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15 Jul 2017

Michael Yonkers Band ‎ "Microminiature Love" recorded in 1968 released in 2003 by Sub Pop Records US Psych Garage Rock

Michael Yonkers Band ‎ "Microminiature Love" recorded in 1968 released in 2003 by Sub Pop Records US Psych Garage Rock


official website………..

“I remember one time a guy came up on stage with a knife and I had to take off my guitar and make out I was going to swing it at him” – Michael Yonkers 

Recorded in Minneapolis 35 years ago and shelved by Sire Records shortly thereafter, Microminiature Love had been a ridiculously obscure find-- assuming anyone was looking for it at all-- until its vinyl reissue last year on Destijl. Now the album is experiencing its biggest push ever, thanks to Seattle powerhouse Sub Pop who've just given it its first-ever CD pressing.
Michael Yonkers' backstory is, frankly, intense: When he committed Microminiature Love's seven tracks to tape in the fall of 1968, he was a four-eyed technophile in his late teens who'd just graduated from surf-rock to the more sinister sounds of the Stones, et al. Only two years later, his career and livelihood would suffer a devastating blow: While working at an electronics warehouse in 1971, he was crushed by 2,000 pounds of computer components, severely injuring his back. Subsequently, the dye used in the invasive x-ray procedures led to a degenerative condition of the inner lining of his spinal cord.
He managed to self-release four other Jandek-styled folk records on his own eponymous imprint in the 70s, but soon after shifted much of his attention to dance therapy as a means of easing his pain. His condition reached an apex in the mid-90s, forcing him out of the live circuit entirely, but due to the attention brought his way by the reissuing of his music, and with the help of a homemade back brace and stand for his guitar, he's recently played some live dates with Wolf Eyes, Six Organs of Admittance, and Low.
It makes sense that he's shared bills with these black-as-night DIY noisemakers, washed-out acid-folkies, and blissed-out dream-poppers. A consummate techie, Yonkers built and modified all of his equipment: he created two effects pedals, made one guitar out of two, constructed synths from childrens' toys, and chopped his Fender Telecaster down to a small rectangular plank to facilitate his psychedelic experiments. (He still uses the scaled-down Tele, which these days is held together by duct tape.)
Microminiature Love put Yonkers' homemade equipment to good use: the album is characterized by its droning open-tunings, choppy distortion, twangy folk ministrations, outer-world speaker pans, and bevy of crazed fretwork. But there's a point at which this record shifts from wacky historical curiosity to full-on psych-rock excellence: the clanging fireworks that launch the final vibrato of "Boy in the Sandbox" from gloomy minor to stratospheric noise triumph. The song spins anti-war slogans into a narrative about an everyday kid who passes time with toy soldiers until outgrowing his "sandbox days," when he discovers girls, love, an actual war, and finally, a "tomb of sand." The song's narrative leaves an open ending as the song breaks into the extended, atonal epiphany.
Elsewhere, "Scat Jam" is a deconstructed space-out that recalls Comets on Fire, featuring strangely out-of-left-field drum breaks, entropic wooden percussion, Yonkers' gleeful shouts, and Wayne Rogers' guitar-blast tectonics. The more staid, midtempo garage of "Kill the Enemy" (another grapple with the suffocation of Vietnam) is buttressed by the shimmering, soft white-noise of sandy-beach radio waves; targeting religious self-righteousness in the face of military action, it fades along a plateau of pulses after Yonkers lets out a final blistering fuck-off! scream (despite his youth in these recordings, he sounds something like a throatier Roky Erickson howling discord through an acid-fried Roy Orbison).
Though some of Microminiature Love's six bonus tracks drag, and not all of it is as moving as the more powerful moments I've pointed out, there are more than enough quavering wah-wah nuggets to make it a heady audio experience-- especially for fans of The Troggs, The Zombies, more blistery Animals, Red Crayola, Thirteenth Floor Elevators, and that Twisted Village stargazing vibe. For those of us who do most of our shopping in thrift stores, it's these forgotten bits of a visionary history that make our continual searching Yonkers......Pitchfork..........

Featuring the kind of aural insanity associated mostly with later eras and bands like Pere Ubu in '70s Cleveland or even Sonic Youth in early '80s NYC, MICROMINIATURE LOVE is an astounding and scary achievement in proto-noise rock circa 1968. Its creator, Michael Yonkers, had haunted proms throughout the Minneapolis area in the mid '60s before modifying his pedals and guitar to one up his hero, Link Wray, with a frenzy of saw-toothed distortion and eerie riffs.
Lyrically concerned with (and musically evocative of) violence, mental anguish, paranoia, and war, MICROMINIATURE LOVE is as disturbing a soundtrack--particularly "Kill the Enemy" and "Boy in the Sandbox"--to the Vietnam era as anything in the Doors or Creedence catalogs. Lost for decades due to a fizzled contract with Sire, the album resurfaced--first via DeStijl Records, and then Subpop--in the mid '00s to critical raves among the record geek set. Light years ahead of its time, MICROMINIATURE LOVE is a thankfully uncovered gem and an essential purchase for fans of freaked-out psych, noise rock, and Patrick Sullivan ...

Originally recorded in 1968 and slated for release on Sire, this record languished until unearthed and released in a limited pressing on vinyl last year by Destijl Records. Its creator, Michael Yonkers, is a legendary figure of Minneapolis music-lore who modified his own guitars and effects. These songs defy categorization, but you'll hear shades of Pere Ubu, the howl of Iggy, the blunt primitivism of the Godz, and the seeds of countless other underground heroes. The original seven songs are accompanied by six bonus tracks, circa 1968. Yonkers still resides in Minneapolis and has recently played shows with Wolf Eyes, Six Organs Of Admittance, and Low.......

Playing the brilliantly askew eccentric has been a part of pop music's marketing shtick for so long that encountering the real deal can be downright jarring. A cursory listen to this long-lost album by obscure Twin Cities cult musician Michael Yonkers can inspire comparisons to artists as disparate as Pere Ubu, Joy Division, and Sonic Youth. In fact, the then-precocious Minnesota teen cut it back in 1968 for an eventually tabled major label release in an era when the Fugs and Mothers were being hailed as rock's avant garde, yet now sound almost quaint next to Yonkers's prescient, angular minimalism. Backed by the most elemental of drum/bass rhythm section, his quavering, yet insistent voice becomes enmeshed with hypnotically droning guitar (its unsettling tone the result of an oddball, accidental open tuning) and primitive, electro-shred effects on political and emotional excursions that are more ranting tone-poems than traditional songs. The album's original seven tracks are augmented by six bonus tracks (literal basement recordings from 1969) that are even more experimentally raw and riveting. --Jerry McCulley................

Ever hear that unwritten rule that unreleased material ends up being (un)released for a reason? Michael Yonkers, a musician from Minneapolis had apparently recorded tracks 1 thru 7 here on 'Microminiature Love' in 1968 and the lp never did get released, until recently on the Sub Pop label. Yonker's vocal performance is okay, but his playing is really pretty good. I would describe his work as low-key psychedelic rock&roll, with some energy that seems to show itself even more so on the CD's tracks 8 thru 13, that are, in fact demos that Yonkers had cut in 1969. So ,if they're only demos, why are they better than the disc's first seven cuts? I was sort of caught off guard with "The Clock Is Running", the rocking "Hush Hush", "The Thunder Speaks" and "Scat Jam" (that somewhat resembles Zeppelin's "How Many More Times?"). Just might appeal to fans of The Fuggs, Stooges, Sonic Youth and Geordie....By.Mike Reed............

Originally recorded in 1968 and slated for release on Sire Records, Microminiature Love languished unreleased until last year, when it was finally unearthed by De Stijl Records (who put out a limited, vinyl-only pressing of the original album). Its creator, Michael Yonkers, is a legendary figure in Minneapolis music-lore, who, through his own modifications, created his own guitars and effects. However, Microminiature Love is no mere curiosity or feat of gadgetry.

Raised on a steady diet of Link Wray and the Trashmen, Yonkers pushed the boundaries of distortion and truly transformed it into a powerful voice. The songs on Microminiature Love defy immediate categorization, but in them are shades of Pere Ubu, the howl of Iggy, the blunt primitivism of the Godz, and the seeds of countless other underground heroes.

Michael Yonkers started his musical career as the leader of Michael & The Mumbles, who played proms and dances all over the Twin Cities area. Constantly refining and re-imagining their sound, the band gradually morphed into the Michael Yonkers Band with Michael’s brother Jim Yunker on drums and Tom Wallfred on bass. In 1967, Michael cut his Telecaster down to a plank; one of the many modifications he made to his equipment. He still plays this same guitar on stage today.

Soon enough, the band hooked up with Peter Steinberg, a local music impresario, who set them up with a contract with Sire Records. As Cecile Cloutier points out in her thorough piece from Minneapolis’ City Pages, this was one of many times throughout the course of rock history that the fertile music underground was being mined by the majors. At the time, bands like The Fugs, Captain Beefheart and The Mothers of Invention had major label deals. For various reasons that remain unclear, dealings with the label fell apart and they and the band parted ways.

Yonkers continued to record and released several solo records on his own label, including Grimwood, Michael Lee Yonkers and Goodby Sunball in the early seventies. In 1971, Michael’s back was broken in an on-the-job accident in an electronics warehouse. Years of ongoing exploratory surgeries have done nothing to help the situation, instead ultimately disabling him further. His allergic reaction to the dye used in an X-ray procedure led to a degenerative condition of his spinal cord lining from which he suffers to this day. Dance has proven to be Yonkers’ greatest therapy and he has, as a result, been active in the Minneapolis dance community for years.

In 1997, Get Hip Records released a collection of songs recorded at Richfield, MN’s Dove Studios called Free Flight: Unreleased Dove Recording Studio Cuts 1964-69. The collection contained two of the songs heard on Microminiature Love; “Puppeting” and the anti-Vietnam War song “Kill the Enemy.” These tracks caught the attention of De Stijl’s Clint Simonson and launched a search for Yonkers that lasted over a year. Simonson eventually located Yonkers not through the music community, but through the local dance community.

Michael Yonkers still resides in St. Paul, MN and has recently played shows with such diverse bands as Wolf Eyes, Six Organs of Admittance and Low.

Upon its release last year, Microminiature Love immediately became a record-head favorite and Yonkers’ later albums began trading for not-insignificant sums. The original seven-song album is accompanied on this CD edition by six bonus tracks recorded circa 1968.........

Recorded in Minneapolis in 1968, but not released until about 35 years later, Microminiature Love is both of its time and out of time. Certainly there's some late '60s power trio hard rock- psychedelia to the way Michael Yonkers Band grinds out his creepy, unrelentingly minor-keyed songs of gloom. The bashing of the drums is as shaky in tempo as his voice is in timbre, wailing in a tormented tone that's something of a somewhat less off-key, more powerful forefather of later auteurs like Jandek. There were few other rock songwriters of the era as plugged into such an incessantly downer mood, and when he sings "heaven's turning into hell, life is turning into death" on the title track, you believe it, or at least you believe it's happening to him. Perhaps the closest reference point might be the Stooges, but Microminiature Love is much rawer in some respects than the Stooges' first few albums, sounding as if it's the product of a basement rehearsal that was caught on tape unbeknownst to the band. (Indeed, it's hard to believe that this was intended for release on Sire Records, although the deal never came to pass.) Some-of-the-time anti-establishment ethos is present in the anti-war protest of "Kill the Enemy," though rarely has it been offered in such a bluntly horrific and ugly fashion as Yonkers did here. Though limited melodically, Yonkers also cooks up some impressive guitar pyrotechnics here and there, particularly on "Boy in the Sandbox," which climaxes with truly frightening bursts of machine gun guitar. All that said, this isn't a great record or a lost masterpiece. It's far too monotonous for that, with most of the material sitting on a minor E chord as if it's trying to bludgeon itself to death by repetition. The CD reissue adds six additional bonus demos from 1969 cut in Yonkers's parents' basement that are quite similar in feel to the recordings that made it onto the projected LP. ....~ (Richie Unterberger). .......
Just when you figured that every worthwhile rock nugget from the late sixties had already been searched out and unearthed, along comes "Microminature Love" by The Michael Yonkers Band, a previously-unreleased, heretofore-unknown masterpiece from 1968. I could tell you that this disc marries Velvet Undergroundish melodies with odd Sonic Youth-like tunings & guitar experimentation and Link Wray/Sonics garage-bluesrock blamblam ... but such descriptions still wouldn't do it justice, because Yonkers is far more original than any hybridization of other styles. He is sui generis. This disc makes me want to grab people by the lapel and scream "YOU MUST HEAR THIS!"

Here's the story in brief: Yonkers and his band recorded the first seven songs on the disc for a proposed album to be released on Sire Records, but the album was shelved. These songs were, incredably, recorded in a single hour in a small Minnesota studio. The sound is rough, but listenable and the performances are great. The six "bonus cuts" were recorded in 1969 in Yonkers basement, and are more experimental in nature. Since then Yonkers has continued to be active in music, despite indifference to his music and a near-fatal industrial accident in 1970 that has left him a semi-invalid to this day.

Yonker's songwriting is strong- he can hold his own against any contemporary you might name. His riffs are minimalistic, but not simplistic.His lyrics are also top-notch, dealing in complex symbolism yet complete with snappy lines.

"Jasontown" which opens the disc is the most accessable track, with a pleasant folky strum which turns dischordant by verse's end. The title track is pinned to a heavy bloozrawk riff that wouldn't be out of place in a Cream jam, but Yonkers' quavering voice and avant-tuned riffage keep the song miles away from any 60s cliche. "Puppeting" sports a catchy riff and psychologically astute lyrics. "Smile Awhile" is a pounding rocker that Sonic Youth oughta cover.

Two of the best songs deal with war, as Vietnam was obviously on any young American's mind at the time. "Kill The Enemy" deals with the feelings of a young man being asked to kill. A flag-draped "God" sardonically assures the young man that if he survives combat, that he will then be "old enough to vote". In "Boy In The Sandbox" layers of imagery tell a story of loss in the Vietnam war(a boy playing with a toy soldier, the same boy as a young man buried in an ememy battleground, his widow holding the toy soldier as she reads his last letter). I may have made this sound melodramatic and sappy, but it's not: it's frightening, powerful and intense (plus it ends with a guitar distortion/tremolo/echo splooge that would make Jimi scratch his head in wonderment) King Feeb..Head Heritage...........................

Minnesotan, Michael Yonkers recorded his Microminiature Love album in 1968, using an idiosyncratic approach to capture an assembly of original songs. The results are heavy! He and his group (The Michael Yonkers Band, featuring bassist Tom Wallfred & drummer/brother Jim Yunker) unleashed a new and original sound for these recordings – driven by raw alternate guitar tunings, heavy drums, mucho tape delay, unique vocal stylings & homemade electronics. The production is only part of the picture, however – the songs display original craftsmanship and are fueled by dynamic energies, pushing and pulling to high degrees. This album is built to reveal a true (& slightly dark) world inside; each new moment can draw you in deeper & it never really relents. Remarkably, the entire album was recorded in only one hour at Dove Studios in Minneapolis. Even more remarkable, perhaps, the record was not released for nearly 35 years.

Why this record went unreleased for so long is something of a mystery. Sire Records initially expressed interest in releasing it, but (according to MY, as revealed in Iker Spozio’s interview from the excellent MORNING #2 magazine) they wanted Yonkers to move to New York City and re-record the material with studio musicians, something Yonkers wasn’t ready to do. Local label Candyfloss Productions (who had recently released the excellent Trip Thru Hell LP by another MN act, C. A. Quintet) also reportedly expressed interest. Further complicating matters, Michael was still in college at the time & legally unable to sign his own record contract.

Thanks to Clint Simonson & Di Stijl records, the LP was finally released in 2002 as it was intended – seven tracks on vinyl. Sub Pop followed up with a CD release in 2003 that included 6 bonus tracks – all of which sound as if they were recorded at the same 1968 studio sessions (though they were home recorded the following year). Sub Pop did an excellent job selecting & mastering these extra tracks to fit the feel of MML.

A powerful record & one-of-a-kind.......Rising Storm review............

“The body was sawed off, and it was silvery, and there were a couple of large knobs on it, and –I swear this is true –some kind of antenna thing sticking out of it. Kind of spronging around, like a prop from a 1950s science-fiction movie. Then he plugged it in and we went for the first take. Hraww wrahhraw hhharah hhhrahhh! It was wah-wah-ing even before I knew what a wah-wah was! And I started laughing, it was such a shock!”~ Recording engineer Steve Longman on his first encounter with Michael Yonkers & his heavily-modified guitar.
This is one o’ those platters that is often relegated to the “Record Collector Rock” pile by snobby rockcrits (no money to be made pimping this kinda stuff, y’see) insuring that only a handful of those of us with an Appetite For Distortion will ever seek it out. You can remedy this situation by playing it for yer granny and gramps, 2.4 kids, Ma and Pa… it should be experienced by all and sundry.
A DIY electronics wizard, Yonkers cut his Telecaster in half, outfitting it with a variety of homemade effects and gadgets (the “antenna” that Longman saw was actually a theremin protruding from Yonkers’ guitar case– he’d made it out of a PIAA kit)– oscillators, a makeshift echoplex constructed from a cassette deck with an extra recording head– he also designed his own distortion boxes, one of which, the “Fuzz ‘N’ Bark,” earned raves from local musicians. “Microminature Love” was recorded at Minneapolis’ famed Dove Studios in an hour-long session (!) in 1969– most tracks being (natch) one take wonders (!). Initially, a deal was in place with Sire Records to release it, but for reasons unknown, this never came to be. The master tapes languished in Yonkers’ house for 35 years.
According to legend, Yonkers discovered his odd guitar tuning when he accidentally knocked over his axe at a gig– liking what he heard at first strum, he memorized the outta whack timbre and began using it regularly as it also conformed nicely to his vocal pitch. Its mournful drone blends in perfectly with the all-pervasive sense of doom hovering over this LP– Vietnam figures prominently in the lyrics, albeit in a cryptically poetic way, making this a work very much relevant to the political climate of today. Ditties like “Kill the Enemy” and “Boy in the Sandbox” positively reek of death– the latter particularly affecting with its irony-laden storyline– a boy who loved to play with his toy soldiers in his sandbox, growing to adulthood, sent to war and ultimately, “a tomb of sand.”
It is Yonkers’ fretwork that will keep you returning to MML, though– whirring and sloshing around in shapeless fragments one moment, slicing through the murk with punkish authority the next. I can think of no one doing anything quite this extreme at the time– not the Stooges, the ‘Five or even VU’s epic odysseys into Feedback Hell on the dozens of live boots I’ve heard. Yonkers was exploring a musical dimension that contained only himself– and fuck all the high-falutin’ types that would dismiss this magnificent goop as yet another poorly-executed stab at “downer rock”: Michael Yonkers was/is a one-of-a-kind innovator on par with Charles Mingus, Ornette Coleman and Sonny Sharrock. Too bad we had to wait over three decades to find that out.
~ TheePope (RYM)..............

A cult artist the likes of Captain Beefheart, the Fugs and the Godz, Minneapolis' Michael Yonkers has been toiling in obscurity since the late '60s. With a solid foundation of surf rock and garage, Yonkers pushes the limits of distortion with guitar and effects modifications, and a raw and blunt approach to underground rock & roll.Born in 1947, Yonkers began playing guitar in the early '60s. Raised on Link Wray and the Trashmen, he officially started his music career as the leader of Michael & the Mumbles who played proms and dances in the Twin Cities area. Constantly redefining and stretching the limits of their sound, the group eventually evolved into Michael Yonkers Band with Michael's brother Jim on drums and Tom Wallfred on bass.In 1967, Yonkers cut his Telecaster down to a plank and began the other modifications on his equipment that would solidify the band's unique approach. Soon, Minneapolis music impresario Peter Steinberg landed the band a contract with Sire Records -- not unusual for a time when major labels were combing the underground for bands like the Mothers of Invention.Microminiature Love was the group's first full-length and was intended to be released in 1968, but for reasons still unknown, the deal with Sire fell apart and the band broke up, their brilliant debut left languishing on a shelf.In 1971, Yonkers' back was broken in an on-the-job-accident at an electronics warehouse -- a twist of fate that led to years of exploratory surgery that only made matters worse, and an allergic reaction to X-ray dye that left the guitarist with a degenerative spinal cord condition. But Yonkers kept recording, and released three solo albums on his own label in 1974 -- Grimwood (recorded in 1969), Michael Lee Yonkers (recorded in 1972) and Goodby Sunball (recorded in 1973) -- as well as Borders of My Mind with Jim Woehrle. Thy Will Be Done followed in 1976 and then Yonkers was relatively unheard of for two decades.In 1997, Get Hip Records released a compilation of songs recorded at Richfield, Minnesota's Dove Studios called Free Flight: Unreleased Dove Recording Studio Cuts 1964-69 which contained two songs from Microminiature Love, "Puppeting" (which was mislabeled as "Microminiature Love") and the anti-Vietnam war song "Kill the Enemy." These stripped-down, seminal art rock tracks caught the attention of De Stijl's Clint Simonson, who spent over a year searching for Yonkers. Simonson released the virtually forgotten Minneapolis psychedelic-garage album Microminiature Love in 2002. The vinyl-only edition quickly became a record collector favorite, and in 2003 Sub Pop put out the CD of this strange, lost album complete with six bonus tracks recorded circa 1968.
~ (Charles Spano).................

The story of the guitar-thrashing outsider and cult musician who single-handedly created the noise genre

“1492 is now” sings Michael Yonkers in a psychotic baritone on Microminiature Love, from the Michael Yonkers Band’s 1968 album of the same name. It is a line that describes the feeling that the growing number of converts to his music get when they first hear this unique cluster of garage rock tracks – songs that seem to straddle time, punctuated by overloaded blasts of echo and distortion; songs that quiver in the light of each new discovery.

“I was just at a friend’s house and they put it on. Right after, I went out and bought his stuff,” Cole Alexander of psych-punk outfit Black Lips says of his virgin listen to Yonkers. “The key element is his intense guitar, with all the strings tuned to the same note. He kind of invented noise and drone guitar techniques, which is pretty fundamental now but back then it was unheard of. When you think of how The Who, Jimi Hendrix and The Velvet Underground were pushing feedback at the time – he was more extreme than all three combined in terms of what he was doing.”

Yonkers’s tale is one of a lifelong experiment with the potentiality of his instruments. The son of a stay-at-home mom and a supermarket worker, his Damascene moment came when hearing the The Trashmen record Surfin’ Bird (1963) for the first time. His first band, The Vectors, played a kind of surf rock, yet Yonkers felt limited by the sounds available to him over the counter, so decided to compensate by building his own additions. “I was 15 and had started listening to old blues records,” he says, talking on the phone from his Minneapolis apartment. “I liked the way that the guitar sounded on them, and to get that sound I took a razor blade to a big old loud speaker, put slits in it and attached a foot switch so I could click in and out.”
He constructed primitive echo boxes using tape machines and, as time went on, started fiddling around with circuits, developing one of the first ever distortion pedals, which he named Fuzz’n’Bark, and sold at the music store that he worked in. “I had no idea what I was doing really,” he says. “I wasn’t particularly practical; I was just trying to get a certain sound. I’d start to play around, see what I could get and just kept going.” But playing around with valves could be dangerous: “I got thrown across the room one day: a shock from a 600 volt circuit knocked me out of my chair. I thought to myself, ‘You know, it probably ain’t worth dying for this.’”

He formed Michael And The Mumbles, a “frat rock” psych band straight out of the files of Nuggets, and then the Michael Yonkers Band, forever pushing his sound forward into unchartered territory, but always trying to abide by a golden rule. “The only thing that we tried hard to do was keep things with a rhythm that people could dance to, because back then everybody danced,” he says. The dance hall audiences of Minneapolis were often left unimpressed – or worse, insulted – by the kind of emboldened path Yonkers was taking. “We were often chased out of clubs. I remember one time a guy came up on stage with a knife and I had to take off my guitar and make out I was going to swing it at him,” remembers Yonkers. “People were kind of resistant. They wanted to hear the songs that were on the radio.”
Cole Alexander believes that it is this deep-rooted belief in pop form and structure that gives the music its power. “That album is as far out as you can go while still having a song,” he says. “With bands like Red Krayola, part of the song is lost when they go really far out into experimentation. This is like the most extreme experimental garage possible, but it’s still rock.” Playing four sets a night to the dance halls of Minneapolis came in handy too when it came to recording Microminiature Love. “My band was part of a company called Candyfloss Productions,” says Yonkers. “For every gig we played we paid some money to them, which they put away to use to pay for recording time in the studio.” Yet by the time the band wanted to make the record they had only earned one hour of studio time. “So I said ‘Well, we can record this in an hour,’ and we did – in fact, we had time left over. We set up our equipment, played every song once and that’s it.”
In America in the late 1960s there existed an invisible republic of relatively unconnected young rock experimentalists such as The Stooges, Cromagnon and the Michael Yonkers Band. While it might be clichéd to repeat it, in a very real sense the idealism force-fed to an apparently ecstatic public during the 1950s and 60s was unravelling before the eyes of adolescents, in part due to the prospect of going to war that loomed large in the lives of anyone of draft age. One song on Microminiature... above all reflects Yonkers contempt for Vietnam: “Kill The Enemy”, a muddy patch of disorienting, deathly blues that depicts the mindlessness of the battlefield as well as any movie. “It is ultimately about the tragedy of the human story,” says Yonkers. “We keep doing the same things, over and over. We somehow feel that competition, greed, and the rest of ‘the deadly sins’ are fine, as long as we do them well. We keep honestly believing that we have to war ourselves to peace.”

While not recorded for release on any specific label, it was not long before record companies began to show interest. Sire Records travelled from New York to Minneapolis to hear the band. “They offered us a contract but I was not old enough to sign it – I think I was 20 and I had to be 21,” he remembers. “My parents would not sign for me because they wanted me to stay at college and Sire wanted me to move to New York. I remember suggesting we wait a year until I was 21 but they wanted me to sign right away so lost interest and shelved the album. The band broke up right after.”

Instead of embarking on a new career as a rock musician in New York on his 21st birthday, Yonkers was holed up in his parents’ house with the army breathing down his neck. “I remember one time I went to an anti-draft rally one day and for my induction into the army the next – it just made no sense to me.” Yet avoidance meant incarceration. “I would be arrested if I didn’t go. I had five friends who were actually on their way to prison for a long time for refusal.” Luckily, after three inductions Yonkers was turned away as he was allergic to an antibiotic used prevalently in the army at the time.
Disillusioned with the world outside and the failure of his band, he retreated to his parents’ basement with a secondhand reel-to-reel tape recorder, a guitar that had been sawed down to a plank of wood, some homemade keyboards and the effects boxes he had already made. There he recorded the lighter, folkier, but no less weird trio of albums, Grimwood (released by Sub Pop in 2007), Michael Lee Yonkers and Goodby Sunball. “I got into the habit of recording myself at home and I’d be the only one listening to it pretty much,” he says. “I got the idea to put out three LPs and went into a lot of debt pressing them on to vinyl but then nothing ever happened to them. There were 500 of each pressed but I sold almost none. It got to the point when I was trying to sell them for 25 cents each and still no one would buy them. Now they’re worth money, so I’m just saving them.”

In 1971, an accident at the Acme Electronics warehouse where he was working changed Yonkers’s life forever. His back was crushed by a 2,000-pound pile of computers, leaving him unable to walk. Complications arose when surgery undertaken to combat the subsequent pain almost killed him, and an allergic reaction to the dye used during the procedure further weakened his spine. It didn’t diminish his output. While recuperating, he kept recording, making an album with former Mumbles member Jim Woehrle. In 1977 he made Lovely Gold while living in the basement of a commercial building in Minneapolis. Ever the pragmatist, recording equipment was set up beside his recently acquired motorised hospital bed. “It was like living in a recording studio,” he remembers. “Conceivably, I could wake up in the middle of the night with an idea and reach over and turn on the machines without even getting out of bed. I would just raise the back, sit up and record right there.” The album, an anti-folk pre-echo, was released earlier this year by Chicago label Drag City under the advice of local impresario, artist and leader of Plastic Crimewave Sound, Steve Krakow. 
He is still severely impaired by his disability, suffering from a nerve condition that flares up periodically, but has remained relatively active thanks to some lateral thinking. “Before the accident, I was taking modern dance classes,” he explains. “When the injury happened, I couldn’t do anything for a long time but somebody suggested along the way I get back into it and use it as therapy. Medical advice at the time dictated that you should stay still at all times, but there was nothing I could have done that would have been better for the type of back injury that I had: it is what they tell you to do now.”

It was by tracing Yonkers to the underground dance network in Minneapolis that Clint Simonson, of record label De Stijl, got permission to put out some of the songs from Microminiature Love that he had found acetate recordings of. He put the tracks on the compilation Dove Recording Studio Cuts 1964 - 69 in the late 90s, which in turn alerted Sub Pop.
Since then Yonkers has played gigs in Belgium, Russia and Australia and recorded with local band The Blind Shake, French artist GR, and Steve Krakow’s Plastic Crimewave. “I saw him at a festival in Minneapolis and he gave me a CDR,” says Krakow. “It just knocked me out that he was still making this noisy stuff that was still so clearly him, sticking to his story. I try to think of other people who have been keeping it as real as him and I’m usually at a loss. Even his place has this crazy, fix everything quality to it. When I went there, I saw he had put duct tape over all the carpeting. I asked why and he replied, ‘Have you ever felt it?’ So I took my shoes off and there was this weird spongy feeling. I was like, ‘Oh, yeah!’”

Yet Yonkers has turned plenty down too, including a noise festival in England, which, he says, was hard to refuse. At the moment, he can’t play guitar. But far from becoming mournful, it has edged him towards a vital task that he has been long putting off – going through the mountains of forgotten recordings that he has buried away in his flat and in storage. “I have boxes and boxes full of tapes and I don’t even know what’s in them,” he says. The potential of the archive seems boundless, with one possible highlight being tapes of his 1980s synth period that he has recently uncovered, recorded during a time when he was forced off the guitar due to his injury. “I am one of those people who doesn’t look backwards too much, so I don’t have any lists of what is what,” he says. “It has been a big surprise getting into some of this stuff. I have been doing this for over 45 years and sometimes I think it is somebody else on the record, not me.”.........Taken from the September 2010 issue of Dazed:......................

* Michael Yonkers (guitars, vocals, electronics),
* Tom Wallfred (bass),
* Jim Yunker (drums).

A1 Jasontown
A2 Microminiature Love
A3 Boy In The Sandbox
A4 Smile Awhile
B1 Returning
B2 Puppeting
B3 Kill The Enemy

Tracklist  with bonus Tacks
1 Jasontown
2 Microminiature Love
3 Boy In The Sandbox
4 Smile Awhile
5 Returning
6 Puppeting
7 Kill The Enemy
8 The Clock Is Running
9 My House
10 Hush Hush
11 Sold America
12 The Thunder Speaks
13 Scat Jam

Ya Ho Wha 13 "I`m Gonna Take You Home" 1974 US Psych Stoner Rock Experimental

Ya Ho Wha 13 "I`m Gonna Take You Home" 1974 US Psych Stoner Rock Experimental


Ya Ho Wha 13 is the name of a musical tribe led by the old spiritual Guru Father Yod. Dominated by fuzzed out guitars, odd incantations and ritual drums, Ya Ho Wha 13's musical aesthetism is a good illustration of Father Yod' constant fascination for occultism and sensual meditation. I'm Gonna Take You Home is the second release published under the name Ya Ho Wha 13. It follows directly the musical and stylistical approach anticipated in their first masterpiece Penetration, An aquarian symphony. This freaked out musical adventure starts with a bluesy-catchy acid rockin' piece. It includes dirty fuzzed out guitars, massive ritual drum pulses punctuated by theatrical chants. This song is energically positive and delivers great groovy sensations. The second track is a much more contemplative, floating spaced out piece with spontaneous acid rockin' guitars. The third track is an eccentric, crazy and evocative song with weird voices, psychedelic reverbed guitars. It reminds me Amon Duul II at their most wildy moments. Track 4 is a narcotic, sexadelic instrumental improvisation, including ceremonial, ethno-percussive parts and spaced out, damaged bluesy guitars. This is at the top of Father Yod's musical activity and a highly recommended album for those who love krautrock, savage psychedelic obscurities from the 60's to the early 70' philippe ...........

Not sure if the Guru's spiritual / religious commune (named Source Family) can give us comfort or fantasy or anything, but his musical stuffs should shoot magical mystery tour to us. Via this creation "I'm Gonna Take You Home", released in 1974, Father Yod might have showed us his tendency to appreciate natural love affair and sensual spiritualization. 
Regardless of indecent vibes, Guru's serious, sincere intention for sexadelic, sexaholic academy, can be heard enough, along with their rumpled (sometimes tight) play drenched in mind-altering psychic smoke and agents. Easily guess this eccentric psychedelia can be created with unpolished guitar sounds based upon floating but deep riffs by their rhythm section. We should get amazed because such an unstable play support Guru's self-assertive, self-complacent voices filled with orgasmic temptation (especially in the Part 3 ... his sexadelic ascension moment can be heard). 

On the other hand, like in the Part 4, we can feel something mellow and meditative completed in his private room via their quiet, down-tempo, bluesy music mist. Contrary to Father Yod's crazy, consistent philosophical voices, other four musicians in his background could play sometimes funkily, sometimes loosely, sometimes deeply, and sometimes powerfully and enthusiastically. Their experimentalism flooded with such a kaleidoscopic sound-strategy should encourage the solid spirit of YA HO WHA 13, I do consider. 
The UK had Jimmy Saville, but the USA had father Yod. At least his deflowering of children was done on some hippie commune,hid away on Hawaii, rather than on national Television!? Outsider DIY hippie monolith of a record.Note standard cult leader pose with teenage victim.......i think i'm gonna be sick.Displaying those pure hippie values of shagging as many girls as possible,as young as possible,in the name of "Free Love"; and grabbing as much money as possible from the idiots who think your ideas are 'Right On Maaaan'. 
But i am prepared to put that aside, because this music is definitely "OUT THERE"! Contains some of the best acid guitar playing that transcends incompetence that you are ever likely to hear.This record is an audio record of a group of minds being flushed away.Are there really people like this, or are they just as manufactured as the kids from fame? What i wanna know is did the kids from Ya Ho Wha 13 go to a entertainment training facility to do this?..........i'm not totally sure but i probably think........not!........

Founded in 1973 in the Los Angeles area, Ya Ho Wha 13, otherwise known Yahowha 13 is a psychedelic rock band fronted by Father Yod, spiritual leader of a religious cult/commune called the Source Family. Ya Ho Wha without the vowels and spaces reduces to YHWH, the tetragrammaton. The band recorded nine LPs full of their extreme psychedelic sound with tribal drums and distorted guitars, some of which were completely unrehearsed jam sessions, others which contained more conventional rock songs. 
Members of The Source Family, who lived in the Hollywood Hills in the early 1970s, decided to fuse their musical talents and spirituality by forming an improvisational, psychedelic music group. They began to press LPs in 1973, most of which were recorded after hours of meditation at 3:00-6:00 a.m. in a soundproofed garage that served as the musicians’ studio at the family’s communal residence. All of the records with Father Yod’s participation were completely improvised, with no rehearsals or overdubs. Most of the albums were pressed in small runs of only 500 to 1000 copies on the Higher Key label. They were sold to the general public in Father Yod’s popular vegetarian Source Restaurant for $10 each. Though only nine LPs were produced and released, it is rumored that more than 65 albums were recorded by the group but were lost over the years. 

The band changed members occasionally, morphing into various incarnations, from Father Yod and the Spirit of ’76 to Ya Ho Wha 13 to The Savage Sons of Ya Ho Wha, Yodship, and Fire Water Air; but the key players were always the same: (Djin Aquarian on guitar, Octavious Aquarian on drums, and Sunflower Aquarian on bass). Father Yod does not appear on all their album releases, but for those on which he participates, he handles lead vocals and percussion, via a kettle drum. Former pop star Sky Saxon of The Seeds had joined the Source Family in 1973 and occasionally appeared on the band’s recordings..... 

It’s an arresting cover. In fact, it’s a cover that would probably get you arrested if you dared to wave it around in public in various countries. In a tarot-card format, we see a photo of some venerable-looking naked bearded old dude with his hands over the pubes of some young naked raven-haired chick on the side of a very capacious-looking double bed. Hmmm… 

As the best psychedelic albums have a habit of being, this record has a gatefold cover. Upon opening it, we see the aforementioned venerable-looking naked bearded old dude seated on the aforementioned capacious double bed, supporting the head of the aforementioned young naked raven-haired chick while he plies her with drink from a silver goblet. Underneath are the words “I’m gonna take you home” in Gothic script. Somehow, they seem a bit redundant, since clearly she’s already been taken home, their clothes are already off, and she’s drinking who-knows-what from out of that silver goblet. 

Flip to the back of the gatefold: Another tarot-card format photo, featuring the venerable-looking bearded old dude again, this time wearing a fedora and very natty looking white suit and holding a cane while he sits astride the radiator of a white Rolls Royce. As there is no young naked raven-haired chick in this photo, you get around to noticing the four faces in the corners of the photo; hippy-looking young guys, all of whom bear the surname “Aquarian”: Octavius Aquarian, Djin Aquarian, Sunflower Aquarian, and Pythias Aquarian. Their captions tell us that they play drums, guitar, bass, and guitar respectively. Then you start noticing the quotations on the cover (front and back), ranging from the Bible, Gita, the Song of Solomon, and Yahowha, all of which are to do with birth, creation, the universe and everything and sound very deep and mystic until you get to the quote from Yahowha on the inside back cover: “Divine communion time is here little kitties”. 
I have seen some seriously weird psychedelic album covers in my time, but honestly, you would have a hard time topping I’m Gonna Take You Home by Yahowha 13. Captain Beefheart’s Trout Mask Replica looks positively pedestrian beside it. It’s really out there. The word “mystic” doesn’t even begin to describe it. Your overwhelming response to it is “what the hell is going on here?” Who is that Biblical-looking old guy with the hot raven-haired chick AND the white Rolls Royce, not to mention the band of very hip musicians accompanying him? And all the time you’re looking at the photo of the guy on the Rolls and musicians’ cult-like names, along with the reference to “little kitties” and you’re thinking: “they’re having us on, aren’t they?” 

Oh no, little kitties, this is no joke. The story is a very strange one, but it is very real. 

The bearded gentleman, who was known as “Father Yod” at the time I’m Gonna Take You Home was released in 1974, was born James Edward Baker in Cincinnati, on 4 July 1922. He was the great grandson of Jim Baker, a 6-foot 7-inch tall American Mountain Man who was a hunter, scout, guide and Indian fighter in the days of the American Wild West. James Baker, who was 6-foot 4-inches tall himself, had a no less colourful background. He was a convert to health foods in his teens after a touring nutritionist offered him a natural diet-based cure for a serious case of haemorrhoids he had, and went on to develop an interest in sports and body-building, which resulted in him opening his own gym in Chicago just prior to World War II. He joined the US Marines after Pearl Harbour, and fought at Guadalcanal. He was in the brig there for punching a commanding officer when his ship was attacked by Japanese planes. He was released as the ship was sinking, ran on deck, and proceeded to man an anti-aircraft gun which he used to shoot down 13 Japanese aircraft, just before his ship sank. He was awarded the Silver Star, and would have received the Medal of Honor had he not been on charges at the time of his feat. 

After the war, he went to Hollywood to audition as Tarzan but failed the screen test. He settled in Los Angeles and opened a successful health food restaurant there, which provided the financial foundation for what was to come, at a time when he was becoming increasingly immersed in the beatnik culture, and later in religious mysticism. By the time that the hippie culture developed in the late 1960s, he was building the basis for what was to become either a religion (as its supporters would have it) or a cult (as its detractors would have it). Either way, James Baker became Father Yod, and acted as the focus of a religious community called the Source Family, installed in a mansion in the hills, which eventually included various musicians who decided to record and self-release their own music in various line-ups, one of which was Yahowha 13 (aka “Ya Ho Wa 13”). 

The album itself features Father Yod singing in a tribal chant sort of way while his undoubtedly proficient backing band weave a web of sound behind him that ranges from a shambolic tribal type of aural backdrop through to some seriously heavy riffing on guitars, with a lot of trippy meandering in-between. The contents more than live up to the promise of the cover, and this particular album has been the holy grail for various collectors of psychedelic music for decades. Given that it was a private pressing, and was not sold widely even within Los Angeles, for many years I’m Gonna Take You Home was a very rare find indeed. Several years ago, it and various other albums released by Yahowha 13 were finally rereleased, and are now readily available on CD and vinyl, including a “collected works” box set on CD. Various recordings that were not released in the early 70s are also being brought out of the archives, so it is probably easier to discover these works now than it has ever been before. 

So what happened to the Source Family? Father Yod, having experienced visions of the cataclysmic end of Western civilization, decided to relocate the Source Family to Hawaii in the mid-1970s. He died there in a hang-gliding accident in 1975, and, at the Source Family’s request, was buried with full military honours by representatives of the US Marines, who were doubtless somewhat bemused by the accompanying chanting and ceremonies from Father Yod’s Aquarian followers. After his death, in the absence of a central father figure to hold them all together, the community fell apart. Those interested in finding out more about the strange story of Father Yod should get their hands on the book The Source: The Untold Story of Father Yod, Ya Ho Wa 13 and the Source Family by Isis McCallum ............ 

The ‘hippie’ countercultural movement is commonly traced back to San Francisco in the 1960s. But it was in Los Angeles that a man called Jim Baker - later known as Father Yod and then Ya Ho Wha (“The Name Of God”) – created one of the ultimately enduring legacies of the movement, with his band YaHoWha 13 making some of the most mind bending psychedelic rock music ever heard, from 1973 up until Yod’s untimely death in Hawaii in 1975. 
Some history: Baker was a decorated World War II veteran and jujitsu expert who moved to California in the mid 1960s to become a stuntman. Baker was influenced from the Los Angeles beat scene and embraced a vegetarian diet, a ‘natural’ lifestyle and the study of philosophy, spirituality and yoga. 
This wide philosophical study and lifestyle change led to Baker founding an organic vegetarian restaurant called The Source on Sunset Strip in 1969, serving the rich, famous and hipsters of LA. Supported by the earnings of the successful Source restaurant, Baker transformed from beatnik to Western spiritual leader, changing his name to Father Yod and establishing a 150-strong commune in the Hollywood hills based around his own wide ranging philosophical beliefs. 
While the beliefs of The Source Family were largely kept secret, they were based upon utopian ideals, communal living and healthy ‘natural’ eating. With Father Yod the charismatic, Rolls Royce driving, white suit wearing patriarch of the commune, the Family embraced the liberating influences of the era of ‘Free Love’ (Yod had thirteen wives from within the group) and spiritual exploration. 
Then there was the music: with Father Yod the lead singer of his own bands The Spirit of ’76 and later YaHoWha 13 - made up of a revolving cast of young musicians from within the Source Family commune - they recorded nine albums of fascinating, epic, wildly improvisational epic space rock, with sessions usually beginning with a 3 a.m smoke of ‘sacred herb’ and their performance being part of a grander musical meditation ritual. 
First album Kahoutek (1973) by Father Yod and The Spirit of ’76 can be firmly filed under ‘Far Out’ music, with cosmic minimalist noodlings underpinning the band leader’s improvised religio-spiritual evocations- a modern descendant can be found in the chanting mantras and distorted low end of God Is Good or Advaitic Songs by Om. 
The emergence of successor outfit YaHoWha 13 in 1974 sees the sound of a serious and controlled rock n’roll band developing, with more structured garage band riffs and ritual drum patterns on I’m Gonna Take You Home and Lovers and The Chariot. Father Yod’s trademark chants make way for more distorted guitars and jazzy, occasionally funky rhythms across the spacey psych-noise of Penetration: An Aquarian Symphony. 
YaHoWha 13’s distinctly trippy DNA can be found today in the hazy guitar fuzz and languid melodies of Tame Impala’s Innerspeaker and Wolf People’s proto-prog and folk whimsy. Psych and freak folk scene acts such as Bonnie Prince Billy, Joanna Newsom and the self confessed Father Yod devotee Devendra Banhart all share a freedom of expression through their collaborative efforts and studied position just outside the mainstream. These folk musicians also share label territory with the re-released recordings of YaHoWha 13 on Drag City Records. 
While Drag City has just dropped another ‘lost’ collection of YaHoWha 13’s recordings, the excellent cosmic explorations comprising The Thought Adjusters, this resurgence of The Source Family in the public eye has been largely driven by the efforts of Father Yod’s widow and his appointed historian Isis Aquarian. 
Isis Aquarian documented the life of the secretive Source Family through an exhaustive range of photographs, writings and audio recordings in the 1970s. She has now acted in the past few years as an increasingly public emissary of the almost forgotten hippie community, even releasing Echoes of a Crone, her own spoken word CD of the ‘Father’s’ spiritual teachings set to a typically New Age ambient soundtrack. 
Isis’ quest to spread the Source Family’s message began in 2007 with publication of The Source: The Untold Story of Father Yod, Ya Ho Wha 13 and The Source Family. The publisher Jodi Wille has co-directed and released The Source Family documentary in 2012, currently screening at several film and music festivals in the U.S such as SXSW in Austin, also home to its own annual Psych Fest. YaHoWha 13 has even reformed after over thirty years with exotically named surviving members Octavius, Sunflower and Djin. 
With psychedelic music enjoying this popular resurgence today with the likes of the aforementioned Tame Impala, the lysergic-tinged Roky Erickson-esque Black Angels and even the dreamy psych-pop of Unknown Mortal Orchestra, what do they offer to the increasingly fragmented and commercialised music and festival scene of today? 
Woodstock in 1969 and the many early years of Glastonbury festivals are still hugely significant touchstones in popular music and cultural history, remembered for their positive attempts to generate a sense of community and unifying love before the increasingly individualistic and commercial forces of our modern late 20th and 21st Century took hold of these events for the middle class masses. 
With the gentrification of large festivals - the corporate VIP spaces, ‘glamping’ and slavishly sponsored amenities and services – even the ‘hippie dream’ has been bought, sold and commodified. We are now offered temporary escapes for the weekend with the odd organic falafel wrap, reiki head massage and an exotic body piercing to complete the hippie shopping list along the way. 
With new psychedelic bands helping signpost the way to that lost dream of the 1960s, with new ‘old’ sounds - maybe some of that spirit of Father Yod can be awakened at their festival appearances in us for more than a weekend. Yod’s primary philosophy was ‘Be Kind’. Why can’t we all be damn hippies? Matthew Edgley....... 

Line-up / Musicians 
- Father Yod / Vocals 
- Djin / Guitar 
- Sunflower / Bass 
- Octavius / Drums 
- Zinuru / Sound 

A1 Part 1 7:30 
B1 Part 2 12:20 
C1 Part 3 16:15 
D1 Part 4 10:50

johnkatsmc5, welcome music..







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music forever

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