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MUSIC THEE HYPNOTICS : The Good Old Daze : The band is this week's happening British outfit that caught that psychedelic wave 25 years too late.

March 19, 1992|BILL LOCEY | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Now I want you to stare at this picture of Thee Hypnotics and shake your head side to side 111 times, then after you can focus again, read these simple instructions in your very best Bela Lugosi voice:

"You're getting zleepy, zleepy, zleepy, and (snap your fingers) you're now in my power."

In this blank-faced state, it seems as though a musical conglomerate named Fab, Gear, Groovy & Boss Inc. is cranking out retro-psychedelic bands to cater to the offspring of flower children.

Bands such as Spacemen 3, Lush, Blur, Ride and Thee Hypnotics hark back to the Summer of Love when people were feelin' groovy and would rather make love, not war, unlike the '90s when fighting may not be fun but what the heck, there's no more sex.

The Sunday show at the Anaconda Theater in Isla Vista should be a true psychedelic experience, but without the drugs. It'll certainly be loud. It'll certainly have Thee Hypnotics, this week's happening British outfit that caught that psychedelic wave 25 years too late.

Thee Hypnotics, like Loudness, is one of the few rock bands in memory whose name accurately reflects their music. Their sound is like a freight train full of guitars running at full throttle, then jumping off the track and running over your head.

Jim Jones, the one who sings and plays harmonica, offers Angst -laden lyrics that seem to float above it all. Ray Hanson and Robert Zyn play guitar, Will Pepper is on bass and Phil Smith plays drums.

You can bet your parents' hippie beads that Thee Hypnotics will do a lot of songs off their latest, "Soul, Glitter & Sin." Every song features endless, mindless and senseless guitar solos. The 10 songs actually sound like one long song with 10 short pauses.

Thee Hypnotics were formed in 1987 in a small town with a funny name north of London called High Wycombe. The band's first single got them a deal with Beggars Banquet, a subsidiary of RCA Records, in 1989. Two albums and an EP were nearly followed by a brief obit in Rolling Stone's "Random Notes" two years ago. That's when the group was involved in a terrible car crash in Minneapolis during their debut U.S. tour.

According to a recent article in Creem magazine, a copy of which was included with the press kit sent out by the band's record company, members of the group had just cracked a round of brewskis inside their tour van, which was parked near the Minneapolis club, when a drunk driver slammed into them, spilling their beers, ending the party and putting drummer Phil Smith in the hospital for three months with a broken pelvis.

Which, also according to the Creem interview, made for a touching and moral ending.

"Before, we had this really bad tendency to be inconsistent, and it was really sort of anyone's guess as to how we'd be feeling at the point of the show, taking into account how much we had drunk or taken the night before," Jones is quoted as saying.

"We've got that a bit more under control now and it feels better."

Apparently the interview was done in the good old days when Jones was celebrating sobriety and articulating sentences that included verbs, nouns and adjectives.

That was before we got to him. Here are some of the highlights of the interview.

Have the band members, in fact, changed their drinking habits?

Jones: "Nope. It was just our own fault for being in the wrong place at the wrong time."

Is it true that the band has for the last year been playing Dave Edmunds' appropriate rocker, "Crawlin' From the Wreckage," as stated by an interviewer in Pulse! magazine?

Jones: "Nope. We never did."

Can you describe Thee Hypnotics' music?

Jones: "Rock n' roll."

How did you come up with the name of the band?

Jones: "Me and Ray thought of it one night."

How did American crowds differ from European?

Jones: "They speak American."

What is the best thing about being in a band?

Jones: "Having complete freedom."

What is the worst thing?

Jones: "Having too much freedom."

Jones then seemed to nod off, although it was hard to tell since we were on the phone and he'd hardly been loquacious in the first place. Or maybe I was the one who nodded off.

* WHERE AND WHEN

Thee Hypnotics at the Anaconda Theater, 935 Embarcadero del Norte, Isla Vista, Sunday night, $7.50. For more information, call 985-3112.

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