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Iron Butterfly Theme


Dave Bryce

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A conversation with my band last night about this piece of music and a comment by brother Grey in another thread made me want to post this here for anyone who loved it as a kid (me!), or anyone whose main (only?) exposure to Iron Butterfly was In-A-Gadda-Da Vida.

 

[video:youtube]

 

dB

:snax:

 

:keys:==> David Bryce Music • Funky Young Monks <==:rawk:

 

 

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I was a huge IB fan in my youth, and later their FOH engineer and tour manager. The IB theme tends to pop into my head at random moments.

 

They were definitely in the vanguard of heavy metal/hard rock, since they preceded Led Zeppelin and the Gillian era of Deep Purple. I had never heard anything like the IB theme (and several othr songs on their 1st album) before.

 

 

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I kinda sorta completely, totally, absolutely, unequivocally, unreservedly loved Iron Butterfly when I was younger.

 

Still do.

 

I remember the first time I heard the Iron Butterfly Theme. That sucker gave me chills. I was pretty impressed that a band--any band--had a tune they thought so completely defined them that they would name it the [fill in the name of the band] theme. The fact that it was Iron Butterfly (at that time, my favorite band) made it cooler. The fact that it was such a self-evidently heavy tune simply floored my young ass.

 

Then came In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida...and I was a lost soul.

 

My father was the sort who would bellow and yell that rock and roll was a fad--that it would never last--that it led to...well...whatever evils rock was leading to. Fooey. Made no difference to me. He had bluster and anger. Me? I had Iron Butterfly in my corner.

 

Grey took it, game, set, and match. Crowned in glory, I retired to listen to my grooves. My father seethed and grumbled. Losing gracefully was not his forte.

 

Oh, and did I mention that I love Iron Butterfly? That trick where Doug Ingle works the inner parts of a chord back and forth made an impression on me. As soon as I got a keyboard (like, forty years later), that was one of the first things I set out to do, was figure out how he did that.

 

Grey

 

P.S.: So, my older stepdaughter starts raving about this band she likes. Being the hip Pop (as opposed to Hip Hop...ahem) that I am, I commanded imperiously, "Hie thyself hence, daughter, and fetch me some of this new music so that I might share in these cosmic delights." She fetched. I listened. Quoth I, "Move not a muscle, not a hair, indeed do not twitch, child, for, verily, I shall return in mere moments." I slapped a slab of venerable vinyl on the table that turns and summoned forth demons of the ancient world...well, ancient to her, to me it was the sounds of my youth. In fact, it was Iron Butterfly that I laid upon her. And she slunk from my presence, chastened, for, as has been foretold, there is, in fact, nothing new under the sun, and these pathetic poseurs were nothing more than Iron Butterfly wannabes.

I'm not interested in someone's ability to program. I'm interested in their ability to compose and play.

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I've told my Iron Butterfly story a few times, but not since you joined Grey.

 

In the mid-late 70s my St. Louis area rock band had a week's engagement at a rock club out in Illinois somewhere. One of those nights, Iron Butterfly was going to come in and play a set. Club owner sold a lot of tickets for this event.

 

The evening of the show, a tatty old station wagon with Chicago plates and pulling a tiny U-Haul trailer pulls up. Out of the trailer comes a big Univox double guitar stack. Nothing else. They proceeded to borrow our drums, PA, my Hammond, and the bass rig.

 

We do our opening set and the club is packed. "Iron Butterfly's" "manager" goes to the mic and announces "Now from San Francisco California, IRON BUTTERFLY!" Raucous cheers abound.

 

Then these 4 dudes get up and go into (I swear) a 45 minute blues jam. No Doug Ingle. No Erik Brann. No Lee Dorman. No Ron Bushy. Not even Mike Pinera. Not anybody who had played with anybody who had played with anybody in Iron Butterfly.

 

Crowd gets pissed. Biker dudes start demanding their money back. Owner refuses. They finish their blues jam and launch into a 30 minute version of In-a-Gadda-da-Vida. Patrons start threatening to go home and return with guns.

 

This poor boy starts hanging around near enough to my Hammond that when shooting starts I can duck behind it.

 

Band finishes IAGDDVD and slinks out the back door with no encore and fortunately, no guns. :facepalm::poke::cop: :idk :hitt:

Moe

---

"I keep wanting to like it's sound, but every demo seems to demonstrate that it has the earth-shaking punch and peerless sonics of the Roland Gaia. " - Tusker

http://www.hotrodmotm.com

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I remember playing the LP In-A-Gadda-Da Vida repeatedly for months. Then a hiatus with Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath. In 1995 I was in Sturgis, SD and Iron Butterfly was headlining at the Buffalo Chip campground. The guy next to me asked if I wanted a toke (something I hadn't done in over a decade). I did and it seems like I remember every note played that night. It was HEAVY.

 

Thanks Dave for the memories.

 

 

Don

 

"Yes, on occasion I do talk to myself, sometimes I need an expert's opinion."

 

Alesis DG8, ARP(Korg)Odyssey Mk.1, Roland JU-06 & Keystation61. Stratocaster if I get tired of sitting.

 

 

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The Iron Butterfly that recorded the Heavy album was quite a different band than on the next two albums. Doug Ingle and Ron Bushy were there but the bassist was Jerry Penrod, Danny Weis on guitar, and Darryl DeLoach as second lead vocalist.

 

Penrod's bass playing was generally busier and punchier than his successor Leo Dorman. He went on to form Rhinoceros with Weis.

 

DeLoach added diversity and harmonies to the vocal sound though Ingle did a lot of the leads. Listen to "So-Lo", "Stamped Ideas", and "Gentle as it May Seem" for examples featuring DeLoach. DeLoach also wrote most of the lyrics on Heavy. The local AM station in my hometown Salem, Oregon played "So-Lo" when it first came out and sparked my interest in buying the album.

 

Guitarist Danny Weis originated the trademark echo-laden fuzzed Mosrite sound. It sounded so cool combined in unison with the reverb-soaked falsetto vocal. He also wrote much of the music on Heavy. Erik Brann reportedly bought most of Weis' equipment and even stage clothing when he succeeded Weis in the band. Brann managed to sound a lot like Weis but was not quite as accomplished, IMO. Weis formed the supergroup Rhinoceros and co-wrote "Apricot Brandy" which was a minor instrumental hit. He was also briefly in a later edition of The Rascals.

 

On the Iron Butterfly Live album there is only one song from the Heavy album which is "You Just Can't Win" mostly written by Weis. Presumably they played "Iron Butterfly Theme" in their shows but unfortunately it wasn't included here. But there is a version from 1968 at the Fillmore East. This may have been around the time they recorded "In-a-Gadda-Da-Vida" at Ultra-Sonic Studio in Hempstead, Long Island, NY with the legendary George "Shadow" Morton producing. The song originally was not intended to be as long as it turned out but Morton tricked the band into thinking they were only doing a run-through while he set recording levels and had them continue playing. The rest of the album was produced by Jim Hilton and recorded at Gold Star Studios in Hollywood, CA.

 

[video:youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KBgxo5CdF7k

 

In 1993 my Doors tribute band opened for a version of Iron Butterfly at Toad's Place in New Haven, CT. They opened with "Unconscious Power" and I was surprised to see the audience singing along even though many were too young to have heard it back in the day.

C3/122, M102A, Vox V301H, Farfisa Compact, Gibson G101, GEM P, RMI 300A, Piano Bass, Pianet , Prophet 5 rev. 2, Pro-One, Matrix 12, OB8, Korg MS20, Jupiter 6, Juno 60, PX-5S, Nord Stage 3 Compact
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In 1993 my Doors tribute band opened for a version of Iron Butterfly at Toad's Place in New Haven, CT. They opened with "Unconscious Power" and I was surprised to see the audience singing along even though many were too young to have heard it back in the day.

 

I remember that gig! I don't remember if we met, I was the tall long-haired guy at the sound board (& running through the tunnel from FOH to backstage).

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I always like the metamorphosis album with Rhino and Panera but I reckon that was after their 15 minutes of allotted fame per Andy Warhol.

"Metamorphosis" contains one of my all-time favorite Iron Butterfly tracks (with some very tasty Hammond licks) which became the group's biggest hit aside from "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida":

 

[video:youtube]

 

 

Dennis
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It depends on how you define prog rock, which is something that I've struggled with, myself. To me, Yes and ELP are definitely and instantly identifiable as prog rock ("Classical Rock" always seemed to be a better term to me, but that's over in my thread so I'll leave it out of this one). Jethro Tull, who seem to have been inducted into the club later on...I'm not so sure about that. Granted, Tull always seemed to appeal to a lot of the same people who liked Yes and ELP, but they always seemed to me to be materially different, somehow.

 

If playing long tunes gets you in the door, then In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida should do the trick. On the other hand, the band did a lot of fairly straightforward three minute love songs, too. If instrumentals are the criterion, then we can enter the Iron Butterfly Theme as evidence for.

 

If featuring keyboards prominently is what it takes, then Iron Butterfly is a definite contender.

 

I've got a rather cynical definition of prog that I don't like, but it surely seems to hold water: Prog is the category that people tend to thrust music into when they don't like it, particularly if they find it intimidating, musically.

 

A somewhat kinder definition: Prog is music that appeals to musicians, particularly those who want to be challenged.

 

Face it, the jam bands these days play extended compositions that frequently feature odd lyrics, tricky passages, and odd time signatures...yet they're not considered prog. Why? Because people like them. Santana (the man, not necessarily the band) has done lots of stuff over the years that, at least on paper, would qualify as prog, yet I've never heard anyone stick the dreaded prog label on him. I never heard Jethro Tull called prog until after they fell out of favor. True, they had Thick As A Brick and Passion Play, but no one that I knew lumped them in with Yes, et. al. at the time...they were simply Jethro Tull. When they began to slide from grace in the late '70s...that's about when they began the shift over into the dreaded prog category.

 

The kiss of death, it is.

 

At least commercially. Clearly, there are those of us who like this sort of music no matter what it's called, but you've got to admit, it's not exactly a hot category at the moment.

 

Needs a new name--something snappy. Someone enlist the aid of a good PR firm. We need the entire category's reputation rehabilitated.

 

That said, yeah, I'm okay with dragging Iron Butterfly into the prog tent. They'll be in good company.

 

Grey

I'm not interested in someone's ability to program. I'm interested in their ability to compose and play.

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Boy, that took me back. I remember sitting in a friend's basement playing that over and over. Glorious noise.

 

hopefully over multiple bong hits. :puff:;)

 

Umm...I was 10. I was high on the music, man...high on the music.

9 Moog things, 3 Roland things, 2 Hammond things and a computer with stuff on it

 

 

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I've told my Iron Butterfly story a few times, but not since you joined Grey.

 

In the mid-late 70s my St. Louis area rock band had a week's engagement at a rock club out in Illinois somewhere. One of those nights, Iron Butterfly was going to come in and play a set. Club owner sold a lot of tickets for this event.

 

The evening of the show, a tatty old station wagon with Chicago plates and pulling a tiny U-Haul trailer pulls up. Out of the trailer comes a big Univox double guitar stack. Nothing else. They proceeded to borrow our drums, PA, my Hammond, and the bass rig.

 

We do our opening set and the club is packed. "Iron Butterfly's" "manager" goes to the mic and announces "Now from San Francisco California, IRON BUTTERFLY!" Raucous cheers abound.

 

Then these 4 dudes get up and go into (I swear) a 45 minute blues jam. No Doug Ingle. No Erik Brann. No Lee Dorman. No Ron Bushy. Not even Mike Pinera. Not anybody who had played with anybody who had played with anybody in Iron Butterfly.

 

Crowd gets pissed. Biker dudes start demanding their money back. Owner refuses. They finish their blues jam and launch into a 30 minute version of In-a-Gadda-da-Vida. Patrons start threatening to go home and return with guns.

 

This poor boy starts hanging around near enough to my Hammond that when shooting starts I can duck behind it.

 

Band finishes IAGDDVD and slinks out the back door with no encore and fortunately, no guns. :facepalm::poke::cop: :idk :hitt:

 

I have just one question: Did that band get paid for impersonating Iron Butterfly or did the owner pocket the money?

 

If I was in the Iron Butterfly camp, I'd be issuing Cease & Desist orders.

 

Grey

I'm not interested in someone's ability to program. I'm interested in their ability to compose and play.

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I've told my Iron Butterfly story a few times, but not since you joined Grey.

 

In the mid-late 70s my St. Louis area rock band had a week's engagement at a rock club out in Illinois somewhere. One of those nights, Iron Butterfly was going to come in and play a set. Club owner sold a lot of tickets for this event.

 

The evening of the show, a tatty old station wagon with Chicago plates and pulling a tiny U-Haul trailer pulls up. Out of the trailer comes a big Univox double guitar stack. Nothing else. They proceeded to borrow our drums, PA, my Hammond, and the bass rig.

 

We do our opening set and the club is packed. "Iron Butterfly's" "manager" goes to the mic and announces "Now from San Francisco California, IRON BUTTERFLY!" Raucous cheers abound.

 

Then these 4 dudes get up and go into (I swear) a 45 minute blues jam. No Doug Ingle. No Erik Brann. No Lee Dorman. No Ron Bushy. Not even Mike Pinera. Not anybody who had played with anybody who had played with anybody in Iron Butterfly.

 

Crowd gets pissed. Biker dudes start demanding their money back. Owner refuses. They finish their blues jam and launch into a 30 minute version of In-a-Gadda-da-Vida. Patrons start threatening to go home and return with guns.

 

This poor boy starts hanging around near enough to my Hammond that when shooting starts I can duck behind it.

 

Band finishes IAGDDVD and slinks out the back door with no encore and fortunately, no guns. :facepalm::poke::cop: :idk :hitt:

 

I have just one question: Did that band get paid for impersonating Iron Butterfly or did the owner pocket the money?

 

If I was in the Iron Butterfly camp, I'd be issuing Cease & Desist orders.

 

Grey

 

Likely the owner pocketed the money. That was a pretty common scam back in those days (not all groups trademarked their names) and it was not unusual for the original members to get injunctions issued against those phony groups.

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I think it was just an out and out fraudulent operation. I don't think the club owner was smart enough to put a fraud together, and he got scammed into paying them a bunch of up front money, then panicked and refused to refund.

 

It's possible that the band manager had somehow obtained rights to the name for awhile, but I doubt it.

 

I've played with phony Grass Roots, Coasters with one original member, etc.

Moe

---

"I keep wanting to like it's sound, but every demo seems to demonstrate that it has the earth-shaking punch and peerless sonics of the Roland Gaia. " - Tusker

http://www.hotrodmotm.com

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I think it was just an out and out fraudulent operation. I don't think the club owner was smart enough to put a fraud together, and he got scammed into paying them a bunch of up front money, then panicked and refused to refund.

 

It's possible that the band manager had somehow obtained rights to the name for awhile, but I doubt it.

 

I've played with phony Grass Roots, Coasters with one original member, etc.

 

Con artist managers count on the apathy of "has been" groups to get away with it.

 

Ed King was in the 60s psychedelic band Strawberry Alarm Clock before he became a member of Lynyrd Skynyrd. SAC became a "has-been" group after a couple of albums, and after the group was in limbo the members got word that a con artist manager was touring a phony band billed as SAC. The members succeeded in getting an injunction issued, and they decided to reunite and tour to capitalize on the hype generated by the phony band. Lynyrd Skynyrd was one of the opening acts for SAC, and that was how Ed King became acquainted with them and went on to write Sweet Home Alabama and other great songs.

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