Thursday, July 2, 2009

"Our Music is Red - with Purple Flashes." - Eddie Phillips, 1966

One of the true cult bands of the Sixties, the Creation epitomized Mod in terms of image and music. Their Pop Art-influenced sound perfectly crystallized the progression from British beat to psychedelia in a form of music now termed "freakbeat." As evidenced in the clip above, the Creation's sound was explosive and original; their stage shows were as well, as their goal was to pioneer a "total sound culture." (In fact, during live performances, lead singer Kenny Pickett painted canvases and bikini-clad girls on stage.) Although the Creation recorded one album and a handful of singles, they have had an immense influence on subsequent musicians, especially uberfan Alan McGee who named his successful record label "Creation Records" (which in turn became home to Britpop legends Oasis).

The most popular line up of the Creation consisted of vocalist Kenny Pickett, bassist Bob Garner, drummer Jack Jones and innovative guitarist Eddie Phillips. Phillips utilized feedback and a violin bow on his guitar before Jimmy Page did the same with the Yardbirds and Led Zeppelin, yet he rarely receives the credit he is due. Shel Talmy, producer of both the Kinks and the Who, helped develop the Creation's sound in the studio after signing them to his own Planet label. "Making Time," their first single (and the song in the clip above), became widely known with its inclusion in the 1998 Wes Anderson film, Rushmore.

Tensions within the band led to many personnel changes, including the departures of Pickett and Phillips and the addition of Ronnie Wood. It was Wood's departure to join the Jeff Beck Group that proved fatal for the band. The classic Creation line up reunited for several London shows in the mid '90s, effectively healing past wounds. Sadly, Kenny Pickett passed away suddenly, cutting short the Creation's triumphant return.

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