PopMatters is moving to WordPress in December. We will continue to publish on this site as we work on the move. We aim to make it a seamless experience for readers.

Music

Demian: Demian

The industry boned another one when it forced Bubble Puppy to become Demian to become a footnote in classic Texas hard rock.


Demian

Demian

Label: Fallout
First date: 1970
US Release Date: 2008-05-13
UK Release Date: 2008-04-14
Amazon
iTunes

Texas quartet Bubble Puppy was one of literally thousands of late '60s and early '70s bands to break up at the hands of vicious industry mismanagement. With a name lifted from the Beverly Hillbillies, their first single "Hot Smoke and Sassafras" landed at #14 on the Billboard 100 and scored the band a contract with International Artists alongside the now legendary Red Krayola and 13th Floor Elevators. However, the 1969 debut album also called Hot Smoke and Sassafras landed in the marketplace with barely promotion while IA was simultaneously financially crippling the band as the label went down in flames. So they moved out to the Mecca of LA in search of glory, narrowly avoiding have their gear repossessed by their drowning former label in the process.

Under the legal stress in the wake of IA's implosion, Bubble Puppy changed their name to the title of a Herman Hesse novel, much like Steppenwolf. As Demian, they quickly signed a new contract to ABC-Dunhill, who immediately turned out to be no better than their former management, a fact compounded by the strain of living in such a disjointed, perennial rat race city. Although they secured time at the renowned Record Plant, they were given the rarely coveted 10p.m. to 6 a.m. slot and tensions within the collective slowly spread thin. Before that, the band was used to jamming whenever the mood took them, but in LA it had to be on demand, while their living situation went from amicable commune to alienating commute.

Demian's self-titled debut (or sophomore, depending on how you see it) hit the streets in 1971. Showing their cards or lack thereof, ABC did nothing to connect the modest success of Bubble Puppy to Demian. They practically refused to promote the album at all, as they sent the band back to their native Texas on a meager six-week tour of dive bars. That was the end of the money and the album naturally made not a blip in the charts. After that, as things were slowly shaping up the same way for their third album, they tore up the latest advance cheque and went their separate ways.

Hot Smoke and Sassafras remains a classic work of late '60s psychedelic hard rock and a high point for the Beverly Hillbillies in pop culture (this being a couple decades away from Weird Al's "Money For Nothing" parody). The eponymous Demian record only took the dueling lead guitar sound of the debut deeper into the '70s, where it sounded at home all along, and the recording quality thoroughly improved in the still recognized LA studio. The album should have seen them enter Led Zeppelin territory. Instead, you can only listen for moments of struggle. The differences in "Todd's Tune", as heard on the debut, compared to the Demian version is palpable. The youthful vigor and optimism of the first incarnation gave way to a disillusioned yearning as the group drifted apart in a sea of smog and sepia toned spotlights. The experience left them so soured, they effectively broke up until 16 years later, when Wheels Go Round squeaked out to little fanfare. It was history's loss.

6

Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology provider that we have until December to move off their service. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to fund the move and further development.


Music

Books

Film

Recent
Music

Artemis Is the Latest Jazz Supergroup

A Blue Note supergroup happens to be made up of women, exclusively. Artemis is an inconsistent outing, but it dazzles just often enough.

Books

Horrors in the Closet: A Closet Full of Monsters

A closet full of monsters is a scary place where "straight people" can safely negotiate and articulate their fascination and/or dread of "difference" in sexuality.

Music

'Wildflowers & All the Rest' Is Tom Petty's Masterpiece

Wildflowers is a masterpiece because Tom Petty was a good enough songwriter by that point to communicate exactly what was on his mind in the most devastating way possible.

Music

Jazz Composer Maria Schneider Takes on the "Data Lords" in Song

Grammy-winning jazz composer Maria Schneider released Data Lords partly as a reaction to her outrage that streaming music services are harvesting the data of listeners even as they pay musicians so little that creativity is at risk. She speaks with us about the project.

Music

The 100 Best Albums of the 2000s: 100-81

PopMatters' best albums of the 2000s begin with a series of records that span epic metal, ornate indie folk, and a terrifying work of electronic music.

Books

The Power of Restraint in Sophie Yanow, Paco Roca, and Elisa Macellari's New Graphic Novels

The magical quality that makes or breaks a graphic novel lies somewhere in that liminal space in which art and literature intersect.

Books

'People of the City' Is an Unrelenting Critique of Colonial Ideology and Praxis

Cyprian Ekwensi's People of the City is a vivid tale of class struggle and identity reclamation in the shadows of colonialism's reign.

Music

1979's 'This Heat' Remains a Lodestone for Avant-Rock Adventure

On their self-titled debut, available for the first time on digital formats, This Heat delivered an all-time classic stitched together from several years of experiments.

Film

'The Edge of Democracy' and Parallels of Political Crises

Academy Award-nominated documentary The Edge of Democracy, now streaming on Netflix, lays bare the political parallels of the rise of Bolsonaro's Brazil with Trump's America.

Music

The Pogues' 'The BBC Sessions 1984-1986' Honors Working-Class Heroes

The Pogues' BBC Sessions 1984-1986 is a welcome chapter in the musical story of these working-class heroes, who reminded listeners of the beauty and dignity of the strong, sooty backs upon which our industrialized world was built.

Music

Mary Halvorson Creates Cacophony to Aestheticize on 'Artlessly Falling'

Mary Halvorson's Artlessly Falling is a challenging album with tracks comprised of improvisational fragments more than based on compositional theory. Halvorson uses the various elements to aestheticize the confusing world around her.

Music

15 Overlooked and Underrated Albums of the 1990s

With every "Best of the '90s" retrospective comes a predictable list of entries. Here are 15 albums that are often overlooked as worthy of placing in these lists, and are too often underrated as some of the best records from the decade.

Books

'A Peculiar Indifference' Takes on Violence in Black America

Pulitzer Prize finalist Elliott Currie's scrupulous investigation of the impacts of violence on Black Americans, A Peculiar Indifference, shows the damaging effect of widespread suffering and identifies an achievable solution.

Music

20 Songs From the 1990s That Time Forgot

Rather than listening to Spotify's latest playlist, give the tunes from this reminiscence of lost '90s singles a spin.

Film

Delightful 'Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day' Is Good Escapism

Now streaming on Amazon Prime, Bharat Nalluri's 2008 romantic comedy, Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, provides pleasant respite in these times of doom and gloom.

Film

The 10 Best Horror Movie Remakes

The horror genre has produced some remake junk. In the case of these ten treats, the update delivers something definitive.

Television

Flirting with Demons at Home, or, When TV Movies Were Evil

Just in time for Halloween, a new Blu-ray from Kino Lorber presents sparkling 2K digital restorations of TV movies that have been missing for decades: Fear No Evil (1969) and its sequel, Ritual of Evil (1970).

Music

Magick Mountain Are Having a Party But Is the Audience Invited?

Garage rockers Magick Mountain debut with Weird Feelings, an album big on fuzz but light on hooks.


Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews



Features
Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.