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Decline of the West: Holy Sons cover Spirit classic ‘Nature’s Way’
11.11.2015
10:20 am

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Emil Amos
Spirit
Randy California
Holy Sons


 
When Holy Sons’ Decline of the West was first released a decade ago, it was in the limited physical form of either an Italian import CD or as one of only 300 vinyl copies pressed up by a tiny Atlanta label. Now Holy Sons’ best-known, most sought-after and beloved release is being reissued by Partisan Records as a double LP that includes all of the bonus tracks from the 2008 expanded edition plus seven “new” songs from the original album sessions that have never been released prior.

Inspired by and named after Oswald Spengler’s darkly pessimistic prediction of the downfall and disintegration of Western culture, the collection incorporates elements of free jazz, hardcore punk, folk, sampling, Jamaican dub mixing techniques and an apocalyptic lyrical message. It was recorded in Amos’ home studio in Portland over the course of three years, during which the material was picked apart, re-mixed and re-edited, as Amos recalls “to unseat a lot of the tired/old ideas behind how a ‘singer-songwriter’ record is supposed to sound.”
 

Credit: Eliza Sohn

Amos has said of his distinctive music:

“Holy Sons is about facing your personal reality. You can’t wear it, it’s not cool, so it’s not a commodity in this culture. I don’t think it’s built to succeed in any way.”

Let the listener decide. Here’s Amos’ gorgeous cover of Spirit’s “Nature’s Way” from their 1972 album Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus that is included on the new expanded edition of Decline of the West. There are also covers of Billy Joe Royal’s “Down in the Boondocks” and a Circle Jerks song:
 

 
Bonus, Spirit guitarist Randy California’s entertaining 1995 music video for “Nature’s Way.” Although the imagery here points to the environment, the actual subject matter of the song’s sad lyrics is a philosophical meditation on the subject of a miscarriage.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Spirit drummer Ed Cassidy, R.I.P.
12.06.2012
10:59 pm

Topics:
Music
R.I.P.

Tags:
Spirit
Ed Cassidy

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Mr. Skin has died at the age of 89. At this time, cause of death has not been disclosed.

Ed Cassidy was a big reason that Spirit has always been one of my favorite American rock bands. The guy was bigger-than-life, a musician whose formidable skills were matched by his theatricality. And at a time when kids distrusted anyone over 30 and longhair was a symbol of how cool you were, here comes this old bald dude who was hipper than they were. It shattered some stereotypes. As sad as it is to see him go, the fact that he lived until the ripe old age of 89 is the equivalent of an astonishing 178 in rock ‘n’ roll years.

Cassidy played with some jazz cats like Roland Kirk and Cannonball Adderly but didn’t get into rock until he was well into his forties. He formed Little Red Rooster in 1965 with stepson Randy California, Mark Andes and Jay Ferguson. In 1967, they changed their name to Spirit and became a monolithic presence on the Southern California rock scene and eventually a world wide success. Cassidy and California were terrific musicians as well as showmen. They delivered the goods.

Here’s Cassidy and California playing in Germany in 1978.
 

 
Previously on DM: Spirit on late night TV.

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Randy California and Ed Cassidy perform ‘I Got A Line On You’ on late night TV 1992
02.24.2012
01:06 am

Topics:
History
Music
Television

Tags:
Spirit
Randy California

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Better late than never. A belated happy birthday (February 20) to Randy California. You are missed brother.

A solid performance of “I Got A line On You” by Randy and his stepdad Ed Cassidy from a 1992 episode of Dennis “the cretin” Miller’s short-lived TV show.
 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment