Lycanthropic good times guaranteed.
Werewolves on Wheels is one of those soundtrack albums that you pray will be fantastic based on its title and album cover alone—and fans of psychedelic pastoral pursuits can rest assured that Don Gere’s work is pure hallucinatory heaven. It might be patchy, and there’s undoubtedly plenty of filler, but the album’s spirited tetrahydrocannabinol-dripping jams certainly capture the mood of the times.
The film Werewolves on Wheels, released in 1971, is a classic piece of B-grade cinematic trash. With satanic monks, rednecks, greasy bikers, wanton women, and, of course, lycanthropes, it’s an acid-fried eye-popping slice of exploitative muck that mixes two already thoroughly soiled genres. It is completely deserving of its cult status. The album is on British label Finders Keepers, which specializes in reissuing just these sorts of eccentric, previously-undiscovered oddities, and has done us a huge favor in releasing the soundtrack. Although there are 17 tracks, only seven really count as complete songs and that might be stretching the truth due to their disheveled nature. Two tracks are radio advertisements from the period, and the remainder are snippets of scratchy, fuzzy ideas.
Don’t let that put you off. Legend has it that Don Gere was once a mild mannered pop/folk songwriter until be became involved in this production. Finding himself developing a strong inclination towards communal pursuits, and enjoying the lysergic side of life, Gere apparently crafted this suite of songs under the heady influence of plenty of weed and other intoxicating substances. That’s not to hard to believe, as the album essentially reeks of the sort of stoned, ritualistic campfire tunes that plenty of other ‘70s bands were pumping out at the time. Finders Keepers suggests the album sounds like “Sandy Bull jamming with Munich’s Amon Duul”, which comes fairly close to accurate, but it’s equally reminiscent of a whole raft of other cosmically inclined outfits that happily combined a Motorik pulse with some shady, enigmatic themes. Fans of frazzled country, unhinged Krautrock and buzzing psych will find much to enjoy.
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// Notes from the Road
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