Gothic Requiem for the Flower Power
I thought it would be interesting to gather some bands that, for a short while during the late 60’s had a look that was some sort of mix between romanticism and what is nowadays called ”goth” with a slight psychedelic touch. I thought some of you might not exactly know what I am talking about…So… An image being worth a thousand words, here are images of some well-known bands that already had the looks of that style that have become so trendy lately and could very well demonstrate precisely what I am trying to explain. I wanted to do this for a while now because it is a short and unfortunately rather unexplored period, I thought it looked so cool and mysterious that I was immediately drawn to it the first time I looked at that picture on the Deep Purple album that has that Hieronymus Bosch (see picture further below) painting on the cover that illustrates a hellscape and portrays the torments of damnation in a manner I have never could even have fathomed before; Large explosions in the background throw light through a city gate and spill forth onto the water in the midground, their fiery reflection turning the water below into blood. The light illuminates a road filled with fleeing figures, while hordes of tormentors prepare to burn a neighbouring village. A short distance away, a rabbit carries an impaled and bleeding corpse, while a group of victims above are thrown into a burning lantern. The foreground is populated by a variety of distressed or tortured figures. Some are shown vomiting or excreting, others are crucified by harp and lute, in an allegory of music, thus sharpening the contrast between pleasure and torture. A choir sings from a score inscribed on a pair of buttocks, part of a tryptic that has been described as the “Musicians’ Hell”. Being quite young (something like 7 or 9) the painting and the picture in the back also had a lasting effect on me and reflected on something I had never experienced before, the painting was downright scary and the guys from this band called Deep Purple that I had never heard before were looking so detached and relaxed, I already had that fascination with Dracula at the time so I just couldn’t get it out of my mind. I just felt there was something there and I wanted to delve into those medieval Dark Princes. Later on I recognize it was my first experience with the ”Gothic look” and I immediately recognize it when it came back to the surface much later on and I was surprised no one ever mentioned that it was already there during the end of the roaring sixties…Yes it has been indeed revived later on but to me it always lacked the wild romantic, psychedelic-romantic touch of the 60s and its unleashed and uncanny feeling, probably related to the fact that so many things went totally out of control during the end of that decade… Some words automatically comes to mind…JFK (the first victim? 22/11/1963) … Charles Manson…Viet-Nam…Black Panthers…Martin Luther King… The death of the 4 most significant Rock USA Icons within 2 years to the day!!! Brian Jones from the Stones was the first to depart on July the 3rd,1969, Jimi Hendrix on September 18, 1970, Janis Joplin on October 4, 1970 and finally Jim Morrison, also on July the 3rd, 1971 was the last one to leave this world, like I said, 2 years to the day after Brian Jones. One could say in French (since Jim died in France) that ”le jour ‘‘J” definitely is July the 3rd because it started with Jones (or JFK in 1963???) and ended in July with Jim, taking Jimi and Janis in between for their Last Journey. Maybe I’m just sensing the sheer terror and the unfathomable deception that took place on December the 6th 1969 ”all across the USA”…ALTAMONT! Everyone seeing and feeling that even The Stones on which some had built high hopes for future generations were fragile, could, and had in fact been shattered...(I think I’m shattered!) Is it possible some of those artists/ musicians/ songwriters/ poets who were just about to become prophets for generations of fans to come who felt it coming and what they felt was a genuine urge to mourn. Knowing what we do now, we must admit that they were very much right to do so… Here is my tribute to all of those who felt all what was about to become the death of the dream of all those kids from the 60s (Talking ’bout my Generation) and which became the HELL that we live in today. Maybe some of you think Hell is too strong of a word but if you really take a look back and see what those kids wanted the world to be and compare it to what it’s become now, I would really think HELL is the right word. Don’t you think???