Seminal Bay Area-based avant-punk psychedelic outfit Chrome have completed a new double studio double album of original material, titled Feel It Like A Scientist. It is being released August 5 in the United States on the King of Spades Records label.
The new album was recorded at The Compound Studio, Half Machine Studios and Sub Machine Studios all in Santa Cruz, CA, produced by band mainstay Helios Creed and engineered by Keith Thompson, Chrome’s second guitar player. The first single from the album, “Prophecy,” was remixed and partially recorded at the historic Capitol Studios C, in Hollywood, CA, with additional vocals by Anne Dromeda and guitar work by Helios Creed, all engineered by Michael Glines and produced by Brian Ross. The music for Feel It Like A Scientist is composed by Creed and the whole band, with lyrics by Creed, Anne Dromeda and Tommy Grenas, and features one track with lyrics by the late Damon Edge.
The current Chrome line-up is led by guitarist/vocalist Helios Creed. The band originated with drummer and vocalist Damon Edge in 1975 who took inspiration from influences as divergent as proto-Punk pioneers such as The Stooges, to sound art experimentation like the work of John Cage and Allan Kaprow. Heavy Rock guitarist and vocalist Creed joined the band in 1976. “It took guitarist Helios Creed joining up in ’76 for Chrome to really find their groove, a coruscating, face-peeling take on rock form that’s surprisingly hard to pin down”. Jon Dale, Uncut Magazine 9/13. He came in to cut their commercial and artistic breakthrough album Alien Soundtracks, in 1977 and their signature sound emerged. It was comprised of new songs, some with Gary Spain, as well as previously recorded tracks with member John Lambdin, made during the sessions for Chrome’s first release 1976’s The Visitation. The two former members left the band soon after Creed joined, which left Edge and Creed at the helm, splicing and editing the material. Alien Soundtracks and Chrome’s next album,1979’s Half Machine Lip Moves, remain underground classics. “Nobody ever started an album with as much fire as Chrome did with the opening of Half Machine Lip Moves” proclaims Julian Cope. “[it] remains my favorite beginning to any rock n’ roll record, surpassing even Iggy and the Stooges’ Raw Power.” -Head Heritage 2012
Helios Creed and Damon Edge developed a unique methodology within Chrome, bringing art into sound, splicing in a Sci-Fi collage of sound bites, combining searing rock with noise, weirdness, pile driver rhythms (including scrap metal percussion), heavy rhythm-guitar riffs, effects-laden vocals and Psychedelic guitar leads, and mindbending audio manipulations. They came up during a fertile era of experimentation for music in San Francisco, from the break of Punk to the advent of Art Rock and Industrial musical projects. Chrome was groundbreaking and their de/re-construction of Rock ‘n Roll created a sound that defied categorization. They influenced a wide range of musical genres as well as generations of bands from the avant-rock of Sonic Youth and the Flaming Lips to Industrial rockers like Nine Inch Nails and Ministry. They “exploded the possibilities of what Punk, Psychedelic, New Wave and Industrial Rock could sound like”, claims Examiner.com’s Andrew Stecz 3/12.
The prolific duo produced several more albums and EPs through 1983, Including two on the UK’s Beggar’s Banquet label. On several tracks they added vocals by French rock star Fabienne Shine and for their last three releases they added John and Hillary Stench to their rhythm section. In the mid-80’s, Chrome continued as a Damon Edge solo project. He released numerous albums while stationed in France. Helios Creed also further developed his sound as a solo artist and released albums prolifically, first from the post-Punk late 80’s creative milieu of San Francisco on Subterranean Records, then a brief stint on Sub Pop Records, relocating to Seattle before the then burgeoning Grunge scene had broken. However, Creed found his sonic home within the harder NOISE Rock scene of the mid-West on Amphetamine Reptile Records. He toured Stateside and in Europe for years, sharing stages with many of the great indie acts of the late 80’s and 90’s. He toured in Nik Turner’s (Hawkwind) band Space Ritual, along with current Chrome keyboardist Tommy Grenas, for their 1994 US tour. Creed has churned out 21 solo albums and singles from 1985-2011.
After Edge’s passing in 1995 Helios Creed took back the helm of Chrome; enter madman of Pressurehead and Farflung fame Tommy Grenas on keys, and heavy, San Francisco-based drummer Aleph Omega a year later. Both were long time appreciators of Chrome and both are still part of the current line-up. Under the direction of Helios Creed they began working within the sometimes spontaneous, always dynamic methods that he and Damon Edge had developed years before and with other musicians released 4 more Chrome albums including 2002’s Angel of the Clouds a posthumous collaboration with Damon Edge’s work that he left behind when he died (recently re-released on the band’s King of Spades Label in 2013). The band also toured. In 2007, enter Lux Vibratus joining the group on bass, forming a foursome; with Creed, Grenas and Omega that lasted 5 years. This included a tour and also the release of a Helios Creed solo album in 2011. Commencement of recording sessions for Feel It Like A Scientist began in 2012 with the addition of guitarist Lou Minatti (aka Keith Thompson) and vocalist Anne Dromeda (aka Monet Clark who is also a noted conceptual and performance/video artist http://www.artslant.com/global/artists/show/9096-monet-clark).
While making Feel It Like A Scientist, previously unreleased lost tracks from Creed’s and Edge’s classic period of ’79-’80 had surfaced, and Creed and company launched a campaign with fans to raise the funds to buy back, mix, and release the works. The resultant Half Machine from the Sun, the Lost Tracks from ’79-’80 received a flood of favorable press, garnering a resurgence of interest in Chrome’s cultural significance. Infused with the avidity of that sonic trip down memory lane and with one final switch in the lineup to Steve Fishman on bass who’s worked with Paul McCarney, Rob Orbison, Elton John, members of Blondie, the Sex Pistols, the Dammed and the Stranglers, the final recording sessions for Feel It Like A Scientist were completed late in 2013. “Time does only favors to Chrome: the music …could still theoretically start a new movement”. Ben Ratliff, Sunday New York Times 10/13
In Helios Creed’s own words from 2014 interviews: “I have the best band put together, finally.” “The album is coming out…it’s how I’ve always wanted Chrome to sound. It’s what I always imagined Chrome could be post Damon, ya know. I’ve been able to take it to the next level.”