Song Of The Day 6/1/2015: The Elastik Band – “Spazz”

Nuggets Week: No getting around it: The Elastik Band’s “Spazz” is a paragon of weirdness in a scene where moderate amounts of artistic weirdness were tolerated, if not encouraged. (I’m one of those people who firmly believes the hippies of the ’60s, more of them than we think anyway, had their limits.) “Spazz” is deliberately odd and disjointed, like a speed freak looking in a funhouse mirror trying to remember the words to Dylan’s “Ballad of a Thin Man,” mistakenly thinking it’s a Captain Beefheart song. Personally I love it, but I’m spazz of course. Someone at Atco Records decided to release it as a single in 1967. I would have given that person a hero’s welcome.

Striking as the song is, it caused the Elastik Band more than a bit of trouble. The song was so aggressively unique that it kind of doomed the band’s stature outside their Bay Area home base. In actuality their other stuff drew from many varied influences, though nothing quite as memorable as this song. Also, as this 2010 Goldmine interview with lead singer David Cortopassi explains, “spazz” was considered a derogatory expression for the developmentally disabled, especially in Europe, where protestors “were ready to stone the group once they got off the plane.” Yeah, I get it, but I don’t get it. “Spazz” was one of the songs Rhino appended to their Nuggets box set in 1998; it is still the strangest of that reissue’s 118 songs. Over here, that’s high praise.
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