Some Super Weird Inspirations
HOWARD MARKS was a man of many aliases – 43 to be exact – a true countercultural anti-hero who played a leading role in distributing ‘beneficial herbs’ beginning in the psychedelic sixties. Despite the fact he lived life to its fullest, leading him into the midst of the CIA, MI6, the IRA and the Mafia, he showed real humility when relaying his epic tales, best recounted in his autobiography ‘Mr. Nice’. Howard was there from the beginning of Super Weird Substance, delivering Kermit’s ‘Lies & Other Fools’ with his Welsh gravitas, which provided the perfect vinyl offering to mark the start of the new journey.
TIMOTHY LEARY in the words of President Nixon, was ‘the most dangerous man in America’. The leading advocate of psychedelic drugs, Leary was a hugely significant figure in the sixties, remembered for convincing a generation to ‘turn on, tune in, drop out’. Prior to this he was a well-respected psychologist but his larger than life outlook meant that he was always embroiled in some kind of drama or adventure. His influence was wide ranging, from intellectuals to college dropouts, and he even played a role in foundation of disco via his association with David Mancuso.
KEN CAMPBELL was a maverick and truly unique actor and director who pushed the boundaries of stage performance to their very limits. Often working on a shoestring budget and attempting the impossible, Campbell rose to fame in the early seventies with the Ken Campbell Road Show; he formed The Science Fiction Theatre of Liverpool in 1976 at Peter O’Halligan’s warehouse and put on the epic eight-hour production of ‘The Illuminatus! Trilogy’, which he then took to the National Theatre in London. Campbell also put on ‘The Warp’, the 22-hour marathon play and later became renowned for his one-man shows. He left his mortal coil in 2008.
MAYA ANGELOU the Afro-American author, poet and civil rights activist who had also danced, sang and acted in younger days, passed away whilst Greg Wilson was working on ‘Blind Arcade Meets Super Weird Substance In The Morphogenetic Field’. As the final addition to the mixtape he sampled a verse from ‘And Still I Rise’, whilst her poignant message sets the tone for ‘Striving’.
YOKO ONO is an avant garde multimedia artist who rose to international fame in the sixties. Originally from Tokyo, she established herself in bohemian New York, emerging via the Fluxus movement, whilst rubbing shoulders with the likes of John Cale and Allan Kaprow, building a reputation with challenging performance and conceptual pieces. In 1967 she brought her ‘Music Of The Mind’ experimental performance piece to the Bluecoat. Having married John Lennon in 1969, the couple collaborated on globally reported ‘commercials for peace’, including their Amsterdam and Toronto Bed-Ins and the ‘War Is Over’ poster campaign and record. The keeper of the flame for her late husband, who was killed in New York in 1980, she’s continued as an artist in her own right in the years since.
BILL DRUMMOND & JIMMY CAUTY were the stadium house duo, The KLF, who managed to become the best selling singles band in 1991, whilst remaining at ‘the cutting edge of reality’, constantly undermining people’s firmly established world views and bringing esoteric ideas into the heart of the mainstream. Their cult legacy was sealed when they spectacularly left the record industry and controversially negated all of their remaining and future profits. Rumours began to emerge of The KLF’s return at the beginning of the year and they responded by stating their alter-ego, The Justified Ancients Of Mu Mu would stage an event beginning 00:23 on 23rd August in Liverpool.
THE CHANTS & THE REAL THING were the two groups that offered up Toxteth’s best response to the stream of black American music coming into Liverpool. Joe and Eddie Ankrah, Nat Smeda, Alan Harding and Eddie Amoo formed the vocal harmony group The Chants, whose big break came locally when The Beatles backed them at The Cavern in November 1962, although wider success eluded them. During the seventies, Eddie Amoo joined up with his brother Chris, Dave Smith, Ray Lake and Kenny Davis to find fame with The Real Thing – they topped the chart with ‘You to Me Are Everything’, and scored a huge club hit with ‘Can You Feel The Force?’ Their 1977 album, ‘4 From 8′ focused on Toxteth and included ‘Children Of The Ghetto’, which is now regarded as a soul standard.
IMAGES EDITED BY TRISTAN BRADY-JACOBS