. Now over 40 years later, Spanish label Guerssen has released a triple LP, San Francisco Earthquake, of music culled from the band’s vast archive of tapes spanning their entire career. This set consists of 24 songs that include their unknown 7” acetate from 1967, unreleased demo tapes, and tracks recorded in their home studio in Palo Alto. This excellent set features a range in styles and influences. The set opens with “Intro – You’re a Human Now” with cymbals recalling Popol Vuh mixed with a bit of The Animals' “The Black Plague” that sounds a bit like a soundtrack to a 70s horror movie. After the intro the band begins to rock. The music ranges from pure psychedelic rock, psych-folk, pop psych, psych-blues, blues rock, punk psych, to rock-a-billy with similarities to many different bands including Max Frost and the Stormtroopers, Jefferson Airplane, Grateful Dead, Byrds, The Association, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Mountain, Ramones, and Rory Gallagher. Bruce Marelich was an outstanding guitarist with most songs featuring great guitar solos and breaks. There is something for everyone in this set, even a drum solo on the 11 minute “10 Miles to Freedom.” Some of the influences are more obvious than others. For example, “A Man of Means” bears a strong resemblance to “Mississippi Queen.” One of my favorite tracks is the fantastic instrumental “Spanish Fly” with its Spanish / Gothic Western mood that reminded me of Quicksilver Messenger Service’s “The Fool.” If you are a fan of undiscovered garage-psych, then by all means this decades late release is for you.


Filed under: Archives, 2016 releases, 1978 recordings

Related artist(s): Uther Pendragon

More info
http://guerssenrecords.bandcamp.com/album/san-francisco-earthquake

Latest news

2018-05-14
Glenn Branca RIP – Experimental guitarist and composer Glenn Branca has died at the age of 69. He was known for compositions featuring large ensembles of guitars, and for the use of feedback. He founded his band Theoretical Girls in the mid-70s as an art-punk answer to what he saw as the increasing commercialization of punk music. His compositions were highly influential, with such figures as David Bowie, Thurston Moore, and John Lurie among his fans. » Read more

2018-04-05
OBEY Convention XI Set for May 24-28 in Halifax – As the 2018 festival season rapidly approaches, we’d like you to be aware of a real treasure of diverse and creative music that’s going to take place in Halifax, Nova Scotia, next month. The OBEY Convention is on its 11th outing, and features a wide range of artists from around the world. From avant-industrial noise to experimental takes on Classical Chinese music, from chamber jazz to doom metal, from ambient soundscapes to Canadian First Nations drumming, you’d be hard pressed to find a festival with more variety in sound anywhere in the world. » Read more

2018-04-04
Close to the Rain Festival in Bergen Announces Lineup – Now in its second year, the Close to the Rain Festival of progressive music is scheduled to take place in Bergen, Norway, on June 7 - 9. They've got an amazing slate of bands lined up, including such powerhouses as Anekdoten, Major Parkinson, Arabs in Aspic, Tusmørke, and many more. » Read more

2018-03-01
Seaprog 2018 Artist Announcements Raise Festival's Profile – Seattle's Seaprog festival has been going since 2013, and the 2018 edition features a slate of artists that's sure to bring more attention to the event. Cheer-Accident, Bubblemath, and Free Salamander Exhibit are in the first round announcement of performers. In keeping with their tradition of focusing on regional artists, they will also present a number of artists from Washington and Oregon. [Edit: Just added: Inner Ear Brigade] » Read more

2018-02-26
Adelbert von Deyen RIP – Word reaches us that German electronic musician Adelbert von Deyen has died. His recorded legacy reaches back to 1978, when Sky Records released Sternzeit. Von Deyen, who was born October 25, 1953 in Süderbrarup, was also known as a painter and graphic artist. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Here and Now - Give and Take – Here and Now are very heavily patterned in the mold of Radio Gnome era Gong, complete with silly vocals, but luckily they also borrow from Gong’s best features, with some great guitar solos over...  (2002) » Read more



Listen & discover

New album from The Wrong Object



Print issues