The Legendary Pink Dots
Edward Ka-Spel’s ’60s Psychedelia
As Edward Ka-Spel and the rest of the Legendary Pink Dots leave the stage, I am reminded of my conversation with Edward two weeks previous over the phone. “What sort of show should I expect in Atlanta, besides a good one?” I asked. Edward laughed, reminding me of a very humble “leader.” “Very long and mind-altering. Some places I’m doing a surprise solo set as well. Atlanta might be one of those.” He’s such a relaxed character. I started asking myself why — until I remembered my biggest “problem” with the Legendary Pink Dots, and the conversation Edward and I had about it.
I’ve always noticed a very heavy “spooky kids” crowd at Legendary Pink Dots shows. Do you have any idea why?
I meet a lot of people who dress in black. Most of them seem to be sensitive people. I like meeting the people.
For me, the Legendary Pink Dots have always reminded me of what the ’60s would be like if they occurred today. Would you consider the Dots to be modern acid rock?
It just sort of happens. We’re a psychedelic band in its purest form. Kind of nostalgic, but we’re not trying to regurgitate the Sixties. We want to evolve. Kind of mind-expanding.
I guess it’s just that I don’t understand why there isn’t a wider cross-section of people attending the shows.
Categorization has just gone wild. I’m rather fond of the Goths. It makes me think. If they didn’t come, then who would?
Well, I can see your point there. Guess all I can do is hope that more people come in contact with the music. What’s the crowd response been like this time around?
It’s been great. Totally wonderful. America is generally great. Last night there was even some hippie dancing.
Are you sure it wasn’t the “gothic ballet?”
Edward laughed for a little bit as we started talking about the new album, Nemesis Online. It’s an amazing blend of electronic gadgetry, rock sensibilities, free-form jazz ideals, and that beautiful Sixties vibe. One song however sticks out for me: “As Long as it’s Purple and Green.” I had to ask Edward about it.
Is it about the Internet?
Yes it is, a little bit, and the Y2K bug. It looks like a huge breakdown, and it will occur sooner because of panic. It’s really the end of the world as we know it.
I’m really frightened about it as well. I’m not sure what the world is going to be like and how it’s gong to function.
Maybe it will be a world not infested with greed or bar-codes.
Edward is right. How bad could it be if we all had to come together and work collectively towards getting things back together? Greed is definitely something to be expelled from society. We started to trade stories about the various horrors that could occur, and eventually we got around to being on the road. He was relaxing in a hotel on a day off. He asked what the weather was like in Florida.
I could really use some sun.
Well, when I left Florida this morning it was supposed to be in the high seventies to low eighties.
That’s what I want to hear.
Speaking of being on the road, what do you do while you’re on the road?
We’re traveling in an RV. We sit around chatting, listening to CDs. I like seeing what’s outside. It’s very enriching. Seeing huge fields of grass is very interesting. Very therapeutic as well.
You’re playing at the House of Blues in Orlando, if I remember correctly.
Yes. It’s a wonderful place.
If you get a chance, you need to take a break and walk across the street to DisneyQuest. It’s a lot of fun and I’m sure you would enjoy it.
Oh yes, I’ve heard of it. But I do think it would be a handicap for me, since I can’t see out of one eye.
There are a couple things that you would probably miss out on, but the rest of the stuff more than makes up for it.
I’ll have to see if I can go while I’m there.
There are a lot of us that love a collaboration of some members of the Dots and Skinny Puppy. Yes, I’m talking about the Tear Garden. I had to know if we were ever going to see a Tear Garden Tour.
We have tentative plans of a Tear Garden tour. We’ve started working on a new album. It’s a slow process so far, but it has started. Some recordings have been made and some tapes have been shuffled.
Who would the Tear Garden tour be with?
It’s all preliminary, but there is talk about a Download/Tear Garden tour.
On the last Tear Garden album, there was some additional help from Mark Spybey. What was it like to work with him?
It was tremendous fun working with Mark. We have the same sense of humor and share a common history. We sort of made our own little group, a sort of special connection. We’re all Brits.
With all the releases that you and the other members of the Dots have done, both together and separately, I am just in awe.
Edward laughs as he responds, “It seems megalomaniac when I see the list of releases.” With that, I let him go. I next caught up with him at the show in Atlanta, but I didn’t get a chance to talk again. I simply watched from a table at the beautiful soundscapes that pulsed towards me. He didn’t lie, either. Not only did he do a solo set in Atlanta, but the entire night was almost one tremendous set. One of the most unique things about the Dots live is the almost free-form jazz approach to performance. You recognize songs but they slide in and out of your head. It’s emotional and spell-binding. Even if I’m not comfortable around the “spooky kids” that are in attendance, I at least know after talking with Edward that there are others like me around the world that enjoy the Legendary Pink Dots as much as I do. They make the best psychedelic rock of today.