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Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Dry Ice - Dry Ice (1969 uk, outstanding hard acid psych rock, 2018 remaster)

The roots of Dry Ice go back to 1965, when guitarist Paul Gardner's band, The Select, were recording at Joe Meek's Holloway Road studios. In a legendary fit of pique Joe announced that if this partnership was to progress then the drummer had to go ...enter Terry.

Terry's first live gig was the Tiger's Head, Catford, which was a big gig on the rock circuit mid 60's. Later that year the other guitarist, Pat Allen quit, taking the PA with him. Paul and Terry then embarked on a musical journey with various bass players, including cousin Johnny Crooks and brother Derek.

Jack's Union was the first outfit. They had a residency at the Kew Boathouse, where a mention in Melody Maker's Raver column sealed their instant notoriety with the local mod community". Who influenced Jack's Union have smashing time at Kew Boathouse." An axe and a tailor's dummy were allegedly involved.!!!

It was around late '66 after a Marquee gig that the lads were approached by Phil Carson (later to be CEO at Atlantic Records, signing Led Zep). He was at this stage in charge of Olga Records, a Swedish Co. Impressed by the band's bizarre stage antics he offered his services. Paul and Terry also did session work for bands on the label like The Hep Stars (Bjorn's band pre-Abba) mainly cleaning and beefing up backing tracks.

In spite of Phil encouraging the band to be as outrageous as possible on gigs, one of which was a support slot to The Easybeats at the California Ballroom, Dunstable and another at Hastings' Pier Ballroom with Episode6  ...where singer Ian Gillan and bass player Roger Glover called the band "nutcases." ...he dropped them like a hot potato when the complaints, bills and barrings poured in from  various venues... Even dear old John Gee barred them from the Marquee. He relented later, bless him. 

As Psychedelica reared its head, the band morphed into Rainbow Reflection, playing at Middle Earth many times and rubbing shoulders with the likes of Arthur Brown, Joe Cocker, The Who, Dantalian's Chariot, Bowie, Bolan and an apocryphal gig with The Yardbirds. It was at Covent Garden's King St venue that they met Nick Butt, Middle Earth's resident electrician, Electric Nick as he was known.

As Nick recalls, the Dry Ice name was dreamed up over breakfast in Camden Town after an all-nighter. Enter Lee Gopthall of B&C and Stable Records. He gave Nick a small advance for the band and the promise of making an album. Mk1 lineup was Paul, Terry, Pete Bendall (keyboard) and Phil Griffiths (bass) (brother of Ron, Iveys/Badfinger). This line -up only played half a dozen or so gigs but one, on a Middle Earth night at The Roundhouse, was a real goody. Bendall went back to his native Minehead, but keyboard never really sat easy here and he was replaced by vocalist Jeff Novak.

It is now late '68 and the band also has an offer of a gig at the Royal Albert Hall on Festival '69. Out of the blue, Phil quits just after the photo session for The Albert Hall gig. The band had been rehearsing in Nick Butt's basement Studio in Portobello Road beneath Simon Stable's record shop. Dear Simon....hippy legend, DJ, music journo and good friend to the band. It was Simon that introduced them to Ian McDonald of King Crimson, who plays flute on the album track Lalia.

Thus the band are forced into overdrive to find a new bass player with only a couple of weeks before the big gig. Bass player John Gibson turns up to audition with his mate Chris in tow. It doesn't take long before they are both offered the job, with Chris joining on guitar. So there we are....the line-up Mk3 - that is on the records. Paul Gardner, Terry Sullivan, John Gibson, Chris Hyrenewitz* and Jeff Novak. *Never sure about the spelling...sorry Chris.

The album was recorded at IBC in Portland Place, London, home of many a legendary release. Nick Butt produced. By now the band was with Marquee Martin Management / Agency under the guidance of Mike Dolan, who also managed Hard Meat. They played lots of high profile gigs, including a stint at The Star Club, Hamburg with Rory Gallagher's Taste and at The Marquee, Midnight Court and The Country Club, Hampstead.

As there was no obvious single on the album, Paul was asked to write something. "Running to the Convent" ensued ...written in about 10 minutes in Nick's Portobello Road flat. The band recorded it in Trident Studio in Soho, produced by Mike Dolan. On Mike's suggestion the band recorded a Hard Meat song"Walking up Down Street" as the B side. Eventually however, it was not used and"Nowhere to Go" from the IBC sessions was used. The 45rpm single on B&C was released in November '69 . It was playlisted by Radio 1 and reviewed and played by Annie Nightingale. It is now rarer than a rare hen's toothy thing. So ...for whatever reason(s) the album was never released and the masters were left to gather dust for 49 years.
CD Liner Notes

1. Clear White Light - 3:34
2. She Gave - 3:11
3. Running To The Convent (Single Version) - 2:20
4. Fake It - 3:39
5. It's All Over Now, Baby Blue (Bob Dylan) - 4:36
6. Chinese House - 5:35
7. Falling Down - 3:30
8. Good Friday - 3:35
9. Laila - 5:33
10.Nowhere To Go - 2:49
11.Untitled '67 - 3:30
12.Ashes (Demo) - 4:02
13.Running To The Convent (Demo) - 3:38
14.It's All Over Now, Baby Blue (Alternative Mix) (Bob Dylan) - 4:31
All songs by Paul Gardner except where noted

The Dry Ice 
*Jeff Novak - Vocals
*Paul Gardner - Guitar, Vocals
*Chris Hyrenwicz - Guitar
*John Gibson - Bass
*Terry Sullivan - Drums
*Ian McDonald - Flute (Track 9)

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