Tuesday, October 21, 2014
Blast the mental mold away with Ozric Tentacles!
TURN UP THE VOLUME, FOLKS - OR USE HEADPHONES!
Ozric Tentacles (commonly known as the Ozrics) are an instrumental rock band from Somerset, England, whose music can loosely be described as psychedelic or space rock. Formed in 1984, the band has released 28 albums as of 2009, and become a cottage industry selling over a million albums worldwide despite never having major label backing.
The original lineup met on June 21, 1984, at the Stonehenge Free Festival and its name arose from discussions of hypothetical cereal brands (Malcolm Segments, Desmond Whisps, and Gordon Lumps are among the names that were considered). In the 1980s the band built a fanbase on the festival circuit, becoming particularly associated with the Glastonbury Festival, and made a series of cassette releases, sold at gigs and via a fan club.
Its first label release was Pungent Effulgent in 1989, which was also re-released in the early 2000s, packaged with Strangeitude. This was followed by Erpland (1990), an album dedicated to the Pongmaster, a character which appears on many of the band's album artworks. 1991 saw the Strangeitude LP. The track "Sploosh!" was used by BMW in an advertising campaign and became the band's only single. By 1993 the band had grossed over three million dollars, and its Jurassic Shift album reached the Top 20 of the UK Albums Chart.
The band has gone through myriad line-up changes, with Ed Wynne (guitar, keyboards) being the only constant presence since the beginning. Many members left to pursue more electronic music spin-off acts, such as Eat Static, Transglobal Underground, Nodens Ictus, Dubblehead and Moksha. Even Nick Van Gelder (aka Tig), drummer for Jamiroquai during the Emergency on Planet Earth era was once part of the Ozric Tentacles line up, contributing drums and songwriting on the original cassettes Tantric Obstacles and Erpsongs. Nevertheless, the band maintained its identity and continued with this prolific rate of albums throughout the 1990s, and into the new millennium. It also continued to tour extensively, releasing a live DVD in 2002 entitled Live at the Pongmaster's Ball.
The band is famous for its live performances, fronted for years by "Jumping Jon" Egan, who used to dance around the stage in a trance-like manner while playing a variety of flutes. Ozric Tentacles has long taken an audio-visual approach to live performance, with an integrated lighting and projections crew. As of February 2009, the lineup featured Ed Wynne (guitar, synths), Ed's wife Brandi Wynne (synths), Oliver Seagle (drums, percussion) and Vinny Shillito (bass).
[First posted 21 February 2010]