Monday, October 24, 2011

Blue Cheer

I arrive finally at some of the Bay Area’s local roots in the Metal story.  These bands being the Count Five and Blue Cheer.  Neither are metal bands.  To speak briefly of Sabbath they played metal and were a metal band.  They had dark occult interests in their time off in some cases.  This is not going to be true for the two bands I am talking of.

Count Five are most often talked about as punk.  They were pretty much a typical sixties rock band, their song psychotic reaction really just has an energetic solo.  I would not even mention them except for their dressing up in capes and standing in front of the Winchester Mystery House for promotional photos.  I think you may give them something of a shock rock credit there but I do not believe they were taking this into their stage show.  Arthur Brown or even Howling Jay Hawkins has a better claim to the title.

As for Blue Cheer, they are a blues band that turned it up to twelve, they tried thirteen but it was a little loud.  In researching the Cheer, I don't really see them as attempting to do anything other than play loud.  They very much seem to be hippies or bluesies for the late 60's with extra amplification.

Metal is not a counterculture but a counter counterculture.  Metal arises out of the hypocrisy of the Hippies and throws it in their face, and that is what metal always does.  It seems to come from and for the outsider.  It seems to find those who need it and exclude or even repulse those who don't.  Even the horns are a statement of difference and unity.

Blue Cheer was not looking for that otherness.  Black Sabbath was born out of it, their music as Earth doesn't have it. Metal often comes out of harder more industrial areas.  Here in the Bay that is the east bay not San Francisco, which the Cheer seemed a part of. Their early album Vincebus Eruptum is certainly metal, but they arrived at it almost on accident. It’s that heavy blues that metal was birthed from, they just took it too far.  This in itself is pretty damn metal!

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