In 1968, tabla player Sam Gopal started a band with Lemmy Kilmister (guitar/ vocals), Roger D’Elia (guitar) and Phil Duke on bass. Together they recorded the album Escalator, which is sitar-less raga-rock with typically vague mystical lyrics and a stoned vibe. On a psychedelic scale of purple to brown, I’d rate this one maroon.
Strange to see Lemmy this mellow. Though, as you see in the following quote, Lemmy was spending a lot of time on speed. I love the fact that he keeps referring to tablas as bongos.
That was in 1968. It was very rushed, obviously. But the speed was very good in those days. I sat up all night and wrote all the fucking songs. Eleven of them, I think.
Honestly, I have never been able to get into this record, and it’s entirely due to the drumming being bongos instead of a conventional drum set. I realize that Sam Gopal is the bongo player, so the whole project is based around him, and I’m totally missing the point. But I just want to hear some real drums behind these songs, damn it!
No one will ever mistake this dreary rain-drenched b&w clip for Yellow Submarine.